The correspondence of Alfred Russel Wallace

| 26 Comments

The correspondence of Alfred Russel Wallace is now online. And here’s an interesting “interview” with Wallace, with Wallace’s answers drawn from that correspondence.

26 Comments

As I understand it, he had correspondence to an ape.

We all do.

Glen Davidson

Your link to the Wallace “interview” just leads to the Wallace letters page. I didn’t immediately see a link to the interview there either.

Nuts. I think it was in New Scientist. I will hunt it up when I get near a computer tomorrow.

From this phone it looks like the links are reversed in the OP.

I read Wallace’s book long ago and liked it and understood it better then modern textbooks. I liked the stuff about islands fauna/flora being history of previous “ages” fauna/flora floating a shore. so a different result from close mainland flora/fauna. It fits fine in a YEC model. I didn’t read about his reasons for why he thought evolution was the origin of biological reality but it all seems to come down to the diversity in these jungles. They see no innate biological mechanism for the diversity and so am logically forced to see natural actions of selection on members of a population. They are wrong. With people or creatures or flora it largely is about innate triggers , passing thresholds, that works upon a existing biological system and creates change. The great observation of this is people. In explaining the reason for the differences between people one largely explains how biological change happened. Creationists can say this. Evolutionists can not.

OK, the links are fixed.

And that’s the last bit of word salad from Byers for this thread. Any more go to the BW.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

And that’s the last bit of word salad from Byers for this thread. Any more go to the BW.

Thank you.

From a longtime lurker: Enjoyed the Wallace “interview” and the text of his Darwin-Wallace medal acceptance speech. At the risk of encouraging RB and/or going too far off topic, the “fauna/flora floating a shore” remark leads me to think of the New World Monkeys (Platyrrhini) and the question of how they got there from the “Old World.” I found an interesting article on the subject at http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/conte[…]10/1620.full . According to their DNA analysis they calculate that the Old and New World monkeys split from each other about 35MYA with strong evidence of an African origin. By this time, however, South America and Africa were separate continents although not as far apart then as they are now. Before exploring the possible scenarios the authors note: “The problem is that a transatlantic journey from Africa to South America is not an easy feat for primates.” Any thoughts, comments, links to more recent research on the subject? (I’m surprised more creationists and ID proponentsists haven’t latched onto this question [maybe they have, but I’m not finding it in Google], so some expert and readable thoughts on the subject might be fruifully preventive in case they ever do).

All I know is that 35 million years ago, the Atlantic ocean was about half as broad as it is today. I don’t know what kind of currents were at work in the Atlantic, but I believe I’ve read that the Indian ocean flowed into it from around the bottom of Africa. This could happen because Australia and South America were closer to the Antarctic coast, which preventing the Antarctic circumpolar current from forming until a few million years later.

I’m surprised more creationists and ID proponentsists haven’t latched onto this question [maybe they have, but I’m not finding it in Google

Well, here’s one, anyhow.

Jonathan M tries to make something of it, babbling about how anomalies are easily explained after the fact–but of course there’s hardly any reason to suppose that oceans are necessarily impervious to the occasional rafting of some animals, or perhaps other means of dispersal.

As something like the new world monkeys likely is due to some odd happenstance, it is unlikely that research is going to be productive.

I think that it’s pretty clear why creationists of all stripes don’t make too much of it, which is that they have no explanation for it that is compelling. OK, so what explanations do they have that are compelling? To us, really nothing, but to themselves the idea that God did it is paramount. Some creationists, like YECs, do like to resort to miracles for “post-Flood dispersal,” and in a sense it isn’t that bad for them–no worse than the magic mystery flood, at least. But what “design” would God moving monkeys to South America satisfy for the IDiots, and why didn’t it include moving, say, giraffes to South America? They want to at least sound sciency, and they really have nothing that even sounds good to themselves, it would seem. Behe has the same problem, I think (for whatever reason he doesn’t seem prone to invoking magic for transporation, only for new traits), but old earthers at the DI pretty much do too, since they tend to favor miracles that produce what we see–which generally has geographical constraints, with the occasional anomalies. YECs at the DI might like to invoke miracles for geographical distribution, but they can’t tread too heavily upon old earth toes, or at least that’s what I suppose.

