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To The Editor,

Dr. Stephen Jay Gould, in his Guy Stanton Ford Lecture, "The Place of the Individual in Darwin's World" gracefully and honestly reached the logical conclusions: in that world view, our existence as organisms is not inevitable and of perhaps less significance than the existence of our genes and our species. Applause greeted his conclusion that as our genes must avoid "selfish" overduplication that endangers the organism, organisms must take responsibility for the ills of the species. But why did so many faces look uncomfortable and depressed? Are we simply unwilling to accept the truth?

It is a good practice, before getting on a train of thought, to check the destination. Dr. Gould has helped us do that although he did not even hint that in that world view all thoughts and actions are determined by molecules in motion, with no true free will -- no real choices and therefore no guarantees that any idea passing through a human brain has any merit other than "survival value".

I submit that the logical conclusions of Dr. Could are uncomfortable because they are built on a faulty foundation which eliminates, a priori, any possibility of the supernatural. A defect should be suspected when the entire intellectual structure is found to be self contradictory.

Ross S. Olson MD
Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics