Wallace in Wonderland

Moore, James (2006). Wallace in Wonderland. Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology, 11 pp. 139–154.

URL: http://webdoc.sub.gwdg.de/univerlag/2007/annals%20...

Abstract

In heroic history of science, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) is ever the foil, a lesser light reflecting a greater glory. One biographer dubs him “Darwin’s Moon.” No lunatic, Wallace independently worked out a theory of evolution, which Darwin called “natural selection” and for which he scooped the kudos by rushing into print with On the Origin of Species. Wallace remained the perfect gent but stubbornly went his own way. Within a decade he and Darwin had parted company on a range of issues. Most remarkably, Wallace came out believing in a world of purposive spirits and a Spiritual Power directing evolution. He saw séances as “a new branch of Anthropology.” Darwin and his defenders were unconvinced. How they dealt with Wallace illustrates the making of Science (with a capital “S”) and reminds us that sciences once made can be made again.

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