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Rev. T. M. GORMAN.--I must dissent from one portion of Professor Birks' statements, for in the text of the earlier chapters of Genesis I cannot discover sufficient data for an exact chronology ; but we may be sure that the true chronology would harmonize with the facts of science.
Captain F. PETRIE (Hon. Sec.).—Without offering any opinion upon the special question raised in the paper, I venture to refer to two remarks made by Dr. Currey : the first is that in which he alluded to Sir C. Lyell's calculation as to the antiquity of man in the Mississippi valley.
Sir C. Lyell, in the fourth edition of his Antiquity of Man (1873), refers to only two instances of fossil human remains having been found in the Mississippi valley; the first being that of the skeleton of a Red Indiau, the cranium in good preservation, found 16 feet below the surface when excavating for some gas-works : Dr. Dowler considered it to be 57,600 years old. Sir C. Lyell cites his opinion with apparent approval (p. 46), and gives his reasons, founded upon a calculation as to the rate of deposit of the niud ; but Messrs. Humphreys and Abbot, quoted by Sir C. Lyell in the later edition of his work as reliable authorities, have calculated that the whole ground on which New Orleans stands, down to a depth of 40 feet, has been deposited in forty-four centuries. In regard to the second instance of fossil human remains, Sir C. Lyell says,
“It is necessary to suspend our judgment as to the high antiquity of the fossil” (p. 239). To show the rapid rate of deposit in the valley, M. Fontaine mentions that near Tamaulipas Street, New Orleans, the whole area to the depth of over 100 feet has been deposited within the last sixty years; and that since the construction of the gas-works, some deep excavations at Port Jackson, at a considerable distance from the river, and at a depth of from 15 to 20 feet below the surface, a piece of wood shaped by human art had been found, which on examination proved to be a portion of a modern boat. In a work entitled The Recent Origin of Man it is mentioned (p. 472) that the body of a man, which had been buried between two stumps of trees, had been covered by the deposit of the river to a much greater extent in four years than even 16 feet. With respect to the discovery of fossil human remains, many have been found, in regard to every one of which some controversy has taken place: a skeleton in the British Museum is a curious example ; it is that of an Indian, killed in battle only two centuries ago; it is embedded in solid rock, and came from the Northwest coast of Guadaloupe, where “the rock is a limestone, harder than statuary marble, and is forming daily : it contains minute fragments of shells and coral, encrusted with a calcareous cement resembling travertine, by which the particles are bound together : the skeleton still contains some of its animal matter and all the phosphate of lime." (Recent Origin of Man, p. 78.) The foregoing remarks may show some of the difficulties with which we have to cope in our search for geological facts which will throw light upon “the antiquity of man.” At the recent conference, held on May 22, 1877, the President, Mr. John Evans, F.R.S., "pointed out the extreme caution which was necessary in dealing with the subject, as it lay within the domain of the archæologist, the anthropologist, and the geologist; neither of whom was sufficient, alone by himself, to offer a very strong opinion on the subject. Great care was also necessary with regard to the facts of the discoveries themselves, as the objects discovered were liable to get mixed with other objects below them; and this was important in the case of cave-deposits, in which there might be interments of a later date than the human skeletons deposited in the caves. The question was now very much within the province of the geologist, whose business it was to determine the antiquity of the deposits in which the discoveries may have been made. After alluding to several recent discoveries in France, Spain, and Switzerland, the President remarked that each successive discovery, or presumed discovery, must be received in a cautious but candid spirit ; and, looking to the many sources of doubt and error which attached to isolated discoveries, their watchword must for the present be " caution, caution, caution.” With regard to the physiognomy of the negro, as delineated upon ancient monuments being the same as that existing in the present day, a well-known fact should not be forgotten, namely, that a special type will develop rapidly, and then remain to all appearance permanent; the writings and investigations of Dawson, Parker, and others have shown this. * Finally, I do not think we can, in any of our scientific investigations in regard to these subjects, bave a better watchword than Mr. Evans's, the more we investigate and the more we know, the more will this appear; and I hope our faith is not held so lightly as for us to allow its safety to be compromised by the lights and shadows which may fall upon it during our labours.
Professor BIRKS.—I think it should hardly have been expected that I could, in one paper, treat the whole of the large question which my subject involves. I have only dealt with one specific point on which the theory now in vogue, for insisting on the high antiquity of man, mainly rests as a definite result of science. I should be sorry to have it supposed that I say that any one who does not accept my view of the antiquity of man is an infidel. I only say that so far as that point is concerned he departs from the Bible testimony. I do not mean to say that any one who does not believe in the one point of the 7,000 or 8,000 years does not believe in 19-20ths of the Bible absolutely and in the New Testament, but he seems to me to have surrendered one integral part of the whole message, and in so doing he impairs his faith in the rest. I do not deny an ice age, but I have a view of my own which is quite consistent with the narrative of the Bible.
The meeting was then adjourned.
* Vol. X. p. 384.
+ Professor Andrews and other Americans have argued that the Ice age ended scarce 8,000 years ago ; Sir C. Lyell and Mr. Geikie admit that the Glacial period in Scotland may be brought down to the "Polished Stone age," or 6,000 years ago. (Recent Origin of Man.)
CONCLUSION OF PROFESSOR BIRKS REPLY (COMMUNICATED).
My second paper, like my first; in which I have sought to repel the charge that the Bible is inaccurate, and opposed to the certain and proved conclusions of science, has brought upon me a strong censure from Dr. Currey. He thinks my defence mischievous and unsound, though he does not profess to understand it as a scientific argument. He thinks it lost labour to show that five or six different theories, upon which the dogma of man's high antiquity has been based, are erroneous, and exclude each other, unless I can prove the same, in this one paper, of every possible hypothesis or presumption of the same kind. I am astonished at such a test of valid argument in defence of the thorough truth of the Bible being laid down by any one.
