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Darwinism verses Wallaceism

Darwinism verses Wallaceism  (page 1)

Catalogue number: WP7/105

Proof of a letter to the editor of Contemporary Review entitled Darwinism verses Wallaceism, dated December 1908.

This is the proof copy of a letter to the editor entitled Darwinism verses Wallaceism, written by Wallace. It was published in the journal Contemporary Review in December 1908 (volume 94, pages 716-717). Wallace protests 'very strongly' against a suggestion by Professor A.A.W. Hubrecht that Wallace's opinions differed greatly from Darwin's.

Wallace writes: 'The point at issue is, whether "individual differences" (in other words fluctuating variations) or "single variations" (the equivalent of "sports" or "mutations") are the main, or even exclusive, factors in the origin of species. Darwin and myself held the former; the mutationists and Professor Hubrecht hold the latter.'

Wallace then quotes from Darwin's famous book, On the Origin of Species, showing how Darwin supported this view, reinforcing the notion that there was not a 'turn around' on Darwin's part and that he held no 'earlier views'.

Wallace is emphatic: 'during the whole of Darwin's life I can safely say that there was absolutely no difference whatever between Darwin's views and my own on this subject. It is only the immense accumulation of facts during the last quarter of a century, both as to the amount and universality of "individual variations", and as to the extreme rigidity of "natural selection", that has led most Darwinians as well as myself to go one step farther than Darwin was able to do, and to doubt whether "single variations" ever originated a natural "species".'

He then asks for Professor Hubrecht to provide evidence for his statement or to make an apology for 'having so prominently asserted an antagonism between Darwin and myself which had no existence whatever'. Wallace fiercely defends his views and his professional relationship with Darwin, even though he was 85 years old at the time.

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Letter to Alfred Russel Wallace from the Royal Society, about his Darwin Medal award

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