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