Roy A(rthur) Gallant Shirley Roe - Essay

Shirley Roe

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In this most interesting book [How Life Began: Creation versus Evolution] Gallant discusses the history of mankind's ideas about the origins of the universe and the creation of life, from the Babylonians to the present. The general theme is how mythical views of the universe have gradually and inexorably given way to science, as knowledge has increased throughout the years about the world and its inhabitants…. But Gallant does not hide the fact that his own prejudice is for the scientific view, which is constantly producing, according to his presentation, better and truer knowledge about the world. The same attitude is expressed in Gallant's chapters on evolution and opponents to it, where he states that he is going to present both sides of the question (which he does quite well), but where his own bias clearly comes through against the opponents. His final chapter is devoted to the study of life on other planets, which represents for Gallant, the next step forward in the triumph of science over mythical and superstitious beliefs about the universe. My own bias would be in favor of presenting this fascinating subject less as a steady "march toward the present" than as a study in alternative world views. Yet Gallant has done a fine job, and the result is an exciting and thought-provoking book.

Shirley Roe, "'How Life Began: Creation versus Evolution'," in Appraisal (copyright © 1976 by the Children's Science Book Review Committee). Vol. 9, No. 2, Spring, 1976, p. 21.