Thursday, April 19, 2012

Resolving the Evolution Question for Good

An NPR story (dated today, April 19, 2012) highlights the growing tension between evolutionary science and politics. However, to keep religion in the mix, I now share some personal family archival material that will put the matter to rest.

My great-grandfather, F. M. Lehman, was a traveling evangelist and hymn writer (he died when I was an infant, but I knew my great-grandmother well; she died at age 102, when I was 18). Among more well known songs, such as The Love of God, No Disappointment in heaven, and Old Time Religion, he also wrote major hits like King Nicotine Must Die, The Royal Telephone, and A String of Empties (I am not making this up).

One of my favorites was written in 1924, in an effort to put the emerging evolution controversy to rest. Here are the words to Up a Cocoanut Tree:

The “wise and prudent” tell me just what once I used to be—
A “germ” and then “tadpole;” then a “monkey up a tree.
But just because a cocoanut fell on their poor old head
Should be no reason I believe what disbelief has said.

A monkey never yet evolved to be a real man,
But man can be a monkey, just deny it if you can.
If on their head there fell a nut dropt from a cocoa tree,
I’m sure that that shall never make a monkey man of me.

Some ignoramus of the schools in mortorboard and gown
Declares this “monkey” business has been ably sifted down.
He guessed because a cocoanut fell on his hollow head
That evolution must be true; that Christ the Lord is dead.


They’re guessing! Just guessing—only guessing!
God made you and me. We’re no relation to the monkey up a cocoanut tree.

© Kansas City MO: Lillenas Publishing Company, 1952

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