Darwin's Heretic Screens at University of Alabama Birmingham
Students and faculty at University of Alabama Birmingham were lucky to be the second audience to screen a short documentary about the intelligent design leanings of one of the most renowned biologists of the nineteenth century, Alfred Russel Wallace shares credit with Charles Darwin for developing the theory of evolution by natural selection. One part of Wallace's remarkable life and career has been completely ignored: His embrace of intelligent design. Darwin's Heretic is a 21-minute documentary that explores Wallace's fascinating intellectual journey and how it sheds light on current debates. The documentary features UAB Professor Michael Flannery, author of the acclaimed biography, Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life.
More than 180 were in attendance, and the students in the crowd seemed very interested and engaged. There were a number of good, mostly honest questions from curious students who didn't know this aspect of Wallace at all. One student wanted to know how ID was science or what evidence did Wallace present in its behalf. Flannery responded that it was in the video -- certain features of life give clear evidence of purposeful design such as the cell, the human intellect, even the bird's wing and feather might be considered in Wallace's example irreducibly complex. Flannery went on to point out that this is a perfectly legitimate form of reasoning used in everyday life as well as science. The forensic sciences and anthropology, for example, utilize it extensively. It is, as Steve Meyer points out citing Peter Lipton, an "inference to the best explanation" given the available observable evidence at hand.