Talk:Alfred Russel Wallace

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Featured article Alfred Russel Wallace is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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February 26, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
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May 25, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted
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Make Wallace Line separate article[edit]

I think that the Wallace Line deserves a separate article. I propose to separate out the section in this article and make it the basis of a new article leaving a reference and link to the new article in this article. I will do this within the week unless anyone has strong objections. Oska 01:58, Oct 29, 2004 (UTC funky chickens .. why can I change his text ? :/ unsmart Separation now completed after no objections were raised. Oska 09:00, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

Same fella as A.R. Wallace[edit]

Vaccination A Delusion[edit]

I removed the Publications section with this link, but now I'm unsure. (External link deleted to placate spam filter) This actually looks like it was written by Wallace. What to do? Awolf002 18:27, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I believe that it was an actual publication of his. The link was removed because it was part of the website, an RfC on which can be found on Talk:MMR vaccine. I'm reinserting the text without the link for now pending RfC. InvictaHOG 18:38, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I agree. However a full citation of the title/publication is needed, so no other "bold" editor removes it again. Let me add that. Awolf002 19:05, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I have the book, and about 10 photocopies of it as well, also this earlier work. (External link deleted to placate spam filter) I can send anyone a copy if they want one. As

to InvictaHOG deletion of not only link but book, the real reason is his allopathic suppression of works critical to allopathic vaccination, and the best reason he can come up with so far is ad hominem. He has taken it upon himself to remove all links to my website where I have numerous anti-vaccination books such as this one by Wallace. I have been adding pages such as [National Anti-Vaccination League], Archie Kalokerinos, and so on. john 10:31, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

His texts are at which is a very suitable place for them and to link to. Midgley 00:37, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually I am rather amazed that the current version of this article has no material at all not only on Wallace's opposition to mandatory small pox vaccination but also on his long running campaign in support of spiritualism or his belief in clairvoyance and phrenology. Nor is there anything about his radical political beliefs (which were closely tied with his anti-vaccination campaign). It is as if the article on Newton omitted his interest in alchemy or his biblical scholarship and heretical views on the Trinity. In fact it might be even odder since Newton kept his alchemical researches relatively quiet and his more unconventional religious views even quieter, where as Wallace went out of his way to engage in public debate on both vaccination and spiritualism. One thing I notice from studying the history of this article is that Vsmith removed an extensive anti-vaccination quote with the comment that it was not sourced and that it lacked context. There is nothing wrong with the quote. It is from the pamphlet 'Vaccination a Delusion: Its Penal Enforcement a Crime: Proved by the Official Evidence in the Reports of the Royal Comission' published by Wallace in 1898 and most of it is reproduced on page 434 of Slotten's recent Wallace biography, 'The Heretic in Darwin's Court'. Vsmith probably had a valid point about the lack of context for the quote. In general I think this article needs a lot of work and I think I will make a new year's resolution to make improving it my next Wikipedia project :) Rusty Cashman 09:54, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

postscript to my comment. The anti-spam filter is preventing me from saving my comment. I am going to delete all the external links on this page to see if I can get it to save. I will come back and try adding them back in one by one until I find the problem. Rusty Cashman 09:54, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I think I have completed most of the changes I am going to make to this article and I think I have addressed all the issues in this comment. In the end I did not restore the quote that Vsmith deleted. Instead I added a paragraph that discussed Wallace's role in the smallpox vaccination controversy. The deleted quote can be found in the source I cite. If someone else wants to add it back in so be it. At leaset it will have some context now, and I think the article as whole does more justice to Wallace who was both an important and complex figure. After I have made a few more changes I will ask the project biography folks to rerate the page. I don't think it is a start level article anymore. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Rusty Cashman (talkcontribs) 09:06, 14 January 2007.

Your revisions look good. The discussion of the smallpox controversy is far better than an unsourced, contextless quote. I've learned from your work, didn't know much about Wallace before, thanks - Vsmith 11:45, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Add external link[edit]

Please add a link to <>, which is editing and publishing all of the correspondence of Charles Darwin. Alfred Russel Wallace was a significant correspondent of Darwin. Eadp 15:33, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

What did he do beside dying?[edit]

The opening text makes it sound like he is best known for dying in his sleep! Felsenst 06:19, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Insertion. One of the processes by which articles evolve. Needs some transposons too. I have moved that bit, hopefully where it belongs. cheers Shyamal 07:09, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Mock GAC review[edit]

I can't pass this article, as the nominator of this article has passed an article that I nominated, and that would Look Bad.

Lead is too dense - split it up into 3 or so paragraphs.

Also, later on in the article, the text can get too dense. Could conform to Template:Biography closer. Early life needs inline citations. In some places, the tone is off - "the riddle of the origin of species" for eg. - reads like a 19th C science experiment. (too romantic) Article should technically be written in British English. Could also do with a copyedit. (use of commas) Sometimes, sentences are too long "He had come to this belief because of a natural and life-long inclination in favor of radical ideas in politics, religion and science,[2] and because he had been profoundly influenced by Robert Chambers work Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, a work of popular science published in 1844 that advocated an evolutionary origin for the solar system, the earth, and living things. " One sentence, one idea. Direct quotes need inline citation. Needs more detail on his conversion to spiritualism.

The following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and might not be applicable for the article in question.

  • Please expand the lead to conform with guidelines at Wikipedia:Lead. The article should have an appropriate number of paragraphs as is shown on WP:LEAD, and should adequately summarize the article.[?]
  • Per Wikipedia:Context and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates), months and days of the week generally should not be linked. Years, decades, and centuries can be linked if they provide context for the article.[?]
  • There may be an applicable infobox for this article. For example, see Template:Infobox Biography, Template:Infobox School, or Template:Infobox City.[?] (Note that there might not be an applicable infobox; remember that these suggestions are not generated manually)
  • If this article is about a person, please add {{persondata|PLEASE SEE [[WP:PDATA]]!}} along with the required parameters to the article - see Wikipedia:Persondata for more information.[?]
  • Per Wikipedia:Context and Wikipedia:Build the web, years with full dates should be linked; for example, link January 15, 2006.[?]
  • Please reorder/rename the last few sections to follow guidelines at Wikipedia:Guide to layout.[?]
  • Please make the spelling of English words consistent with either American or British spelling, depending upon the subject of the article. Examples include: honor (A) (British: honour), neighbor (A) (British: neighbour), defense (A) (British: defence), defence (B) (American: defense), organize (A) (British: organise), realize (A) (British: realise), criticize (A) (British: criticise), ization (A) (British: isation), travelled (B) (American: traveled).
  • Watch for redundancies that make the article too wordy instead of being crisp and concise. (You may wish to try Tony1's redundancy exercises.)
    • Vague terms of size often are unnecessary and redundant - “some”, “a variety/number/majority of”, “several”, “a few”, “many”, “any”, and “all”. For example, “All pigs are pink, so we thought of a number of ways to turn them green.”
  • Please provide citations for all of the {{fact}}s.[?]
  • Please ensure that the article has gone through a thorough copyediting so that it exemplifies some of Wikipedia's best work. See also User:Tony1/How to satisfy Criterion 1a.[?]

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Malkinann 23:13, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks very much for the valuable input, I will try and address these issues over the next few days. Though I must say I think the whole British/American English consistency thing is more trouble than it is worth :) I do appreciate your style comments and I will do my best to address them. Rusty Cashman 01:00, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

If you ever want to get it to FA, someone will get their knickers in a knot about it. If you want to be a cheeky bugger, you could ask for a translation?  ;) It also needs more detail on his death. I've added an infobox that could use filling out.-Malkinann 03:09, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

With the addition of a paragraph on his conversion to spiritualism I believe all of the comments in this mock review have been addressed. Thanks again for the feeback Rusty Cashman 22:03, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    a (fair representation): b (all significant views):
  5. It is stable.
  6. It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic.
    a (tagged and captioned): b lack of images (does not in itself exclude GA): c (non-free images have fair use rationales):
  7. Overall:
    a Pass/Fail: [[File:|16px|alt=|link=]]

That's a pass, methinks. Orginisation is a little odd, putting the section on his marriage way out of chronological order, and leaving no place outside the introduction to mention his death, but on the whole, it actually does work well, teasing out all the different aspects of his life into coherent sections. For FA, I'd be inclined to add more on his legacy. Adam Cuerden talk 11:38, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the review and the comments. I agree with you about the missing separate section on his death. I am working on some text for it now and when I have it ready I will restore the section. I will also see if there isn't a better place for the marriage section. Hopefully I can make the article structure a little more standard as I would like to persue A ratings in both history of science and biography.Rusty Cashman 00:29, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Congrats to all those editors who brought this article up to GA status. I haven't done much but I have been monitoring its progress. I've traveled through Maluku and have read both 'The Malay Archipelago' and also Tim Severrins book ('In search of Wallace'?) but my memory of both is a bit vague to have made contributions. One of the most fascinating characters of South East Asian history. Well done Merbabu 00:36, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

frog image[edit]

This is the frog from the Malay Archipelago image to the flying frog from Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur. That species is credited to Wallace, but it's interesting that it's actually based on that illustration as well--ragesoss 16:40, 4 March 2007 (UTC):

Wallace, 1869
Haeckel, ca. 1899

I agree. The two figures are extremely similar and it does look like one was derived from the other. It is probably not all that surprising however. Haeckel surely would have been familar with the Malay Archipelago and we all know scientific images tend to have long lives of their own. For example, Haeckel's notorious embryos. Rusty Cashman 03:32, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Featured Article?[edit]

Do you think that the article is ready to become a featured article? Tomer T 00:11, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

I would just like to add at this point (as a not-logged-in visitor; I will not directly identify myself except to say that I maintain the Web's main Alfred Russel Wallace site) that it seems to me most of this entry measures up reasonably well. However, it should be remembered that there is still not agreement on Wallace's intellectual evolution, and it is best that this be remembered in recording statements about such. For example, Spiritualism was certainly not a "religion" to Wallace and it is debatable even as to whether he was a theist: He simply believed that the "world of spirit" was a further extension of natural reality (also, I am unaware of any evidence suggesting he attended spiritualist religious services or had anything else to do with "religion"). It should also be noted that I think it is ridiculous to think that Wallace "turned to spiritualism" as a result of the breakoff of his first engagement: I supply four or five reasons why at writings at my site, and will confirm this understanding in an essay that will appear in a collection of writings I am editing for Oxford University Press, to appear around the end of 2008. Again, Wallace was not, absolutely, anti-sexual selection, but instead was against some aspects of the theory that Darwin accepted. On the basis of such, I have gone ahead and made a number of small changes in the text which--I hope--will make it more possible for people to ponder the greater picture without contributing to preconception.

