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Thread: Darwin stole ideas from rival?

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    Arrow Darwin stole ideas from rival?

    Darwin stole ideas from rival?

    29 Dec 2008, 0041 hrs IST, Jack Grimston, Sunday Times, London

    As the scientific world prepares to mark Charles Darwin’s bicentenary, the author of ‘On the Origin of Species’ is facing accusations of plagiarism and unjustly claiming credit as the father of evolutionary theory.

    One group of critics has commissioned computer experts with specialised anti-plagiarism software to scour Darwin’s book, published in 1859, for similarities to a paper released the year before by Alfred Russel Wallace, a naturalist who worked for eight years in modern Indonesia.

    Initial indications are the analysis will show that some of the most important ideas in On the Origin of Species were taken from Wallace — in particular the idea that species with variations helping them to survive would thrive and pass on these features to their offspring.

    Darwin’s defenders, by contrast, claim it was quite plausible for two scientists to have come up with similar ideas independently at the same time and that Darwin did far more than Wallace to set down, develop and promote the ideas.

    An editorial in the Times on Boxing Day said Darwin had “a plausible claim to be counted the greatest figure in this nation’s history”. The adulation has appalled Darwin’s critics, including human rights lawyer David Hallmark, a trustee of the Wallace Foundation of Indonesia.

    The software used by Hallmark’s copyright experts can detect where phrasing is identical and also see signs of an author’s style. Where a word is repeated frequently or a consistent sentence structure is used by two writers, this may suggest that one has copied from the other.

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    Reference:

    Alfred Russel Wallace

    Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 - 1913) is one of the forgotten fathers of modern science. He was born in the village of Usk in Monmouthshire, England. His father died when Alfred was young. Not long after formal schooling ended for Alfred. He joined his brother, William, in surveying a number of English counties over the next four years. This experience was to teach him how to make accurate observations and detailed recordings, skills which would be of immense importance in later life. Shortly after this, Wallace was appointed to the position of drawing-master at the Collegiate School in Leicester. It was here that he met Henry Walter Bates, a fellow teacher who introduced his young colleague to the methods and delights of botany.

    After two years the friends set out for South America on an expedition which would see them explore the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers. In order to cover a larger area Bates and Wallace split up. Wallace sent his collection of specimens to Para for storage in advance of transportation to England. He spent over four years in the tropical jungles of Brazil before setting sail for home in 1852. Disaster struck on the high seas. Wallace's ship caught fire and had to be abandoned in great haste. He lost his entire collection and most of his notes. Luckily, the crew and passengers were rescued by a passing vessel and, after further difficulties, arrived at Deal in an exhausted state.

    Such a calamity would have defeated a lesser person but Wallace turned his energies to writing an account of his time in Brazil, Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro (1853). Within twelve months he again left England and sailed eastwards towards Singapore. It was here, over the next eight years, that A.R. Wallace was to make the great voyage which led to his formulation of the theory of Natural Selection.

    Singapore, in 1854, was a bustling place. Traders from near and far would bring their goods to the city's teeming marketplaces. Spices, in particular, were highly prized. Ships from many different nations would arrive to transport the precious commodity across the world's seas. It was here that Wallace spent his first few weeks. After a brief rest he headed to the islands of the Moluccas group, the place from where the modern voyage will set sail. Here he made the initial preparations for exploring the region ...

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    Last edited by trimurtulu; 01-03-2009 at 11:51 PM.

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    interesting... but why just now compare Charles Darwin's work to that of Alfred Russel Wallace?

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    Default Alfred Russel Wallace: The Origins of an Evolutionist (1823-1848)

    Rocky Road: Alfred Russel Wallace





    Alfred Russel Wallace
    Born 8 January 1823(1823-01-08)
    Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales
    Died 7 November 1913 (aged 90)
    Broadstone, Dorset, England

    Citizenship British
    Fields exploration, biology, biogeography, social reform, botany
    Known for his work on natural selection and biogeography
    Notable awards Royal Society's Royal Medal (1866) and Copley Medal (1908), Order of Merit (1908)

    Alfred Russel Wallace OM, FRS (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist. He is best known for independently proposing a theory of natural selection which prompted Charles Darwin to publish on his own theory.

