BEGINNINGS AND CHANGES
AT A FEW RARE MOMENTS in the history of a scientific problem, understanding takes a long leap forward, and so it is at this moment in that most basic of all the sciences, the evolution of man. Understanding suddenly has been increased.
There was a similar moment in the middle of the last century, when Charles Darwin convinced most of the world that living forms are not fixed but changing, and that they had changed by natural process operating over great periods of time. The concept of organic evolution revolutionized biology and profoundly affected thought generally.
There was another such moment in the first year of this century. At that turning-point, the laws that govern physical inheritance from parent to child were discovered, or, it should be said, were re-discovered. The Mendelian laws laid the basis for the modern science of heredity and brought about a major revision in the theory of evolution. Former ideas about evolution had to be reshaped and reinterpreted.
And now in the middle of this century another time has come when new findings are upsetting older theories and opening the way for another rapid surge forward. It is still too early for the final verdict, though even now it is clear that the current and traditional theory of how and when man evolved must be changed. Some long-held and respected beliefs will have to be revised and the textbooks rewritten, for much of what has been said and some of the supposed facts are now found to be incorrect. Darwin's theory of evolution is being modified-- though in the end strengthened and reaffirmed. Darwin was wrong, but right.