bookmark_borderWallace’s Thought Experiment on Understanding How Life Works

I recently finished The World of Life, by Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace was a naturalist and contemporary of Darwin. He doesn’t get enough credit for the fact that he independently came up with the theory of natural selection, perhaps because he was much more chill about attribution than Darwin was. It was Wallace’s article that prompted Darwin to quickly publish his Origin of Species. (Read more about the history here and here).

In The World of Life, Wallace argues for the existence of an organizing and directing entity that is missing from our understanding of how life works. Below are excerpts from the book, including an illuminating thought experiment which I think is pertinent to biology’s current state of affairs.

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