Intellectual discovery is often a matter of rediscovery: reviving insights that were available before but overlooked, forgotten, or neglected. Think of the European Renaissance with its rediscovery of ancient Greek philosophy and other classical ideas.
In the context of arguments for intelligent design, historian Michael Flannery has pointed to the precedent for design thinking in Alfred Russel Wallace’s break from Charles Darwin, after the two scientists had together revealed the theory of evolution by natural selection. Biologist Michael Denton draws in his books on a tradition represented by thinkers ranging from Aristotle to Harvard biological chemist Lawrence Henderson (1878-1942). And so on.
In his important forthcoming book, Purpose & Desire: What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It (HarperOne), State University of New York biologist J. Scott Turner recovers the thought of French physiologist Claude Bernard (1813-1878), another Darwin contemporary.
Dr. Turner’s book is a riveting instance of intellectual and scientific rediscovery, highlighting Bernard’s insight on the phenomenon of homeostasis, buried by the craze for materialism, what evolutionist Ernst Mayer called “physics envy,” which reduced life to mechanism and fatally misunderstood it in the process. Professor Turner writes:
The story of how Bernard’s fundamentally vitalist conception of homeostasis became transformed into its modern anodyne, tame, and neutered form of mechanism – a clockwork homeostasis, if you will – illustrates the most pernicious feature of epistemic closure: its ever-increasing reliance on narrative, rather than evidence, to sustain it.
Note that Turner isn’t a proponent of intelligent design theory, but of a different yet still profound alterative to shallow Darwinism. His book, delightfully written for the general reader, is fascinating evidence of the ferment driving the search for something to take the place of fast-failing evolutionary theory.
The book won’t be released till September 12, so now is the time to pre-order. If you do, then we are offering two excellent free e-books to go with it and enhance your own intellectual discovery. They are Fire-Maker: How Humans Were Designed to Harness Fire and Transform Our Planet, by Dr. Denton, and Metamorphosis: The Case for Intelligent Design in a Chrysalis, which I edited with contributions from Paul Nelson, Jonathan Witt, Ann Gauger, and more.
Look here for details about pre-ordering Purpose & Desire! The deal with the free e-books is of limited duration. Don’t miss out on it!