MAN IS surely
the most defenseless of all creatures, unless armed artificially.
(93) He appears
to have no dependable instincts for self-protection. (94) What natural defenses
he can muster from within himself are puny compared with those
of animals. And there is no evidence that early man was very
different from ourselves, so that we cannot blame this deficiency
altogether on a cultural heritage which tends to supply us with
substitute defenses. The strength of animals relative to human
strength is tremendous. A chimpanzee, for instance, has something
like three to five times the strength of man, though considerably
less weight (120 lbs.). (95) The fact of man's helplessness in terms of self-defense
has been remarked upon by many writers, not a few of whom have
seen in it, quite rightly, one of the reasons for his ability
to exercise dominion over the rest of Nature. For in lieu of
natural equipment he has been granted superior intelligence and
learned to arm himself accordingly.
93. It is possible that honours in this respect
may have to go to the koala bear which, I have read, is completely
from antiquity, from the study of fossil man and his cultural
remains, indicates that man has always had to depend upon his
intellect rather than his physical strength or natural defensive
weapons. If man had not fallen, it is my belief that he would
not have had to defend himself against other animals at all,
but would have achieved dominion over them by a kind of power
akin to moral force. Even yet there are among us individuals
who seem to have retained something of this power over animals.
It would be an interesting question for debate to ask whether
many of the defensive instincts of animals would have been necessary
if sin had not entered into God's creation, and therefore whether
they were conferred upon them by God as soon as man's sin began
to disrupt the natural order. Fabre, with the true insight of
a devout naturalist, recognized animal instinctual behaviour
as "inspired activity." (97)
97. Fabre Henri: quoted by W. R. Thompson
in a Convocation Address: "The Work of J. Henri Fabre",
in Canadian Entomology, vol.96, nos.1 and 2, 1964, p.70.
As Kipling said,
man is indeed "a poor naked frog."
All these things
are true, but not the whole truth, and Dawson, Childe, and Joad
from their different points of view would at once acknowledge
this. It is true that man is not supplied with natural defenses
against potential enemies, but he does have a brain and hands
which allow him to design vastly superior weapons for himself.
It is true that he is naked, but these same hands and brain allow
him to devise clothing which gives him the ability to live where
other animals cannot live, except under his protection. He may
indeed be slow to move, yet these same hands and brain have made
him more mobile and faster than any other creature. And though
he may apparently be ill-protected against the vagaries of climate,
he is nevertheless, physiologically speaking, quite uniquely
equipped to maintain his deep body temperature within remarkably
narrow limits over an extraordinary wide range of external conditions
of temperature, pressure, and humidity. And as we shall see,
in his diet he is further exceptionally fitted to live in any
part of the world.
99. Joad, C. E. M., For Civilization, Macmillan War Pamphlets, London, 1940, p.3.
His very weakness
has in the providence of God served to enhance man's chief glory,
his power to think things through. But his superior mental abilities
had to be supported adequately to find expression through the
other members of his body, and his body needed to be organized
in a number of ways uniquely to make this possible. It was God's
intention that he should fill the earth and govern it, and there
is little doubt that when this command was given, the climatic
conditions on earth were not fundamentally different from what
they are today in that while there were zones where the temperature
was moderate and laid little stress on the body, there were other
zones where man was going to experience considerable heat stress
or cold stress. It may be perfectly true that if Paradise had
not been lost, the world's climate would have been uniformly
temperate, though this would involve tremendous geophysical modifications.
But undoubtedly God knew what man would do and that he would
face in the end the task of filling a world in which climatic
extremes would exist as they do now. He must therefore have been
designed, to begin with, with the capability of making the necessary
physiological adjustments in order to occupy these challenging
zones. No other animal was designed, it seems, for such ubiquitousness.
