Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Darwin and Wallace at Burlington House

For more on Darwin and Wallace, have a read of today’s guest post on Why Evolution is True by Greg Mayer, Darwin and Wallace at Burlington House. With extensive references and direct quotes from Wallace himself, it makes an interesting read.

The accusations against Darwin are that he ‘stole’ one or more ideas from Wallace, and that the circumstances of the reading and publication of the Linnean Society papers were somehow unethical. Although ostensibly arguing on Wallace’s behalf, these authors must dismiss Wallace’s own accounts (e.g. 1870, 1889, 1905, 1908) of the contributions made by Darwin and himself, and paint Wallace as a victim. But, as his biographer Raby (2001:291) says, “Wallace was not a victim, and he did not see himself as a victim”; to do so “diminishes both Darwin and Wallace.”

Hopefully the conspiracy theorists will now stop diminishing both of these great Victorian scientists and celebrate them both.

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