I can pretty easily guess who you are :) as can anyone who has done much research on this topic since it is almost impossible not to come accross (and end up citing) the web page you maintain. I am delighted to see you contributing to the article. I wrote the paragraph on his conversion to spiritualism and it perhaps suffered from my over dependence on a single source (the Slotten biography), which excellent as it is, inevitably has some biases, and the topic of religion and its relation to spirtuality is a difficult one, where it is difficult sometimes to even get agreement on the definition of terms. I am currently in the process of reviewing other sources in the hope of doing a better job of describing some of the controversy about Wallace's beliefs to which you refer. I may also have given the impression that his opposition to sexual selection was more absolute than it was. Although it seems clear to me that even if Wallace did not completely oppose the concept of sexual selection his disagreement with Darwin over its importance and wide spread applicability was a major one. Of course one of the things that makes Wallace such an interesting topic is his penchant for controversy which did not die with him by any means. I hope you will continue to contribute and provide feedback. Personally I think the article still needs a little more work before it is ready for a serious FA nomination.Rusty Cashman 23:35, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I have just revised the section on his spiritual views, and I hope it now addresses these concerns in a better more balanced manner. I would be very pleased to learn what you think. I think the article is getting very close to being ready for another FA nomination. I have just a couple more things I want to fix first.Rusty Cashman 21:02, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Ok, I have completed all the edits I can think of and I am strongly considering putting it back up for FA again. If anyone has any concerns or comments about the article as it now stands I would appreciate your input. Rusty Cashman 19:06, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

FA Pre Review[edit]

Here is some feedback I copied from AnonEMouse's talk page. Please strike through any items that you address Rusty Cashman 06:50, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

  • sometimes called the "father of biogeography". - needs a specific citation calling him that.
  • Parents, Wallace and Greenell were? Don't need a lot here, but a few words could make a difference: were they rich, poor, politicians, explorers, scientists... Was father a surveyor?
  • Vale of Neath[3] - end with a period before the ref
  • to collect specimens in the Amazon Rainforest - mainly animal specimens, or both animals and plants?
  • still no separate article for any of the books including "one of the most popular journals of scientific exploration of the 19th century" ? Oh, well. I won't insist on them.
  • revolutionary connotations. [12] [13] (and other places) - no spaces before refs Wikipedia:Footnotes#Where_to_place_ref_tags
  • Quotations shouldn't be in italics, but in <blockquote> tags or any of the many templates - see Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Quotations_in_italics and Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Quotations. Didn't I say that last time?
  • On the other hand, book titles, like Origin of Species should be in italics.
  • hypnosis then known as mesmerism - comma after hypnosis - said last time
  • later investigations into spiritualism ; began investigating Spiritualism - pick one capitalization
  • séances - wikilink - said last time
  • and of human society.[43][44]. - drop last dot
  • November 7, 1913; November 1, 1915 - link per WP:DATE
  • Nov 1, 1915 - spell out and link
  • The New York Times - link and italicize
  • Royal Society, The Copley Medal, and the Order of Merit - wikilink, first mentions
  • In recent years ... since the year 2000 - starts vague. Move "since the year 200" to the start of the sentence.
  • £200 a year - wikilink to GBP per WP:$
  • as a student from 1828-1836 - end with .
  • end sections need to be combined - References, Further Reading and External links - all 3? Consider joining the all into one, definitely join the latter two - for example, ""Missing Link-Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Darwin's neglected double" by Jonathan Rosen, The New Yorker, 12 February 2007" seems to be the exact same thing as "Feb 2007 article on Wallace in New Yorker magazine"! I'd also consider combining Selected Publications with something.
  • Look over my last nitpicks and make (more) sure you got them all.

--AnonEMouse (squeak) 20:16, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Ok, I believe I have addressed all of these issues appropriately. The only one I did not accomodate completely was the comment about eliminating Selected publications as a section. I checked FA and GA calibre articles on other scientists and mathemeticians and many of them (for example Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin) have separate sections on the subjects writings. I think the section is valuable enough to keep, but I did rename it to be more consistent with some of those other articles, and I did add a little analysis. I also considerd the comment you made earlier (during the first FA nomination) about elminating the external links by importing all the texts into wikisource. However, while everything Wallace has written has been in the public domain since 1983, manny of the texts that the section links to have introductory comments or other notations by modern scientists or science historians that would still be under copyright. Under the circumstances I think external links for convienence are appropriate. Rusty Cashman 23:43, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Darwin's Moon Reference[edit]

I have deleted the following sentence from the section on the defense of Origin of Species. "Wallace was sometimes called "Darwin's Moon" for his defence of Darwin's theories." It had a citation needed tag on it, and I believe it was inappropriate in that section anyway. Placed where it was it implied that he was called that by his contemporaries as a result of his defence of Origin. As far as I can tell the first reference to Darwin's Moon was its use as the title for a 1966 biography of Wallace by A. Williams-Ellis. Unless someone has a reference to cite that says otherwise, I don't think it belongs in that section. Where it might belong is in the section on his death and aftermath, since it is part of a pattern that shows how Wallace was perceived after his death. I have found some good sources for such a section and I am working on the text for it. Rusty Cashman 03:39, 16 April 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't the titles of papers, as opposed to books, be in quotes rather than italicized?--ragesoss 04:54, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Ok, WP:MOS says you are right so I fixed it. Personally it makes more sense to me to Italicize the titles of scientific papers than it does the names of ships but when in doubt go with the MOS.Rusty Cashman 15:34, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Wallace's place in the history of evolution[edit]

There is a key paragraph that need to be elaborated upon, which was hidden in the spiritual views section:

In many accounts of the history of evolution, Wallace is mentioned only in passing as simply being the "stimulus" to publication of Darwin's own theory.[1] In reality, Wallace developed his own distinct evolutionary views which diverged from Darwin's, and was considered by many (including Darwin) to be a leading thinker on evolution in his day, whose ideas could not be ignored. He is among the most cited naturalists in Darwin's Descent of Man, often in strong disagreement.

This article needs a more detailed treatment of the different historical accounts of Wallace's place. In particular, pp. 173-176 of Peter Bowler's Evolution: The History of an Idea (3rd edition) has a good discussion of how other historians have treated the issue, along with Bowler's own interpretation. A closely related issue that needs to be discussed with at least a full paragraph is the differences between Wallace's theory of natural selection and Darwin's. Bowler discusses this well, along with Mayr in Growth of Biological Thougt, pp. 494-498 (and Larson mentions it very briefly in his Evolution, p. 75).--ragesoss 19:45, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

You are right. I think part of this is that the spiritualism and application of the theory to man really needs to be broken into two separate parts. There are really 3 topics here. One is differences in how they saw the operation of natural selection (Darwin emphasized individual competition within the species more, where as Wallace more emphasized environmental pressure on populations), the 2nd is the power of selection Wallace was actually more of a hyper selectionest in many ways where as Darwin looked for additional mechanisms such as sexual selection and even inheritence of acquired characteristics to supplement natural selection, and the third is their differences on whether purely material causes could have driven the evolution of some aspects of the human mind. I think the article only makes the 3rd of those differences explicit (although there are allusions to the other 2). Let me consult my sources more and think about it a little, and I will attempt a solution. Rusty Cashman 20:34, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I also just received a marked up hardcopy of a slightly older version of the article from a leading Wallace scholar with whom I have been having some correspondence. While I don't think all of his suggestions are appropriate he has some good ideas for improving parts of the article and some of them touch on these same areas.Rusty Cashman 01:54, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I think your concerns have been addressed pretty well, and I am finished with the edits inspired by the feedback from the outside expert.Rusty Cashman 07:49, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Citing sources[edit]

