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How Evolutionary Theory’s Co-Founder Broke with Darwin

Statue of Alfred Russel Wallace
Photo: Statue of Alfred Russel Wallace, by George Beccaloni / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0).

2023 marks the bicentennial of the birth of Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Unlike Darwin, Wallace thought that biology, chemistry, and cosmology proclaimed clear evidence of intelligent design. On a classic episode of ID the Future, we’re celebrating the life and achievements of one of the godfathers of intelligent design. Host Michael Keas begins a conversation with historian Michael Flannery about his book Nature’s Prophet: Alfred Russel Wallace and His Evolution from Natural Selection to Natural Theology. The book traces the intellectual history of Wallace, who is credited with independently proposing the theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin insisted on a purely materialistic version of the theory, but as Wallace studied the evidence, he grew convinced that intelligent design also played a role in the history of life, particularly in the origin of humans. Though not a religious person, he broke with the rising scientism of his day to argue that there must be some “overruling intelligence” behind nature. 

Download the podcast or listen to it here. This is Part 1 of a 3-part interview.