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RE: Voltaire and fossils

Forwarded from the SKEPTIC list:


  You're in luck.  I've got a source handy and everything.

>From Andrew White's 'Hisatory of the warfare of science with theology in 

"all his [V's] wisdom and wit were compacted into arguments to prove that the 
fossil fishes were  reamins of fishes intended for food, but spoiled and 
thrown away by travellers; that the fossil shells were asccidentally dropped 
by crusaders and pilgrims returning from the Holy Land; and that the fossil 
bones found between Paris and Etampes were parts of a skeleton belonging to 
the cabinet of some ancient philosopher.  Through chapter after chapter, 
Voltaire, obeying the supposed necessities of his theology, fought desperately 
the growing results of the geologic investigations of his time."

White's footnote reads: 'See Voltaire, Dissertation sur les Changements 
arrives dans notre Globe ; also Voltaire, Les Singularites de la Nature, chap 
xii ; also Jevons, Principles of Science, vol. ii, p.328'

Since White's book is from 1895 the sources are a little out of date, I 
expect, but straight from the horse's mouth.

Incidentally, my significant other used to work for an autograph seller, who 
may still have a Voltaire letter that reads 9(in part) as follows:

"The stories of beds of shells that cover the continents, the coral formed by 
insects, the mountains raised by the sea, all of these seem to me to be 
fashioned to be printed in the collection of one thousand and one nights."

The letter is not in his hand, but signed by him.

If you're REAL interested, contact Max Rambod Autographs (310) 475 - 4535 
The price in the catalog is $2450.
Item number 2539

Tell Max that Rebecca Strong sent you.  maybe he'll give you a deal.