Charles Darwin John Darby | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Charles Darwin John Darby

Better late than never!

Not guilty: Charles DarwinIconic naturalist Charles Darwin has finally been cleared of stealing ideas that helped shape his theory of evolution more than 40 years after historians first accused him.

Researchers assumed Darwin kept a letter from fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, also with theories about natural selection, for two weeks - enabling him to revise elements of his own theory of evolution, before announcing it to the world in July 1858.

However, scientists turned detective have now vindicated Darwin from the accusations by tracing historical shipping records to prove he received the letter a month later than previously thought.

Historians already know Wallace had a ‘eureka’ moment while living in Indonesia - discovering natural selection independently of Darwin.

He wrote his ideas in an essay, sending it to Darwin in 1858 to be passed on to noted geologist Charles Lyell.

Researchers accused Darwin of keeping the letter for two weeks - lying about the date of receipt to give him time to revise his own ideas.

The essay was published alongside one by Darwin in 1858, marking the first publication of the theory of evolution - one of the greatest revolutions in the history of science.

The controversy all began in 1972 after a researcher found another letter from Wallace to a friend sent on the March 1858 steamer from the island of Ternate in modern Indonesia.

The letter still had postmarks from Singapore and London that showed it arrived in London on 3 June 1858 - two weeks before Darwin said he received the essay from Wallace.

Historians could not understand how two letters on the same steamer can travel along the same mail route back to London, yet Darwin did not receive his until two weeks after the other letter arrived.

The mystery led to numerous conspiracy theories - including the accusations Darwin stole ideas from the letter, which plagued Darwin’s reputation.

Alfred Russel Wallace: An English naturalist and explorer who developed a theory of evolution independently of Darwin



So then, one might wonder, what do all of these Intelligent Design people really want? "The Wedge Strategy," which was leaked by the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, the main group supporting Intelligent Design, and a subsidiary of the conservative Christian think-tank, the Discovery Institute. The document starts:
"The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West's greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences

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