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Shermer vs. Flannery debate: Shermer actually conceded that Wallace, Darwin’s co-theorist, was a design pioneer


In “Michael Shermer Concedes! Wallace Was an ID Advocate!” (Evolution News & Views, January 26, 2012), Michael Flannery sums up,

I thought I would add a concluding reflection on my debate with Michael Shermer (“Resolved: If He Were Alive Today, Alfred Russel Wallace Would Be an Intelligent Design Advocate”). Shermer’s reply to my opener seems a stunning concession of the main proposition that launched this debate. Nowhere does he attempt to refute any of my illustrations showing Wallace as an ID advocate, and for two good reasons: 1) they were drawn from Wallace; and 2) Shermer admits as much in his own biography, In Darwin’s Shadow. Referring to Wallace’s book The World of Life, Shermer confesses, “It was an argument that would be echoed throughout the twentieth century” from “creationists’ arguments” to “modern design arguments for directed evolution” (p. 232).

This is precisely my point: Wallace, co-discoverer of natural selection, came to argue for intelligent evolution, anticipating modern ID proponents like Michael Behe, Michael Denton, Ralph Seelke, and others. More.

It’s pretty obvious what’s happened: Darwin’s lobby needed to denigrate Wallace, in order to support Darwin. At one time, that meant making Wallace’s true commitments explicit. Now that the design people are more confident, it means trying to confuse and efface them.


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