Thursday, August 22, 2013

#675: Michael Flannery

Michael A. Flannery (MA, MLS) is the associate director for historical collections at Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Birmingham, and has supposedly “published extensively on the history of medicine, pharmacy, and bioethics”. He made a certain splash with his book Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace's World of Life Challenged Darwinism, the foreword of which was penned by William Dembski, no less (Flannery is himself associated with the Discovery Institute) – and that really tells you all you need to know about the book (more here). To emphasize that he is not a creationist, Flannery points out that “ID is not creationism. It makes no claim about the nature of the designer [and] it can be embraced by a wide spectrum of belief systems from Judeo-Christian to Moslem and many more.” Which does not make it non-creationist, and does not make it a theory with even a semblance of predictive or explanatory power (indeed, it explicitly avoids any semblance of explanatory power out of the theory – responding to the question of why X is the case by “it was so designed” is, without specific information on the motives of the designer and the exact techniques employed, no more of an explanation than “it just is that way”).

The revealing thing about Flannery’s misconceptions is that he views evolution vs. ID not as a matter of having the best scientific theory (a perspective from which the quasi-religious denialist dogma ID wouldn’t even get on the ground, much less off of it), but as a metaphysical dispute: “Darwin’s own theory could hardly be called objectively scientific. Early influences on Darwin’s youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism long before his voyage on the Beagle. In short, Darwin's metaphysic compelled his scienc.” The depth of his lack of understanding of science and scientific methods is breathtaking, and a better example of a genetic fallacy is hard to come by.

Diagnosis: Yet another denialist crackpot who makes stuff up in the name of Jesus. Delusional moron.

1 comment:

  1. A sample of his tortured "scholarship" is partially dissected at

    In his "Darwin wasn't such a great scientist" themed piece, his writing covers the spectrum from irrelevant through wrong all the way to mean-spirited. It is the sort of attempt to denigrate a great man to which only an underachiever moldering in his own mediocrity can sink.