I've gone along with the current approach of using Wikipedia:Citation templates with Harvard style cites linked from the text, but note that using Template:Citation instead with Template:Harvard citation no brackets for the inline text links has the cunning effect of making the Harvard references under the Notes section into links down to the particular Reference. It would be a fair bit of work to change it now, and is optional according to Wikipedia:Citing sources, but just thought I'd mention it. .. dave souza, talk 20:58, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Also note, I've added a bit about reactions to Wallace's "On the Law Which has Regulated the Introduction of Species", let me know if it's too detailed. ..... dave souza, talk 20:51, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
My take is that having the cites link to the sources is not essential in this article, because there are still only 15 cited sources. This means that searching the list for a source is not too onerous, as opposed to say the Darwin article where you have several times that many sources. I very much appreciated your additions to the article, especially the stuff on how Wallace's 1855 paper influenced Lyell. Some of the better historians of science (Larson, Bowler) are aware of how important biogeographical arguments, many of them based on Wallace's work, were in convincing naturalists of the reality of evolution, but most historical accounts ignore all of them except for a few of Darwin's observations in the Galapagos.Rusty Cashman 07:42, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, the points come from recent biographers of Darwin who appear to appreciate Wallace's significance. It's true that the distribution of Darwin's Rhea, the Falkland Island Fox and his Galapagos mockingbirds seem to have been of more importance to him initially, but are now overshadowed by the tortoises and finches he didn't appreciate till after the voyage. Similarly, glad to see Vestiges being given due credit – there's a tendency to portray Darwin as shocking society with the startling new idea of evolution, when others had laid the groundwork and convinced many people that evolution occurred, while Darwin's initial significance was giving it scientific respectability, as Wyhe comments. I've taken the liberty of adding a bit more about the circumstances of the Linnean reading. ... dave souza, talk 21:32, 15 May 2007 (UTC)


What spelling conventions should this article use with -ize/-ise and -ization/-isation? Apparently, both are acceptable in British English, but the article currently uses some of each, which is probably not what we want. My feeling is to go with the z's, since that will lead to less needless misguided copyediting and reversion over time.--ragesoss 16:37, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't have strong opinion one way or another, but I have noticed that a number of editors here tend to believe that ise is correct for articles that use British spelling. Whatever is decided here are a couple of things that should NOT change. A while ago an editor caught me having subconsciously translated a couple of words in one of the quotations from English into American when I typed them in from the book I was using(example favorable rather than favourable). That has been corrected, but it turns out Wallace really did spell "generalization" that way, apparently the convention was not yet established in the first half of the 19th century. On the other hand the title of the book Land Nationalisation should stay that way since that was the title the book was published under (the Wallace Scholar I have been corresponding with caught that one). Other than quotations and book/paper titles I could really care less. Rusty Cashman 17:21, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
This is all very odd, in that while my (mac OS system) spellchecker wants to change "generalization" to "generalisation" and Chambers Dictionary gives "generalisation" as first choice with -z- as an option, my newer Concise Oxford gives "generalization.. (also -isation)" . There are a number of -ize spellings in the article, but they don't seem too jarring and may well be the preferred British spelling in some instances. Probably not worth worrying about, obviously quotations must follow the original and other instances can be reexamined on merit if need be. .. dave souza, talk 21:12, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Factual Dispute[edit]

I got an email from an outside expert who has just taken a look at a recent version of the article. He said the following:

In the third paragraph of "Exploration..." you mis-cite Raby to support the wrong statement that Wallace began to correspond with Darwin during the 1852-4 London period (that correspondence only began after he was in the Far East).

That is a fairly important fact to get right. I don't have the Raby source in front of me. I will look at this in the sources I do have, but I would apprecieate if the editor who did the original edit (I think it might be rageoss) would check the source as well. In the meanwhile I will stick a disputed tag on it.Rusty Cashman 22:16, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Not the same source, but reference [35] Wallace, Letters and reminiscences 1916. p. 105 is headed "The Complete Extant Correspondence" between Wallace and Darwin, and opens with "The first eight letters", the first being dated 1 May 1857 (see ext. link in article). Desmond & Moore p. 454 say that Wallace had been in touch before then, and was now collecting skins of domestic fowl for Darwin – "The carriage is costing me a fortune!" . .... dave souza, talk 23:15, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
I've amended the sentence, so that is says "made connections with" rather than "began corresponding with", which is vague enough (through possible indirect connections) to encompass all the possibilities. Raby seems to imply that they started corresponding, but it's vague; it appears that all that is known for sure is that they had met once by the time he left for the Malay Archipelago. According to Janet Browne, "The two men had met briefly once, although it is not clear exactly when—either before Wallace set off on a collecting expedition to the Malay Archipelago in 1948, or before he made a similar expedition to the Malay Archipelago in 1954." (Voyaging, p. 537). The first preserved letter in the Darwin Correspondence project is this, from May 1, 1857.--ragesoss 23:33, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
PS: it would probably be good to switch the correspondence footnotes from The life and letters of Charles Darwin to the Darwin Correspondence Project entries; they have nice footnotes, and a decent interface for exploring more of the Darwin-Wallace correspondence.--ragesoss 23:42, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
My sources concur, Wallace and Darwin met in between his South American and Indonesian expiditions but there seems to be no evidence of correspondence at that time.Rusty Cashman 05:37, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for finding these references, agree that citations from the Darwin Correspondence project will be good but I'm struggling to get the hang of their search function. Eventually found the way to this letter to W. B. Tegetmeier referred to in footnote 2 of the May 1 letter: footnote 4 is informative – paraphrased by me, "Alfred Russel Wallace had left England to collect in the Malay Archipelago in 1854, and his name was included in CD's list of individuals to ask for specimens (see Correspondence vol. 5, CD memorandum, [December 1855])...... From [Celebes], in a letter dated 21 August 1856... he told his agent Samuel Stevens that his latest shipment of specimens included items for CD........." .... dave souza, talk 07:54, 18 May 2007 (UTC)


It's really a matter of taste, but to me constructions such as "where one evening he would meet the entomologist" seem rather irritating, so in this example I've changed it to "where one evening he met the entomologist". Have also changed a couple of Americanisms, Fall > autumn, railroad > railway. .... dave souza, talk 14:48, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Done, hope that's acceptable. .. dave souza, talk 08:41, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Date format?[edit]

It's been my practice to use day/month/year on British or Commonwealth articles, with month/day, year, on U.S. articles. This article mostly uses the U.S. format, obviously we should standardise. The Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) seems a bit vaguer on this than it used to be, Calendar date indicates the above preference, though it's not imperative unless dealing with months given as numbers as in today's date of 26.5.07. Comments? ...... dave souza, talk 19:53, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't mean to be dense, but isn't the purpose of linking the dates to allow the reader's date preference to take care of this so that the article writers don't have to fight over it? Rusty Cashman 22:42, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Some readers, such as myself, prefer to let the dates show in the format best suited to the context: it's like spelling. Many readers are anons or haven't got to the stage of setting preferences, and ideally we should aim at that general public. .. dave souza, talk 23:05, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Since it's unclear how necessary the more usual UK usage is, I've followed the precedent of the original author and standardized on the month/day, year, format. A couple of instances needed the comma after the year. .. dave souza, talk 08:41, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Visit to America[edit]

This article: Moore, James (2006), "Evolution and Wonder - Understanding Charles Darwin", Speaking of Faith (Radio Program), American Public Media  Retrieved on 2007-05-26 has a nice story about Wallace travelling through the U.S. for a lecture tour in 1886–1887, when his explanations of Darwinism were welcomed without any problems. Worth including? .. dave souza, talk 23:05, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Interesting stuff, but probably more relevent to the evolution-creation controversy than to an article on Wallace since it says more about the change in public perception of evolution in America than it does about him. It might be worth adding a sentence or 2 to the end of biography section about the trip to America however. It lasted several months and it was important in a couple of different ways. Ironically Wallace did encounter resistence to his ideas during this period, which is what motivated him to write the book Darwinism. However, it wasn't from religious people who rejected evolution, the resistence came from scientists who accepted evolution, but rejected the idea that natural selection was its most important cause. This is covered in the article.Rusty Cashman 02:45, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
I added a paragraph that included a few sentences on the American tour. It kind of nicely finished out section of the biography before his death.

A small but interesting suggestion[edit]

The article currently reads that Wallace got his idea of natural selection while he was in bed with a fever. Well not only did he have a fever, but he was bedridden by a case of malaria. The malaria was causing him to lose sleep, so while he was being kept awake, the idea of natural selection came into his head. Thus, in the middle of the night, Wallace wrote his essay "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type" in only a few hours so that it could be sent to Darwin on a ship leaving the island later that very morning, all while enduring a case of malaria.
This information is taken from a course taught by a prominent biology and philosophy professor at The University of Texas. BareAss 22:19, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree that several sources, including the one I cite (Slotten's biography), say that Wallace's illness was malaria. This is not surprising since Wallace said that in his autobiography. The question is whether that fact is significant enough to mention in an encyclopedia article as opposed to say a 400 page biography. Wallace is such an interesting figure that you have to be real disciplined not to turn the encyclopedia article into a 400 page biography. Another problem with relating the story as you tell it is that some historians/biographers have suggested that Wallace may have romanticized the account he wrote in his autobiography a little, not to mention the possibility that he may have misremembered some details close to half a century after the fact. The article already mentions that modern historians are pretty sure he got which island he was on at the time wrong in that account, if we bring in more details from there we will have to mention more qualifications as well. This seems like a lot of work/space for information that is of marginal relevence to the article... I don't feel strongly on the topic, I just want to push back a little. Rusty Cashman 04:08, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it is rather trivial and not all that vital to the entry. I just know that I'm all-the-more astonished that he wrote this extremely well-written essay in the middle of the night while ill with malaria. This is a wonderful entry, quite worthy of that star up in the corner. BareAss 13:37, 15 June 2007 (UTC)


