Calendar Curiosities: July 1, 1858: The Wallace-Darwin theory of evolution published

Hi, I’m A. I used to blog here more often, and this column was my personal favorite task. I’m bringing curiousness about the calendar back!

Very short backstory: Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin independently develop almost identical theories about natural selection. Darwin first writes about his in 1844, but it remains unpublished until Wallace asks Darwin to evaluate his work in 1858. Darwin does, agrees, and the Linnaean Society shares it with the world on July 1, 1858.

Skepchick point of interest: Doods, it’s the Theory of Evolution.

Not-so-Skepchick?: Even today, when so much of the modern modern medicine is built on the ideas first heard at the Linnaean Society, denialists abound. Worse, they run for Vice President, compete for Miss America, and teach in science classrooms all over the world. I can’t help but wonder if these same folks take antibiotics when they’re sick, or get vaccinated for flu each season.

Darwin's 1837 sketch, his first diagram of an evolutionary tree


A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

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  1. @Brian Yes, a big day for evolving species for sure. And I’m happy to be back posting! It’s all @Amy’s fault!

  2. It’s also Canada Day! Now we Canuck Skepchicks have a whole new reason to celebrate today!

  3. I have a little shrine to Darwin in my home. It includes a bust of Darwin, a copy of Voyage of the Beagle, and a small statue of a monkey atop a stack of books with Darwin on the binding and the monkey is looking inquisitively at a human skull. I respect Darwin BUT I do have a shadow of a doubt about the timing of his publication. Why did he wait so long? I think was afraid to confront the status quo. And his wife was very religious and I believe he loved her very much and did not want to hurt her. AND I think he was afraid Wallace was going to trump him. Wallace was clearly screwed. I am very pleased to see you credit both of them on this auspicious day.

  4. The earth has orbited the sun approximately 203 times since this publication…check!

    No, seriously, this is awesome. I need to find ways to celebrate these little things more often.

    And welcome back, A! We were wondering where you were! :)

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