Everyone seems to remember that Alfred Russel Wallace co-discovered the engine of modern evolutionary theory, natural selection, with his famous Ternate letter sent to Charles Darwin in early March of 1858. The receipt of that letter prompted an astonished Darwin into action to finally unveil his own theory and the rest is history. Or is it? Forgotten in the glare of Darwin’s preeminence is that Wallace went on to craft his own theory, a theory imbued with intelligent design. First announced in April of 1869, Wallace would go on to develop a theory of directed, detectably designed, and purposeful common descent best described as intelligent evolution.
Still searching for some rhetorical crowbar to remove the “Four Nails in Darwin’s Coffin,” Mark A. Chancey claims ID “originated within certain religious circles and has credibility only within those same circles — mostly theologically conservative Christian groups that find aspects of evolutionary theory threatening.” Readers may find his complete comments at SMU Daily Campus, but whatever else may be said of his characterizations, the statement above is surely bad history and not an accurate reflection of the development of modern ID. Here is why.
On August 21 Karl Giberson, physics professor at Eastern Nazarene College and one of several engaged in the ever-interesting juggling act of defending “faith and science” by means of a Darwinian apologetic, now has added to his litany of misconceptions a boorish attack on Al Mohler in The Huffington Post, “How Darwin Sustains My Baptist Search for Truth.” Since David Klinghoffer has provided an excellent summary of the issues involved in an earlier post to this site, Karl Giberson v Al Mohler on Darwin: The Grudge Match, they need not be restated here. The point here is to address Giberson’s principal objection, namely, Mohler’s assertion that “Darwin did not embark upon the Beagle having no preconceptions of what exactly he Read More ›
Despite repeated explanations that intelligent design is not creationism, Lauri Lebo at Religion Dispatches and others persist in equating the two. There’s a lot of bandying about of terms without defining them. One possible definition of “creationism” is the attempt to make scientific assertions regarding the natural world and/or the origin of life based upon a literal reading of Genesis. Yet with intelligent design, as David Klinghoffer points out, even if the source of the intelligence were identified as a deity, that wouldn’t make it creationism in this sense of Genesis literalism. In short, when it comes to speaking of “creationism,” there is a need for much greater clarity of thought and expression. I can think of no better illustration of Read More ›
Precisely thirty years ago this month the late Stephen Jay Gould published an article in volume 89 of Natural History purporting to demonstrate Alfred Russel Wallace’s “fatal flaw.” Wallace, who co-discovered natural selection in his now-famous Ternate Letter of 1858, first startled Charles Darwin and then prompted him after years of ponderous delay to finally complete his Origin of Species and rush it to press. By November of the following year his magnum opus was in the hands of the English public. But Wallace would break with Darwin over the source of the human intellect. While Darwin thought man and animal different in degree not kind, Wallace felt that the special attributes of the human mind, its facility for abstract Read More ›