Everyone knows about the Discovery Institute’s obsession with Alfred Wallace, whom Darwin recognized as the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection. Why are the Discoveroids so enchanted by Wallace? As we’ve written before — see Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather — it’s because of some writings by Wallace late in his life that they claim him as their spiritual guru.
In his dotage, Wallace’s confused writings made it clear that he was a socialist, a mystic, and was devoted to spiritualism. He was also a devotee of phrenology and an opponent of smallpox vaccination. His mind became increasingly unhinged late in life, to the point where the Discoveroids find it compatible with theirs.
Today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog we find Alfred Russel Wallace — Intelligent Design’s Lost Ancestor, Now Found. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.
A few years ago, our historian colleague Michael Flannery had the opportunity to participate in the Second International Conference on Alfred Russel Wallace held in Kuching (Sarawak), Malaysia. The paper he delivered, “Alfred Russel Wallace, Nature’s Prophet: From Natural Selection to Natural Theology,” is now published in a collection of presentations by scholars from the conference, Naturalists, Explorers and Field Scientists in South-East Asia and Australasia (Springer).
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — a published paper! [*End Drool Mode*] That must have been an impressive conference. We’ve written before about Flannery’s work — see Shock! Discoveroid Quote-Mining, and also Discovery Institute & Alfred Wallace, Again. Then Klinghoffer says:
Flannery casts Wallace as a “prophet,” in the Greek sense, one who reads and interprets the “text” of nature. His article is deeply informed and perceptive, which comes as no surprise if you know Flannery’s work. Above all, I was struck (not for the first time) by the degree to which Wallace — co-discoverer with Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection — foreshadowed many of the main themes of the theory of intelligent design as we know it today.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Discoveroids regard Wallace as a prophet! Let’s read on:
Professor Flannery masterfully tells the story of Wallace’s dramatic “evolution” as a scientist. He points out that his break with Darwin was not sudden, but rather the product of tremors in Wallace’s articulation of evolutionary theory and Darwin’s own going back to the start. …
Simply put, natural selection as Wallace and Darwin understood it is a strictly utilitarian doctrine. That unguided natural process can select only traits that are useful to propagating a species. Anything else, including pretty much everything that makes humans exceptional, must come from … somewhere else. [Ellipsis in Klinghoffer’s post.]
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — somewhere else! [*End Drool Mode*] Klinghoffer continues:
Learning about Wallace is like making the acquaintance of a lost ancestor, whose photo bears an uncanny resemblance to your own image. Writes Flannery, “the ghost of Wallace still haunts the certainties of the most ardent Darwinian materialists because life, and especially personhood and qualia, … remains their ‘unsolved problem.'” [Ellipsis in Klinghoffer’s post.]
Yes, we’re haunted by the ghost of Wallace. But not nearly as much as the Discoveroids are haunted by the ghost of Darwin. And now we come to the end:
Lost ancestor, the ghost that haunts Darwinism, honorary founder of the intelligent design movement — this is Alfred Russel Wallace, of whose ideas Michael Flannery is our leading interpreter.
Poor old Wallace. He did some good work when he was young, but alas, now he’s praised by the Discoveroids for the intellectual wreck he became in his final years. He deserves better, but sometimes life is unfair.
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