For the excellent article, and special thanks to User:Rusty Cashman. But why doesn't the featured "star" appear on the article page ? Shyamal 05:38, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

The talk page is updated to reflect featured status automatically by a bot, but the honor of adding the FA star ({{featured article}}) to the article is left to its editors.--ragesoss 06:02, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Done and thanks to all the editors and reviewers who have helped improve this article.Rusty Cashman 06:08, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Rhacophorus nigropalmatus[edit]

I added a link to a tiny stub on the Rhacophorus nigropalmatus. I also changed the link at frog to one at flying frog, I thought this seemed right. Sorry about the stub. I read some of the article, it is deserving of the star - recently awarded I notice. Congrats to the editors. Sorry about not checking in here with my suggested change. ☻ Fred|discussion|contributions

No need to apologize. I don't believe FA is supposed to stand for "frozen article". Especially when it comes to small but obviously beneficial improvements such as links to new articles. Stable yes, but not frozen.Rusty Cashman 19:23, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Removal of Arnold Brackman's book from further reading[edit]

A 1980 book by Arnold Brackman called A Delicate Arrangement: The Strange Case of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace was added to the further reading section. I have deleted it because I don't consider it a reliable source. The central claim of Brackman's work (and a 1984 work by John Langdon Brooks) is that Darwin stole a significant part of the theory of natural selection (particularly some ideas about it leading to the divergence of allied species from one another) from the essay he received from Wallace in 1858. Recent Wallace biographers including (Slotten 2004 pp. 157-162) and (Shermer 2002 pp. 128-150) have analyzed Brackman and Brooks' claims in detail and refuted them. Even historians, such as Charles H. Smith (see [1]) and Quammen who take a slightly more critical view of the process that lead to the publication of Darwin and Wallace's ideas are dismissive of Brackman and Brooks' claimss.Rusty Cashman (talk) 07:52, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

You don't consider it a relaible source? First, it's not used as a source and as you said yourself, it's only been added to further reading section for the interest of the readers who need to decide themselves. Your opinion as to reliability does not make it any more valid than my opinion as to the book's general interest. While I do not argue as to the reliability, it's up to the readers themselves to determine - and that's why it's in the further reading section. And listen to the podcast found here: The podcast is with a noted Darwin scholar who personally notes the book and provides an enlightening discussion. Historians often disagree. That doesn't mean that you get to white wash the article to your liking. Having biographers refute the claims and having Smith and Quammne being "slightly more critical" and dismissive of Brackman's claims doesn't mean that Brackman's views and research is not valid or interesting for the readers to see and then make their own conclusions. I think people who would read the books suggested in "Further reading" section are serious enough to make up their own mind. They don't need your help. Brackman was an investigative reporter and does not manage a very convincing case, but that doesn't mean that his work is not interesting or noted enough for people who are interested to read it. Instead of deleating books without discussion, how about adding more books to the further reading section and a brief text explaining authoritative nature of each book (not source, just further reading book) --RossF18 (talk) 18:31, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
I did not want to delete it without further discussion. That is why I opened this dicussion section on the talk page. If a consensus is reached that I am wrong my deletion can be reversed. There are several interesting points here. The first is that there is always a judgement call that has to be made between what are dissenting views among experts, which should be accurately represented and summarized per WP:NPOV and fringe views that should be excluded per WP:Undue. Historians (like scientists) do disagree on some points, but they also sometimes reach conclusions and ideas that were at one time subjects of legitimate academic debate can become fringe over time. I am not aware (and of course I could be wrong here and would welcome correction if someone has alternate sources) of any reasonably reliable source who has defended these particular claims in the past 10 years or so and it seems to me that they are now treated as fringe ideas that are completely ignored in recent mainstream accounts of the History of evolutionary thought by historians like Bowler and Larson along with the vast majority of Darwin scholars. The 2nd interesting point is whether or not WP:Undue should be applied the same way to a further reading section as to the rest of the content of an article. Personally, I am uncomfortable with pointing to a source that pushes fringe ideas, since in some sense "further reading" is often taken to mean "recommended reading". Rusty Cashman (talk) 21:57, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
You say that you "did not want to delete it without further discussion" and "that is why [you] opened this dicussion section on the talk page." But you did delete it without further discussion. The proper way to have done this is to open the discussion and then delete it if the consensus is reached. Deleting it first will force us to search through dozens of edits to find it again if the decision is made to keep it. I would also put forth that Brackman's view is not a fringe view. It may be on a loosing side of the argument of late, but that doesn't really make something a fringe view. If you listen to the pod cast I suggested, you'll hear that while this Brackman's view might not have been defended in the past 10 years, his book is being read by both the general public and scholars seeking to disprove him. Closing your eyes to someone who is wrong is not a way to persuade people they are wrong, so scholars are still taking note of Brackman's views, if just to disprove him and laypersons are reading him. I do not think having a book in further reading is in any way recommending or advocating Brackman's view. And even if you take that section to mean as recommended reading, than all the books in the list are recommended, even the multiple books that disagree with Brackman. To think that people will just pick out Brackman's book in particular and not read other recommended books is a stretch. I think people have as much to learn from disproven views as proven views since you have to understand what the allegation is before you can understand the argument against it. If the book was truly a fringe view, I do not think so many authors would take it upon themselves, more than 20 years later, to try to disprove Brackman's views. So, as far as the book being fringe, I disagree. If you feel the need to break up the categories into recommended books and further readings, that will take care of any suggestions that the two categories are the same thing. There is nothing wrong with having a lesser view being included in the further reading section. No one is pushing or advocating a source just by its inclusion because its not cited anywhere in the article. However, just because a book is advocating an unpopular and unjustified view, it doesn't mean that the book is not important enough not to be included. It's better to include it and point out how it's wrong, than to stick your head in the sand, not include it, and than have people point out, "well, what about that one Brackman book." Having it included and weaknesses pointed out will make for a better article. There many views that have become fringe over time, but just ignoring books on the subject doesn't make the view go way - that's the beauty of books. You can't just "burn" books and expect or hope that views to be forgotten. If a view is wrong, it's better to say why it's wrong than to ignore it. --RossF18 (talk) 23:30, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

This is an FA class article. It is somewhat customary to not make disputed changes to an FA article without first getting a consensus for the change on the talk page, which is why I felt justified in reverting you original edit. However, I am not going to revert your reversion of my reversion (say that 3 times fast) right this second because I don't want an edit war, and I want to get home where I can listen to the source you cited. Browne is a perfectly respectable source and if she has something new to say on this topic I want to hear it before I do anything in haste. I have also asked one of the most frequent editors of the Charles Darwin article to weigh in on this issue because I suspect he is familiar with it (and has read sources I have not) and because I suspect you and I are never going to reach a consensus without third party input. I do believe it is important to screen out fringe/marginal ideas from science and history articles. Otherwise every science article would be cluttered up with the ideas of young earth creationists, flat earthers, or the folks that think Einstein got it wrong, and every history article would end up referencing multiple conspiracy theories. Having said all that I understand that editors can disagree in good faith over what is a fringe idea, and that is what talk pages are for.Rusty Cashman (talk) 00:03, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Ok I have listened to the source you provided. I don't think it supports your case very much. Browne only discussed Brackman's book in response to questions from a caller to an NPR radio show who mentioned it. She in no way endorses Brackman's ideas and takes pains to restate the conventional view of what happened and states that this is the consensus view of modern scholars. I also did a little more research on my own. Earlier I said that Larson and Bowler completely ignore Brackman and Brooks. This is true of (Larson 2004) but (Bowler 2003 page 173) does mention Brackman and Brooks briefly just to say that their argument "rests on a bizarre manipulation of the evidence". So I am afraid I am more convinced when I started that the current historical consensus is that Brackman's book represents a fringe idea that should be excluded based on WP:Undue unless you can produce some evidence that a reasonably recent reliable source takes it seriously. Rusty Cashman (talk) 09:14, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

<edit conflict!> As Ross says, it may be better to say why a fringe theory is wrong than to ignore it, and as Rusty says, including a book as Further reading is effective endorsement of the book as a worthwhile read. For the latter reason I'll remove the book from that list, but suggest that the issue could be covered by a brief paragraph in the Legacy and historical perception section. Shermer notes that various authors have attempted to construct a conspiracy around the events,[2] and taking Rusty's point that we shouldn't clutter history articles with every conspiracy theory we can use that as a reference for the claims as a whole. The author Arnold Brackman (or Arnold C. Brackman) has also written of Japanese war crimes, but doesn't have an article – if he's notable enough as a historian, a biographical article should be created giving information about his books. As for his claims, he doesn't seem to have understood that the joint publication was of Wallace's paper along with papers Darwin had written and shown to others before he could possibly have read Wallace's work. On the Origin of Species published a year later would be expected to take account of Wallaces input, and give it full credit which I understand it does. There are numerous conspiracy claims about Darwin which are aimed at diminishing his work, or alleging that he copied it from others, and we shouldn't give undue weight to one particular claim. However, it seems to me that a brief mention of the claims in principle could be appropriate. .. dave souza, talk 09:18, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. --RossF18 (talk) 14:04, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. -- Shermer does expend a whole chapter on the topic and it is obvious from this incident as well as the NPR call Browne responded to that people are still stumbling across thesed books even though they are out of print so a brief mention would be appropriate. I will add one later today.Rusty Cashman (talk) 16:16, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
I added a couple of sentences with 3 references (2 of them web references) that cover the issue in more depth. As for Brackman, I think he might well be worth an article. Not only the book on the Japanese war crime trial but his book on the last emperor of China seems to have been noteworthy.Rusty Cashman (talk) 02:33, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that looks good to me. .. dave souza, talk 09:23, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Yep, looks great. Thanks. --RossF18 (talk) 16:14, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Well it looks like we may be revisiting this issue sooner than I would have thought. A Wallace scholar who has been kind enough to correspond with me from time to time just dropped me a line to warn me that there will be a new book published later this month called The Darwin Conspiracy by Roy Davies that might be looking at these issues again. If so we will probably have to address them again in some way here, depending on what the book says and what the reaction to it is.Rusty Cashman (talk) 18:05, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Alfred Russel Wallace[edit]

