In a piece at Evolution News and Views Flannery writes:
Alfred Russel Wallace Issues Fighting Words to Materialists in 1910: "Nothing in evolution can account for the soul [or mind] of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable." Steven Pinker to the Rescue?In other words, the problem Wallace puts his finger on is how nature could have selected for such things as a love of music and the ability to develop mathematics when these things offered their possessor no survival value. Evolution only conserves those traits that confer fitness upon the organism, but what fitness did an ability to solve difficult equations or appreciate music have before there were such equations to solve or music to enjoy?
Wallace made the above declaration in an interview .... in December of 1910. Much to the chagrin of Charles Darwin, this co-discoverer of natural selection had suggested as much even earlier in the April 1869 issue of The Quarterly Review. Despite maintaining cordial relations, this "heresy" would create a great divide between the two naturalists, and Darwin's disciples have been searching for an answer to Wallace ever since.
Recently Steven Pinker, the darling of evolutionary psychology at Harvard, proposed to rescue Darwinists .... Pinker points out that Alfred Russel Wallace "claimed that abstract intelligence was of no use to ancestral humans and could only be explained by intelligent design." In a singular display of perspicacity, Pinker is right. Wallace felt that certain aspects of the uniquely human mind--love of music, humor, abstract reasoning, mathematics, etc.--were wholly inexplicable by Darwin's own principle of utility, which is the idea that no organ or attribute can exist in a species unless it is or has been useful to the organisms that possess it....
The matter Wallace, and many others since, found to be so vexing is similar to the problem posed by the existence of human consciousness which has been a philosophical thorn in materialism's side ever since Darwin. Steven Pinker tries to grapple with Wallace's argument, but Flannery doesn't think his response is very persuasive. You can read Flannery's assessment of Pinker's argument at the link.