Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

Evolution News and Views

Kitzmiller v. A.R. Wallace?

The New Yorker recently published a story by Jonathan Rosen: "Missing Link: Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Darwin's neglected double." Picking up on a thought of G.K. Chesterton, Rosen notes that while he did "as much as anyone to overturn traditional religious assumptions, Wallace proceeded to horrify his fellow-evolutionists by concluding that natural selection could not in itself explain the uniqueness of man." There must be intelligent guidance, claimed Wallace.

And this raises an interesting question: Would Judge Jones' Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling have banned the views of the co-founder of evolution from Pennsylvania classrooms? A question already addressed in Traipsing Into Evolution:

...Schiller, like modern design theorist Michael Behe, argued for intelligent design without rejecting all forms of evolution or even common descent.

Prominent nineteenth century scientists held similar views, including even Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-developer with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection. By the late nineteenth century, Wallace came to believe that natural selection acting on random variations could not explain a number of things in biology, especially the development of the human brain. He concluded instead that "a Higher Intelligence" guided the process:

[T]here seems to be evidence of a Power which has guided the action of those laws [of organic development] in definite directions and for special ends. And so far from this view being out of harmony with the teachings of science, it has a striking analogy with what is now taking place in the world....22
While Wallace certainly ascribed more religious meaning to his concept than was warranted by the data, he nonetheless recognized that it was possible to detect design in nature. It is ironic that Judge Jones' decision effectively renders unconstitutional the views of the co-founder of the modern theory of evolution.