I have been looking at the article Welsh People and noted that he is in the infobox as a Welshman, which contradicts this article stating he is an Englishman. I have already mentioned this on the Welsh people talk page. I understand why there may be confusion over his nationality but surely the two articles should be in sync with this rather important information. I have no personal interest in what his nationality is, but I do think this has to be sorted. Any thoughts? Skipper 360 (talk) 12:49, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

The problem of coures is "what is a Welshman?" Wallace was born in a county that has a complicated history and is now part of Wales but was then part of England administratively. His father was Scottish, his mother was English. They stayed in Wales for just a couple of years after he was born before moving back to England proper. Wallace would spend another couple of years in Wales again early during his career as a surveyor, but lived the rest of his life (aside from the period he was traveling abroad as a naturalist) in England. Wallace himself generally called himself English although he occasionally mentioned his father's connection to Scotland. He never, as far as anyone has been able to tell, called himself Welsh or made much out of any connection to Wales. So does just having been born in Wales make him a Welshman? I don't think so and neither did the author of the source I cited. However, I originally called him British to avoid controversy. Another editor came along and changed it to English because that was the conclusion reached by the source. I can live with either British or English, but Welsh seems like a stretch to me. Rusty Cashman (talk) 20:38, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry about that. I took the spelling from the Welsh People page. :> Skipper 360 (talk) 20:47, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
For ease of reference here is the source, a comment from a leading Wallace scholar, I cited for the article [3].
Thanks Rusty. You might be interested in the conversation taking place at Welsh People. Skipper 360 (talk) 23:26, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Lead Paragraph Source[edit]

The source noted, this, has a section on the website called "Misinformation Alert!". The first paragraph of this section is on the 'Welsh claim for Alfred Russel Wallace, and leads to the FAQ: 'Was Wallace actually a Welshman, as seems to be increasingly claimed?' Mention is made of the county of Monmouthshire, and some doubt has been cast as to which country Monmouthshire was part of at the time of Wallace's birth there. Monmouthshire is, and always has been, part of Wales. I understand that Monmouthshire has been referred to differently from the rest of Wales (as in 'Wales and Monmouthshire') because it was part of the Oxford judicial circuit for purely administrative purposes. These two Wikipedia articles explain much better than I have, why people have been confused about Monmouthshire: here and, more thoroughly: here And if you're not convinced after that, have a look at the names of Monmouthshire's towns and villages and compare them to placenames in England, which tells you how the people who lived there felt. This website has all the appearance of being thoroughly researched. However, if 'misinformation' as basic as this can be touted as the truth, then surely the rest of the website's veracity is called into question. Mention is made in the Wikipedia article that the great man was proud of his Scottish ancestry. Why, then, is he noted as English? If anyone were a candidate for being called British, it is Alfred Russel Wallace. And a different source should be found for the lead paragraph. Daicaregos (talk) 09:48, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Sigh, the issue is not is Monmouthshire part of Wales it is, does just being born in Wales makie you Welsh? John McCain was born in Panama but he is not Panamanian. Wallace's mother was clearly English, and his father's ancestry was Scottish. They moved to Wales just a little while before his birth and moved back to England when he was five. His autobiography makes it clear that he did not consider himself Welsh (Wallace himself seems to use the label Welsh for people who could speak that language or whose ancestors could), and that the Welsh people he knew when he was a child considered him to be English. He talks extensively about the Welsh people and their way of life (and supports the idea of home rule for Wales) in his autobiography (in the part about his early childhood and even more in the part about when he worked for a few years in Neath), but nowhere does he identify himself with them. Having said all that I am willing to go back to "British" if there is a consensus to do so, even though I agree with the cited source (which is from a website maintained by a leading Wallace scholar and widely considered an important source of Wallace scholarship) that what makes the most sense would be to call Wallace "an Englishman born in Wales", but I won't go with Welsh, because I have a problem with attributing a nationality to a historical figure when that person himself did not consider himself to be of that nationality, nor did any of his contemporaries. Rusty Cashman (talk) 16:19, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Sigh, did you actually take the time to read all I'd written before composing your response? Daicaregos (talk) 14:13, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes and I have just re-read it and I still don't see what is wrong with my response. The source cited spends maybe two sentences talking about the history of Monmouthshire because it is very peripheral to the main points it is trying to make. Those main points are that Wallace considered himself English. The Welsh people he knew considered him to be English, he lived most of his life in England. His parents lived most of their lives in England. His mother was impeccably English, and his father was English with Scottish (not Welsh) ancestors. These are all points that support the source's conclusion. As for the status of Monmouthshire the source recognizes the ambiguity, it says:

"At that time Usk was part of the area known as Monmouthshire, at least in some respects an administrative division of England. However, this region, going back to ancient times, had originally been known as Gwent, culturally and politically part of Wales. Many years later (after Wallace's birth, that is), in 1974, the region was fully "returned" to Wales, again with the name Gwent (more recently, the name Monmouthshire has been reinstated)." That may not perfectly match the discription given in the article Monmouthshire (historic) but it is reasonably close and that article does say: "Monmouthshire's Welsh status was ambiguous until relatively recently, with it considered by some as part of England." So I don't see any big conflict here. If a consensus forms that "British" is better than "English" I will go along with it. Rusty Cashman (talk) 22:46, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

The reason I ask is because you have made several references in defence of your opinion that Wallace was not Welsh. Had you read, and understood, my original post, you would have noted that I made no contention that Wallace was Welsh. To quote 'The lady doth protest too much, methinks' may be appropriate here. Originally, I made two points. The first was that the source referenced had been discredited by its poor research. That is, that one should be dubious of all 'facts' given on a website, if it is shown that some of the conclusions reached are erroneous. You quote the source as saying "Many years later (after Wallace's birth, that is), in 1974, the region was fully "returned" to Wales, again with the name Gwent (more recently, the name Monmouthshire has been reinstated)." This interpretation implies that Monmouthshire was not Welsh prior to 1974. Not so. Also, "the name Monmouthshire has been reinstated" is only partly correct. The name has been reinstated, but not for the historic county of Gwent. Monmouthshire only covers part of Gwent. And the name of the county is completely irrelevent as to whether or not Monmouthshire is in Wales. If I may also selectively quote from the same source - "At that time Usk was part of the area known as Monmouthshire, at least in some respects an administrative division of England." This is absolutely untrue. Monmouthshire has never been an administrative division of England, in any way different to any other county of Wales. It was part of a division that was administered in England - namely the Oxford Assizes - but that was all. Also, "... at least in some respects" implies that in other administrative functions Monmouthshire was treated in ways different to the rest of Wales. It wasn't. So my point is that either by poor research or by misinterpretation, this site is discredited and other sources should be used instead.
My second point was that someone of mixed race born in Wales should be better called British, than English. You seem to agree. By the way, you state that "Wallace himself seems to use the label Welsh for people who could speak that language or whose ancestors could." Using the same criteria, Wallace would consider Tom Jones, Dylan Thomas and Charlotte Church to be English. It seems that either by poor research or by stating things as facts that aren't, this source is overplaying the 'and he wasn't really born in Wales anyway' hand. Again, to selectively quote from your source - " To summarize: I would be happy to refer to Wallace as "Welsh" were any of the following true: ... (7) and perhaps, had Gwent always been unambiguously Welsh and continuously referred to by that name." Few places in Wales have been continuously referred to by the same name. Would you say that Ceredigion or Dyfed weren't in Wales? Yours Daicaregos (talk) 18:40, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Given the contentious nature of the existing description that he was "English" (despite the fact that he was born in what was once clearly Wales, is now clearly Wales, and was at the time of his birth debatably either in England or in Wales depending on which criteria are used), it would be much more accurate and clearer to an outside reader if he was described as "British", as Rusty Cashman has suggested. From the 16th century or so until now (although decreasingly so at present), the term "British" has been a common (and probably most usual) term to describe someone born in any part of GB, particularly when they do not clearly identify with any single one of the three countries, either because of their mixed ancestry or changes in their place of residence. Wallace would not have disputed that he was British, at the same time as he claimed a specifically English heritage despite his father's origins (Scottish) and his own place of birth. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:05, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Ok, I have switched it back to British, since it is both accurate and less likely to be controversial. Rusty Cashman (talk) 15:58, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Since someone still felt strongly enough to delete the cited source (which was put there originally to keep people from changing it from British to Welsh) I have added a couple of sentences to the section on his early life, which in the spirit of WP:NPOV covers the controversy and provides a source for each side. Hopefully, this will satisfy everyone. It states clearly that Wallace was born in Wales and that some people feel that this makes him Welsh, but that, because of his families relatively brief residency in Wales, lack of Welsh ethnicity, and the opinions of Wallace and his his contemporaries some historians consider this to be incorrect. Rusty Cashman (talk) 01:47, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I've given this a couple of tweaks, partly to try to de-emphasise the whole non-issue, but also to tacitly acknowledge that, when Wallace was born (and for the whole period between the late 17th and early 20th centuries), the position of Monmouthshire - whether or not it was in Wales - was ambiguous. To Welsh people, particular in the western parts of Monmouthshire, it was clearly Welsh and part of Wales - though at the time Wales had a very limited legal (but strong cultural) identity. But to English people - lawmakers in London as well as those well-off English people who had increasingly settled in the county, particularly the rural eastern parts such as Usk where even then there was very little Welsh spoken - it was seen as English. At the time, the predominantly cited legal entity was still "England and Wales". Hope this doesn't inflame the issue further! Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:33, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
There was no need "to tacitly acknowledge that, when Wallace was born (and for the whole period between the late 17th and early 20th centuries), the position of Monmouthshire - whether or not it was in Wales - was ambiguous." as it was not. I quote directly from John Davies' A History of Wales, Penguin Books, 1993, ISBN 0-14-014581-8, pp 236/7:
"The neatness of the four circuits of the three counties seems to have appealed to the government, for in 1543 the circuits were used as the framework for a system of courts to serve twelve of the counties of Wales. The courts were the Great Sessions of Wales, which provided the Welsh with a cheap and efficient system of justice until their abolition in 1830. Monmouthshire was made directly answerable to the courts in Westminster, and as a result the notion arose that the county had been annexed by England. Monmouthshire was no less Welsh in language and sentiment than any other eastern counties and it would be generally be treated as a part of Wales in the rare examples of specifically Welsh legislation passed between 1536 and 1830." (my emphasis).
John Davies goes on to say "With the abolition of the Great Sessions, almost all the differences which had existed between Wales and Monmouthshire came to an end." The only thing you could be tacitly acknowledging correctly, would be that Monmouthshire's courts were administered from a different place than those of the rest of Wales. Please stop trying to perpetuate this "Monmouthshire wasn't really Welsh" misinformation. I will now revert your amendments relating to Monmouthshire. Yours, Daicaregos (talk) 16:19, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
The Davies quote is broadly (though not wholly) true, but irrelevant. Many English people considered Monmouthshire to be English, including some of the English people who themselves lived in Monmouthshire. There are many instances of English people claiming that Monmouthshire was English. Whether they were "right" or "wrong" is irrelevant - the fact that they believed it to be true means that the status of Monmouthshire was ambiguous - it was seen differently by different groups of people. To suggest that I am trying to perpetuate the idea that "Monmouthshire wasn't really Welsh" is outrageous, as Daicaregos must know given my edits elsewhere. Of course it was and is predominantly (not wholly) Welsh in a social and cultural sense - but in the 19th century, whatever the rights and wrongs of that view, not everyone agreed. Its status was ambiguous. Ghmyrtle (talk) 22:32, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
At the risk of continuing the outrage, please provide a link to a source confirming your assertion that the paragraph quoted above, from John Davies' work, A History of Wales, is not wholly true, or indeed, that it is not relevant. Daicaregos (talk) 18:59, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Responding at User talk:Daicaregos - this is getting beyond what is needed for this article. Ghmyrtle (talk) 22:28, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Main page request[edit]

