Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather

It was only three days ago that we posted Discovery Institute Rediscovers Alfred Wallace. At the time we said:

So what’s the Discoveroids’ purpose in bringing attention to Wallace? Are they claiming that Wallace — were he alive today — would be a devoted Discoveroid? … We suspect the Discoveroids don’t know where they’re going with Wallace, which isn’t surprising.

It appears that your Curmudgeon misjudged 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).

They do know where they’re going with Wallace. Two new postings at the Discoveroid blog make it clear that they’ve adopted Wallace as their mythical ancestor. He is now their intellectual founder and progenitor. Apparently their contemporary leading lights don’t provide them with enough prestige. We’ll give you some excerpts from both of their posts, with bold added by us.

The first is New Book Shows How Evolution’s Co-Discoverer Rejected Darwinism, Embraced Intelligent Design, which has no author’s name. It’s the collective view of the entire Discoveroid staff. That post discusses the same book by Flannery (a Discoveroid “fellow”) as their post by Klinghoffer that we discussed a few days ago, and there’s not much new here. But this one, being a Discoveroid “institutional” article, is intended to be more authoritative than something by Klinghoffer alone. Here’s what we find in it that’s worth mentioning:

Critics of ID frequently attack the theory as a “science stopper.” Flannery shows that on the contrary, it was Alfred Wallace’s commitment to open inquiry that led him to the conclusion that far from being random and undirected, as Darwin insisted, evolution manifests scientifically detectable evidence of intelligent guidance. Biology, Flannery argues, is in the process of catching up with the prescient Wallace.

Right. Biology is catching up with “the prescient Wallace” and his ludicrous spiritualism. The only other item worthy of mention here is the last sentence — which isn’t true at all, but it’s consistent with Discoveroid propaganda

Unlike Darwin, Wallace was also a vocal opponent of pseudo-scientific racism and eugenics.

If you’re not aware of how outrageously false that is, see: Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin.

Now we turn to the second Discoveroid post of the day, which totally confirms their embrace of Wallace: A One Hundred Year-Old Challenge. This one is by Flannery, the Discoveroid “fellow” whose book about Wallace has triggered the Discoveroid metamorphosis into a mystical cult — Wallace-ism. He begins with this:

Alfred Russel Wallace Issues Fighting Words to Materialists in 1910: “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul [or mind] of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable.”

Note Flannery’s sly editorial alteration, an attempt to equate the soul and the mind. Let’s read on:

Wallace made the above declaration in an interview … in December of 1910.

As we pointed out three days ago, Wallace was then 87 years old, and Darwin was long gone, having died in 1882. But no refutation by Darwin was needed. Wallace had long since marginalized himself by his devotion to spiritualism. Although his place as a co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection is secure, his reputation has suffered because of his devotion to unscientific fantasies. We continue with Flannery’s article:

Much to the chagrin of Charles Darwin, this co-discoverer of natural selection had suggested as much even earlier in the April 1869 issue of The Quarterly Review. Despite maintaining cordial relations, this “heresy” would create a great divide between the two naturalists, and Darwin’s disciples have been searching for an answer to Wallace ever since.

Nice propaganda, but Darwin doesn’t have “disciples,” and scientists haven’t been “searching for an answer to Wallace.” Science has simply ignored Wallace’s un-evidenced phantasms. Flannery then has a few paragraphs attempting to defend the ancient and inherently silly mind-body dichotomy (the mind is magic, doncha know?) and then he says:

Some might argue that this is just a gap argument, after all, elusive answers to the human mind via Darwinian mechanisms is no reason to assume they might not be found in the future. Perhaps this would hold up if Darwin’s critics had no better solution to the question, but there is an alternative, and moreover, it has an overwhelming body of experiential evidence on its behalf, namely, that specified complexity only arises from intelligent agency.

You knew that was coming. The “mystery” of the mind is one of the classic arguments of mystics throughout history. One of the earliest articles we wrote for this humble blog was: Discovery Institute Revives Mind-Body Dualism.

So now the Discoveroids have finally discovered a quasi-respectable founder to whom they can point as authority for their mystical “theory” of intelligent design. Poor old Alfred Wallace — he had his flaws, but he doesn’t deserve this fate.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather

  1. That’s so beautiful that my eyes are misting up. The man who did well by proposing natural selection as the cause of evolution, only to disgrace himself with idiotic and subsequently discredited quasi-religious nonsense, is their dream of a savior of their similar religious nonsense.

    At least they know their own wherever credulous garbage is concerned. That, and only that, links Wallace and themselves.

  2. Nothing can account for mind??? Nothing???

    So, if I lobotomize these dunderheads they think their mind will survive unchanged by the massive neural damage? Well, let me just scrub up, then…

  3. “complexity only arises from intelligent agency”

    These guys need to google emergent complexity. Seriously.

  4. Flannery’s post, ostensibly a critique of an article by Steven Pinker, contains this gem in deriding a point in Pinker’s argument about abstract cognition: it reasons backwards and counts only those concepts that privilege the paradigm. Has there ever been a better description of creation science or intelligent design creationism?

    Even in their most flowery prose and scientific sounding arguments the discoveroids eventually come back to the false duality that if it isn’t proven to be the product of evolution by strict natural selection (utility) then it is intelligently designed. There is no other alternative. It’s as if nothing whatsoever “comes along for the ride” when beneficial mutations occur. The impoverished creationist imagination sees every mutation as having only single effect which is either selected for or against. Only someone with such a limited view of evolution could envision that there is a “mind/body” problem.

    What the discoveroids need to do is explain how the progressive increase in brain size in our hominid ancestors was designed, by whom, and for what purposes. Did Australopithecus have a soul? If not, when did the mystical soul (or from a naturalist point of view, “self awareness”) arise? If the mind/body problem the discoveroids are touting exists only in modern homo sapiens, what did recent ancestors such as homo erectus or homo habilis do with their large brains, which were clearly larger than necessary to simply hunt food, avoid predators and procreate? Were they not self aware?

  5. I am surprised they didn’t latch onto Mickey Mouse, who is both created and designed, to be their spiritual leader. But then, Disney has plenty of well paid lawyers to discourage such behavior.

  6. Not to pick on people (what, moi?) but we’re not exactly talking scholarship here.

    The Disco Tute is hanging their hat on a very flimsy peg, namely Flannery who is a librarian, curator and amateur historian who has written some short pieces on medical history, including the forward on a book about homeopathy (so, perhaps Flannery is at least acquainted with quackery).

    Sorry, but the gruel the DI serves up gets thinner at every sitting.

  7. Not only is the gruel getting thinner, but the desperation grows. I am hopeful that some of their biggest donors will note that there’s no science going on, see the IDiocy and pull the $-plug.