I have decided to alternate my series on Keosian's paper, "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life" (1978), with a short series on a book, "The Coming of Man: Was It Accident or Design?" (1933) by Robert Broom (1866-1951).
Broom was a South African medical doctor-turned paleontologist, who became a world authority on mammal-like reptiles, and then became even more eminent as a paleoanthropologist after his discovery in 1947 at Sterkfontein Caves near Johannesburg, of Mrs Ples (i.e. Plesianthropus transvaalensis), the skull of an Australopithecus africanus (as it was later renamed).
Science writer Roger Lewin notes that, like Alfred Russel Wallace, "Broom argued that divine intervention was the only explanation for the origin of the qualities that made Homo sapiens so special" and argued that (as we shall see) "Much of evolution looks as if it had been planned to result in man" (my emphasis):
"The job of evolutionary theory was to explain the origin of such a gulf. How did the very special qualities of humanity-our intelligence, our moral sense, and so on-that set us upon Huxley's mountaintop come about as the result of naturalistic, rather than divine, forces? Some scientific authorities simply failed to see how it could be done. Most notable among these was Alfred Russel Wallace, who, along with Charles Darwin, was the coinventor of the theory of natural selection. Another was Robert Broom, a pioneer in the recovery of early human fossils from South Africa during the 1930s and 1940s. Although both Wallace and Broom argued that divine intervention was the only explanation for the origin of the qualities that made Homo sapiens so special, their reasons were different. .... Robert Broom, who greatly admired Wallace, certainly believed this, and expressed it clearly in his 1933 book, The Coming of Man: Was It Accident or Design? He wrote, `Much of evolution looks as if it had been planned to result in man, and in other animals and plants to make the world a suitable place for him to dwell in.' Like Wallace, Broom also saw a spiritual guiding hand behind the whole process." (Lewin, R., "In the Age of Mankind: A Smithsonian Book of Human Evolution," Smithsonian Books: Washington DC, 1988, p.26. Emphasis original).
UCSD Biology Professor Christopher Wills points out that Broom had already stated in his 1932 book on the mammal-like reptiles that, "Apart from minor modifications evolution is finished. ... man is the final product; and ... some intelligent controlling power has specially guided one line to result in man" (my emphasis):
"Many others were as puzzled as Wallace about how the huge and obvious differences between humans and other animals could have arisen. Robert Broom, the remarkable paleontologist who discovered the Australopithecines of Sterkfontein and Kromdraai, and whose life and work we will examine in more detail in the next section, embraced theology with only the slightest hesitation at the end of his book The Mammal-like Reptiles of South Africa and the Origin of Mammals (1932): `We seem almost driven to assume that there is some controlling power which modifies the animal according to its needs, and that the changes are inherited. Apart from minor modifications evolution is finished. From which we may perhaps conclude that man is the final product; and that amid all the thousands of apparently useless types of animals that have been formed some intelligent controlling power has specially guided one line to result in man.'" (Wills, C.J., "The Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness," , HarperCollins: London, Reprinted, 1994, pp.77-78).
In his 1933 book on man, Broom "suggest[s] the possibility of a spiritual agency in evolution" pointing out that "those who believe in mutations ... know nothing of what may have produced them; and Darwin had to admit that what was behind variations was quite unknown":
"To suggest the possibility of a spiritual agency in evolution will of course evoke a vigorous protest from most scientists ; but if physicists and philosophers are considering the possibility of a spiritual view of the physical universe a biologist may perhaps be excused for considering whether some spiritual agency or agencies may not be largely concerned in the processes of evolution. When we have a very definite effect we may claim the right to consider all possible causes even though at first sight they may appear improbable. Even those who believe in mutations great or small have to admit that they know nothing of what may have produced them; and Darwin had to admit that what was behind variations was quite unknown." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.210-211).
Broom thus put his finger on what I have, in a previous post called, "the Achilles heel of Darwinism, the unproven (and unprovable) claim that all mutations in the entire ~4 billion year history of life have been random (in the sense of unguided)."
In the concluding chapter Broom observes that "the evolution of man up from the fishes ... looks like a succession of very fortunate accidents" such that "it can hardly be wondered at if doubts arise as to their being accidents at all" (my emphasis):
"WE have traced the evolution of man up from the fishes, and have seen that it has been a very slow, steady progress, with never any going back and with rarely any specialisation till we come to the last stage, when man gets his large brain. The history has been a most remarkable one. It looks like a succession of very fortunate accidents; but as the apparent accidents have always given rise to higher and higher types of organisation, it can hardly be wondered at if doubts arise as to their being accidents at all." (Broom, Ibid, p.212).
Continued in part #2.
Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
Exodus 4:10-17. 10Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." 11The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." 13But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." 14Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. 15You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it."