humans were deliberately and separately created to fulfil divine purpose. Natural Selection is the non- directed application of physical and statistical laws to variation arising from random mutation. As Dawkins - admittedly a militant atheist - writes, it is based on "blind pitiless indifference" not divine providence.

Much though evolution - and for that matter science in general - has been accused of removing beauty from the world by its endeavour, Darwin was adamant that "There is grandeur in this view of life", and time and again he marvels at the beauty, wonder, scale and diversity of Nature. This is more than simply mollification of his critics: it was his fervent enthusiasm for the natural world that brought him to biology in the first place.

However, Darwin did remove (or at least attempt to move) something crucial from the world: the special, separate place of man. Though he barely mentions Homo sapiens in Origin, the implication was plain to see - if all organisms have evolved by natural selection and man is an organism, man has evolved by natural selection. At the end of the book he maintains that with the application of his theories, in time, "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history", and sure enough in The Descent of Man (1871) Darwin writes that, "Man with all his noble qualities... still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." An origin that was in all likelihood, "a hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in its habits." He expanded the scope of evolution to include moral and spiritual traits and emphasised man's biological and psychological similarities to the great apes, writing that, "the time will come when it will be thought wonderful that naturalists, who were well acquainted with the comparative structure and development of man and other animals, should have believed that each was the work of a separate act of creation." Lines in a notebook from the 1830s seem even more radical than the considered and published view: "Origin of man now proved… He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke." Darwin's The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872) sought to erase the idea that the experiencing and expression of emotions was unique to humans, and the book laid much of the groundwork for important areas of ethology (the study of animal behaviour), psychology, and even neurobiology.

Interestingly, Wallace seemed unready to confront the truth of his own ideas and reserved a special place for humanity and the human soul above the melee of evolution. It is a sentiment that has survived the years since, and we still do not like to think of ourselves as animals.

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