On today’s ID the Future host Andrew McDiarmid brings listeners a couple of fascinating recent articles from Evolution News & Science Today by David Coppedge. The first is “Animals Tune Behavior by Lunar Cycle; but How?” The second article is “Darwin, We Have a Problem: Horse Teeth Are Not Less Evolved.” In the first, some ingenious molecular engineering crops up in widely divergent creatures, giving them some impressive abilities to read lunar cycles. The evolutionists’ go-to explanation is “convergent evolution,” an incantation that fails to explain how something like this could have evolved even once, much less multiple separate times. And in the second, a much-beloved story of ruminant tooth evolution gets a kick in the teeth from a series of uncooperative facts, not least of which are the teeth of a famous non-ruminant, the horse.
On this ID the Future, Discovery Institute senior fellow Andrew McDiarmid explores the roots of the idea that our universe is just one of many universes, an idea stretching back to the ancient atomists and given new life in the modern era, first by physicist Hugh Everett. McDiarmid then looks at how the idea percolated into comic books and from there into popular culture. He caps off the episode with a reading of a recent article about the multiverse hypothesis by Stephen Meyer, author of the recent bestseller, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. Meyer shows why some atheist scientists are attracted to the multiverse idea. As he explains, there is little if any good evidence for the idea, but atheists need the concept to explain away the fact that the laws and constants of the universe are exquisitely fined tuned to allow for life. The fine tuning smacks of intelligent design, and American physicist Leonard Susskind has frankly remarked that the multiverse is needed to answer the arguments of intelligent design proponents. But as Meyer explains, not only does the multiverse hypothesis lack evidence, it doesn’t even remove the need for a fine tuner, a point that even the makers of recent comic book movies from Marvel and DC seem to grasp.
Today’s ID the Future features the newly released Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism by distinguished historian Richard Weikart. Here Andrew McDiarmid reads from the introduction and chapter one. Weikart begins his book by revisiting the harrowing Columbine High School mass shooting and underscoring the curious fact that one of the mass shooters, a white nationalist, claimed inspiration from not just Adolf Hitler but also Charles Darwin. Since Darwin was a peaceable Victorian English gentleman and naturalist, what possible connection could there be between Darwin on the one hand and Hitler and contemporary white nationalism on the other? Weikart shows that the connection is in fact quite clear from the writings of Hitler, Darwin himself, and early Darwinists, and that the connection has continued to fuel scientific racism down to the present, despite the fact that the racist notions that Darwin and Germany’s Ernst Haeckel used to support the case for apelike-primate-to-human evolution have long since been debunked. Weikart’s revelatory new book is now available for purchase.
On today’s ID the Future, host Robert Crowther sits down with writer Andrew McDiarmid to discuss his recent New York Post article, “Word to the Wise: Progressives Forget that Parents are in Charge of Kids’ Education.” The two discuss recent dustups in the news in which parents were told to butt out of the public education of their children. This is profoundly wrongheaded and for a variety of reasons, McDiarmid argues. McDiarmid, a Discovery Institute senior fellow, advocates for greater parental involvement, rather than less, and he and Crowther then apply the principle to the narrower question of how evolution is taught in the public high schools. In many districts evolutionary theory is taught as unquestionable dogma, with none of the theory’s weaknesses presented, and no attempt to encourage critical inquiry into the matter. Parents, students, and education leaders should never settle for this, McDiarmid says. He and Crowther wrap up their conversation by pointing listeners to several quality educational resources, many of them online, to help parents, students, and educators.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid interviews Robert Alston, Ph.D electrical engineer working at Picatinny Arsenal and co-author of the new book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. The two discuss the origin of the Nutshell book and the origin and fine tuning of the universe. Though cosmic fine tuning is often referred to as “the fine tuning problem,” Alston says it’s really no problem at all — not unless you’re trying to shoehorn it into the box of philosophical materialism.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads a recent article from Salvo magazine, “Bits and Bytes at the Bottom.” In the essay, systems engineer Ken Pedersen and Discovery Institute senior fellow Jonathan Witt begin by noting that scientific materialism sees reality as the result of accidental collisions and combinations of elementary particles — a worldview devoid of ultimate meaning and purpose. Many scientific materialists expressed confidence that any shortcomings in their paradigm would be shorn up by fresh discoveries soon enough, but as Pedersen and Witt explain, a funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century. A paradigm shift occurred, one famously summarized by renowned theoretical physicist John Wheeler: “Bit before it.”
On this episode of ID the Future, host Andrew McDiarmid draws on an essay at Evolution News & Science Today to explore some intricate optimized insect designs that are inspiring human engineers and raise the question, could evolution have done that? Cicadas and dragonflies use an exquisitely engineered “bed of nails” on their wings to disarm and neutralize bacteria. Butterflies and bird feathers also use this trick. There are fruit flies that have multiple navigation systems, complete with error correction for hard turns. And the sea skater insect is able to walk on water and launch itself explosively thanks to an impressive combination of engineering marvels. Did evolution really bring all those design factors together? Or was something else required — intelligence and foresight?
On this episode of ID the Future, biologist and professor Robert Waltzer talks with host Andrew McDiarmid about Waltzer’s chapter in the new Discovery Institute Press volume Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. Waltzer’s chapter covers some key terms in the evolution/ID conversation that are often misunderstood or misused. These include the word “evolution” itself, “change over time,” “common descent,” and “natural selection.” He offers quick definitions and explains some of the confusion surrounding them. Waltzer also describes an encouraging success story of his about fostering open dialogue and exploration of the evidence for design in nature.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads from David Berlinski’s new book Human Nature. The excerpt is a tribute to Phillip Johnson and his 1991 book Darwin on Trial. Berlinski calls the work a “Majestic Ascent.” Johnson, he writes, not only brought evolution into question logically and scientifically; he brought the case where it belongs, before “the considered reflection of the human race.” Berlinski himself reflects on various empty attempts to build a scientific theory on prior commitments to materialism. “Darwin’s theories,” he says, “are correspondingly less important for what they explain, which is very little, and more important for what they deny, which is roughly the plain evidence of our senses.”
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads the afterword to Michael Aeschliman’s newly revised and expanded The Restoration of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Continuing Case Against Scientism. As Aeschliman explains, Lewis neither deified nor defied science, but he did insist that science idolatry was the grave and present danger of our age. In this excerpt, Aeschliman, professor of Anglophone Culture at the University of Italian Switzerland (Lugano), focuses on Lewis’s brilliant critique of scientism in The Abolition of Man and elsewhere in his work, and on some key thinkers, past and present, who joined Lewis in the fight. It’s a battle, Aeschliman explains, against “the vanity of reason unhinged from ethics,” amidst “a culture that oscillates between the toxic and the trivial.” How did Lewis propose to counteract the polluting effects of scientism? Listen in to find out. And for a deeper dive, pick up a copy of The Restoration of Man.