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The Adelaide Philosophical Society and the Early Accommodation of the Darwin-Wallace Theory of Natural Selection

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Abstract:

Evolution was a topic much discussed in Adelaide before and after the arrival of the theory of natural selection, particularly its consequences for the relationship between science and theology. The Adelaide Philosophical Society (1853–1880) was a focus for readings of developments in evolutionary theory and these were widely reported in the South Australian press. Through newspaper accounts of two of its members' activities, this paper documents the interpretation of evolution and Darwinian theory in colonial Adelaide.

Charles Algernon Wilson provided early views of the natural history of the colony in the South Australian press from 1840. Wilson's writings reflect changing views of nature and, through his connection with Alfred Russel Wallace, contributed to scientific explanation of Natural Selection. Richard Davies Hanson introduced the developmental theory in 1849 and followed with a series of lectures during 1860–1864 that dealt with the social and religious implications of science and theories of evolution.

Keywords: ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE; CHARLES ALGERNON WILSON; CHARLES DARWIN; EVOLUTION; NATURAL SELECTION; RICHARD DAVIES HANSON; SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • In 2004, the South Australian Museum and the Royal Society of South Australia became partners in Southern Scientific Press. This led to the amalgamation of their two professional journals. The Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia now incorporates the Records of the South Australian Museum.
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia deals with natural history relating to South Australia
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