prominent after Darwin himself, namely Wallace (1870), became enamored of spiritualism in the 1860s and he started to deny selection when it came to humans. The reasons for this halfway acceptance are well known. On one side, there were scientific problems with selection. It was thought that it could never be strong enough to overcome the supposed averaging nature of heredity. Even the best new variations would be swamped into nonbeing in a generation or two (Greg, 1868). Added to this the physicists (ignorant as they were of the warming effects of radioactive decay) denied that there was time enough for such a leisurely process as natural selection (Burchfield, 1975). On the other side, there was the matter of adaptation. Selection does not just bring about change. It brings about adaptive change. This ran into trouble from folk at both ends of the spectrum. German-influenced biologists like Huxley (1884) thought that adaptation is but a minor phenomenon, and hence felt no need to embrace selection on that score. Nonadaptive saltations (jumps, what we today would call “macromutations”) would do the job for evolution. Heavily Christian evolutionists like American botanist Asa Gray (1876) thought that selection could not fully explain adaptation and so they wanted (God-) directed variations. As Darwin said, this rather made natural selection redundant.
So after 1859, it was evolution yes; natural selection, much less so. This meant that the dream that Darwin had had of founding a professional science of evolutionary studies, based on natural selection, never really got off the ground. There certainly was professional evolutionism, particularly that around the German biologist Ernst Haeckel (1866). But, increasingly, a lot of what was produced lost touch with reality as fantabulous tales were spun using the unreliable biogenetic law, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. In Britain you had the incredible paradox that the chief post-Origin evolutionist in the second half of the 19th century, a man deeply involved in and highly influential on postsecondary education, Thomas Henry Huxley, never taught evolution to his students. He thought they should concentrate on physiology and morphology (Ruse, 1996).
So evolution became the subject of the popular lecture hall, working men’s clubs, and the public-friendly British Association for the Advancement of Science, and the leading evolutionists moved from the universities to the museums. Huxley student E. Ray Lankester ran the British Museum (Natural History) in London and Huxley student Henry Fairfield Osborn ran the American Museum of Natural History in New York. And what you want in museums are displays, with an educational and cultural message. So this is what was supplied. Terrific displays of fossils, especially of all of those dinosaurs now being discovered and brought back from the American West, and all put in a progressive fashion to demonstrate