Happy Birthday Alfred Russel Wallace

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We are reminded, via Mousie Cat at Evolving in Kansas, that Yesterday (I’m so embarrassed I missed this) was Alfred Russel Wallace’s birthday!

Wallace was born in 1823.

We should now clearly recognise the fact, that the wealth and knowledge and culture of the few do not constitute civilization, and do not of themselves advance us towards the “perfect social state.” Our vast manufacturing system, our gigantic commerce, our crowded towns and cities, support and continually renew a mass of human misery and crime absolutely greater than has ever existed before. They create and maintain in life-long labour an ever-increasing army, whose lot is the more hard to bear, by contrast with the pleasures, the comforts, and the luxury which they see everywhere around them, but which they can never hope to enjoy; and who, in this respect, are worse off than the savage in the midst of his tribe.

– A.R. Wallace in The Malay Archipelago, 1869.

The conclusion from these three independent proofs, which enforce each other in the multiple ratio of their respective weights, is therefore irresistible–that animal life, especially in its higher forms, cannot exist on the planet.

Mars, therefore, is not only uninhabited by intelligent beings such as Mr. Lowell postulates, but is absolutely UNINHABITABLE.
– A.R. Wallace in Is Mars Habitable? 1908

Comments

  1. #1 Aileni Noyle
    January 13, 2008

    Wallace is all too often the forgotten man in the Evolution saga. Something of a hero of mine.
    A.

  2. #2 Ian
    January 13, 2008

    I hadn’t seen that Mars quote before … cool. Yeah, Wallace has enjoyed a bit more credit in the last twenty years or so, but still sits unfairly in Darwin’s shadow. A fantastic scientist, and an incredibly interesting man.