The 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species, should be marked and commemorated by appropriate Featured Articles on the Main Page. Charles Darwin and Evolution have already appeared there, so neither are eligible. There are however a few relevant articles which could appear there:

The method for proposing articles for the main page is set forth at Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests. There is a point scheme, with varying amounts of points based on the relevance of the date, whether major contributors have previously had an FA appear on the main page, the importance of the topic, whether a similar article has appeared recently, and other criteria. 60 days out a notice should be posted on the talk page, Wikipedia talk:Today's featured article/requests, with the requested date and an estimate of the points. For the Wallace article, the notice date will come up in two weeks. 30 days out the request should be made on the request page.

As I have no substantive edits to any of these articles someone else probably should make the appropriate requests. It would be nice to have good, solid articles such as these appear on the main page next year, and possibly also form the core of a suite of evolution-related articles to comprise the first life science Featured Topic.

Kablammo (talk) 23:59, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

I will look into this. Rusty Cashman (talk) 01:00, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I added it to the 60 day pre-nomination list. It is a pity I didn't know about this early enough to nominate it for July 1 2008, which would have been the 150th anniversary of the reading of Wallace and Darwin's papers to the Linnean society, but no point crying over spilt milk. I will still go for July 1 if we don't get Jan 8. Rusty Cashman (talk) 16:59, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
If you have not previously had an article on the Main Page you will be entitled to points for that as well. Kablammo (talk) 17:06, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
It ended up with 6 points by my count 1 for the anniversary, 1 for notability, 1 for having made FA more than a year ago, 1 for my being a new editor (for the purposes of main page), and 2 since there hasn't been a similar article (only similar article I could think of would be Charles Darwin) featured on the main page for at least 6 months. Rusty Cashman (talk) 19:17, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

It has now been nominated at WP:Today's featured article as a 5 point article in case anyone wants to comment. Rusty Cashman (talk) 16:59, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

The debate on Darwin and Darwinism[edit]

In the same spirit as Channel 4's Christmas message, I offer the following on Darwin/Darwinism!

nitramrekcap (talk) 16:44, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing new here. The article History of evolutionary thought has an entire section on anticipations of natural selection. Such anticipations go all the way back to Aristotle's summary of some of the ideas of the pre-Socratic philosopher Empodocles. Darwin was aware of some of them and discussed them briefly in a section of Origin of Species starting with the 3rd edition. However, none of these ideas was fully developed and none of them made an impact of scientfic thought prior to the work of Darwin and Wallace. Rusty Cashman (talk) 20:47, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


The following passage mentions two authors/books not found in the reference section. Shouldn't the referenced work making these claims occur in a footnote or at least be listed in the bibliography?

In the early 1980s, two books, one written by Arnold Brackman and another by John Langdon Brooks, even suggested that not only had there been a conspiracy to rob Wallace of his proper credit, but that Darwin had actually stolen a key idea from Wallace to finish his own theory.

best regards, -- (talk) 23:01, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

The section that contains that material cites 3 separate sources that analyze the claims raised in Brooks and Brackman's books, and a briefer analysis of them can be found in Bowler, Peter J. (2003). Evolution:The History of an Idea (3rd edition ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 0-52023693-9, which is not explicitly cited because it doesn't add anything beyond what is in the cited sources. There is no reason to include the books themselves in the reference section since they were not consulted in the creation of the artilce. Wikipedia policy is clear on the point that if you use a summary or some analysis in work B of material that appeared in work A as a source for an article you must cite work B, the work you actually consulted, rather than work A, which you did not. Another reason these books are not listed is that the current consensus among experts in the field (historians of science) is that they are not reliable sources. See the discussion earlier on this talk page on excluding one of them from the further reading section. Rusty Cashman (talk) 20:32, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Mentioning but not including references about original ideas (as obscure they may be) is as not to read primary sources, or just "read books about books". Shouldn't every stated fact ("researcher A suggested/said/etc, that ...") get a reference pointing to the "primary source" (where this opinion was published) to ensure verifiability and avoid distortion of the quoting author? For sure it would be possible to explain Einsteins or Newtons Theory with a single reference to a modern schoolbook, or some references to secondary sources discussing or restating the theories, but would we really accept this?
Despite this I'm not really convinced about the perfect consensus between all historians, at least Smith's FAQ entry (which is quoted as proving reference) is not as clear as the statement in the article suggests. For sure most scientists doubt Brooks' and Brackman's claims, but being unconvinced is not the same as being able to disprove a claim. Smith mentions a 3rd book by Davies that seems to support the Brooks/Brackman theories at least in some points. So I'd prefer either not to discuss the debate at all, or, outline it, maybe in a similar extent as Smith does in his FAQ, with proper references (I'd prefer the latter, since this is one of the most frequently asked questions about Wallace in the popSci press, so it may deserve a clear statement). -- (talk) 21:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I'm having one of my denser moments, but what are you asking for exactly? Do you want the books referenced in the sentence as not being reliable also put into a footnote to that sentence or what? As far as other scholars, most other scholars from what I understand found evidence that disproved Brooks and Brackman's hypos as noted in the article. (These are only 2 authors from many who wrote on Wallace and found no foul play on the part of Darwin). The sentence highlights the hypos brought forth by these two authors and the rest of the article discusses the consensus of other historians that there was no theft. This article is about Wallace, not about the debate, so an outline of the debate might be out of place given the extended discussion of the process of discovery already present elsewhere in the article. Per prior discussion and contrary to your own desires, it seems, not discussing the debate at all is not the way to go either. Perhaps some clarification on your part in the discussion page or perhaps with an actual edit would be beneficial.--RossF18 (talk) 01:15, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, if I was not clear, so here again my points:

  • first, decide if the Brooks/Brackman debate should be mentioned at all. If so, then the following points should apply:
  • it should be noted what the debate was all about. First tell the argument of one side (claim of Brooks/Brackman: "it is not impossible, that Wallace's 1858 essay arrived in Downe much earlier than usually assumed." Authors like McKinney, Brooks, Brackman and Davies say this is likely, since other letters arrived early. Additionally, they say that Darwin's "last missing but very important bits of the theory" were written into his notebooks exactly in these weeks).
  • Then express the arguments of the other side, the doubts of Beddall, Shermer and Slotten ("It is not possible from the evidence to conclude that Darwin stole anything, a theft is unlikely. And Darwin had no reason to steal anything, his theory was already pretty complete." Then, "From the missing evidence, we can only speculate what happened in Downe." (Shermer 2002)).
  • Take a neutral point of view. Thus: positions of all authors of the debate have to be outlined and referenced (who said what and where). The relevant sources are probably McKinney 1972, Brackman 1980, Brooks 1984, and Davies 2008 for the first side of the argument (Darwin may have drawn significant ideas from the 1858 essay), Bowler 1976, Beddall 1988, Berry 2002, Shermer 2002 and Slotten 2004 for the critique of the argument.
  • Smith's FAQ entry should maybe not get quoted as explicitly discrediting the Brackman/Brooks claim (Smith says: "Question: Did Darwin really steal material from Wallace to complete his theory of natural selection? Answer: Maybe, though the evidence is something short of compelling")?