    Wallace did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin and then in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the Wallace Line that divides Indonesia into two distinct parts, one with animals more closely related to those of Australia and the other with animals more closely related to those found in Asia. He was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and is sometimes called the "father of biogeography".[1] Wallace was one of the leading evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century who made a number of other contributions to the development of evolutionary theory besides being co-discover of natural selection. These included the concept of warning colouration in animals, and the Wallace effect, a hypothesis on how natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging the development of barriers against hybridization.

    Wallace was strongly attracted to unconventional ideas. His advocacy of Spiritualism and his belief in a non-material origin for the higher mental faculties of humans strained his relationship with the scientific establishment, especially with other early proponents of evolution. In addition to his scientific work he was a social activist who was critical of what he considered to be an unjust social and economic system in 19th-century Britain. His interest in biogeography resulted in his being one of the first prominent scientists to raise concerns over the environmental impact of human activity. Wallace was a prolific author who wrote on both scientific and social issues; his account of his adventures and observations during his explorations in Indonesia and Malaysia, The Malay Archipelago, was one of the most popular and influential journals of scientific exploration published during the 19th century.


    If ever a scientist didn't get his fair share of posthumous glory, it was Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace co-founded the theory of natural selection with the country gentleman Charles Darwin, but though Wallace enjoyed recognition during his own lifetime, his contributions were largely overlooked for much of the 20th century. And while he lived, he led a much less luxurious life than Darwin.

    Before starting a family, Wallace's father Thomas spent his days as an idle gentleman. He gave up that idleness reluctantly, wandering from one bad investment or low paying job to another. This financial uncertainty may have been what fostered in the future naturalist an unusual sensitivity to people others considered inferior, both the poor and the so-called savages of other cultures, illustrated by his ability to see himself through their eyes. He once recounted:


    One day when I was rambling in the forest, an old man stopped to look at me catching an insect. He stood very quietly till I had pinned and put it away in my collecting box, when he could contain himself no longer, but bent almost double, and enjoyed a hearty roar of laughter.

    Wallace had to leave school and start working at the age of 14, but he used his meager spare time to continue his unofficial education. While visiting his older brother in London, he took a break from the weekly sermons on fire and brimstone he always heard in the parish back home. He attended scientific lectures, read Tom Paine's Age of Reason, and read Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation endorsing transmutation. Vestiges had a long-lasting effect on him, and he set the goal of uncovering how organisms change over time.

    While he enjoyed his new intellectual liberties, Wallace worked as a surveyor for his older brother. In that occupation, he started a practice that would recur later in his life: initiating correspondence with prominent scientists to discuss their field of research. (A 2006 discovery revealed an unpublished letter of his to William Henry Fox Talbot about ways of improving telescope mirrors.) Wallace worked as a surveyor for several years before setting out for the Amazon to work as a commercial collector. There, he searched the New World's rainforests looking for exotic specimens for European buyers. Early on, he began to see himself (accurately) as more than a collector — as a scientific traveler. Unfortunately, the voyage from South America back to England ended in disaster: a fire forced everyone to abandon ship, and Wallace lost virtually everything he had collected. He mourned his losses, then started planning his next expedition. Not long afterwards, he was in the Malay Archipelago.

    While in the archipelago, Wallace was unfussy about where he lived, what he ate, and how he traveled. He lived in huts with thatched roofs, ate whatever the natives ate, and paddled himself around in a canoe when necessary. He was particular about what he collected, however, and usually collected six specimens for every species. Driven by the need to make a living as a commercial collector, Wallace realized early on that tremendous variety exists within each species.

