Frases de Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace Foto
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Alfred Russel Wallace

Fecha de nacimiento: 8. Enero 1823
Fecha de muerte: 7. Noviembre 1913

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Alfred Russel Wallace OM FRS fue un naturalista, explorador, geógrafo, antropólogo y biólogo británico, conocido por haber propuesto una teoría de evolución a través de la selección natural independiente de la de Charles Darwin que motivó a este a publicar su propia teoría.

Wallace realizó un amplio trabajo de campo antes de publicar su teoría, primero en la cuenca del río Amazonas y posteriormente en el archipiélago malayo, donde identificó una línea que dividía a Indonesia en dos zonas; una donde los animales relacionados con los de Australia eran comunes y otra en la que las especies eran en gran parte de origen asiático. Dicha línea se denomina en la actualidad línea de Wallace. Fue también uno de los expertos más reconocidos del siglo XIX sobre la distribución geográfica de las especies animales y es considerado como el "padre de la biogeografía".[2]​ Asimismo, Wallace también fue uno de los pensadores evolucionistas más destacados de su época y realizó varios aportes al desarrollo de la teoría de la evolución, además de haber codesarrollado el concepto de selección natural. Entre sus contribuciones a la ciencia se encuentran el concepto de aposematismo y el denominado efecto Wallace, una hipótesis acerca del modo en que la selección natural puede contribuir al aislamiento reproductivo de especies incipientes a través de la selección de mecanismos de aislamiento reproductivo o barreras a la hibridación.

A pesar de sus grandes contribuciones científicas, Wallace sentía una gran atracción por las ideas poco convencionales. Su interés por el espiritualismo, así como su creencia en el origen inmaterial de las facultades mentales creó controversia entre los científicos, especialmente con otros pensadores evolucionistas. Además de su trabajo científico, Wallace fue un activista social y criticó el sistema socioeconómico del Reino Unido durante el siglo XIX. Su interés por la biogeografía lo llevó a convertirse en uno de los primeros científicos en plantear el problema del impacto ambiental de las actividades humanas. Asimismo, fue un prolífico escritor, publicando obras sobre temas científicos y sociales. Sus experiencias en Indonesia y Malasia fueron narradas en The Malay Archipelago, uno de los diarios de exploración más populares e influyentes que se han publicado en el siglo XIX.

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Frases Alfred Russel Wallace

„Hay una tendencia en la naturaleza a la progresión continua de ciertas clases de variedades que se alejan cada vez más de la clase original.“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
Source: Wallace, A.R.(1858) On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type. J. Proc. Linnean Society (Zoology) 3:53–62.

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„Creo que he oído atentamente y sopesado bien las pruebas de ambas partes, y me mantengo como un no creyente absoluto de casi todo lo que consideras las verdades más sagradas […] Puedo ver mucho de admirable en todas las religiones […] pero sobre si hay un Dios y cuál sea su naturaleza; sobre si tenemos un alma inmortal o no, o cuál sea nuestro estado tras la muerte, no puedo tener miedo de tener que sufrir por el estudio de la naturaleza y la búsqueda de la verdad.“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
Original: «I think I have fairly heard and fairly weighed the evidence on both sides, and I remain an utter disbeliever in almost all that you consider the most sacred truths [...] I can see much to admire in all religions [...] But whether there be a God and whatever be His nature; whether we have an immortal soul or not, or whatever may be our state after death, I can have no fear of having to suffer for the study of nature and the search for truth». Fuente: Carta a un pariente (1861).[Sin fuentes]

„La selección natural sólo pudiera haber dotado al salvaje de un cerebro poco superior al del antropoide, pero él posee uno que es muy poco inferior al de un miembro común de nuestra ilustrada sociedad.“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
Nota: escribió a Darwin, en cuanto a la enorme laguna que existe entre los humanos y los animales. Darwin, perturbado por esta admisión, respondió: «Espero que usted no haya asesinado completamente la criatura suya y mía». Source: The Brain: The Last Frontier, pp. 58, 59. Tal como se cita en la publicación: La vida... ¿cómo se presentó aquí? ¿Por evolución, o por creación?

„If I had to fix on two only as representing the perfection of the two classes, I should certainly choose the Durian and the Orange as the king and queen of fruits.“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
Context: The smell of the ripe fruit is certainly at first disagreeable, though less so when it has newly fallen from the tree; for the moment it is ripe it falls of itself, and the only way to eat Durians in perfection is to get them as they fall. It would perhaps not be correct to say that the Durian is the best of all fruits, because it cannot supply the place of subacid juicy fruits such as the orange, grape, mango, and mangosteen, whose refreshing and cooling qualities are so grateful; but as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed. If I had to fix on two only as representing the perfection of the two classes, I should certainly choose the Durian and the Orange as the king and queen of fruits. Letter to Sir William Jackson Hooker, (1856 or earlier).