What do you think? -- (talk) 12:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

At the risk of sounding like a Wiki-lawyer the issue here is how to balance WP:NPOV with WP:UNDUE, which strongly discourages treating extreme miinority views as if they have equal weight with the views of the majority of experts in a field. You may find Smith's FAQ a little ambiguous, but as he says "but despite the best efforts of Brooks (1984) in particular, most observers remain unconvinced." I think that is putting it mildly. To list Peter J. Bowler (2003) says "the argument rests on a bizare manipulation of the evidence". Stephen Jay Gould is (in the preface he wrote for Infinite Tropics in 2001) equally dismissive. Most recent historians of evolution, like Larson (2004), simply ignore this controversy as do almost all Darwin biographers, even Quaummen (2006) who is critical of the way Darwin, Lyell, and Hooker acted. Wallace biographers like Slotten (2004) and Shermer (2002) are dismissive. My original take was that this controversy should just be ignored. However, the consensus reached in an earlier debate on this talk page was that it should be addressed since the issue continues to be a topic of discussion (for example Darwin biographer Janet Browne was asked about it by a caller to an NPR show - see the previous discussion of this topic on this talk page). I think the second approach you propose would not be consistent with UNDUE, but I will change "to not be credible" to "to not be convincing" in order to be more perfectly consistent with all the cited sources (particularly Smith). Will that help? Rusty Cashman (talk) 05:11, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I will second the treatment suggested by Rusty Cashman. The expansion of the discussion much more beyond what is already there would tend to necessitate a "controversy" article separate from the Wallace article itself if there was really a serious controversy, of which there is none (given the commentary by majority of historians). Have you had the chance to see if The Darwin Conspiracy by Roy Davies brought anything relevant to the discussion? --RossF18 (talk) 06:08, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Recent National Geographic Article[edit]

In the December 2008 issue of National Geographic Magazine there was (in my opinion) a very good article about Wallace. (The Man Who Wasn't Darwin: Alfred Russel Wallace charted a great dividing line in the living world--and found his own route to the theory of evolution. By David Quammen, page 106.) I just finished reading it a couple days ago when I saw that he was featured on the front page today. I don't know if the NG article would have any information to add, but it's probably a good source to cite or confirm items in this article. As I don't have a Wikipedia account, nor the time to do the editing, I leave it here as a suggestion for possibly improving this article in the future. Thanks! 03:52, 8 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

It is a very good article and it is listed in the "further reading" section of this article. Rusty Cashman (talk) 05:29, 8 January 2009 (UTC)


Editors have been removing the English description and it's reference to either British (more ambiguous) or Welsh (incorrect). The reference quotes Wallace numerous times describing himself as an Englishman, so I fail to see why people choose to change it. Most other articles use English, Scottish and Welsh descriptions unless there is some ambiguity, which there isn't in this article. (talk) 15:44, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

This was discussed at length some time ago, and no new evidence has been produced since that discussion concluded with the description "British" being accepted. The fact is that he was born in Monmouthshire, which is within Wales, and had Scottish ancestors - it would therefore be misleading to describe him unequivocally as "English". The term "British" should remain, as per guidance at WP:UKNATIONALS. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:20, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
What about self-identification? I thought WP bowed to that above all else? (talk) 08:43, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
If it were soley up to me I would agree that Wallace considered himself to be English and that is what he should be called. However, wikipedia doesn't allow an editor to choose between differing viewpoints expressed by different sources based soley on the editor's opinion. The controversy is now discussed in the article itself with the arguments of both sides summerized per WP:NPOV. Given that fact I would rather stick with the more neutral "British" in the lead and the fact box. It is not as if it is inaccurate. Rusty Cashman (talk) 19:46, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

BBC article on Wallace[edit]

Here, including a little on his time on Ternate [4] (talk) 08:41, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I added it to the external links section. Rusty Cashman (talk) 20:09, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Darwin quote unclear[edit]

The article contains the following quote by Darwin after having received Wallace's natural selection paper:

he does not say he wishes me to publish, but I shall, of course, at once write and offer to send to any journal

Without context it's not clear what this means. "He wishes me to publish" what? Wallace's paper, or Darwin's theories? "At once write" what and to whom? "Offer to send to any journal" what? It might be simpler to leave out the quote and simply summarize the situation. AxelBoldt (talk) 21:42, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I am a bit puzzled by this. There is no ambiguity. The quote of course refers to Wallace's essay. It could not refer to Darwin's theory because Wallace had no idea that Darwin had a theory, the first part of the quote makes it pretty clear that Darwin is talking about Wallace's essay, and of course why would Darwin say he would write Wallace and offer to publish his own theories? I have added a brief comment a couple of lines later making it clear that Lyell and Hooker published Wallace's essay despite the fact that he had never indicated that he wanted it published. Hopefully that will make it clear enough? Rusty Cashman (talk) 22:33, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Darwin's alleged unethical behavior & confusion of natural selection with Sarawak Law[edit]

"This prompted the well-connected Charles Darwin to quickly publish it as his own theory in his book On the Origin of Species."

The quote above, from the beginning of the article, seems at odds with Darwin giving Wallace credit later on. Maybe it is true, but it would be useful to have at least one citation supporting it. The following book provides a different, more ethical portrayal of Darwin in this respect: [5] --Eric Yurken (talk) 19:06, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Agreed and modified already, may need more. Vsmith (talk) 20:34, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

The allegation that Darwin stole from Wallace is already treated in the body of the article. It is an extreme minority view at best. The text that treats the issue in the aritcle is:

Over the years, a few people have questioned this version of events. In the early 1980s, two books, one written by Arnold Brackman and another by John Langdon Brooks, even suggested that not only had there been a conspiracy to rob Wallace of his proper credit, but that Darwin had actually stolen a key idea from Wallace to finish his own theory. These claims have been examined in detail by a number of scholars who have not found them to be convincing.

And several reliable sources are cited to support this summary, which was arrived at after considerable discussion on this talk page. There is no way this belongs in the lead. I have reverted all the edits involved (backing up to a version of a few days ago) besides the issue of adding material to the lead that contradicts the body of the article, the new material (even after V. Smith toned down the most wild claims) contained a very serious factual error. It confused the Sarawak Law with natural selection. The Sarawak law is treated in in the body of the article in the section on Wallace's early evolutionary ideas. The paper containg the Sarawak Law was published about 3 years befor Wallace sent his ideas on natural selection to Darwin. The ideas in the Sarawak law paper are related to evolution, it suggests that biogeographical evidence indicates that new species always first appear near already existing species very similar to them, but it has nothting to do with natural selection per se. Because of these issues I felt it best to simply revert all these edits out. Rusty Cashman (talk) 08:12, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

New Image[edit]

Alfred Russel Wallace engraving.jpg

There is an interesting engraving of a scientist Poor quality, unfortunately I think that you can add to the article.

Taken from the book Уоллес А.Р. Естественный подбор. СПб., 1878

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Vladlen666 (talkcontribs) 00:28, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Jacob Bronowski on Wallace[edit]

I am a longtime fan of Wallace. Yesterday I saw an episode of Jacob Bronowski's BBC series The Ascent of Man called "The Ladder of Creation" (episode 9), which had an excellent treatment of Wallace, the best I have seen, with quotations from his Autobiography , film footage from the Amazon, and numerous still photographs. I believe Bronowski gets right to the heart of what Wallace was about in a way that is very clear and engaging and believe a reference to this would be a good addition to the article (which is already excellent, IMO). (talk) 03:40, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Dubious material promoting ID creationism[edit]

I've removed this material which is clearly based on dubious sources slanted to promote ID. . . dave souza, talk 07:54, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

I have reverted the material back, please do not delete material just becuase you do not like it, that i bias. Thanks (talk) 15:18, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
The problem is, these sources are inaccurate and are promoting a fringe view of the topic. If we can find more reputable historians covering this area there might be something to add, but this article is an inappropriate place for apologetics giving a distorted minority view so have removed it again. Other editors' views on this will be welcome. . dave souza, talk 17:06, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

The information about Wallace may go against your own beliefs but they are not promoting a fringe view of the topic and at wikipedia an objective view should be put up, things should not be supressed just becuase one person thinks they are wrong, Michael Flannery is a scientific historian with degrees not a fringe theorist. Alfred Wallace believed in a type of Intelligent Design not ID itself but it was a predecessor to the modern ID, Wallace believed evolution was not random, he saw intelligence in nature, in the last 10 years of his life he was a complete spiritualist, he rejected materialism and put forward spiritual evolution many of his ideas are in line with some of the modern day ID proponents, you will see Wallace's name brought up on many ID websites, i understand you have a huge hatred against intelligent design, and you do not want any of it on wikipedia, no point in denying this, it's made clear. But ID is not creationism for a start, and Wallace was not a creationist or an ID proponent, the articles do not claim Wallace was ID and the articles are not promoting ID, they are promoting Wallace's true beliefs which were Intelligent evolution, they simply point out his views have influenced the ID movement and that the type of evolution he believed in was intelligent, directed and non random.

