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January 1963

Darwin and the Modern World View

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(1):134-135. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620250138041

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Occasionally a single individual, either by his intellectual brilliance and power or by the chance that he crystallizes and gives clarity to a prevailing intellectual concept, so dominates an age that he comes to be recognized as the epitome of his time. It seems unlikely that biological and scientific thought would have taken the bent it did without the massive contributions of Darwin. We forget that he would have been a truly great man even without his evolution of evolution. It is unlikely, however, that Wallace and other people who were developing the same ideas of evolution would have had the same impact as Darwin made.

Nothing is more difficult to evaluate justly than the separate contributions individual persons have made in the history of ideas, for they cannot be titrated, their voltage cannot be measured, and they cannot be weighed in scales. In the moving flux of history, as

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