„This progression, by minute steps, in various directions, but always checked and balanced by the necessary conditions, subject to which alone existence can be preserved, may, it is believed, be followed out so as to agree with all the phenomena presented by organized beings, their extinction and succession in past ages, and all the extraordinary modifications of form, instinct, and habits which they exhibit.“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
Context: The powerful retractile talons of the falcon- and the cat-tribes have not been produced or increased by the volition of those animals; but among the different varieties which occurred in the earlier and less highly organized forms of these groups, those always survived longest which had the greatest facilities for seizing their prey. Neither did the giraffe acquire its long neck by desiring to reach the foliage of the more lofty shrubs, and constantly stretching its neck for the purpose, but because any varieties which occurred among its antitypes with a longer neck than usual at once secured a fresh range of pasture over the same ground as their shorter-necked companions, and on the first scarcity of food were thereby enabled to outlive them. [... ] We believe we have now shown that there is a tendency in nature to the continued progression of certain classes of varieties further and further from the original type - a progression to which there appears no reason to assign any definite limits - and that the same principle which produces this result in a state of nature will also explain why domestic varieties have a tendency to revert to the original type. This progression, by minute steps, in various directions, but always checked and balanced by the necessary conditions, subject to which alone existence can be preserved, may, it is believed, be followed out so as to agree with all the phenomena presented by organized beings, their extinction and succession in past ages, and all the extraordinary modifications of form, instinct, and habits which they exhibit. "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type" (1858).

„But whether there be a God and whatever be His nature; whether we have an immortal soul or not, or whatever may be our state after death, I can have no fear of having to suffer for the study of nature and the search for truth“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
Context: I think I have fairly heard and fairly weighed the evidence on both sides, and I remain an utter disbeliever in almost all that you consider the most sacred truths [... ] I can see much to admire in all religions [... ] But whether there be a God and whatever be His nature; whether we have an immortal soul or not, or whatever may be our state after death, I can have no fear of having to suffer for the study of nature and the search for truth. Letter to a relative, (1861).

„That such a moth exists in Madagascar may be safely predicted“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
Context: I have carefully measured the proboscis of a specimen of [Neococytius] cluentius from South America in the collection of the British Museum, and find it to be nine inches and a quarter long! One from tropical Africa ([Xanthopan] morganii) is seven inches and a half. A species having a proboscis two or three inches longer could reach the nectar in the largest flowers of Angræcum sesquipedale, whose nectaries vary in length from ten to fourteen inches. That such a moth exists in Madagascar may be safely predicted; and naturalists who visit that island should search for it with as much confidence as astronomers searched for the planet Neptune - and they will be equally successful! "Creation by law". Quarterly Journal of Science 4: 470–488 (1867); The hawkmoth of Madagascar was later found and described in 1903, under the taxon name praedicta in reference to Wallace's quote.

„I can see much to admire in all religions“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
Context: I think I have fairly heard and fairly weighed the evidence on both sides, and I remain an utter disbeliever in almost all that you consider the most sacred truths [... ] I can see much to admire in all religions [... ] But whether there be a God and whatever be His nature; whether we have an immortal soul or not, or whatever may be our state after death, I can have no fear of having to suffer for the study of nature and the search for truth. Letter to a relative, (1861).

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„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. Many of them have no relation to him. The cycle of their existence has gone on independently of his, and is disturbed or broken by every advance in man’s intellectual development; and their happiness and enjoyments, their loves and hates, their struggles for existence, their vigorous life and early death, would seem to be immediately related to their own well-being and perpetuation alone, limited only by the equal well-being and perpetuation of the numberless other organisms with which each is more or less intimately connected.“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace, libro The Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago (1869)

„On the question of the "origin of species" Mr. Haughton enlarges considerably; but his chief arguments are reduced to the setting-up of "three unwarrantable assumptions," which he imputes to the Lamarckians and Darwinians, and then, to use his own words, "brings to the ground like a child's house of cards." The first of these is "the indefinite variation of species continuously in the one direction." Now this is certainly never assumed by Mr. Darwin, whose argument is mainly grounded on the fact that variations occur in every direction. This is so obvious that it hardly needs insisting on. In every large family there is almost always one child taller, one darker, one thinner than the rest; one will have a larger nose, another a larger eye: they vary morally as well; some are more poetical, others more morose; one has a genius for numbers, another for painting. It is the same in animals: the puppies, or kittens, or rabbits of one litter differ in many ways from each other - in colour, in size, in disposition; so that, though they do not "vary continuously in one direction," they do vary continuously in many directions; and thus there is always material for natural selection to act upon in some direction that may be advantageous. […] I will only, in conclusion, quote from it a short paragraph which contains an important truth, but which may very fairly be applied in other quarters than those for which the author intended it: - "No progress in natural science is possible as long as men will take their rude guesses at truth for facts, and substitute the fancies of their imagination for the sober rules of reasoning."“

—  Alfred Russel Wallace
"Remarks on the Rev. S. Haughton's Paper on the Bee's Cell, And on the Origin of Species" (1863).

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