Page 2, 20th June 1941

20th June 1941
Page 2
Page 2, 20th June 1941 — EVOLUTION The Science of Breeding

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EVOLUTION The Science of Breeding

SIR,—In ray last letter (C. H. 9/5/41) I asked if Dr. Fothergill would enlighten my ignorance as to how genetics, " the science of breeding," could warrant a belief that it Was biologically possible for two species of elephants to breed a whale, or for two species of reptiles to breed a bird. I wrote before I had read Dr. Fothergill's letter in your issue of 2/5/41, in which he says: " All my opponents seem to be imbued with the idea that intermediate forms must be found before the theory of Evolution can be held. There is no biological reason why this should be. Modern trends in genetics will bring this out more and more, especially as Prof. R. A. Fisher's theory of dominance develops. Thus general mutations in conjunction with allopolyploidy, interpreted in the light of this new theory, show us a new way by which Evolution may take place; and a way in which the assumption of the occurrence of intermediates is not necessary. For a short account of some of these topics the reader can consult an artick by myself written for teachers of Biology in Biology, •vol. 6, 3, 1941."

The most unworthy and ignorant person who now writes is not a teacher of Biology; and as this person cannot understand the above quoted writing he has not asked honourable librarian in Canton of Kensington for a copy of Biology. Even in the bright light of a new theory now developing, this person cannot comprehend how a couple of elephants, in conjunction with allopolyploidy, could breed a whale. Lest this confession move you, sir, to instruct honourable paper shop to cease delivery of CATHOLIC HERALD to the miserable hovel from which this undistinguished person presumes to criticise the mandarins of science—be it known that this person has been told that such happenings to elephants are recorded in the Sacred Writings of the Hindoos.

In his last letter (CM., 13/6/41) Dr. Fothergill says: " I think Dr. Sutherland's definition of genetics as the science of breeding ' is incomplete, and will convey a wrong impression to the general reader." The definition is not mine. It is the only definition given in the Pocket Oxford Dic

tionary. If incomplete, then Dr. Pothergill would oblige everyone, including the editors of the dictionary, by giving his own complete definition—provided it be intelligible to the general reader: for nothing is more calculated to " convey a wrong impression " about Evolution or anything else than the use of pretentious but ill-defined and vague words, which form the basis of that debased prose known as jargon. Of all styles in English prose, jargon is the worst. It is alien to knowledge: but is much used by politicians and Civil Servants when they wish to mislead or have something to conceal.


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