Alfred Russel Wallace: Darwin’s Heretic

Alfred Russel Wallace

Two portraits hang side-by-side in the Meeting Room of Burlington House, venue of the prestigious Linnaean Society. The older likeness portrays the man whose name is arguably the most familiar in the history of science—Charles Darwin. The second (and much more recently commissioned) portrait depicts the man often described as Darwin’s shadow—Alfred Russel Wallace. Just as these paintings are displayed together, so were the early papers of each naturalist presented together at a meeting of this very society, on July 1, 1858.[1]  Both described theories on the evolution of species by way of a mechanism Darwin called natural selection. While Wallace is sometimes credited as “co-discoverer” or the “other man” in the history of current evolutionary theory, there were fundamental disparities between his philosophy of science and Darwin’s—differences that…well, make a world of difference. In fact, there is a compelling argument that if Wallace lived today, he would actually be considered a proponent of intelligent design.

Michael Flannery has written two excellent books on this subject. I’ve read Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution, and it was fantastic. I was able to verify Flannery’s responsible use of Wallace’s words by going back to the original writings. (Wow, Wallace was a great writer–absolutely captivating!)  My conclusion is that Flannery’s argument is completely credible. He has released a new book that I have yet to read:

There is a nice companion video entilted, “Darwin’s Heretic: Did the Co-Founder of Evolution Embrace Intelligent Design?” I’ll post it here for your convenience. Enjoy!


[1] Michael Flannery, Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution (Riesel,TX: Erasmus Press, 2008): 1.