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Darwin and Wallace: “Even if you’re a Victorian gentleman, you want to be first”

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In a review of Wallace, Darwin, and the Origin of Species, from the Weekly Standardwe read:

In this deeply absorbing book, James T. Costa seeks to establish Alfred Russel Wallace as the fully vested co-creator of what he feels we should once again call the “Darwin-Wallace Theory” of evolution by natural selection. That Wallace had a part in the history of evolutionary theory is, of course, well known. While he was collecting in Malaysia, the basic facts of natural selection occurred to him with the kind of beautiful clarity most of us experience only in dreams (and Wallace was indeed suffering from malaria at the time). He sent his account to Charles Darwin, catapulting the more senior naturalist into a period of frenzied writing, at the end of which stood the magnificent achievement of The Origin of Species (1859), a massive tome Darwin persisted in calling an “abstract” only.

The book’s appearance was heralded, the year before, by a mix of papers presented to the Linnean Society into which Darwin’s colleagues had cleverly incorporated Wallace’s letter—a smart move that saved Darwin from looking like a jerk in the eyes of posterity but also established him as the primary agent in the evolution business. For, as Andrew Berry points out in his lucid introduction to this study, even if you’re a Victorian gentleman, you want to be first. Since he was still in Southeast Asia, Wallace didn’t even know about the Linnean Society presentation, which, tragically, happened on the very same day that Darwin’s infant son Charles was buried. In later years, as Darwin reaped both the scorn and then, increasingly, the admiration of the rest of the world, Wallace watched from the sidelines, apparently without rancor. His own big book on species he never wrote.

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12 Replies to “Darwin and Wallace: “Even if you’re a Victorian gentleman, you want to be first”

  1. 1
    Jim Smith says:

    I think in hindsight the spirit of Wallace is probably glad that the incorrect theory was not named after him. But it is unfair to Darwin who gets all the blame.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Zachriel says:

    Wallace was a strong supporter of Darwin and his theory.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Roy Davies Exposes Charles Darwin’s Plagiarism – Jun 17, 2014
    Interview with journalist and author, Roy Davies reveals how Charles Darwin lied about the help he received from Alfred Russell Wallace.
    audio of interview:

    New Thoughts on Evolution (1910)
    Views of Professor Alfred Russel Wallace, O.M., F.R.S.
    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – An interview by Harold Begbie printed on page four of The Daily Chronicle (London) issues of 3 November and 4 November 1910.

    Rescuing Alfred Russel Wallace from his (Darwinist) Rescuers – May 22, 2012
    Excerpt: By 1913, Wallace declared himself unapologetically for theism:

    New thoughts on evolution – A 1910 Interview with Alfred Russel Wallace
    Excerpt: “There seems to me,” said Professor Wallace, “unmistakeable evidence of guidance and control in the physical apparatus of every living creature. Consider for a moment the question of nourishment. Men of various races eat different foods; men of the same race may follow diets as separate and distinct as chalk from cheese. But in all cases the main result is the same. The food is converted into blood. That is interesting enough, marvellous enough, baffling enough; but mark what follows. This blood circulating through the body becomes at one point hair and at another nail; here it transforms itself into bone and there into tissue; at the same moment that it changes into skin it changes into nerve; it is at once the bone in my finger and the eye in my head. Materialism forges such words as secretion, but no word signifying unconscious and accidental action can explain this mystery.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – An interview by Harold Begbie printed on page four of The Daily Chronicle (London) issues of 3 November and 4 November 1910

  5. 5
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: Roy Davies Exposes Charles Darwin’s Plagiarism

    Shipping timetables debunk Darwin plagiarism accusations: Wallace’s letter and essay could not in fact have arrived sooner than 18 June, the very day that Darwin wrote to Lyell that he had received it.

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    Wallace was a strong supporter of Darwin and his theory.

