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“I was particularly fascinated by this book of Michael Shermer’s because Alfred Russel Wallace is a name that most students are not familiar with. But if you have a good knowledge of science you will recognise the name right away. He and Darwin converged on the idea of evolution from different angles. But Darwin was well supported by his family’s wealth and the fact that he could travel across the world, as he did on the Beagle, and come back with masses of specimens. He had the means to be able to collect all these things, while Alfred Russel Wallace was very poor. It turns out that Alfred Russel Wallace was also a great believer in woo-woo and in spiritualism. He had his own personal reasons for believing in survival after death – most people do. Yet that coloured his life so substantially that he wasn’t quite able to wrap his mind around some of the problems that evolution presented. Alfred Russel Wallace should be given as much credit as Charles Darwin for discovering the idea of evolution, and if he didn’t have the prejudices of believing in superstitious nonsense – and if he had better income – then he could have been as famous as Darwin. But Darwin was more fortunate.” Read more...
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James Randi, Magician