Book on Alfred Russel Wallace now available!
|February 14, 2009||Posted by Flannery under Biography, Intelligent Design|
Published by Erasmus Press, Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism is now available purchase book. In this book I provide a context and perspective with which to analyze the intellectual legacy of famed 19th-century naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace. In it two principle themes are argued: 1) Darwin’s theory of evolution was fundamentally a device to butress and promote his materialistic atheism; and 2) Wallace’s theory of evolution became a teleological synthesis forming a foundation for modern ID.
As stated on the back cover:
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), co-discoverer of natural selection, was second only to Charles Darwin as the 19th century’s most noted English naturalist. Yet his belief in spiritualism caused him to be ridiculed and dismissed by many, leaving him a comparatively obscure and misunderstood figure. In this volume Wallace is finally allowed to speak in his own defense through his grand evolutionary synthesis The World of Life published nearly a century ago in 1910. More than just a reprinting of a near-forgotten work, Michael A. Flannery places Wallace in historical context. Flannery exposes Charles Darwin’s now-famous theory of evolution as little more than a naturalistic cover for an extreme philosophical materialism borrowed as a youth from Edinburgh radicals. This is juxtaposed by his sympathetic account of what he calls Wallace’s intelligent evolution, a thoroughly teleological alternative to Darwin’s stochastic processes. Though based upon very different formulations of natural selection, the Wallace/Darwin dispute as presented by Flannery shows a metaphysical clash of worldviews coextensive with modern evolutionary theory itself—design and purpose versus randomness and chance. This book will be of value to scholars and students alike seeking to understand the historical and philosophical roots of a controversy that still rages today.
There are two major reasons why I think this book is necessary. First, this book will provide an important historiographical corrective to Darwin’s biographical accounts. While Darwin has received the attention of many noted scholars, by and large they have restricted themselves to examining his emergent evolutionary theory. I reverse the process by examining the heterodox metaphysical climate bearing upon him while his evolutionary ideas were still quite inchoate. In the introduction I investigate these influences — influences bearing upon him well before his voyage on the Beagle — and show how certain metaphysical ideas impacted his later evolutionary thinking. Second, Wallace has been covered by several fine (and not a few not-so-fine) biographers, but his direct connection with modern ID has either been missed, ignored, or discounted. The present book seeks to fill this void.
I am honored to have William Dembski provide a foreword to the book, and the addition of an abridged edition of The World of Life also allows Wallace to speak for himself on the issue of ID. Rather than launch into the particulars of my arguments here, let me simply invite you read for yourself.