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Michael Flannery’s essay on Alfred Russel Wallace now in Springer book


Michael Flannery, science historian who has specialized in the life of Alfred Russel Wallace, writes to say that:

My paper, “Alfred Russel Wallace, Nature’s Prophet: From Natural Selection to Natural Theology,” from the 2nd International Conference on Alfred Russel Wallace held in Kuching (Sarawak), Malaysia, November 7-8, 2013, hasfinally been published in Naturalists, Explorers and Field Scientists in South-East Asia and Australasia, Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation 15, Springer International Publishing, 2016: Alfred Russel Wallace, Nature’s Prophet: From Natural Selection to Natural Theology, Flannery, Michael A., Pages 51-70 More.

Wallace was Darwin’s co-theorist on natural selection, was largely forgotten because he thought there is in fact design in nature, which did not sit well with Darwin’s boys (and still doesn’t). Many regard him as the founder of intelligent design theory. It’ll be interesting to see if interest in Wallace makes a comeback now that lots of people are rethinking evolution.

Here’s David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views:

Flannery casts Wallace as a “prophet,” in the Greek sense, one who reads and interprets the “text” of nature. His article is deeply informed and perceptive, which comes as no surprise if you know Flannery’s work. Above all, I was struck (not for the first time) by the degree to which Wallace — co-discoverer with Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection — foreshadowed many of the main themes of the theory of intelligent design as we know it today.

Wallace’s thinking runs parallel with that of Discovery Institute biologist Michael Denton, along with, Flannery makes clear, William Dembski, physicist Bruce Gordon, Jay Richards (Privileged Planet), Michael Behe, and other figures in the ID movement. Wallace’s writings on the bird’s wing and insect metamorphosis are updated in a couple of recent ID-themed Illustra Media documentaries (Flight and Metamorphosis).

Professor Flannery masterfully tells the story of Wallace’s dramatic “evolution” as a scientist. He points out that his break with Darwin was not sudden, but rather the product of tremors in Wallace’s articulation of evolutionary theory and Darwin’s own going back to the start. However, the issue that broke the back of their intellectual partnership was what Discovery Institute’s Wesley Smith calls human exceptionalism. More.

Wallace saw humans as special (and the mind as non-natural), but nearly half of Americans today think humans are not special and the mind as the product of natural forces.

See also: What has naturalism done for science?

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Indeed Darwin was fanatical to show all of mans nature, body and soul, came from mere steps from point a-b. No evidence of a divine origin or nature. Wallace was not so fanatical. Wallace however no more proved the crazy idea of biology creating its complexity by chance then Darwin did. They both just guessed some things came from others and so what options were there. They never showed biological scientific evidence for the processes they guessed about. Still don't. Robert Byers

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