They just don’t know how funny they are. Who? We’re talking about 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).
To appreciate what we’re talking about, you need to recall that it was a year ago when we reported that the Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather. They seized upon some writings by Wallace late in his life to claim him as their spiritual guru.
The last time we wrote about the Discoveroids’ obsession with Wallace was Discovery Institute & Alfred Wallace, Again, in which we said:
Wallace’s place as a co-discoverer with Darwin of evolution by natural selection is secure, but he unfortunately marginalized himself in his later years. His reputation suffered because of his devotion to spiritualism, unscientific fantasies, un-evidenced phantasms, and seances. We find no reference to it, but he probably used a Ouija board too. Our last post added to that catalog of oddities that Wallace was also a devotee of phrenology, an opponent of smallpox vaccination, a supporter of socialism, and an advocate of nationalizing large private landholdings.
Had Charles Darwin exhibited even one of those passions, the Discoveroids would never cease shouting it from the rooftops. But Wallace embraced them all, and the Discoveroids embrace Wallace. Why? Because along with all his other faults and unscientific delusions, he seems to have been groping toward a primitive version of the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design. So Wallace is their man!
Okay, so the Discoveroids want Wallace — at least the late-life Wallace — as their precursor. Fine, they can have him. But now they’ve got a problem. It seems that someone else is claiming Wallace, and the Discoveroids are insisting that he’s exclusively theirs. That’s what’s going in in their latest post, Rescuing Alfred Russel Wallace from his (Darwinist) Rescuers.
Klinghoffer is claiming that Wallace belongs exclusively to the Discoveroids. We don’t know why so many people are fighting over poor old Wallace’s moldering corpse, but they’re free to do so because he’s in no position to defend himself.
How silly is this contest? Here are some excerpts from Klinghoffer’s post, with bold font added by us and Klinghoffer’s links omitted:
You knew it would happen. Word is getting out, disseminated in scholarly and even media culture, that evolutionary theory’s co-discoverer ultimately abandoned Darwinian evolution in favor of a way of thinking remarkably consistent with intelligent design. Darwinists could not let this go and must inevitably take action to reclaim Alfred Russel Wallace for their own side.
That’s what’s going on? Really? Let’s read on:
In a recent book, Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet, environmental author Tim Flannery [not to be confused with Discoveroid “fellow” Michael Flannery] turns Wallace into a prophetic exponent of chemist James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis.
That’s a “Darwinist” effort to reclaim Wallace? Well, maybe in the Discoveroid view of things. We continue:
To be fair, Tim Flannery may simply be ignorant of Wallace’s work. His focus seems to have been on style over substance, generating an atmosphere of woo, with plenty of distracting quasi-mystical talk and eccentric speculation: [quote omitted].
That explains, dear reader, why your irony detector exploded. Klinghoffer is actually criticizing someone for focusing on woo and quasi-mystical talk. Why — gasp! — it’s an outrage that someone like that would claim Wallace!
We won’t bother excerpting any more from the bulk of Klinghoffer’s essay. You can read it for yourself if you like. Here’s his conclusion:
Alfred Russel Wallace was a forward-thinker, more so than his colleague Charles Darwin: no one can deny that. But to rope him into “proto-cybernetic and proto-Gaian formulations” obviously does a giant disservice to the historical truth. Even so, and Michael Flannery’s valiant efforts notwithstanding, I’m sure this is not the last time we will find Darwinists raiding Wallace for their own purposes.
Your Curmudgeon doesn’t really care who wins this unsightly tug-of-war over the remains of Wallace. But it’s delightful to see Klinghoffer defending the Discoveroids’ claim against a competing woo-peddler.
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