    Among Wallace's discoveries in the South Pacific was a breakthrough in biogeography: the Wallace Line, the recognition of distinctly different organisms living in close proximity to each other in similar environments. What he could not know at the time — the theory of plate tectonics was a long way off — was that this line marks the ancient boundary between Laurasia and Gondwana, supercontinents of the Mesozoic.

    Wallace made a similar breakthrough in understanding evolution. In 1855, he published a paper entitled "On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species" in a prestigious periodical, Annals and Magazine of Natural History, explaining the spatial and temporal closeness of similar species. A few years later, weak with a bout of malaria, Wallace had a flash of insight on how species change. The result was his scientific paper "On the Tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type." Although he didn't use the term "natural selection," he argued the same thing:


    An antelope with shorter or weaker legs must necessarily suffer more from the attacks of the feline carnivora; the passenger pigeon with less powerful wings would sooner or later be affected in its powers of procuring a regular supply of food . . . If, on the other hand, any species should produce a variety having slightly increased powers of preserving existence, that variety must inevitably in time acquire a superiority in numbers. . . . Now, let some alteration of physical conditions occur in the district — a long period of drought, a destruction of vegetation by locusts, the irruption of some new carnivorous animal seeking "pastures new" . . . it is evident that, of all the individuals composing the species, those forming the least numerous and most feebly organized variety would suffer first, and, were the pressure severe, must soon become extinct.

    Rather than send his paper directly to a publisher, Wallace instead sent the manuscript to Charles Darwin, with whom he had initiated a correspondence. Darwin had earlier been warned, by friends who had seen Wallace's 1855 paper, that the young man was onto the process of evolution, but he apparently hadn't taken their warnings very seriously. Upon seeing Wallace's succinct, eloquent paper, however, Darwin realized he was about to be scooped, and decided to end the 20-year delay in publishing his own theory. Wallace's paper and Darwin's various notes and correspondence on the subject were read at the same Linnaean Society meeting, in London on July 1, 1858. The next year, while Wallace still roughed it in the archipelago, Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

    Although Wallace independently reached the same conclusion, it has usually been Darwin's name alone associated with the theory of natural selection. Wallace expressed no resentment at receiving less credit. He remained a gracious man to the last, commenting late in life that his greatest achievement had been to prompt Darwin to publish his own theory. Darwin, in turn, proved to be a good friend to Wallace — recalling "how generous and noble was his disposition" in his autobiography, and campaigning vigorously to secure Wallace a government pension he desperately needed. Wallace, it turned out, had no more skill in managing money than his father.

    Wallace held other interests besides biology, some of them controversial: land nationalization, a vehement opposition to vaccinations, speculation on the true identity of Shakespeare, and a belief in spiritualism. In fact, other scientists tried to investigate spiritualism, but he lacked their skepticism. His belief may have been influenced by the untimely death of his eldest child; like many others, Wallace hoped to communicate with his lost loved one through a medium. His belief in spiritualism caused him to differ with Darwin on the origin of the human mind. Darwin saw humans as highly evolved organisms; Wallace believed that the human mind was inspired by something outside evolution, and that the human spirit could continue to progress after death.

    Wallace's beliefs about man's role in the universe changed with time. In later years, he claimed that the whole purpose of the universe was the development of mankind, just "a little lower than the angels." As a young man, though, he thought differently. In one passage about the King Bird of Paradise, Wallace both marveled at the existence of such amazing creatures that had so seldom been seen by people, and made a prescient observation about humanity's impact on nature:


    I thought of the long ages of the past, during which the successive generations of this little creature had run their course — year by year being born, and living and dying amid these dark and gloomy woods, with no intelligent eye to gaze upon their loveliness; to all appearance such a wanton waste of beauty. Such ideas excite a feeling of melancholy. It seems sad, that on the one hand such exquisite creatures should live out their lives and exhibit their charms only in these wild inhospitable regions, doomed for ages yet to come to hopeless barbarism; while on the other hand, should civilized man ever reach these distant lands, and bring moral, intellectual, and physical light into the recesses of these virgin forests, we may be sure that he will so disturb the nicely-balanced relations of organic and inorganic nature as to cause the disappearance, and finally the extinction, of these very beings whose wonderful structure and beauty he alone is fitted to appreciate and enjoy. This consideration must surely tell us that all living things were not made for man.

