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Eccles is no Darwinian

Darwin might never have written Origin of Species [6] had it not been for the arrival of a paper that shook him to the core -- a paper from Alfred Russel Wallace, wherein was set out, in essentials, the very theory of evolution which Darwin had already devised, but had not taken the time to refine and publish. In a flash, Darwin took pen in hand, and hammered out the immortal book that would supersede Wallace's work. All of this, of course, is but a tiny chapter in the history of science -- with which many readers are doubtless familiar. Why mention it here? Well, Eccles calls himself a Darwinian, but actually he's a Wallacean -- and there's a difference, a big difference between the two views. As Eccles explains, ``Wallace felt that human intelligence could only be explained by the direct intervention of Cosmic intelligence" ([9], 235). This was a notion Darwin couldn't stomach. Wallace outraged Darwin by publishing a paper on primitive people (with whom he lived most of his life) in which he declared:

Natural Selection could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that of an ape, whereas he actually possesses one but a little inferior to that of the average members of our learned societies ([9], 235).

The notion that the powers possessed by homo sapiens sapiens (hss) were created not by mindless processes, but by the Almighty, is one Eccles is quite at home with. Indeed, this book, despite it's empirical-sounding title, is in many ways an affirmation of, or a prolegomenon to, Christian eschatology.

Selmer Bringsjord
Thu Sep 18 14:45:31 EDT 1997