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Patagonia



     Marta Weeks has just returned to Florida from Patagonia. She reports:
     "Two days first in Buenos Aires were followed by ten days in the inland passage and fjords of Chile. This was a travel study seminar following some of Darwin's passage of the Beagle. From B.A., we flew to Ushuaia, got on the Clipper Adventurer, then left Argentina at Puerto Williams and continued the remainder of the trip through western Chile, covering Puerto Natales, Puerto, Eden, Torres de Paine National Park;, Castro on the island of Chiloe, Fruitillar, Angelmo, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt.
     We saw guanacos, rheas, sea lions, some sheep and cattle, a curious weasel one day that swam out to see us in our zodiac, wonderful plants and flowers, steamer ducks, upland geese, petrels, cormorants, a few magellanic penguins, grebes, kingfishers, many albatross, swans, widgeons, shags, flamingos, condors, kestrels, caracaras...you name it. There were lots of glaciers also which feed off of the Patagonian ice cap. Pio Xl Glacier was at least 2 l/2 miles across."


     My comment: The geography of that area is very complicated, obliging me to pore over a detailed atlas. Biologist Donald Kennedy, former president of Stanford and a great admirer of Darwin, lectured to the group, doubtless pointing out how the fauna seen dovetailed with the theory of evolution.
     Strangely, the US is the only country where evolution is heatedly discussed. It is especially strange since the famous Scopes trial began as a local publicity stunt. Strange again, because the anti-evolutionists are Christians, who should concentrate on the New Testament. I don't hear a peep from the Jews who should be fighting over it. Some time ago the Jesuits were still fighting evolution, but now the Catholics seem to have forgotten the issue. This morning on Chilean TV I watched a mass in which the priest ended his reading of the bible kissing it and saying "Palabra de Dios", God's word. Was he kissing just the New Testament?
     The argument seems to me largely a matter of words, fact versus theory. For years I have been saying that the diaspora of man from Africa was a theory, and that excavations on other continents might change the picture. The reply was that the Africa theory was a fact. Now the discovery of new proto monkeys in China has reopened the whole question.


     A question: I know Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt. Is there a canal between them?

Ronald Hilton - 3/19/00


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