    Wallace's accomplishments were remarkable. He assembled vast plant and animal collections, many of his discoveries completely new to science. He wrote more than 20 books, and roughly 700 articles and published letters. He keenly understood the role of competition in nature, but maintained throughout his life that cooperation and universal education were the surest paths to human achievement.
    ---

    See some more details in :



    Alfred Russel Wallace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by trimurtulu; 01-04-2009 at 12:00 AM.

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    Charles Darwin


    Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist,[I] who realised and demonstrated that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process he called natural selection. The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selection came to be widely seen as the primary explanation of the process of evolution in the 1930s,[1] and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory. In modified form, Darwin’s scientific discovery remains the foundation of biology, as it provides a unifying logical explanation for the diversity of life.

    At Edinburgh University Darwin neglected medical studies to investigate marine invertebrates, then the University of Cambridge encouraged a passion for natural science.[3] His five-year voyage on the Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author. Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin investigated the transmutation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838.[4] Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority.[5] He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories.

    His 1859 book On the Origin of Species established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature.[1] He examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.

    In recognition of Darwin’s pre-eminence, he was one of only five 19th-century UK non-royal personages to be honoured by a state funeral,[8] and was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton.


    Early life

    For more details on this topic, see Charles Darwin's education.

    The seven-year-old Charles Darwin in 1816.Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England on 12 February 1809 at his family home, the Mount.[10] He was the fifth of six children of wealthy society doctor and financier Robert Darwin, and Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood). He was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin on his father’s side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother’s side. Both families were largely Unitarian, though the Wedgwoods were adopting Anglicanism. Robert Darwin, himself quietly a freethinker, had baby Charles baptised in the Anglican Church, but Charles and his siblings attended the Unitarian chapel with their mother. The eight year old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting when he joined the day school run by its preacher in 1817. That July, his mother died. From September 1818, he joined his older brother Erasmus attending the nearby Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder.[11]

    Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before going with Erasmus to the University of Edinburgh. He found lectures dull and surgery distressing, so neglected his medical studies. He learned taxidermy from John Edmonstone, a freed black slave who had accompanied Charles Waterton in the South American rainforest, and often sat with this "very pleasant and intelligent man".[12]

    In Darwin’s second year he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural history group whose debates strayed into radical materialism. He assisted Robert Edmund Grant’s investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of marine invertebrates in the Firth of Forth, and in March 1827 presented at the Plinian his own discovery that black spores found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech. One day, Grant praised Lamarck’s evolutionary ideas. Darwin was astonished, but had recently read the similar ideas of his grandfather Erasmus and remained indifferent.[13] Darwin was rather bored by Robert Jameson’s natural history course which covered geology including the debate between Neptunism and Plutonism. He learnt classification of plants, and assisted with work on the collections of the University Museum, one of the largest museums in Europe at the time.[14]

    This neglect of medical studies annoyed his father, who shrewdly sent him to Christ’s College, Cambridge, for a Bachelor of Arts degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican parson.[15] Darwin began there in January 1828, but preferred riding and shooting to studying. His cousin Fox introduced him to the popular craze for beetle collecting which he pursued zealouly, getting some of his finds published in Stevens' Illustrations of British entomology. He became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow and met other leading naturalists who saw scientific work as religious natural theology, becoming known to these dons as “the man who walks with Henslow”. When exams drew near, Darwin focused on his studies and was delighted by the language and logic of William Paley's Evidences of Christianity.[16] In his final examination in January 1831 Darwin did well, coming tenth out of a pass list of 178.[17]

