Wallace, Alfred

Alfred Wallace


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Alfred Russell Wallace, along with Charles Darwin, intuited the idea of evolution by natural selection, although he differed from Darwin in that he regarded mankind as something more than just the product of evolution, and “that some higher intelligence may have directed the process by which the human race was developed”. Furthermore, Wallace was also the first great biologist to consider seriously the possibility of extraterrestrial life. A prolific author and correspondent, Wallace was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Dublin and Oxford University as well as important medals from the Royal Society, the Societe de Geographie, and the Linnaean Society. He even received the Order of Merit from the Crown in 1908–quite an honor for such an anti-establishment radical. He became a (reluctant) member of the Royal Society in 1893, and at one time or another had professional affiliations with the Royal Geographical Society, Linnaean Society, Zoological Society, Royal Entomological Society, Ethnological Society (though apparently not as a member), British Association for the Advancement of Science, Society for Psychical Research, Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences, British National Association of Spiritualists, Land Nationalisation Society, Anti-Vaccination League, and several lesser organizations. (From http://www.whale.to/vaccine/wallace/1.html).