Pernicious Propaganda by the B.B.C. : A Protest
For years, despite the protests of the Evolution Protest Movement, the B.B.C. has sedulously propagated the doctrine of Organic Evolution and refused to broadcast a talk dealing with the scientific objections to the doctrine. On June 21st, 1939, it broadcast a talk by Professor Munro Fox which occupied twenty minutes and which must come very near to establishing a record for the greatest number of controversial assertions uttered in so short a period of time. The talk was to schools, one of the series “Biology in the Service of Man” its title was “Evolution; Man’s Origin.”
Knowing Prof. H. Munro Fox, F.R.S., to be a fervid evolutionist, and having previously caught him making mis-statements, I took notes of his talk, which I reproduce below.
Gist of Talk
We have evolved from other animals just as horses and asses have (1);
Our ancestor became man about one million years ago (2);
There are fossils over 400 million years old (reference made to a diagram in a book before the listener) and living creatures have probably existed on the earth twice that time (3);
What animals are related to us just as horses are related to zebras and asses? Our nearest relatives are the ape, chimpanzee and gorilla (4);
These have not our brain and are not erect, but are built like us and have the same bones with differences. The chief differences are man is cleverer, can talk and eat meat which they do not (5);
It is quite certain that the great apes are as much like us in body as horses are like zebras (6);
Scientists say that we and the apes have the same ancestors. They know it because some of the fossil ancestors of both man and ape have been found (7);
Mammals have evolved from the reptiles. The first mammals were something like the shrews of to-day (8);
The London clay is the beginning of the age of mammals. Some shrews evolved into Lemurs (9);
Some of these ancient Lemurs evolved into animals that were intermediate between apes and men (10);
Our ancestors which were neither man nor ape took to the trees. Our ancestors came down from these (11);
We keep traces of this tree life of long ago, e.g. a baby can hang by its arms from a support and the hairs on our arms from the shoulder point downwards as those of you who are old enough to have hair can see on your own arms. In apes this is useful, as when the ape sits with his hands on his head the rain falls off his hairs. Perhaps our ancestors did this (12);
One branch of these ancestors slowly and gradually evolved into man (13);
Human beings became such when they began to make tools. The first tools were made of flints. The simplest tools are found earlier than the Ice Age, i.e., a million years ago (14);
The picture on page 26 of your book is of a model of an ape-man fossil found in Java. His brain was small; he had no chin, he walked upright and probably he spoke. He lived during the Ice Age (15);
Some of the ancient men drew pictures on walls in caves. Hardly anyone to-day can draw as well as cave man could (16);
We believe that Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest is true, but there is another theory. We have seen how horses’ legs became longer. Suppose galloping made the legs grow longer and this was inherited. But navvies’ children do not have larger arms than other children, although their father’s arms get strong through being used to drive iron pegs into hard ground, People who are not scientists believe that the effects of use are inherited, but biologists do not because experiments are against it (17).
To sum up. The first mammals came from reptiles 150 million years ago. Sixty million years ago some had evolved into lemurs, and 30 million years ago some were neither apes nor men, but one branch of their descendents was savage man who lived about one million years ago. Such may be compared with the Australian savage of to-day. Darwin never said that men came from monkeys (18).
Comments on the Talk
(1) Note the dogmatism of this sentence. A theory is stated as a fact.
(2) Professor Fox evidently is not aware that there is no known scientific means of determining the age of any fossil. The figures he cites are based on the radio-active method of calculation, which Sir Ambrose Fleming, Joly, myself and others have shown to be based on unproved and improbable assumptions. Further, the figures arrived at by this method are the result of selecting experiments giving results in accord with theory and rejecting all that are not in accord with this!
(3) See note 2.
(4) The worthy Professor is apparently unaware that even many biologists who believe in evolution do not consider man to be nearly related to the gorilla and chimpanzee; they regard such resemblance as exists as due to convergence. Evidently Prof. Fox has not read the books and scientific papers of such men as Sergi, Wood Jones, Max Westenhofer and H. F. Osborn.
(5) It is difficult to imagine a worse summary than this of the differences between men and apes.
(6) Prof. Munro Fox must be almost the only zoologist to believe this, since every systematist places the horse and the zebra in the same genus, but none of them deem man and the apes to belong to one and the same genus.
(7) This is a mis-statement. No fossil has been found of which it is possible to say “That fossil, while not human, is an ancestor of man.”
(8) This is not the case. Shrews are placental mammals and no one, except perhaps Prof. Fox, believes the Triassic and Jurassic mammals were placentals.
(9) There is no fossil proof of this.
(10) and (11) There is no fossil or indeed any evidence of this.
(12) Presumably Prof. Fox believes that because a baby is born without teeth and suckles milk it comes from ancestors which when adult lacked teeth and were suckled, and that because babies at one stage move about by crawling on hands and knees, they are descended from creatures that did this in the adult state!
(13) There is not an iota of fossil or other evidence that this happened.
(14) See note (2) above.
(15) The bones from which this creature has been constructed consist of a skull cap, two teeth and a thigh bone, which many do not think belongs to the same animal as the skull does. No one has the least idea what the animal or animals represented by these fossils looked like. To publish a picture of an imaginary restoration in a school book is most reprehensible; almost equally to be condemned is the placing in some of our museums of casts of this and other equally absurd restorations. In some museums we see busts of Heidelberg man, of whom, nothing is known except the lower jaw! As the Java “Ape-Man” lived during the Ice Age and Prof. Fox himself states that man-made tools were in existence before the beginning of the Ice Age, it is difficult to understand how even he can imagine that the Java “Ape Man” is an ancestor of the human race.
(16) It is difficult to understand how Prof. Fox reconciles with evolution the fact that men whom he supposed lived nearly a million years ago sketched better than most living men now living can.
(17) A few zoologists such as Prof. MacBride believe that the effects of use are inherited. Prof. Fox is presumably unaware of this.
(18) Prof. Fox is evidently unaware of the following passage, which occurs on page 239 of Darwin’s “Descent of Man”:
“The Catarhine and Platyrhine monkeys agree in a multitude of characters .... And as man from a genealogical point of view belongs to the Catarhine or Old World stock, we must conclude, however much the conclusion may revolt our pride, that our early progenitors would have been properly thus designated. But we must not fall into the error of supposing that the early progenitor of the whole Simian stock, including man was identical with, or even closely resembled, any existing ape or monkey.”
Clearly Darwin both imagined and asserted openly that man is descended from a monkey of sorts.
From the Foregoing it is clear that there are comparatively few passages in Prof. Munro Fox’s talk to which many people do not object. The question naturally arises: How much longer is the B.B.C. to be permitted to disseminate talks such as the above? The reply to this would appear to be “Many years,” unless a large number of people make strong protests. Is it too much to ask every member of the B.B.U. to write to his or her M.P., sending him a copy of this pamphlet and requesting him to press the Government to prohibit the B.B.C. from putting out evolutionary propaganda under the guise of biological instruction?
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Other Pamphlets recently published by The Evolution Protest Movement.
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Evolution : The Tactics of the Science Masters’ Association, at 3d., or 1s, 9d. per doz., all post free.
The B.B.C. Abuses its Monopoly, at 3d., 1s. 3d. per doz., 50 and upwards at 1d. each, all post free.
Evolutionists under Fire, at 4d., 2s. per doz., 1s. 6d. per doz. for 48 and upwards, all post free.
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