On this episode of ID the Future, Michael Flannery speaks again with host Mike Keas about his book Nature’s Prophet: Alfred Russel Wallace, and His Evolution from Natural Selection to Natural Theology. Wallace was the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection along with Charles Darwin, but in 1869 he broke with Darwin, disagreeing with him on the origin of special human attributes like art, music, and abstract thought.
Seeing how distinctive humans are from other animals, and after determining that the mechanism of random variation and natural selection was inadequate to explain the origin of those distinctive qualities, Wallace concluded that the origin of our species required a special ruling intelligence to explain our appearance. He dissented from his day’s version of reductionist scientism, and in his 1910 book The World of Life, he put forth a natural theology compatible with Christianity, though he himself was not a Christian. Flannery also discusses two reviews of Nature’s Prophet, one from a Harvard scientist who, according to Flannery, misunderstands Wallace, Christian theology, and the point of the book.