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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Darwin and Wallace

John, thanks for the link across to Nagel's award to Meyer's book.

A piece from the post on Science and Values deserves to be surfaced here:
Michael A. Flannery, in his book ‘Alfred Russel Wallace's Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace's World of Life Challenged Darwinism’, shows that Darwin's exclusion of God from any involvement in the development of life was well entrenched in his mind long before he wrote ‘Origin of Species’. In other words, his belief that evolution could happen all by itself was not a product of his science but his philosophical position.
After many years of research, Wallace, second only to Charles Darwin as the 19th century's most noted English naturalist, came to the conclusion that evolution could not have happened without being guided by a higher intelligence, whereas Darwin held to the concept of randomness in evolution.
Writing in Forbes magazine, Flannery explained: "Darwin's own theory could hardly be called objectively scientific. Early influences on Darwin's youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism [the exclusion of supernatural explanations] long before his voyage on the Beagle.
"In short, Darwin's metaphysic compelled his science. Wallace, on the other hand, was a tireless investigator who increasingly discerned design in nature. Unlike Darwin, Wallace's science compelled his metaphysics."

A useful statement to bear in mind when we hear the usual doffing of hat and tugging of forelock in the direction of Darwin by our pals in the SAD, who are, of course, functioning at the intellectual level of gnats when it comes to creation and evolution.

And while we're on intellectual performance, have a look at the quote on Behe's blog from Joseph Thornton who has a very confused take on probabilistic calculus. On his line of argument, the probability of any event, or chain of events is so vanishingly small that nothing could have acutally happened. But we know that things do happen. Thornton I think takes actual events as inhabiting a probability density function, which in fact exists theoretically and prospectively. What actually happens is a different thing. So could we argue this way for evolution? Well, see below, but also we know the mechanism by which baseball teams win games. There is as yet no mechanism for 'grand scale' evolution, let alone the origin of life materialistically.

By way of contrast, have a look at On Probability and Systematics: Possibility, Probability, and Phylogenetic Inference Matthew H. Haber in Systematic Biology 2005 54(5):831-841


neil moore said...

I see to in correspondence elsewhere how Darwin was aided in his scholastic pursuits and thus the development of his theory by Anglican clergy such as John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861) and Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) who, while not supporting evolution did, however, hold to an old age for the earth.

Such unbiblical views spawned serious error and trouble for the Church.


John said...


How dare you compare the two eras. Can't you see that the SAD is infallible and even if they weren't, they don't have the time to listen to correction because God has chosen them to show the rest of the world that God has chosen them due to their being infallible, unlike the Scriptures because that's infallible only in as far as it's been correctly interpreted according to the living leaders of the SAD.

Hmmm...sounds awfully like Mormonism, minus the gods, planets and 1000's of wives doctrine.

neil moore said...

Just as faith, historically, has been replaced by unfaithfulness and 'alive' churches have been replaced by 'dead' churches or none at all, so it is that eisegesis replaces exegesis. This is happening in the Sydney Anglican Diocese and what was reformed is becoming deformed.