    Science requires EVIDENCE for support, not people.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Roy Davies defends his research here:

    How Charles Darwin received Wallace’s Ternate paper 15 days earlier than he claimed: a comment on van Wyhe and Rookmaaker (2012)
    Excerpt: Van Wyhe and Rookmaaker (2012) postulate a set of events to support their claim that Wallace’s ‘evolution’ letter, posted at Ternate in the Moluccas in the spring of 1858, arrived at Darwin’s home on 18 June 1858. If their claim were to be proven, then evidence that Darwin probably received Wallace’s letter 2 weeks earlier than he ever admitted would clearly be erroneous, and any charges that he plagiarized the ideas of Wallace from that letter would be shown to be wrong. Here, evidence against this interpretation is presented and it is argued that the letter did indeed arrive in the port of Southampton on 2 June 1858 and would have been at Darwin’s home near London the following day. If this were true, then the 66 new pages of material on aspects of Divergence that Darwin entered into his ‘big’ species book in the weeks before admitting he had received the letter could be interpreted as an attempt to present Wallace’s ideas as his own.
    © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 105, 472–477.

    Michael Flannery, who has done extensive research on Wallace, points out that the plagiarism charge, whether true or false, misses the much bigger picture that Wallace had significant disagreements with Darwin (something Zach denied him having):

    Darwin Plagiarism Charge Resurfaces in Time for Alfred Russel Wallace Documentary and Debate
    Michael Flannery January 19, 2012
    Excerpt: Perhaps more importantly, the plagiarism charge misses the crucial fact that Wallace’s theory of Wallace’s theory of natural selection as contained in that letter was actually far more distinct from Darwin’s than Darwin first perceived, something that has not gone unnoticed by numerous scholars since then (e.g., Slotten, Martin Fichman, Jean Gayon).
    Finally, and most significantly of all, Wallace would break from Darwin in 1869 and develop a theory of intelligent evolution that in many ways presaged modern intelligent design theory. Rather than see the relationship of the Darwin/Wallace theories of natural selection merely in terms of priority, it is critical to appreciate the very different trajectories taken by the two naturalists.

    Darwin’s Heretic: Did the Co-Founder of Evolution Embrace Intelligent Design? – video

  8. 8
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: Roy Davies defends his research here

    And Wallace defends Darwin’s priority here:

    Wallace, 1908: Both Darwin and Dr. Hooker wrote to me in the most kind and courteous manner, informing me of what had been done, of which they hoped I would approve. Of course I not only approved, but felt that they had given me more honour and credit than I deserved, by putting my sudden intuition-…on the same level with the prolonged labours of Darwin, who had reached the same point twenty years before me, and had worked continuously during that long period in order that he might be able to present the theory to the world with such a body of systematized facts and arguments as would almost compel conviction.”

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Zachriel, thanks for the correction. Although, there are other discrepancies that do not quite square with Darwin not receiving at least some insight, and wording, from Wallace, I will, none-the-less, caveat the Davies’s citation with the Ball disclaimer:

    Of note to natural selection itself, It seems of late, with neutral theory and all that it entails, that ‘natural selection’, Darwin’s main contribution to naturalistic origins, has fallen on hard times as to being the master ‘blind watchmaker’ that Darwinists imagine it to be:

    Kimura’s Quandary
    Excerpt: Kimura realized that Haldane was correct,,, He developed his neutral theory in responce to this overwhelming evolutionary problem. Paradoxically, his theory led him to believe that most mutations are unselectable, and therefore,,, most ‘evolution’ must be independent of selection! Because he was totally committed to the primary axiom (neo-Darwinism), Kimura apparently never considered his cost arguments could most rationally be used to argue against the Axiom’s (neo-Darwinism’s) very validity.
    John Sanford PhD. – “Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome” – pg. 161 – 162

    A graph featuring ‘Kimura’s Distribution’ is shown in the following video:

    Evolution Vs Genetic Entropy – Andy McIntosh – video

    “Selection Threshold Severely Constrains Capture of Beneficial Mutations” – John Sanford – September 6, 2013
    Excerpt of concluding comments: Our findings raise a very interesting theoretical problem — in a large genome, how do the millions of low-impact (yet functional) nucleotides arise? It is universally agreed that selection works very well for high-impact mutations. However, unless some new and as yet undiscovered process is operating in nature, there should be selection breakdown for the great majority of mutations that have small impact on fitness.,,,
    We show that selection breakdown is not just a simple function of population size, but is seriously impacted by other factors, especially selection interference. We are convinced that our formulation and methodology (i.e., genetic accounting) provide the most biologically-realistic analysis of selection breakdown to date.

