Robert Wright’s Evolution of God

It’s hard for a religious believer not to appreciate, at least in part, the spirit in which Robert Wright presents his new book The Evolution of God. On one hand, he regards the history of religion as the history of an illusion. On the other hand, he argues that the evolution of that illusion represents humanity’s groping toward a truth about the universe that may include the existence of a force operating in human lives, a force that it may even be fair to call God. He writes admittedly as a materialist — for whom the most basic postulate holds that reality can be explained in purely material terms. He sees an “evolution” in the Bible where relatively primitive, even Read More ›

New Scientist and Jerry Coyne’s Responses to ID Advocate Thomas Jefferson: Cases of Necromancy and Alzheimer’s

Responses from the Darwin faithful to anything touching upon intelligent design are often so thoughtless it takes your breath away. I guess this is how they manage to stay impervious to the evidentiary challenge to their religion — they just don’t think it through, or even read it. A single article in a newspaper or journal taxes their ability simply to read what a person says and respond to that, rather than to what they imagine he would say. Consider the cases of Ewen Callaway and Jerry Coyne. When Stephen C. Meyer wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe on Thomas Jefferson as a proto-ID supporter, outraged science journalist Callaway at the New Scientist couldn’t even mount an argument. He Read More ›

H.P. Lovecraft, Darwinism’s Visionary Storyteller

Picture a majestic T. rex receiving the tablets of the Ten Commandments in its undersized forelimbs, or an elegant octopus crucified on an old rugged cross with four crossbars instead of one. Such images are what Kenneth Miller presumably has in mind with his comforting Darwinist thought that intelligent creatures were guaranteed to pop up even in the course of an evolutionary process of purely unguided, purposeless churning. You see, he tells us, evolution was bound to “converge” (as theorized by Simon Conway Morris) not necessarily on a human being but on — well, as Miller has said, it could have been “a big-brained dinosaur, or… a mollusk with exceptional mental capabilities.” Just for fun, let’s grant the scientific merit Read More ›

How Evolution’s Co-Discoverer Discovered Intelligent Design, Part II

Yesterday, ENV spoke with Michael A. Flannery about his new book Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism (Erasmus Press). While credited as evolution’s co-discoverer, Wallace fell away from the Darwinian faith and came to espouse a view remarkably suggestive of intelligent design. Now, the rest of the interview. ENV: Scientifically, how does Wallace’s culminating work, World of Life, stand up today as compared to Darwin’s Origin of Species? MAF: That’s a complex question. Darwin’s Origin is really a metaphysical treatise supported by some biological speculations and those speculations give it the appearance of science. The thing that makes this question so difficult to answer is that for a variety of reasons, not Read More ›

How Evolution’s Co-Discoverer Discovered Intelligent Design, Part I

To judge from previews, the new Darwin biographical movie Creation will emphasize the challenge Darwinian theory posed from the beginning to religious belief. Yet the life of evolution’s co-discoverer, Alfred Russel Wallace, suggests that properly understood, and that’s a major proviso, evolution needn’t upset faith at all. On the contrary, Wallace reasoned from what he knew about life’s history to a belief that an “Overruling Intelligence” guided life’s development, much as intelligent design (ID) does today. Science historian Michael A. Flannery calls Wallace’s evolutionary thinking a “preamble” to ID. An opportunity to evaluate this provocative claim is now before us in the form of Flannery’s new edition of Wallace’s great work, A World of Life (1910), which slims the dense Read More ›