    Darwin had to stay at Cambridge until June. He studied Paley's Natural Theology which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature.[18] He read John Herschel's new book which described the highest aim of natural philosophy as understanding such laws through inductive reasoning based on observation, and Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative of scientific travels. Inspired with "a burning zeal" to contribute, Darwin planned to visit Tenerife with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the tropics. In preparation, he joined Adam Sedgwick's geology course then went with him in the summer mapping strata in Wales.[19] After a fortnight with student friends at Barmouth, he returned home to find a letter from Henslow proposing Darwin as a suitable (if unfinished) gentleman naturalist for a self-funded place with captain Robert FitzRoy, more as a companion than a mere collector, on HMS Beagle which was to leave in four weeks on an expedition to chart the coastline of South America.[20] His father objected to the planned two-year voyage, regarding it as a waste of time, but was persuaded by his brother-in-law, Josiah Wedgwood, to agree to his son’s participation.


    Journey of the Beagle

    For more details on this topic, see Second voyage of HMS Beagle.

    The voyage of the BeagleThe voyage lasted almost five years and, as FitzRoy had intended, Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while the Beagle surveyed and charted coasts.[22][1] He kept careful notes of his observations and theoretical speculations, and at intervals during the voyage his specimens were sent to Cambridge together with letters including a copy of his journal for his family.[23] He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates, but in all other areas was a novice and ably collected specimens for expert appraisal.[24] Despite repeatedly suffering badly from seasickness while at sea, most of his zoology notes are about marine invertebrates, starting with plankton collected in a calm spell.[22][25]

    On their first stop ashore at St Jago, Darwin found that a white band high in the volcanic rock cliffs included seashells. FitzRoy had given him the first volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology which set out uniformitarian concepts of land slowly rising or falling over immense periods,[II] and Darwin saw things Lyell's way, theorising and thinking of writing a book on geology.[26] In Brazil, Darwin was delighted by the tropical forest.[27] but detested the sight of slavery.[28]

    At Punta Alta in Patagonia he made a major find of fossils of huge extinct mammals in cliffs beside modern seashells, indicating recent extinction with no signs of change in climate or catastrophe. He identified the little known Megatherium, with bony armour which at first seemed to him like a giant version of the armour on local armadillos. The finds brought great interest when they reached England.[29] On rides with gauchos into the interior to explore geology and collect more fossils he gained social, political and anthropological insights into both native and colonial people at a time of revolution, and learnt that two types of rhea had separate but overlapping territories.[30][31] Further south he saw stepped plains of shingle and seashells as raised beaches showing a series of elevations. He read Lyell’s second volume and accepted its view of “centres of creation” of species, but his discoveries and theorising challenged Lyell's ideas of smooth continuity and of extinction of species.[32][33]


    As HMS Beagle surveyed the coasts of South America, Darwin theorised about geology and extinction of giant mammals.Three Fuegians on board, who had been seized during the first Beagle voyage and had spent a year in England, were taken back to Tierra del Fuego as missionaries. Darwin found them friendly and civilised, yet their relatives seemed “miserable, degraded savages”, as different as wild from domesticated animals.[34] To Darwin the difference showed cultural advances, not racial inferiority. Unlike his scientist friends, he now thought there was no unbridgeable gap between humans and animals.[35] A year on, the mission had been abandoned. The Fuegian they'd named Jemmy Button lived like the other natives, had a wife, and had no wish to return to England.[36]

    Darwin experienced an earthquake in Chile and saw signs that the land had just been raised, including mussel-beds stranded above high tide. High in the Andes he saw seashells, and several fossil trees that had grown on a sand beach. He theorised that as the land rose, oceanic islands sank, and coral reefs round them grew to form atolls.[37][38]

    On the Galápagos Islands Darwin noted that mockingbirds were distinct from those in Chile and differed from island to island. He heard that tortoise shells slightly varied in shape, showing which island they came from.[24][39] In Australia, the marsupial rat-kangaroo and the platypus seemed so unusual that Darwin thought it was almost as though two distinct Creators had been at work.[40] He found the Aborigines "good-humoured & pleasant", and noted their depletion by European settlement.[41]

