Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807-1873)

"I trust to outlive this mania" (1867: in reference to Darwinism)

Key figure in the history of organismal biology and geology. Formulated theory of the Ice Ages (i.e., that pre-historical glacial advances were due to world-wide climatic changes); idealist and leading exponent of creationism in the tradition of Cuvier (his mentor in Paris); founder of paleoichthyology; leading ichthyologist; founder of the Museum of Comparative Zoology and mentor of dozens of American naturalists. Involved in founding of AAAS and National Academy of Sciences. In Europe, he was supported financially by the King of Prussia and politically by A. von Humboldt; in America, he was allied with leading philanthroposts, politicians, and intellectuals such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The only important, outspoken scientific opponent of Darwinism in America during the 1860's, he used public lectures and popular essays instead of scientific publications to further his views.

Agassiz. From Winsor, p. 22.


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