It’s an odd limitation to God that seems to keep the old earthers from simply saying that God did it (although the fact that in the religion of most of them God made life, He didn’t move it around via miracle, almost certainly plays a role in that limitation), but there it is, God isn’t their form of transportation, only their form of creation. God isn’t limited, but acts limited in exceedingly limited ways, such as typically keeping vertebrate lines extremely derivative of ancestral (at least earlier) organisms.

Anomalies aren’t unexpected over the course of tens of millions of years, in fact, but they’re not likely to yield to research, supposing that they did happen. Culturally/religiously the IDiots apparently have reasons not to simply invoke God for moving monkeys around, and I suspect that they’re not likely to hype something so obviously ad hoc and strange to their religion.

Glen Davidson

I should finish that last sentence. It should have been something like so:

Culturally/religiously the IDiots apparently have reasons not to simply invoke God for moving monkeys around, and I suspect that they’re not likely to hype something so obviously ad hoc and strange to their religion as magic carpet or other magic transportation to “fix” the problem.

Glen Davidson

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Richard, cleanup on aisle 1.

ksplawn said:

All I know is that 35 million years ago, the Atlantic ocean was about half as broad as it is today. I don’t know what kind of currents were at work in the Atlantic, but I believe I’ve read that the Indian ocean flowed into it from around the bottom of Africa. This could happen because Australia and South America were closer to the Antarctic coast, which preventing the Antarctic circumpolar current from forming until a few million years later.

Steven Callahan unintentionally rafted across the tropical Atlantic Ocean in 76 days, pushed westward by the South Equatorial Current and the trade winds. His book is: Adrift: 76 days lost at sea (1986). Here is a link for more reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Callahan

North Equatorial Current! The same one that Columbus took.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F[…]ceanicas.gif

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said: I think that it’s pretty clear why creationists of all stripes don’t make too much of it, which is that they have no explanation for it that is compelling.

Denying rafting is not something YECs can really do: I believe they claim thats one of the mechanisms for post-ark dispersion.

I’d also suspect that most YECs want to lump new world and old world monkeys together into one ‘kind,’ both from just gut reaction and from ark-space considerations. So they wouldn’t be looking for a way to show they are different kinds in the first place.

Denying rafting is not something YECs can really do: I believe they claim thats one of the mechanisms for post-ark dispersion.

If faith can move mountains, why not monkeys?

s.t.early said:

At the risk of encouraging RB and/or going too far off topic, the “fauna/flora floating a shore” remark leads me to think of the New World Monkeys (Platyrrhini) and the question of how they got there from the “Old World.” I found an interesting article on the subject at http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/conte[…]10/1620.full . According to their DNA analysis they calculate that the Old and New World monkeys split from each other about 35MYA with strong evidence of an African origin. By this time, however, South America and Africa were separate continents although not as far apart then as they are now. Before exploring the possible scenarios the authors note: “The problem is that a transatlantic journey from Africa to South America is not an easy feat for primates.” Any thoughts, comments, links to more recent research on the subject?

The African DNA argues against the monkeys passing through Beringia during a period of low sea levels. If that were true, they should be Asian monkey, but you say they aren’t.

76 days is a long time for any primate, even one as tough and smart as Steve Callahan obviously was, to go without fresh drinking water. So here is a project for some graduate student out there in Oceanography:

1. Set up an OGCM (Ocean General Circulation Model) to simulate the major ocean currents.

2. Skooch South America and Africa closer together, similar to what they were 35 mya.

3. See if there forms a faster “jet”, or speedy ocean current, between West Africa and South America that can transport our intrepid primates across the Atlantic in fewer than 76 days.

4. Publish. Get rich and famous. Or at least get your degree.

While you’re at it, explain why the Sahara was once much wetter. Plot the course of the ITCZ (Inter-tropical Convergence Zone) with your new continental configuration. Remember that Henry Stommel figured out Western Boundary Currents on a napkin while driving to Woods Hole.

Funny how the organisms that “evolutionists” suppose probably rafted are the ones that could actually raft.

Why didn’t rhino’s raft over? Surely that’s not beyond God’s Designer’s capabilities, but rather beyond reasonable natural means.

Glen Davidson

It’s because rhinos are RINOs: Rafters In Name Only.

