Stranger Fruit

Dembski just announced a forthcoming book for which he is apparently writing a foreword: Michael A. Flannery (ed.) Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism. Flannery (MA, MLS) is associate director for historical collections at Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham and claims to have “published extensively on the history of medicine, pharmacy, and bioethics” [pdf] and is a recipient of the Edward Kremers Award for outstanding scholarship in pharmaceutical (rather than biological or evolutionary) history by an American. I have never encountered his historical work but will note that (see the pdf link above) that he appears sympathetic to ID. Witness (again from the pdf):

Actually, ID is not creationism. It makes no claim about the nature of the designer. All ID says is that there are certain features of living systems that are best explained by reference to an intelligent cause rather than an undirected natural process. It states no more and no less. It is, in fact, so minimalist in its claims that it can be embraced by a wide spectrum of belief systems from Judeo-Christian to Moslem and many more.

Indeed, Flannery suggests “either teach both [design and naturalistic evolution] in the science classroom or, recognizing the metaphysical premises of each, teach neither and reserve them for humanities classes in history or philosophy.”

I can find no other information on the book so I cannot comment on who has provided papers. I will be surprised if any of the notable experts on Wallace (Peter Raby, Martin Fichman, or Charles H. Smith) are involved. We have known that Wallace’s version of evolution differed from Darwin’s for quite a while now. Why we need Flannery and Dembski writing about it, I don’t know.

Comments

  1. #1 DLC
    January 7, 2009

    “Now with added Dembski” sounds like a reverse on the usual advertising ploy. Reverse in that, based on what I’ve seen of his work before, extra Dembski would tend to drive me away from a book.

  2. #2 J-Dog
    January 7, 2009

    DLC – You are correct! The words clear & concise will NEVER be linked to a Dembski screed.

  3. #3 pough
    January 7, 2009

    Wow, all the way “from Judeo-Christian to Moslem”? That’s the widest spectrum, ever. That spectrum’s so incredibly wide that, quite frankly, I’m skeptical. How could there possibly be a spectrum so wide? That spectrum must have been designed by an intelligent designer. Considering the nature of the spectrum, there’s probably only one designer. The “Monodesignist Theory”, if you will.

  4. #4 John Lynch
    January 7, 2009

    See an update here.

  5. #5 gb
    January 7, 2009

    Or is that ‘MonodesignistIC Theory’?

  6. #6 George Beccaloni
    January 7, 2009

    “Oh dear!” I thought when I saw your post, a whole bunch of IDiots have banded together and are now trying to use Wallace’s writings from when he was in his dotage to bolster their irrational belief system! Well, although I think I was sadly partly correct, the book turns out not to be the edited tome of essays by ID proponents I had expected. Instead I discovered that it is simply a reprint of Wallace’s 1910 book The World of Life with some introductory text (see here and scroll down: http://www.erasmuspress.net/Publications.html). If Flannery and Dembski are trying to present Wallace’s peculiar spiritualist beliefs as Intelligent Design then that just goes to show how much such people are willing to distort the facts in order to further their cause (see http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/wallace/FAQ.htm#idesign). Note that you don’t have to even part with your hard earned cash to read Wallace’s book, as it is freely available as a pdf – e.g. from here http://wallacefund.info/en/world-life-manifestation-creative-power-directive-mind-and-ultimate-purpose

  7. #7 John Lynch
    January 7, 2009

    George,

    That’s more or less what I posted in the update.

  8. #8 George Beccaloni
    January 7, 2009

    Ah, I finally found the update and see that you have indeed done so.