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Science journalist Michael Shermer would like to have a beer with Alfred Russel Wallace. But would Wallace decline?

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Would he suddenly remember a subsequent engagement?

Alfred Russel Wallace, co-describer of natural selection with Charles Darwin, broke with Darwin later because he knew that materialism, as espoused by Darwin and Shermer* is wrong.

Shermer says, Wallace is “the most interesting scientist in history I’d like to have a beer with.”

Wallace historian Michael Flannery replies,

Shermer would “liketo have a beer” with Wallace, but Shermer is precisely the kind of person (reductionist materialist) who indeed would have driven Wallace to drink. Shermer’s basic problem is that he tries to do history, but he is hopelessly presentist (i.e, he views the past through present eyes, privileging every current paradigm and discounting every alternative).

Flannery adds that Shermer’s book on Wallace, In Darwin’s Shadow, (free excerpt) “is aptly titled and was panned even by Darwinists.” That’s no mean feat.

He goes on to say,

Shermer talks in the piece about Wallace being on the “wrong side” of the debate on things like phrenology, vaccination, and spiritualism but these historical issues are far more complex than simplistic notions of “right” and “wrong.” For example, William Cecil Dampier defends the founder of phrenology, Franz Joseph Gall, and even acknowledges in his classic History of Science that “modern neurology is founded” upon the “solid parts of Gall’s labours.” Donald Simpson even noted more recently in the peer-reviewed journal of the Royal Australasian College of Sugeons that Gall and his protege Spurzhiem “made real contributions to the emergence of modern neuroscience” even if they “were right for the wrong reasons.” But sometimes one could be “wrong” for the right reasons, as when Wallace opposed vaccination. Thomas P Weber points out that “The Victorian vaccination legislation was part of an unfair, thoroughly class-based, coercive, and disciplinary healthcare and justice system: poor, working-class persons were subjected to the full force of the law while better-off persons were provided with safer vaccines and could easily avoid punishment if they did not comply.” (Go here for the entire, insightful article.

As for spiritualism [in which Wallace was interested], the Victorian era included numbers of eminent scientists who took its claims seriously, men like William Crookes, William James, and Nobel laureates Lord Rayleigh and Charles Richet. Rather than Shermer’s simplistic knee-jerk notions about spiritualism, spiritualism is better viewed as an effort to negotiate precisely what counted as legitimate evidence rather than as a collection of aberrant eccentrics who merely provide would-be commentators like Shermer comic relief in the otherwise serious and steady march of scientific progress. These are just a few of the reasons Shermer’s understanding of Wallace is so poor. He brings little understanding of history or of the cultural contexts for any of the issues he chides Wallace for being “wrong” about.

But that is precisely what makes Shermer a hero among Darwin’s followers, not? Who needs science or history when you have government on your side?

Today, it’s what you don’t know, suspect, or wonder about that makes your career.

*Yes, him, but never mind.

4 Replies to “Science journalist Michael Shermer would like to have a beer with Alfred Russel Wallace. But would Wallace decline?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    A few notes on Wallace:

    Darwin’s Heretic: Alfred R. Wallace – Did the Co-Founder of Evolution Embrace Intelligent Design? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxvAVln6HLI

    Alfred Russel Wallace on the Web – Michael Flannery September 28, 2012
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....64831.html

    Rescuing Alfred Russel Wallace from his (Darwinist) Rescuers – May 22, 2012
    Excerpt: By 1913, Wallace declared himself unapologetically for theism:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59961.html

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to this comment:

    As for spiritualism [in which Wallace was interested], the Victorian era included numbers of eminent scientists who took its claims seriously,

    I think Wallace would be very pleased to see how far science has progressed as to confirming the reality of the mind, and of confirming even the reality of the spirit. First, the foundational primacy, of consciousness in reality, a theistic proposition, is confirmed by Leggett’s Inequality:

    A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? – 2008
    Excerpt: In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct.
    http://seedmagazine.com/conten....._tests/P3/

    Divinely Planted Quantum States – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCTBygadaM4

    “I’m going to talk about the Bell inequality, and more importantly a new inequality that you might not have heard of called the Leggett inequality, that was recently measured. It was actually formulated almost 30 years ago by Professor Leggett, who is a Nobel Prize winner, but it wasn’t tested until about a year and a half ago (in 2007), when an article appeared in Nature, that the measurement was made by this prominent quantum group in Vienna led by Anton Zeilinger, which they measured the Leggett inequality, which actually goes a step deeper than the Bell inequality and rules out any possible interpretation other than consciousness creates reality when the measurement is made.” – Bernard Haisch, Ph.D., Calphysics Institute, is an astrophysicist and author of over 130 scientific publications.