    The Beagle investigated how the atolls of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands had formed, and the survey supported Darwin's theorising.[38] FitzRoy began writing the official Narrative of the Beagle voyages, and after reading Darwin’s diary he proposed incorporating it into the account.[42] Darwin's Journal was eventually rewritten as a separate third volume, on natural history.[43]

    In Cape Town Darwin and FitzRoy met John Herschel, who had recently written to Lyell praising his uniformitarianism as opening bold speculation on “that mystery of mysteries, the replacement of extinct species by others” as “a natural in contradistinction to a miraculous process”.[44] When organising his notes as the ship sailed home, Darwin wrote that if his growing suspicions about the mockingbirds, the tortoises and the Falkland Island Fox were correct, “such facts undermine the stability of Species”, then cautiously added “would” before “undermine”.[45] He later wrote that such facts “seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species”.[46]


    Inception of Darwin’s evolutionary theory

    For more details on this topic, see Inception of Darwin's theory.

    While still a young man, Charles Darwin joined the scientific eliteWhen the Beagle returned on 2 October 1836, Darwin was already a celebrity in scientific circles as in December 1835 Henslow had fostered his former pupil’s reputation by giving selected naturalists a pamphlet of Darwin’s geological letters.[47] Darwin visited his home in Shrewsbury and saw relatives, then hurried to Cambridge to see Henslow, who advised on finding naturalists available to catalogue the collections and agreed to take on the botanical specimens. Darwin’s father organised investments, enabling his son to be a self-funded gentleman scientist, and an excited Darwin went round the London institutions being fêted and seeking experts to describe the collections. Zoologists had a huge backlog of work, and there was a danger of specimens just being left in storage.[48]

    Charles Lyell eagerly met Darwin for the first time on 29 October and soon introduced him to the up-and-coming anatomist Richard Owen, who had the facilities of the Royal College of Surgeons to work on the fossil bones collected by Darwin. Owen’s surprising results included gigantic extinct sloths, a near complete skeleton of the unknown Scelidotherium and a hippopotamus-sized rodent-like skull named Toxodon resembling a giant capybara. The armour fragments were from the Glyptodon, a huge armadillo as Darwin had initially thought.[49] These extinct creatures were closely related to living species in South America.[50]

    In mid-December Darwin took lodgings in Cambridge, to organise work on his collections and rewrite his Journal.[51] He wrote his first paper, showing that the South American landmass was slowly rising, and with Lyell’s enthusiastic backing read it to the Geological Society of London on 4 January 1837. On the same day, he presented his mammal and bird specimens to the Zoological Society. The ornithologist John Gould soon announced that the Galapagos birds that Darwin had thought a mixture of blackbirds, “gros-beaks” and finches, were, in fact, twelve separate species of finches. On 17 February Darwin was elected to the Council of the Geographical Society and Lyell's presidential address presented Owen’s findings on Darwin’s fossils, stressing geographical continuity of species as supporting his uniformitarian ideas.[52]

    Early in March Darwin moved to London to be near this work, joining Lyell's social circle of scientists and savants such as Charles Babbage,[53] who described God as a programmer of laws. John Herschel’s letter on the "mystery of mysteries" of new species was widely discussed, with explanations sought in natural laws, not ad hoc miracles. Darwin stayed with his freethinking brother Erasmus, part of this Whig circle and close friend of writer Harriet Martineau who promoted Malthusianism underlying the controversial Whig Poor Law reforms to stop welfare from causing overpopulation and more poverty. As a Unitarian she welcomed the radical implications of transmutation of species, promoted by Grant and some medical men but anathema to Anglicans defending social order.[54][44]


    In mid-July 1837 Darwin started his “B” notebook on Transmutation of Species, and on page 36 wrote “I think” above the first evolutionary tree.In their first meeting to discuss his detailed findings, Gould told Darwin that the Galápagos mockingbirds from different islands were separate species, not just varieties, and the finch group included the “wrens”. Darwin had not labelled the finches by island, but from the notes of others on the Beagle, including FitzRoy, he allocated species to islands.[55] The two rheas were also distinct species, and on 14 March Darwin announced how their distribution changed going southwards.

