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Resolved: If He Were Alive Today, Alfred Russel Wallace Would Be an Intelligent Design Advocate

This week at Evolution News & Views we present an exclusive online event: a debate between Darwin advocate and intelligent-design critic Michael Shermer and Center for Science & Culture fellow Michael Flannery. The question? If he were alive today, would evolutionary theory’s co-discoverer, Alfred Russel Wallace, be an intelligent design advocate? Though the resolution is phrased as an answer in the affirmative, we give the right of an opening statement to Michael Shermer.

Dr. Shermer’s initial remarks, “Alfred Russel Wallace Was a Hyper-Evolutionist, Not an Intelligent Design Creationist,” may be read here.

Professor Flannery opens up his side of the discussion (“Wallace Would Be an Intelligent Design Advocate — and a Prescient Figure in the History of Science“) here.

Shermer replies to Flannery here (“The Natural and the Supernatural: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Nature of Science“).

Flannery replies to Shermer here (“Hyper-evolutionism, Scientism, and the Mythical Wallace of Michael Shermer“).

The occasion for the debate is the online premiere of John West’s compelling documentary short Darwin’s Heretic, which may be viewed here.

As readers of ENV will know, Professor Flannery of the University of Alabama at Birmingham has done as much as any scholar to reveal the reasons that Wallace came to question, doubt and finally reject the power of natural selection to produce the chief wonders of what he called, in his magnum opus, The World of Life. No religious believer, certainly not a traditional or orthodox one, Wallace ultimately argued in terms quite similar to arguments made today by intelligent-design theorists. Or did he?

In considering the implications of Wallace’s intellectual evolution, Dr. Shermer, a Wallace biographer and publisher of Skeptic magazine, has graciously accepted our invitation to bring his own impressive scholarship to bear for our readers. We thank him for his contributions, as we do our colleague and friend Michael Flannery. We are currently enjoying a spirited and illuminating discussion.