    The GS Principle (The Genetic Selection Principle) – Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: The GS Principle, sometimes called “The 2nd Law of Biology,” states that selection must occur at the molecular/genetic level, not just at the fittest phenotypic/organismic level, to produce and explain life.,,, Natural selection cannot operate at the genetic level.

    On Enzymes and Teleology – Ann Gauger – July 19, 2012
    Excerpt: People have been saying for years, “Of course evolution isn’t random, it’s directed by natural selection. It’s not chance, it’s chance and necessity.” But in recent years the rhetoric has changed. Now evolution is constrained. Not all options are open, and natural selection is not the major player, it’s the happenstance of genetic drift that drives change. But somehow it all happens anyway, and evolution gets the credit.

    Majestic Ascent: Berlinski on Darwin on Trial – David Berlinski – November 2011
    Excerpt: The publication in 1983 of Motoo Kimura’s The Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution consolidated ideas that Kimura had introduced in the late 1960s. On the molecular level, evolution is entirely stochastic, and if it proceeds at all, it proceeds by drift along a leaves-and-current model. Kimura’s theories left the emergence of complex biological structures an enigma, but they played an important role in the local economy of belief. They allowed biologists to affirm that they welcomed responsible criticism. “A critique of neo-Darwinism,” the Dutch biologist Gert Korthof boasted, “can be incorporated into neo-Darwinism if there is evidence and a good theory, which contributes to the progress of science.”
    By this standard, if the Archangel Gabriel were to accept personal responsibility for the Cambrian explosion, his views would be widely described as neo-Darwinian.

    (With the adoption of the ‘neutral theory’ of evolution by prominent Darwinists, and the casting aside of Natural Selection as a major player in evolution),,,
    “One wonders what would have become of evolution had Darwin originally claimed that it was simply the accumulation of random, neutral variations that generated all of the deeply complex, organized, interdependent structures we find in biology? Would we even know his name today?
    What exactly is Darwin really famous for now? Advancing a really popular, disproven idea (of Natural Selection), along the lines of Luminiferous Aether?
    Without the erroneous but powerful meme of “survival of the fittest” to act as an opiate for the Victorian intelligentsia and as a rationale for 20th century fascism, how might history have proceeded under the influence of the less vitriolic maxim, “Survival of the Happenstance”?”
    – William J Murray

    Natural Selection Struggles to Fix Advantageous Traits in Populations – Casey Luskin – October 23, 2014
    Excerpt: Michael Lynch, an evolutionary biologist at Indiana University,, writes that “random genetic drift can impose a strong barrier to the advancement of molecular refinements by adaptive processes.”2 He notes that the effect of drift is “encouraging the fixation of mildly deleterious mutations and discouraging the promotion of beneficial mutations.”3 Likewise, Eugene Koonin, a leading scientist at the National Institutes of Health, explains that genetic drift leads to “random fixation of neutral or even deleterious changes.”4

    Here is a Completely Different Way of Doing Science – Cornelius Hunter PhD. – April 2012
    Excerpt: But how then could evolution proceed if mutations were just neutral? The idea was that neutral mutations would accrue until finally an earthquake, comet, volcano or some such would cause a major environmental shift which suddenly could make use of all those neutral mutations. Suddenly, those old mutations went from goat-to-hero, providing just the designs that were needed to cope with the new environmental challenge. It was another example of the incredible serendipity that evolutionists call upon.
    Too good to be true? Not for evolutionists. The neutral theory became quite popular in the literature. The idea that mutations were not brimming with cool innovations but were mostly bad or at best neutral, for some, went from an anathema to orthodoxy. And the idea that those neutral mutations would later magically provide the needed innovations became another evolutionary just-so story, told with conviction as though it was a scientific finding.
    Another problem with the theory of neutral molecular evolution is that it made even more obvious the awkward question of where these genes came from in the first place.

