Darwin: “You’re not going to kill the child we both produced?”
Wallace: “Yes.”

23 February 2011

Charles Darwin was hurried in to publishing his theory of evolution because another naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace sent him a letter outlining exactly the same theory as his.

Scientific theories are given expression by people, and people are shaped by events. Alfred Russell Wallace, despite having the same theory as Darwin, had very different ideas about other aspects of life, including strong (and unorthodox)  spiritualist beliefs. Would our current understanding of ourselves be slightly  different if we thought of the ‘Wallacian’ rather than the Darwinian theory of evolution? That is one thing I want to ask–given the same evidence, but a slightly different framing, could we have different, but equally valid, assumptions about how the world works?