100. Macalister, Alexander, Man Physiologically Considered, vol.7, no.39 in Present Day Tracts, Religious Tract Society, London, 1886, pp.6, 7.
demonstrate that this mechanism in man is in certain fundamental respects quite different from the mechanism which serves somewhat the same purpose in animals, and this will underscore at the same time the fact that it is easy for the in-expert to suppose that because the mechanisms look alike they are in fact the same.
the extent of animal territories. Every increase in our knowledge
of this subject only tends to confirm that all animals have limited
territories, which they mark out rather specifically. Often more
than one species will occupy a single area, but each species
marks out its territorial boundaries in defiance of other members
of its own species. In the case of social animals, the
territory owned by the individual may be quite small. Birds,
especially sea birds, may claim only space sufficient to land
upon and lay their eggs. But other animals, like some of the
large cats, may dominate territories covering a number of square
miles. Just as an illustration of the kind of spread involved,
the weasel may claim from two to nine acres, a male stoat up
to eighty-five acres, martens about one square mile, a waterbuck
anywhere from forty to five-hundred acres, some bears, ten square
miles or more, and a pride of fifteen lions, thirty or more square
miles. (10l) The
territory of animals which migrate should not strictly include
their corridors of migration which they merely pass through,
but must be limited to their range of wintering or summering.
The primates nearest in form to man claim territorial rights
over far less territory, the proportion working out to about
two and one-half chimpanzees per square mile, for example. (102) The Sifaka monkeys in
Madagascar occupy about three acres each.
101 The Living World of Animals, edited
by L. Harrison Matthews, Readers Digest Publication, London,
1970, pp.56, 58, 59, 101, 106.
Not only are
animal territories rather precisely defined, but the geographic
distribution of species tends to be equally well defined, except
where man has interfered and taken domesticated animals with
him. Of the primates, the gorilla is confined to a small tract
of West Africa about the size of France. The chimpanzee, although
ranging over a larger district of Equatorial Africa, still does
not extend beyond the region limited by the parallels 12 degrees
north and south latitudes, and in this belt is only found between
the sea coast on the west and the meridian of Lake Tanganyika
on the east. The orangutan is limited to the islands of Sumatra
and Borneo. (l04)
103 Ibid., p.96.
It is not unusual for a single Eskimo family to occupy for hunting purposes a territory stretching for 200 to 300 miles. Moreover, unlike any other species, man seems by nature a wanderer and an explorer, to whom no part of the globe does not have an appeal in one way or another. Man is truly ubiquitous.
For all his
ubiquity man has not, even in those earlier periods of history
in which population was thin and tribes were often isolated for
centuries, developed varieties of the species Homo sapiens
to anything like the extent that animals have. It is true
that in one area of the world, Africa, we do have Pygmies whose
average height is perhaps four feet six inches, and Nilotic Negroes
whose average height may be around seven feet, but in terms of
body mass the difference between the Nilotic Negroes and the
Congo Pygmy is far less than, for example, the difference between
the St. Bernard and the Chihuahua. Moreover, this apparent limitation
in terms of variability within the family of man has made it
possible for all races to interbreed freely. In the case of the
St. Bernard and the Chihuahua, for example, interbreeding is
not successful for physical reasons unless artificial means are
used. And if the mother is the Chihuahua, she apparently cannot
bear her pup sired by a St. Bernard because of its size at full
106. Slaughter, W. H., "Animal Ranges as a Clue to Late-Pleistocene Extinctions," in Pleistocene Extinctions, vol.6 of the Proceedings of the 7th Congress of the International Association for Quaternary Research, edited by P. S. Martin and H. E. Wright, Yale University Press, 1967, p.155.
heat," such as characterizes
all other species. And this fact has tremendous importance, as
we shall see in the next chapter. The potential for interbreeding
successfully seems to me to indicate that, unlike other animals,
man was uniquely designed from the beginning to be able to go
anywhere in the world without becoming a genetic isolate.
It is clear,
then, in a way which has never been demonstrated for animals,
that every variety of man is "made of one" (Acts 17:26,
where the word "blood" is probably not part of the
original text). And this true unity of such a far-flung race
guarantees that throughout history One Man could always be recognized
as a true representative of all men, without exception.
107. Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre, The Phenomenon of Man, Collins, London, 1955, p.241. A more "orthodox" authority, G. G. Simpson, has remarked upon the same circumstance: "Regardless of the diversity of races, it is obvious that all men resemble one another much more than any of them differ from each other. They all share the basic quality, anatomical, physiological and psychological, that make us human, Homo sapiens, and no other species that is or ever was" (Biology and Man, Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1969, p.87).
struggle to survive, with the triumph of the fittest. We know now that this was an entirely erroneous extrapolation from human to animal population growth. Sir Julian Huxley himself underscored the fact that for various reasons this population growth does not materialize, and so he observed, "In spite of the tendency to progressive increase, the numbers of a given species actually remain more or less constant." Subsequently, he wrote: (108)
At this point, he referred to the work of Charles Elton, and although I do not have the work he refers to, I do have a similar work by that author in which he underscored this interesting finding, and after giving some specific illustrations, concluded: (109)
Elton was speaking in this case not of the
number of individuals in a species but the number of species
in a given area. This is a fact which has been recognized for
a long while: namely, that when any particular species dies out,
some other species will move in to fill the ecological niche
which has thus become vacant. But they do not over-populate it.
So the web of life is preserved intact, and the total number
of animals as a consequence remains remarkably constant. The
pattern of human population growth is quite otherwise. Were it
not so, man would never finally "fill the earth." But
did those constraints against anima/ population growth
not exist, it could very well be that the animals, rather than
man, would have usurped his dominion long before this.
108. Huxley, Sir Julian, Evolution:
the Modern Synthesis, Harper, New York, 1942, p.15.
the elephant population has somehow diminished by a change in the birth rate. The normal spacing for calves is four years; in this potentially over-crowded area it has risen to nine years. No one knows the mechanics of this, though it has recently been recognized that the same thing may happen in other parts of the world. In an English woodland, if the number of great-tits doubles, in the next season the egg clutch size will be reduced by two. In an Iowa marshland, if muskrat numbers rise too high, then the mother muskrat produces fewer embryos or re-absorbs them.
which contributes to man's unique ubiquity is his willingness
and ability to accept a vegetarian or meat diet with equal ease.
There are millions of people who for centuries have been to all
intents and purposes vegetarian, such as those in the Far East
who depend upon cereals (rice, etc.). By contrast, there have
been branches of the human race, such as the Eskimo people, who
were not completely but almost entirely meat eaters. At certain
seasons of the year they probably had some fruits in the form
of wild berries. The human body, therefore, can be nourished
equally well by either form of diet.
111. Eiseley, Loren C., "Fossil Man and
Human Evolution," in Current Anthropology, edited
by W. L. Thomas, University of Chicago Press, 1956 , p.73.
This is an exceptional circumstance, not a natural
one. And the fact remains that virtually no other animal bearing
some similarity to man is equally capable of living on either
a vegetarian or a meat diet. This is of great importance to man,
for there are areas of the world where vegetables are simply
not available (for example, desert areas and the high Arctic)
unless they are imported. The settlement by man of such areas
would therefore have been altogether impossible unless he had
been omnivorous by nature. Man's constitution is therefore such
that in this also he is uniquely equipped to fill the earth and
subdue it in a way that no other creature is.
