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"McLA" 2004 Obituary


McLAREN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2004-12-29 published
By Alan BATTEN, Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - Page S7
Alan BATTEN of Victoria writes about geologist Digby McLAREN whose obituary appeared in The Globe and Mail on December 22.
I first met him just over 20 years ago while I was organizing a symposium for the Royal Society of Canada, held in Montreal in 1985. The topic, Origin and Evolution of the Universe: Evidence for Design? appealed to him. He became a key member of the organizing committee and one of the principal speakers, and also helped smooth out some of the problems of publication.
Some years later, I sent him a manuscript on the relation of science and religion that I thought would interest him and invited his comments. He must have read it almost immediately for he phoned me in Victoria with many encouraging comments and we chatted for half an hour or so. I was to find that his readiness to help in this way was typical of him.
His concern for the environment was often evident in his conversation, as was his related fear that we might destroy ourselves through thermonuclear warfare. Those concerns are best shown in his own words, the closing sentences of his paper at that 1985 symposium: "I shall close, not with an answer, but with a plea that man should act, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, as though he were unique, the sole observer of the universe. Such a moral imperative might finally provide us with the necessary stimulus to take steps to ensure our survival."

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