Discovery Institute about to publish book on Wallace...

Michael Barton, who runs the excellent Dispersal of Darwin website informs me that the infamous Discovery Institute is about to publish a book by Michael Flannery entitled Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life ( This appears to be Flannery's latest attempt to give credibility to the pseudoscientific belief system known as 'intelligent design', by claiming that no less a figure than the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection (Wallace - of course) was a proponent of this dressed-up version of Christian creationism. However, Flannery is sadly mistaken, since Wallace was a Spiritualist and did not believe in a God - let alone in Christianity. How ironic that spiritualist beliefs should be used to support Christian ones!

This is what Wallace expert Charles Smith (or rather Wallace) has to say on the matter (taken from Charles' review of Flannery's previous book Alfred Russel Wallace's Theory of Intelligent Evolution on Amazon -

"What does *Wallace* say?, August 8, 2009

I will not directly comment on this attempt to make Wallace into an intelligent design advocate, except to reproduce his own words on the matter (from another of his books, Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, 2d ed.):

-----"Some of my critics seem quite to have misunderstood my meaning in this part of the argument. They have accused me of unnecessarily and unphilosophically appealing to "first causes" in order to get over a difficulty--of believing that "our brains are made by God and our lungs by natural selection;" and that, in point of fact, "man is God's domestic animal." An eminent French critic, M. Claparède, makes me continually call in the aid of--"une Force supérieure," the capital F, meaning I imagine that this "higher Force" is the Deity. I can only explain this misconception by the incapacity of the modern cultivated mind to realise the existence of any higher intelligence between itself and Deity. Angels and archangels, spirits and demons, have been so long banished from our belief as to have become actually unthinkable as actual existences, and nothing in modern philosophy takes their place. Yet the grand law of "continuity," the last outcome of modern science, which seems absolute throughout the realms of matter, force, and mind, so far as we can explore them, cannot surely fail to be true beyond the narrow sphere of our vision, and leave an infinite chasm between man and the Great Mind of the universe. Such a supposition seems to me in the highest degree improbable.

Now, in referring to the origin of man, and its possible determining causes, I have used the words "some other power"--"some intelligent power"--"a superior intelligence"--"a controlling intelligence," and only in reference to the origin of universal forces and laws have I spoken of the will or power of "one Supreme Intelligence." These are the only expressions I have used in alluding to the power which I believe has acted in the case of man, and they were purposely chosen to show, that I reject the hypothesis of "first causes" for any and every special effect in the universe, except in the same sense that the action of man or of any other intelligent being is a first cause. In using such terms I wished to show plainly, that I contemplated the possibility that the development of the essentially human portions of man's structure and intellect may have been determined by the directing influence of some higher intelligent beings, acting through natural and universal laws. A belief of this nature may or may not have a foundation, but it is an intelligible theory, and is not, in its nature, incapable of proof; and it rests on facts and arguments of an exactly similar kind to those, which would enable a sufficiently powerful intellect to deduce, from the existence on the earth of cultivated plants and domestic animals, the presence of some intelligent being of a higher nature than themselves."

Wallace was a spiritualist, but spiritualists believe that existence, though in part nonphysical, is understandable on the basis of law, not intervention. Thus Wallace was neither entirely a Darwinian, nor at all an I.D. advocate."

Also see

Add new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith