Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection.
If you follow us at all at ENV you’ll already know that the scientific and scholarly communities have done a terrible disservice to Wallace’s legacy by airbrushing out the fact that he broke with Darwin over what University of Alabama science historian Michael Flannery calls "intelligent evolution." That is, Wallace’s steadily more certain and detailed view that an "overruling intelligence" guided the evolutionary process. He anticipated major elements of the modern theory of intelligent design. Oh, the irony! It burns! It burns!
Well, the massive effort by scientists, journalists, bloggers and others to defend Darwinian theory often proceeds by such airbrushing. You can fight back and counter the censors by passing along the historical truth to friends, students, and teachers, online and in person.
I was listening to David Berlinski on the Medved Show yesterday, talking about Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature, and I was struck by one piece of advice that David gave. Michael asked him about the failure of nerve, and of values — significantly contributed to by the scientific materialism of Darwin and Marx — that permitted the atrocities of the twentieth century. What can be done to recover the healthier culture that Darwin & Co. did much to corrode?
Berlinski’s answer was: Just be honest. Tell the truth about the twentieth century, the crimes that were committed, and what allowed them to happen.
Excellent advice. It’s time everyone agreed to be honest about Wallace — about the important historical truth that one of the two men to first spell out the modern theory of evolution came to reject that theory as an adequate explanation of life’s development, in favor of proto-intelligent design. Toward that end, please join us in refuting the history deniers.
How can you help? By educating yourself and other people. The purpose here is to break apart the clich�s that keep lots of folks from thinking objectively about evolution. While Darwin’s own contribution to science has done much to dissolve noble values and traditions, learning about Wallace dissolves the stereotypes that block clear thought. That’s a big difference between the two! So to the specifics, almost all of it free:
First, for the most comprehensive collection of resources, see the website AlfredWallace.org including biographical information, more about "intelligent information," FAQs and other resources.
Read Michael Flannery’s definitive biography and analysis for Discovery Institute Press, Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life, along with Professor Flannery’s introduction to and pr�cis of Wallace’s magnum opus, Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism.
Go here for the YouTube Alfred Wallace channel with a small library of beautifully produced video documentaries, most quite short and easily digested. Those include "The Forgotten Man," "A Rediscovered Life," "Darwin’s Heretic," and "Wallace and Darwin."
Michael Flannery debated "skeptic" Michael Shermer here at ENV. The question I put to them was: If Wallace were alive today, would he be an intelligent design advocate? You can say this for Shermer: he was a sport about it, and a gentleman. He put up a good fight. In his willingness to argue with us he showed more guts than most other leading Darwin defenders. For the individual installments in the debate, see here (in order):
- ENV: "Resolved: If He Were Alive Today, Alfred Russel Wallace Would Be an Intelligent Design Advocate"
- Shermer: "Alfred Russel Wallace Was a Hyper-Evolutionist, Not an Intelligent Design Creationist"
- Flannery: "Wallace Would Be an Intelligent Design Advocate — and a Prescient Figure in the History of Science"
- Shermer: "The Natural and the Supernatural: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Nature of Science"
- Flannery: "Hyper-evolutionism, Scientism, and the Mythical Wallace of Michael Shermer"
- Flannery: "Michael Shermer Concedes! Wallace Was an ID Advocate!"
- Shermer: "One Last Word on Alfred Russel Wallace, Intelligent Design — and Extraterrestrial Intelligence"
Find more of our coverage of Wallace here at ENV including:
- Klinghoffer: "Rescuing Alfred Russel Wallace from his (Darwinist) Rescuers"
- Flannery: "Don’t Mess with Alfred Russel Wallace"
- Klinghoffer: "The Thoroughly Modern Alfred Russel Wallace"
- Klinghoffer: "Whitewashing Alfred Russel Wallace"
- Flannery: "On Alfred Russel Wallace, NPR Gets It Right, Sort Of . . . "
- Klinghoffer: "For Telling the Truth About Alfred Russel Wallace, Historian Michael Flannery Is Slandered as a ‘Denialist’"
The whitewashing of Alfred Wallace’s later, more mature view on design in nature is a key point in the Darwin defense strategy. Join us!