    By mid-March, Darwin was speculating in his Red Notebook on the possibility that "one species does change into another" to explain the geographical distribution of living species such as the rheas, and extinct ones such as Macrauchenia like a giant guanaco. His thoughts on lifespan, asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction developed in his “B” notebook around mid-July on to variation in offspring "to adapt & alter the race to changing world" explaining the Galápagos tortoises, mockingbirds and rheas. He sketched branching descent, then a genealogical branching of a single evolutionary tree, in which "It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another", discarding Lamarck's independent lineages progressing to higher forms.


    Overwork, illness, and marriage

    While developing this intensive study of transmutation, Darwin became mired in more work. Still rewriting his Journal, he took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Henslow’s help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. He agreed to unrealistic dates for this and for a book on South American Geology supporting Lyell’s ideas. Darwin finished writing his Journal around 20 June 1837 just as Queen Victoria came to the throne, but then had its proofs to correct.[58]

    Darwin’s health suffered from the pressure. On 20 September he had “an uncomfortable palpitation of the heart", so his doctors urged him to "knock off all work" and live in the country for a few weeks. After visiting Shrewsbury he joined his Wedgwood relatives at Maer Hall, but found them too eager for tales of his travels to give him much rest. His charming, intelligent, and cultured cousin Emma Wedgwood, nine months older than Darwin, was nursing his invalid aunt. His uncle Jos pointed out an area of ground where cinders had disappeared under loam and suggested that this might have been the work of earthworms, inspiring "a new & important theory" on their role in soil formation which Darwin presented at the Geological Society on 1 November.

    William Whewell pushed Darwin to take on the duties of Secretary of the Geological Society. After initially declining the work, he accepted the post in March 1838.[60] Despite the grind of writing and editing the Beagle reports, Darwin made remarkable progress on transmutation, taking every opportunity to question expert naturalists and, unconventionally, people with practical experience such as farmers and pigeon fanciers.[1][61] Over time his research drew on information from his relatives and children, the family butler, neighbours, colonists and former shipmates.[62] He included mankind in his speculations from the outset, and on seeing an orangutan in the zoo on 28 March 1838 noted its child-like behaviour.

    The strain told, and by June he was being laid up for days on end with stomach problems, headaches and heart symptoms. For the rest of his life, he was repeatedly incapacitated with episodes of stomach pains, vomiting, severe boils, palpitations, trembling and other symptoms, particularly during times of stress such as attending meetings or making social visits. The cause of Darwin’s illness remained unknown, and attempts at treatment had little success.

    On 23 June he took a break and went “geologising” in Scotland. He visited Glen Roy in glorious weather to see the parallel “roads” cut into the hillsides at three heights. He later published his view that these were marine raised beaches, but then had to accept that they were shorelines of a proglacial lake.

    Fully recuperated, he returned to Shrewsbury in July. Used to jotting down daily notes on animal breeding, he scrawled rambling thoughts about career and prospects on two scraps of paper, one with columns headed “Marry” and “Not Marry”. Advantages included “constant companion and a friend in old age ... better than a dog anyhow”, against points such as “less money for books” and “terrible loss of time.”[66] Having decided in favour, he discussed it with his father, then went to visit Emma on 29 July. He did not get around to proposing, but against his father’s advice he mentioned his ideas on transmutation.

    Continuing his research in London, Darwin’s wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Populati
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    Alfred Russel Wallace’s supporters claim his ideas in an 1858 paper may have been plagiarised in 1859 by Darwin for On the Origin of Species.

    They include:

    Species are engaged in a struggle for existence
    Checks in nature impede a species from proliferating
    Climate affects the survival or extinction of a species
    Selective breeding of domesticated animals illustrates the process of evolution in the wild

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