Although all animals, whether cold-blooded or warm-blooded, must have some temperature regulation in order to sustain life, there are ascending degrees of regulation as we move up the scale of complexity in animal form. The cold-blooded animals are not strictly cold-blooded. They are so constituted that within certain limits their body temperature floats with the environmental conditions, and the amount of energy they have fluctuates accordingly. They are sluggish and virtually defenseless when the environmental temperature falls below a certain level, because energy is derived in the animal body by the "burning" of food stuffs and this burning process becomes very inefficient at low temperatures. Obviously, such creatures must be able to prevent a fall below a certain point, otherwise they would lack energy even for digestion and other vital processes. They can, however, sustain a fall in deep body temperature far below that of warm-blooded animals. This is an advantage to them in terms of survival where they are not in danger of attack from other animals, but it severely limits their potential for accomplishment. The next level seems to be found in those animals which, although they are able to maintain their body temperature quite close to that of man, nevertheless have the ability to allow their temperature to fall everywhere in the body except in certain vital organs. There are animals which can hibernate. They reduce the demand of their body for energy to an absolute minimum for long periods of time and pass into a state of dormancy. But when the external environmental temperature rises above a certain point some mechanism awakens them and they become as active as any
other warm-blooded animal,
thereafter maintaining their body temperature throughout the
season of warm weather as other warm-blooded animals do throughout
113. As Douglas J. H. K. Lee put it, "Man
is supreme as a Homeotherm." See "Heat and Cold,"
in Annual Review of Physiology. vol.10. 1948, p.368.
it), metabolic heat
generated within the body may be increased threefold.
115. Custance, Arthur C., "The Existence,
Nature, and Behaviour of the Set-point in the Human Thermostat,"
DREO Report 622, Defence Research Board., Ottawa, 1970, 36 pages.
water vapour. When this
can be 100 percent effective, the amount of heat removed from
the body under certain circumstances can be extraordinary since
the body has the ability to sweat copiously. In our own experiments,
we have not infrequently observed that men can lose five or six
pounds (up to three liters) of body water by this means within
a single hour. This is under extreme conditions of heat stress,
but it can be sustained for a surprising length of time without
ill effect provided that the water is replaced. Very little rise
in body temperature will occur under these conditions. The moment
sweating is prevented by the use of drugs which suppress it (117) or is made valueless
because the water expressed to the skin surface cannot evaporate,
deep body temperature will begin to rise precipitously �
and with fatal results.
117. Custance, Arthur C., "A Method of
Measuring the Effect of Drugs on Sweating as a Function of Time,"
Canadian Medical Association Journal, vol.95, 1966, p.871-874.
horses is not thermogenic at all, that is to say, it is not initiated by a rise in temperature in the animal but is due to the increase in adrenaline in the animal's bloodstream as a result of violent exercise. In Nature the animal would not sweat, because it would not exercise itself as man exercises it. In addition to this, the circulatory adjustments of which the human body is capable in response to temperature fluctuation is not known in any other animal. (120) Thus man has clearly been built to maintain his body temperature against challenges with which no other species is likely to be faced in Nature. These circulatory adjustments involve a tremendously complex neuromuscular activity for which the human body seems to be expressly designed, and one can only suppose, therefore, that God knew what would happen to man after he fell and made provision beforehand for just such a contingency, a provision which He did not have to make when He designed all the other creatures which were to share his world but not share his ubiquity.
The whole body of man has, therefore, clearly been designed to support and enhance the uniqueness of his mind. Mind, tongue, and hand have somehow been structured in a very remarkable way to give coordinated expression to the sum total of human potential to the power of reflection, of communication, and of creation; in fact; at one and the same time, of having dominion over the rest of God's creation and yet of worshipping the Creator. But it is not merely the structure of his brain and the anatomy of his body which have made these things possible. Man's uniqueness goes deeper than this. In some not yet clearly understood way, his whole physiological organization and the very special quality of his spirit have together played a part in leading inevitably to the kind of culture that he creates as a framework for his own self-expression and restraints, and -- in the final analysis -- the kind of redemption he needs and is capable of apprehending by faith. We next look first at the kind of culture he has
120. Circulatory adjustment in man: see on this, for example, R. H. Fox and O. G. Edholm in "Nervous Control of Cutaneous Circulation," British Medical Bulletin, vol.19, no.2, 1963, p.110-114.
created and why it has almost inevitably taken the form it has. Then we look at his combined need for and capacity for salvation, a truly unique need and capacity which apparently has never applied to any other of God's creatures, whether angel or animal.
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