These giants of the scientific argument concerning the origins of modern humans almost got it right, and all have unfortunately had their heads raised on the pike of their theories’ obviously not working very well. Wallace, the discover of the process of Natural Selection (Darwin was the popularizer) as usual, stuck his head out the furthest and consequently his head has been raised the highest by the intellectual savages, except for the much earlier Lamarck.
An Overruling Intelligence has watched over the action of those laws, so directing variations and so determining their accumulation, as finally to produce an organization sufficiently perfect to admit of, and even to aid in, the indefinite advancement of our mental and moral nature. Alfred Russel Wallace, The Limits of Natural Selection As Applied To Man, in Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, 1870 p. 391-2
Wallace’s problem with Natural Selection having created humans as we now know them was that it was far too slow to have produced the multitude of the subtleties that distinguish the human mind from our cousin species. A single specific adaptation might proceed quickly like skin color of a human population that moved from a very sunny environment to a very dim one, but external climate events shouldn’t have any influence on such things as the ability to speak, sing, dance and make decisions about future events and responses to them based on thinking. All of these abilities and many more arose very quickly in humans and Wallace thought that some Overruling Intelligence was needed.
Wallace was pilloried in his own time for seeking overruling even other-worldly explanations for that problem and he literally and figuratively went to the ends of the earth in search of answers. He explored things outside of standard science and even attempted to test the validity of Spiritualism and the use of mediums. He was dipping his toe into murky waters, a little too far afield for rational scientists, but that is what the very best searchers are able to do and survive. Usually they fail by reaching too far, but when they succeed the whole world changes.
Another possibility, to hurry evolution along, which Wallace explored, as best one could in the mid to late 1800s, was the concept of group selection. Could the genetic code of an entire interbreeding group have superior Natural Selection abilities over that of single individuals? To many geneticists, even today, this group selection made sense but to others it just muddied the already muddy waters by adding non-essential complications. The genes are carried by a mating pair, and it is their personal choosing of a mate which creates new members of the group. Over a period of several generations a pairs’ newly created improvement in adaptation to the local environment would be recognized by natural-selection processes, and these better adapted people would become more common in the group until after a long period of time these qualities would permeate the whole group and the entire human species.
The problem of course is that there were so very many traits and so very many isolated groups of people and it would take so very long for all these to have assimilated world-wide that it becomes impossible. That was recognized by Wallace, by Darwin and by the more modern people Gould and Wilson. None of these people thought there was a supernatural force directing the rapid evolution of humans, but Wallace was the only one who checked out the possibility of a supernatural force. I praise him for that search even though I believe in death of the directive intelligence and of the spirit at death of the physical body. Wallace’s spiritualist search is approved of by me, but once those supernatural aspects have been found lacking in any consistent, even inconsistent validity, it is time to abandon them and find things which do function. The refusal to abandon non-testable and contingently disproved ideas is what gives modern religion a stubbed toe. But there has been a similar stubbing of intellectual toes by the scientific community because they didn’t recognize the obvious.
In my several posts on Evish Selection the problems which Wallace first brought up and which were never answered properly by the theorists in the field of human evolution are dealt with and the time factor answered. The techniques of artificial-selection have now been available to modern breeders for a couple of centuries and in that time astonishing progress has been made in genetic modification of food and other useful products to mankind from the plants and animals which were until recently wild. What the theory of Evish-Selection has done is to acknowledge that Artificial-Selection has been in progress in the adaptation of humans for a very long time. Starting about 100,000 years ago early human women began speaking and discussing among themselves, with very primitive language which then evolved, what men would make the best husbands. It isn’t until recently that these same verbal techniques of people discussing and selecting the qualities desired that made quick progress possible in other plants and animals.
Gossiping women are the Overruling Intelligence which Wallace was seeking.