I can’t help thinking that the Discovery Institute will score ‘an own goal’ with their adoption of Wallace as their guru of ID, since Wallace was always an evolutionist and always strongly argued that natural selection was the primary evolutionary force. In fact during the period beginning in the 1880’s which has been called the ‘Eclipse of Darwinism’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_ec[…]of_Darwinism) only he and a few others like Poulton and Weismann insisted on the primacy of natural selection - most other biologists having adopted other theories to explain evolution, such as neo-Lamarckism, orthogenesis, or the mutation theory. Wallace never believed in Creationism and the link between Wallace’s peculiar idea (developed when he was an old man in his late 70’s) that evolution was in some cases ‘guided’ by spirits, is very different from the idea that species were created ‘fully formed’ by God. Wallace was not a Christian and in his view the unseen spirit world and visible physical world were both part of the natural world. I have always liked this quote from a letter Wallace wrote to his brother-in-law Thomas Sims in 1861, whilst he was still in the Malay Archipelago “In my early youth I heard, as ninety-nine-hundredths of the world do, only the evidence on one side, and became impressed with a veneration for religion which has left some traces even to this day. I have since heard and read much on both sides, and pondered much upon the matter in all its bearings…I have since wandered among men of many races and many religions. I have studied man, and nature in all its aspects, and I have sought after truth. In my solitude I have pondered much on the incomprehensible subjects of space, eternity, life and death. I think I have fairly heard and fairly weighed the evidence on both sides, and I remain an utter disbeliever in almost all that you consider the most sacred truths. I will pass over as utterly contemptible the oft-repeated accusation that sceptics shut out evidence because they will not be governed by the morality of Christianity. You I know will not believe that in my case, and I know its falsehood as a general rule…To the mass of mankind religion of some kind is a necessity. But whether there be a God and whatever be His nature; whether we have an immortal soul or not, or whatever may be our state after death, I can have no fear of having to suffer for the study of nature and the search for truth, or believe that those will be better off in a future state who have lived in the belief of doctrines inculcated from childhood, and which are to them rather a matter of blind faith than intelligent conviction.”

Why didn’t rhino’s raft over?

shipping charges were prohibitive!

Karen S. said:

Why didn’t rhino’s raft over?

shipping charges were prohibitive!

One might even say that whoever had to pay that would be on the horns of a dilemma!

eric said:

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said: I think that it’s pretty clear why creationists of all stripes don’t make too much of it, which is that they have no explanation for it that is compelling.

Denying rafting is not something YECs can really do: I believe they claim thats one of the mechanisms for post-ark dispersion.

I’d also suspect that most YECs want to lump new world and old world monkeys together into one ‘kind,’ both from just gut reaction and from ark-space considerations. So they wouldn’t be looking for a way to show they are different kinds in the first place.

One of the most basic logic flaws employed by all denialist movements is combined assumption of default for their position/impossible standard for others.

It’s never clear whether people who use this construction believe themselves. On one hand this construction is often used by defense attorneys and industry lobby groups who are clearly consciously using it as an advocacy strategy, rather than experiencing it as an unconscious defense mechanism. On the other hand, many authoritarians may really be unable to “think” any other way.

At any rate, the construction, which we’re all familiar with, goes like this -

If anything exists that (‘evolution’ can’t perfectly explain/modern medicine can’t perfectly treat/may not have been exactly predicted by climate scientists/cannot be directly linked to a molecular mechanism involving tobacco smoke) then this is treated as positive evidence for (ID/creationism, medical quackery, climate denial, or denial of a link between cigarettes and disease).

It’s an objective fact that new world monkeys are genetically related to old world monkeys. There are only two possible rational explanations. They either both evolved from a common ancestor, or a strained Last Thursday/Omphalos explanation can be invoked - a trickster deity magically created one or both groups, but deliberately made it look exactly as if they share common ancestry, at every level of resolution that has been observed so far. The evidence for common ancestry is strong at all levels of resolution. I prefer the first of these two explanations, which emerges from a useful analysis that guides further study and makes valid predictions. The Last Thursday explanation is trivially non-disprovable, but useless.

To use the absurd argument that “if scientists don’t currently have a detailed explanation for how monkeys got to the new world, ID/creationism must be true” is an obvious example of the logically flawed construction I described above.

Professor Wilberforce said:

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Administrators,

Please check the ISP address for this troll. Joe usually posts from the United Kingdom. If this is him once again, it shouldn’t be hard to prove. He has been permanently banned for threatening violence against anyone who disagrees with him. Don’t let him disrupt any more threads.

He’s been banned at that address.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 30, 2013 5:01 PM.

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