    Preceding quote taken from this following video;

    Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness – A New Measurement – Bernard Haisch, Ph.D (Shortened version of entire video with notes in description of video)
    http://vimeo.com/37517080

    Which is all fine and well for confirming that consciousness/mind is primary to reality, but breakthroughs in quantum mechanics have gone even further and given us evidence for a spirit/soul. First here is the evidence that quantum entaglement is ‘non-local’, i.e. requires a beyond space and time cause:

    Quantum Entanglement – The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: To derive their inequality, which sets up a measurement of entanglement between four particles, the researchers considered what behaviours are possible for four particles that are connected by influences that stay hidden and that travel at some arbitrary finite speed.
    Mathematically (and mind-bogglingly), these constraints define an 80-dimensional object. The testable hidden influence inequality is the boundary of the shadow this 80-dimensional shape casts in 44 dimensions. The researchers showed that quantum predictions can lie outside this boundary, which means they are going against one of the assumptions. Outside the boundary, either the influences can’t stay hidden, or they must have infinite speed.,,,
    The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    Closing the last Bell-test loophole for photons – Jun 11, 2013
    Excerpt: The new research, conducted at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Communication in Austria, closes the fair-sampling loophole by using improved photon sources (spontaneous parametric down-conversion in a Sagnac configuration) and ultra-sensitive detectors provided by the Single Photonics and Quantum Information project in PML’s Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division. That combination, the researchers write, was “crucial for achieving a sufficiently high collection efficiency,” resulting in a high-accuracy data set – requiring no assumptions or correction of count rates – that confirmed quantum entanglement to nearly 70 standard deviations.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-06-b.....otons.html

    The following articles give us a small glimpse as to what it truly means for non-local quantum entanglement to be confirmed to an order of ’70 standard deviations’:

    Standard deviation
    Excerpt: Particle physics uses a standard of “5 sigma” for the declaration of a discovery.[3] At five-sigma there is only one chance in nearly two million that a random fluctuation would yield the result.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....le_physics

    SSDD: a 22 sigma event is consistent with the physics of fair coins? – June 23, 2013
    Excerpt: So 500 coins heads is (500-250)/11 = 22 standard deviations (22 sigma) from expectation! These numbers are so extreme, it’s probably inappropriate to even use the normal distribution’s approximation of the binomial distribution, and hence “22 sigma” just becomes a figure of speech in this extreme case…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....air-coins/

    Thus ’70 standard deviations’ is an almost incomprehensible level of confirmation that quantum entanglement is indeed ‘non-local’:

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Where this non-local, ‘outside space and time’, quantum entanglement gains traction within molecular biology as to firmly establishing a transcendent soul for each man is here. Quantum entanglement/information has now been found within molecular biology on a massive scale:

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    Quantum entanglement between the electron clouds of nucleic acids in DNA – Elisabeth Rieper, Janet Anders and Vlatko Vedral – February 2011
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxi.....4053v2.pdf

    It turns out, besides DNA, that non-local quantum entanglement/information has been confirmed to be deeply embedded in protein structures as well;

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.
    http://www.scimednet.org/quant.....d-protein/

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    Moreover, These following studies indicate that quantum information cannot be destroyed (i.e. quantum information is found to be ‘conserved’)

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – March 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
    per physorg

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    per wikipedia

    of semi-related note to ‘conserved’ quantum information:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Steve Talbott
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    per New Atlantis

    clear implications of all this?

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness (Permanence of Quantum Information)- Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

    Also of note, It is important to remember that as far as observational evidence is concerned, we have far more observational evidence that there is indeed life after death than we have observational evidence that Darwinian evolution is true:

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species (or origin of life), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    “A recent analysis of several hundred cases showed that 48% of near-death experiencers reported seeing their physical bodies from a different visual perspective. Many of them also reported witnessing events going on in the vicinity of their body, such as the attempts of medical personnel to resuscitate them (Kelly et al., 2007).”
    Kelly, E. W., Greyson, B., & Kelly, E. F. (2007). Unusual experiences near death and related phenomena. In E. F. Kelly, E. W. Kelly, A. Crabtree, A. Gauld, M. Grosso, & B. Greyson, Irreducible mind (pp. 367-421). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Verse and Music:

    Luke 23:43
    Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    Jeremy Camp – Walk By Faith
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgWOcYpHm0o

  4. 4
    CentralScrutinizer says:

    He should just buy me a beer and shut the hell up.

    (hic)

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