The Other Evolutionist
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.”
Everybody knows that the modern theory of evolution was described in detail by Charles Darwin in his famous work, The Origin of Species, published in 1859. What is not so well-known is that Darwin was very nearly beaten to the punch by another evolutionist, Alfred Russel Wallace.
In the late 1850s, Wallace was on location in what is now Malaysia, where he was collecting specimens to sell to collectors in order to raise money. He was also writing about his discoveries and his thoughts. It was during this time that he developed his concept of the separation of fauna in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) into Eurasian in the West and Australasian in the East. The separation between these areas has become known as the Wallace Line.
From 1856 through 1858, Wallace wrote Darwin a couple of times, and the actual “discovery” of evolution by natural selection with modification was originally credited jointly to Darwin and Wallace – though Darwin was given the pre-eminence, mostly because he was a Victorian Gentleman, whereas Wallace was of more modest upbringing.
Indeed, there is a great contrast between these two evolutionists. Darwin was largely supported by his father’s money. Wallace had to travel and collect specimens to make money. Darwin had all the advantages of privileged education. Wallace was mostly self-educated. Darwin was, of secular views, practically an atheist. Wallace was a spiritualist and believed that his theory had come to him through familiar spirits.
It should not, however, surprise us that neither Darwin nor Wallace gave any glory to God for their ideas. Both men’s ideas contradict the word of God.
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