If you watch these videos and read these webpages here: you would understand some of Wallace's views relating to intelligent design, Wallace was not modern day ID, but he was a believer of intelligence in nature and some of his views have influenced ID.

Video 1

Video 2


Link 2 (talk) 18:07, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

The reverend Flannery, CSC fellow, is described by his publisher thus:
"Flannery exposes Charles Darwin's now-famous theory of evolution as little more than a naturalistic cover for an extreme philosophical materialism borrowed as a youth from Edinburgh radicals."
Patent twaddle, contradicted by all the reputable historians on the topic. Asa Gray would certainly take issue with that, and indeed "materialism" in the early 19th century didn't preclude being religious. Of course Darwin himself expressed what might best be descibed as deism, but that doesn't mean that he should be prayed in support of ID.
As for intelligent design creationism, that's well established. You have studied these cdesign proponentsists? . . dave souza, talk 19:12, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Dave souza there was a book published by Wallace himself, it was called "The World of Life" The World of Life

If you read over the book, Wallace explains his views, he sees intelligence in nature, he says evolution is not random, he says there is a spiritual drive in humans, he says that natural selection is not the only driving force in evolution and that natural selection does not explain the origins of the spiritual side of life, he offers a teleological alternative to darwins theory. You obviously have never read the book, if you did read it, it would probably even change some of your own views on evolution. It seems that the wikipedia page regarding Wallace has supressed any knowledge of the book that's not suprising really. Instead of quoting from ID websites, then perhaps it would be better to quote from Wallace's own book. This is something i will get round to doing at some point. Im sure you would have no objection to this. (talk) 01:42, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

The ideas you mention are already covered, using more NPOV wording and without the questionable connection to modern ID ideas, in the subsection entitled "Application of theory to man, and role of teleology in evolution". So I don't think your proposed addition improves the article. It is also a little misleading to link Wallace directly to modern ID theory just because he thought that there was a certain amount of teleology in evolution. ID theorists believe that much of the world is the result of deliberate design decisions by an intelligent designer, where as Wallace believed it was a result of natural selection acting on naturally occurring variation. The fact that Wallace, and he was fare from alone in this, believed that natural selection was an inherently progressive process that might thus be part of a teleological universe is not the same thing as saying he thought that attributes of organisms were in some way deliberately designed. It is also true that Wallace made an exception with regard to some of the higher mental functions of the human mind, but that was not because he ever doubted the power of natural selection, but rather because, especially after he became a spiritualist, he did not believe that human consciousness was a purely material phenomenon that could be shaped by natural selection the way that material phenomena like bodies and animal instincts could be. Once again the article already discusses these ideas. Rusty Cashman (talk) 04:11, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Sorry but you are wrong you have never read Wallace's book. As mentioned Wallace wrote the book called "The World of Life" the book offers a type of spiritual evolution. The question needs to be asked, why is this book not mentioned on the page anywhere? It's been supressed. Theres no debate here. In a couple of weeks i am actually going to order a new copy of the book, i will reread over it, and il add a section about it to the article. (talk) 16:01, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Ok, let me help a little. Here is a link to an on line edition of the book. It is almost 500 pages, but Wallace summarizes many of the ideas in his preface. He also summarizes them in this magazine article, also called The World of Life, which he published in 1909 and which he later expanded into the book of the same name. By this point, near the end of his life, his views on evolution had become teleogical (he believed that while natural selection was a natural process it functioned as part of a goal driven universe) and his views on life had become distinctly vitalist (he believed there was more to living things than purely materialistic chemical and physical processes). Also there is a reliable source (Shermer 2002, pp. 231-232) that does discuss these ideas as foreshadowing later ideas of the intelligent design movement. As I said above the current text of the article does touch on most of this (not the link to ID) already, but it can use a little expansion and clarification; I will make an effort at a compromise edit. Rusty Cashman (talk) 20:30, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, I took my shot. I mentioned the book and cited the magazine article. I hope it helps resolve the dispute. Rusty Cashman (talk) 21:05, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Vaccination pamphlet not notable enough for this list?[edit]

I disagree. --Pawyilee (talk) 06:07, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Wallace had over 700 publications and more than 20 full length books. Therefore this section was intended to be deliberately selective. It has a link to a full on-line bibliography of all his works. The 9 books listed (and they are all full length books not pamphlets) consist of his accounts of his two great expeditions of scientific exploration, his autobiography, his 5 most important books on the scientific topics of his primary expertise (biogeography and evolution), and Palm Trees of the Amazon, which arguably is not nearly as important as any of the other 8 but happens to be the first book he ever published. Wallace's role in the anti-vaccination controversy was notable, and is covered in a subsection of this article that is completely devoted to it, but the short pamphlet he wrote on the topic was hardly one of his most significant works and is not treated as such by biographers like Slotten, who discusses the contents of all the listed books in detail, but mentions the anti-vaccination pamphlet only in passing during the discussion of the anti-vaccination controversy. Rusty Cashman (talk) 02:53, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
I yield.--Pawyilee (talk) 05:35, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

New image (redux)[edit]

Just a couple of comments regarding the suggestion (see above, somewhere) for a new image:
Firstly, the image quality is identical to the one presently being used. Secondly, that one has an aesthetic advantage; the portrait points the viewer subconsciously into the article, rather than away from it. ~E (talk) 00:43, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
P.s.: you might consider archiving obsolete entries. ;)

Ok since you are the 2nd person to ask for it, I have swapped the images as you requested. I understand your comment about archiving, but I am a little reluctant to do so. In my experience is for an article like this one about an at least somewhat controversial topic it makes it more likely that old comments/controversies that have already been resolved will be rehashed, and I can do without another debate over whether Wallace was Welsh, or whether or not Darwin stole his ideas. I realize that at some point it has to happen but I am not sure we are to that point yet. --Rusty Cashman (talk) 21:16, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks - don't you agree that it looks better having him look into the page instead of away from it? Anyway, I see your point about archiving - it's just my finger gets cramped using the mouse-wheel to get all the way to the bottom. ~E (talk) 03:51, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I think the new image is fine, and I am sure I will breakdown and archive this talk page at some point.--Rusty Cashman (talk) 19:11, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Angraecum sesquipedale[edit]

At a first look through, the article doesn't seem to cover Wallace's contribution to Angraecum sesquipedale and the prediction of Xanthopan morgani. A nice story, with an illustration based on Wallace's description. Worth a mention, with links? Sources shown in the first article. . dave souza, talk 12:55, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Wallace's Creation by Law response to Cambell's book is already mentioned briefly in this article. I will look into adding sentence or 2 about the contents of the paper as it was considered a significant defence of Darwin's ideas at the time. Rusty Cashman (talk) 20:11, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
The reference discusses the book and Wallace's paper: Kritsky, Gene (1991). "Darwin's Madagascan Hawk Moth prediction" (PDF). American Entomologist 37. pp. 206–9. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  – for some reason the pdf link only features in the second article. This seemed a particularly interesting debate, so a link to one or both of our articles would be appreciated. . dave souza, talk 20:56, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Interesting: File:Wallacesesquipedale.jpg is the frontispiece to Wallace's paper, the file page has a link to the Google books version of the paper. . . dave souza, talk 21:03, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
The text of the paper is also available through the Alfred Russel Wallace page. Give me a day or two and I will take a stab at it. Rusty Cashman (talk) 09:05, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, sorry I've rather a backlog of other things to sort and am unable to write this up at the moment. . dave souza, talk 12:00, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Legacy section[edit]

Hi there - thanks for this great article. I wondered if I could add a little something to the Legacy section about Wallace being considered as an early ecological thinker as proposed by notable environmentalist Tim Flannery ... something like

"Wallace’s understanding of natural selection and his later work on the atmosphere can be seen as a forerunner to modern ecological thinking; in 2010 the environmentalist Tim Flannery claimed that Wallace was ‘the first modern scientist to comprehend how essential cooperation is to our survival’ " Citation (p. 32) Flannery, Tim. 2010 Here on earth: a natural history of the planet. Atlantic Monthly Press: New York.

Or, without keeping Flannery's name in the text ... eg. in 2010 a prominent environmentalist claimed ... etc Depthdiver (talk) 19:33, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Unused docs in References[edit]

Two docs by the same author, unformatted, were listed in the References but not used anywhere; not clear why they were there. Here they are in case they have value. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:25, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Bueno Hernández A. & J. Llorente Bousquets (2003). "El Pensamiento Biogeográfico de Alfred Russel Wallace." Bogotá: Academia Colombiana de Ciencias, Colección Luis Duque Gómez I.
  • Bueno Hernández A. & J. Llorente Bousquets (2005). "L'Evoluzione di un Evoluzionista. Alfred Russel Wallace e la Geografia della Vita." M. Zunino (Ed.). Torino, Italia: Bollati Boringhieri Editore.
    • ^ Slotten p. 6