I must strive to clear away the mist which would make my labour almost fruitless unless it be removed. The basis of my argument is that the Bible does not merely contain the “Word of God” somewhere within it, but is itself "God's word written," or a series of messages which the Holy Spirit spake by the prophets; that it is truth, “the true sayings of God," and not an imperfect mixture, in unknown proportions, of God's truth with numerous errors ; that hence it is not lawful for any Christian “so to expound one part of Scripture as to be repugnant to another”; this could only be true if it contains no real self-contradiction. If the Scripture, then, is God's word, and all self-consistent, it cannot contradict genuine science. Two kinds of contradiction are possible, and very frequent. False constructions of Scripture may be opposed to true and sound conclusions of science ; and false conjectures, hypotheses, and inferences of students of science may contradict alike the real truths of science and unambiguous statements of the word of God. Wherever there is a seeming collision, the duty of every honest Christian is to inquire, first, what is its real source,
a false interpretation of the Bible, or of the works of God, and the facts of science. Now, I cannot defend the Bible from infidel assaults under these two unfair conditions--unlimited scientific credulity, and an unlimited license of non-natural interpretation of the Bible, so as to impute to it the almost entire absence of any detinite meaning. In the present paper I am said to have charged all with being infidels who do not accept “Ussher's" chronology, and to have made this one essential part of Christian orthodoxy. I am astonished at the charge, when I have done the exact reverse. I named a limit for the Bible date of man's entrance on the earth, which includes the highest estimates of those who do not altogether discard the Scriptural testimony concerning it. There may be Christians who, in deference to the inferences or guesses of modern geologists, can accept some such paraphrase as this of the earliest link in St. Luke's genealogy of Christ. Having climbed some four or five thousand years to Seth in seventy ascents, then, in order to complete a hundred thousand years, they must proceed : Who was the son of Adam ;
who was the son in a thousandth descent, of some pre-Adamite man, who was the son, in the ten thousandth generation, of some ape, chim. panzee, or gorilla, which was the son, or creature at least, of God. But those, if such there be, who can stretch the words of God so far, to make them fit the supposed exigencies of modern thought, will never persuade infidels that they are honest in this process of accommodation. The author of Supernatural Religion speaks with contempt of "the profoundly illogical zeal of distinguished men within the Church," who endeavour “to arrest for å moment the pursuing wolves of doubt and unbelief by throwing to them scrap by scrap every element which does not quite accord with current opinion.” The nature of my own argument is clear as the day. If distinct and repeated statements of the Bible, linked with the very foundations of the faith, are to be rejected, something more than a "perhaps” or “peradventure," or loose notions about what we think was the probable lapse of time from Adam to the first negro, can alone warrant their rejection Now the one definite argument I find amidst a sea of conjectures and loose guesswork is this, that traces of man's presence are first found soon after what is called the Glacial age or Boulder Drift period. Next, Mr. Croll, in an elaborate and ingenious theory, very widely accepted, ascribes this to a definite astronomical cause, and places it just about 200,000 years ago. I have shown, on the grounds of pure science, that this theory, however great the labour and skill bestowed upon it, is radically defective, and that at the period in question the more correct and scientific conclusion is, that the winter in Great Britain would be just as cold as the winter in Canada, but the summer heat 30 deg. higher than the summer of Canada
To complete the defence of the Bible from its assailants under this head, it would be needful to propose a different explanation of the facts, in harmony with the statements of Scripture. This I think that I see clearly, and I shall hope to unfold it at some future time.
or our Own.
REMARKS BY C. R. BREE, M.D., F.Z.S.
Human remains have not been found in any well-marked geological stratum. Certain implements, said to have been of human manufacture, have been found in caves, gravel, and kitchen-middens of doubtful age, though evidently much older than the time allotted to man's existence on earth. But, as Dr. Currey remarks, we have no definite human chronology mentioned in Scripture ; so there is no contradiction. There can be no doubt but that man lived on the earth much before 7,000 years ago, but we have no proof in the records of geology that his life began in any well-known geological epoch. The real fact of value is that no remains of man or his antecedent, hairy cocked-eared wild man ” of Darwin, have hitherto been found in any geological stratum. The paper certainly does not deserve the charge brought against it in Dr. Currey's concluding remarks.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING,
HELD AT THE HOUSE OF THE SOCIETY OF ARTS,
FRIDAY, MAY 31, 1878.
The HONORARY SECRETARY, Capt. F. PETRIE, read the following report:-
TWELFTH ANNUAL REPORT of the Council of the
VICTORIA INSTITUTE, OR PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY OF
Progress of the Institute. 1. In presenting the TWELFTH ANNUAL REPORT, the Council desire to state that during the past year, both at home and abroad, there has been manifested an increasing interest in the Society : they look upon its condition as satisfactory, considering the unsettled condition of European affairs, the effect of which has been almost universally felt. Still, how
the continued steady support of each Member and Associate is now no less indispensable for the Society's well. being than before.
2. With the object of furthering the Society's progress abroad, communications have this year been addressed to those leading Englishmen and Americans throughout the world who were considered most likely to take advantage of the Institute in the countries in which they reside. The correspondence has been somewhat large, but the first results of this step have been very encouraging. Further communications are now being made to ensure increased publicity for the objects of the Institute in the Colonies, especially those that have expressed the desirableness of so doing.
The extension of the operations of the Society in America