    Moreover, to the extent that Natural Selection can be empirically observed to do anything, Natural Selection is found to be a eliminative force, not some mystical generative force as it is commonly believed to be in Darwinian thought:

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”
    Maciej Marian Giertych – Population Geneticist – member of the European Parliament – EXPELLED – Natural Selection And Genetic Mutations – video

    From a Frog to a Prince – video (17:00 minute mark Natural Selection Reduces Genetic Information) – No Beneficial Mutations – Gitt – Spetner – Denton – video

    “A Dutch zoologist, J.J. Duyvene de Wit, clearly demonstrated that the process of speciation (such as the appearance of many varieties of dogs and cats) is inevitably bound up with genetic depletion as a result of natural selection. When this scientifically established fact is applied to the question of whether man could have evolved from ape-like animals,’.. the transformist concept of progressive evolution is pierced in its very vitals.’ The reason for this, J.J. Duyvene de Wit went on to explain, is that the whole process of evolution from animal to man ” ‘ . . would have to run against the gradient of genetic depletion. That is to say, . . man )should possess] a smaller gene-potential than his animal ancestors! [I] Here, the impressive absurdity becomes clear in which the transformist doctrine [the theory of evolution] entangles itself when, in flat contradiction to the factual scientific evidence, it dogmatically asserts that man has evolved from the animal kingdom!”
    —Op. cit., pp. 129-130. [Italics his; quotations from *J.J. Duyvene de Wit, A New Critique of the Transformist Principle in Evolutionary Biology (1965), p. 56,57.]

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.”
    Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.-

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, take time to actually read what Wallace had to say in the linked book, it will not fit what you just portrayed. KF

    PS: Let me clip:

    >> But besides the discussion of these and several other allied subjects, the most prominent feature of my book is that I enter into a popular yet critical examination of those underlying fundamental problems which Darwin purposely excluded from his works as being beyond the scope of his enquiry.

    Such are, the nature and causes of Life itself ; and more especially of its most fundamental and mysterious powers growth and reproduction. I first endeavour to show (in Chapter XIV.) by a care-ful consideration of the structure of the bird’s feather; of the marvellous transformations of the higher insects ; and, more especially of the highly elaborated wing-scales of the Lepidoptera (as easily accessible examples of what is going on in every part of the structure of every living thing), the absolute necessity for an organising and directive Life-Principle in order to account for the very possibility of these complex outgrowths.

    I argue, that they necessarily imply first, a Creative Power, which so constituted matter as to render these marvels possible ; next, a directive Mind which is demanded at every step of what we term growth, and often look upon as so simple and natural a process as to require no explanation ; and, lastly, an ultimate Purpose, in the very existence of the whole vast life-world in all its long course of evolution throughout the eons of geological time.

    This Purpose, which alone throws light on many of the mysteries of its mode of evolution, I hold to be the development of Man, the one crowning product of the whole cosmic process of life-development ; the only being which can to some extent comprehend nature; which can perceive and trace out her modes of action ; which can appreciate the hidden forces and motions everywhere at work, and can deduce from them a supreme and over-ruling Mind as their necessary cause.

    For those who accept some such view as I have indicated, I show (in Chapters XV. and XVI.) how strongly it is sup-ported and enforced by a long series of facts and co-relations which we can hardly look upon as all purely accidental coincidences. Such are the infinitely varied products of living things which serve man’s purposes and man’s alone not only by supplying his material wants, and by gratifying his higher tastes and emotions, but as rendering possible many of those advances in the arts and in science which we claim to be the highest proofs of his superiority to the brutes, as well as of his advancing civilisation.

    From a consideration of these better-known facts I proceed (in Chapter XVII.) to an exposition of the mystery of cell-growth ; to a consideration of the elements in their special relation to the earth itself and to the life-world ; while in the last chapter I endeavour to show the purpose of that law of diversity which seems to pervade the whole material Universe. >>

  11. 11
    ppolish says:

    Darwin admitted on pg 1 of his introduction that the book (“On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The
    Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life) as a rush job (an “abstract” more politely) because Wallace was about to publish.

    Edit…by “rush job” I mean published sooner than Darwin would have preferred. Hardly a rush job in the normal sense, pretty much the opposite really.

    Edit more…Darwin did add a couple later editions. The last edition he did he added the word “Evolution” and the phrase “breathed by the Creator”. Good edition that one:)

  12. 12
    Robert Byers says:

    Wallace was in a delirium and thats why the simplistic hypothesis. eh.
    It was superficial observation of nature. It was only recognizing the obvious. that it could only be that dying life was selected for survival in a post fall world.
    YET this minor detail is not evidence for the origin of biology. Kinds were created first and simply later selection did minor things in minor ways. Micro is not evidence for macro.
    Darwin insisted it was. Darwin merely used a line of reasoning. not bio sci evidence. his hypothesis is not a scientific theory.

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