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Darwinisme et catholicisme au Québec au début du xxe siècle : Autour du Dr Albert Laurendeau

Revue d histoire de l Amérique française
Consortium Erudit
Publication Date
DOI: 10.7202/018060ar
  • Biology
  • Law
  • Medicine


At the beginning of the 20th century, in the midst of the crisis of modernity, Quebec’s Catholic Church was on the defensive as it confronted developments in the biological sciences, especially Darwinian evolution which gave a non-religious explanation for the origins and evolution of life. While the province’s francophone medical establishment asserted itself by publishing in prominent journals, by organizing of international conferences, and by helping to prepare the new medical legislation of 1909, a physician from Saint-Gabriel- de-Brandon set out to popularize Darwinism. An uncle of André Laurendeau and respected by his peers for his commitment and contributions to the profession, this very active and non-conformist country doctor published the resulting book in 1911. La vie. Considérations biologiques (Life. Biological Considerations), was intended as a synthesis of the works of Lamarck, Darwin and Haeckel. Criticizing the lack of scientific training among Quebec francophones, the book recommended a radical reform of the programs of study offered in the province’s classic colleges. J.-A. Archambault, bishop of the new diocese of Joliette, would condemn the book and its author.

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