Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

New edition of Darwin’s banished co-theorist Wallace’s work contains previously unavailable essay

arroba Email
Alfred Russel Wallace's Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace's World of Life Challenged Darwinism (Revised Edition)

A revised edition of Alfred Russel Wallace’’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism is now available.

The new edition includes Rev. John Magen Mello’s 20-page essay, “The Mystery of Life and Mind, With Special Reference to ‘the World of Life’ by A. R. Wallace.” Wallace’s “intelligent evolution” fascinated Rev. Mello and his essay places much of Wallace’s thought in a Christian context. (Wallace himself was in no sense an orthodox Christian.)

The only extant copy of the essay was held by Edinburgh University Library, as part of Wallace’s original personal library, and a transcript was prepared from a scan, for publication.

Here’s the book description:

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), co-discoverer of natural selection, was second only to Charles Darwin as the 19th century’s most noted English naturalist. Yet his belief in spiritualism caused him to be ridiculed and dismissed by many, leaving him a comparatively obscure and misunderstood figure. In this volume Wallace is finally allowed to speak in his own defense through his grand evolutionary synthesis The World of Life published nearly a century ago in 1910. More than just a reprinting of a near-forgotten work, Michael A. Flannery places Wallace in historical context. Flannery exposes Charles Darwin’s now-famous theory of evolution as little more than a naturalistic cover for an extreme philosophical materialism borrowed as a youth from Edinburgh radicals. This is juxtaposed by his sympathetic account of what he calls Wallace’s intelligent evolution, a thoroughly telcological alternative to Darwin’s stochastic processes. Though based upon very different formulations of natural selection, the Wallace/Darwin dispute as presented by Flannery shows a metaphysical clash of worldviews coextensive with modern evolutionary theory itself – design and purpose versus randomness and chance. This book will be of value to scholars and students alike seeking to understand the historical and philosophical roots of a controversy that still rages today.

F/N: A PDF of Wallace's World of Life is available here. His views on philosophical naturalism and how such gives rise to so-called methodological naturalism are discussed here, from a different essay. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
OT: It seems that Stephen Meyer will be on Unbelievable Christian Radio on this coming Saturday's show; Stephen Meyer, author of "Signature in the Cell" will be debating Keith Fox, Prof of Biochemistry at Southampton University on whether DNA evidences intelligent design. http://www.facebook.com/UnbelievableJB Unbelievable Christian Radio - homepage http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable bornagain77
Of related interest to exposing the materialistic/atheistic foundation of Darwinism:
"Darwin on Trial 20th Anniversary: James Kushiner on Phillip Johnson's "Gift"" - podcast http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2011-11-16T12_34_58-08_00
But if this view is a sound one, as I think it will be admitted that it is, how absurd is it to ask, "How did the eye or the ear begin?" They began in the potentiality of that marvellous substance, protoplasm, and they were rendered possible when that substance was endowed with the mysterious organising power we term life. First the cell was produced; and, from the continued subdivision of the cell at each subdivision taking a slightly different form and function, numerous one-celled animals were formed; and a little later the union of many cells of diverse forms and functions led to the endless multicellular creatures, constituting the entire world of life. Thus every substance and every organ came into existence when required by the organism under the law of perpetual variation and survival of the fittest, only limited by the potentialities of living protoplasm. And if the higher senseorgans were so produced, how much easier was the production of such superficial appendages as horns and tusks, scales and feathers, as they were required. Horns, for instance, are either dermal or osseous outgrowths or a combination of both. In the very earliest known vertebrates, the fishes of the Silurian formation, we find the skin more or less covered with tubercles, or plates, or spines. Here we have the rudiments of all those dermal or osseous outgrowths which continue in endless modifications through the countless ages that have elapsed down to our own times. They appear and disappear, as they are useful or useless, on various parts of the body, as that body changes in form and in structure, and modifications of its external covering are needed. Hence the infinite variety in nature — a variety which, were it not so familiar, would be beyond the wildest flights of imagination to suggest as possible developments from an apparently simple protoplasmic cell. The idea, therefore, that there were, or could be, at any successive periods, anything of the nature of the abrupt beginning of completely new organs which had nothing analogous in preceding generations is quite unsupported by what is known of the progressive development of all structures through slight modification of those which preceded them. The objection as to the beginnings of new organs is a purely imaginary one, which entirely falls to pieces in view of the whole known process of development from the simplest cell (though in reality no cell is simple) to ever higher and more complex aggregations of cells, till we come to Mammalia and to man.
http://books.google.com/books?printsec=frontcover&id=M6UUAAAAYAAJ&output=text&pg=PA273 Online version. Petrushka

Leave a Reply