We’ve lately been ignoring the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
That’s because most of their recent blog offerings have been self-praise for their butterfly film (see Butterflies Prove Creationism). But today they’ve posted about a new creationist documentary: Darwin’s Heretic Screens at University of Alabama Birmingham. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Students and faculty at University of Alabama Birmingham were lucky to be the second audience to screen a short documentary about the intelligent design leanings of one of the most renowned biologists of the nineteenth century,
Right, they were lucky to see this documentary about a 19th century biologist. Can you guess who the “renowned biologist” was? We won’t keep you waiting:
Alfred Russel Wallace shares credit with Charles Darwin for developing the theory of evolution by natural selection. One part of Wallace’s remarkable life and career has been completely ignored: His embrace of intelligent design.
Yes, that part of his life is ignored, because Wallace squandered his reputation and his final decades by uselessly wallowing in mysticism. That is why, as we’ve written before, Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather. Poor ol’ guy — he’s credited as being Darwin’s co-discoverer of the theory of evolution, but he wasted his declining years attending seances, drifting off into supernatural speculations, and (we assume) communing with the spirit world using his Ouija board. The Discoveroids love Wallace — not for discovering evolution, but for his late-life dementia. Let’s read on:
Darwin’s Heretic is a 21-minute documentary that explores Wallace’s fascinating intellectual journey and how it sheds light on current debates.
The Discoveroids have a website for the film: Darwin’s Heretic. The program apparently also featured Michael Flannery, who enjoys the honor of being designated a Discoveroid “fellow.” As we reported here, he wrote a biography of Alfred Wallace, which was published by — brace yourself! — the Discovery Institute Press.
Then the Discoveroids describe their version of the audience reaction to the film:
More than 180 were in attendance, and the students in the crowd seemed very interested and engaged. There were a number of good, mostly honest questions from curious students who didn’t know this aspect of Wallace at all.
It’s not surprising that Wallace’s embarrassing behavior in his dotage isn’t well-known. It should have remained so, and it’s rather ghoulish of the Discoveroids to publicize it. Here’s more:
One student wanted to know how ID was science or what evidence did Wallace present in its behalf.
Smart kid. Good question: Where’s your evidence?
Flannery responded that it was in the video — certain features of life give clear evidence of purposeful design such as the cell, the human intellect, even the bird’s wing and feather might be considered in Wallace’s example irreducibly complex.
That’s the expected answer. It’s nothing more than poor old William Paley’s 1802 theological argument, the watchmaker analogy. That’s all the Discoveroids have ever had. Here’s the end:
Flannery went on to point out that this is a perfectly legitimate form of reasoning used in everyday life as well as science. The forensic sciences and anthropology, for example, utilize it extensively. It is, as Steve Meyer points out citing Peter Lipton, an “inference to the best explanation” given the available observable evidence at hand.
Ah yes, that great creation science technique — the “inference to the best explanation.” Well, what else can they do? All the evidence supports evolution, and they don’t have any evidence to refute it, so they sling the supernatural inference and claim it’s the “best.” Hey, Wallace found it persuasive — but he was stark raving mad at the time.
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