On this ID the Future, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter explores Charles Darwin’s theological arguments for his theory of evolution. By theological, Hunter doesn’t mean that Darwin was arguing for theistic evolution. He means that Darwin received what is known as theological utilitarianism from the intellectual culture of his youth, which had strong deistic tendencies and expected everything in creation to be perfectly adapted, and he made a case against it, presenting mindless evolution as a better explanation for his observations of the biological world than theological utilitarianism. But one problem with this approach, according to Hunter, is that it assumed that theological utilitarianism is THE alternative to blind evolution. In fact, there are other alternatives, including an orthodox Judeo-Christian understanding of God’s relationship to his creation. In Hunter’s conversation with host Casey Luskin, he unpacks the differences in this other understanding of God and shows how Darwin’s tunnel-vision fixation on theological utilitarianism led him into multiple problems. Hunter further shows that this basic theological mistake of Darwin’s also crops up in later defenders of Darwinism. Hunter and Luskin end the discussion by making what may strike some as a surprising claim: Evolutionary theory, argued in the way that Darwin and many of his followers argue the case, is fundamentally theology-based, whereas the theory of intelligent design, which points to a design of life and the cosmos, is strictly science-based. The occasion for the interview is Hunter’s chapter on this subject in the recent anthology co-edited by Luskin, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos. Check it out.
On this ID the Future, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter and host Eric Anderson discuss the RNA World hypothesis, an explanation for how the first self-reproducing organism might have arisen via mindless chemical processes. Hunter and Anderson have each written on the topic, and together they unpack some of the many and growing problems with this RNA-first explanation for the origin of life. They also spotlight some recent admissions in mainstream scientific publications that it’s time to move on from the cherished but embattled RNA World. The conversation pivots off of a recent essay by Hunter at Evolution News, “RNA World: Repeated Downfalls, Repeated Resurrections.” For more on the challenges of creating the first self-reproducing biological entity, see Eric Anderson’s Chapter 3 of Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell.
On this ID the Future Cornelius Hunter continues discussing determinism, which he describes as a “bizarre position” held “with great confidence” by scientists such as the German physicist Sabine Hossenfelder. It’s bizarre, says Hunter, because if it’s true, then the universe’s initial conditions and the laws of nature produced the particular works of Beethoven and Shakespeare willy nilly. If it’s true, then all one says or thinks — right or wrong, true or false — was determined some 13.8 billion years ago. But if that’s the case, then there are no reasonable grounds for concluding that one’s belief in determinism is true. And like David Hume’s argument against miracles, determinism makes a false dichotomy between natural law and free will. The take-home lesson, according to Hunter: be cautious listening to “experts” speaking outside their fields. Hunter is joined by host and historian of science Michael Newton Keas.
On this ID the Future Cornelius Hunter discusses the controversy over determinism and free will. Joined by host Michael Keas, Dr. Hunter, a specialist in biophysics and computational biology, takes listeners all the way back to Aristotle, then to Newton, then to Pierre-Simon Laplace, who theorized that a sufficient computation could determine the future based on just the universe’s initial conditions and the laws of nature. Laplace was a physical determinist, in other words, one who holds that the laws of nature determine everything. That includes human choices, which determinists today, such as German theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, take to be merely an illusory experience. But it’s “an irrational rejection of evidence” on their part, Hunter argues; evidenced by how blithely they sweep it aside.
On this episode of ID the Future, Dr. Cornelius Hunter, author of Science’s Blind Spot: The Unseen Religion of Scientific Naturalism, talks about new findings on so-called “junk” DNA. Evolutionary theory predicts lots of such “Darwinian detritus” that does nothing for organisms. That prediction keeps coming up false. “Satellite DNA” was one form of DNA thought to be junk, and left on the back burner by researchers. But now it’s been found to be both crucial — for the fertility of male fruit flies — and species-specific. Evolutionary theory expected none of this, though it gamely accommodate it, Hunter explains. How? By moving the goalposts.
On this episode of ID the Future, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter explains how mitochondria, the powerhouse of eukaryotic cells, pose a powerful and newly acute problem for evolution. For years evolutionists thought that some early cells must somehow have brought other cells inside of them, and those other cells then mysteriously evolved into mitochondria. But recent research undermines that notion. Why do many evolutionists then still cling to the idea? Dr. Hunter’s answer explains how a lot of evolutionary thinking persists in the face of mounting contrary evidence.
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On this episode of ID the Future, Ray Bohlin interviews Cornelius Hunter about a recent article in Science on virus invasion of bacteria. Hunter explains protein-protein binding and how the immune system is not analogous to evolution. Listen in as these two biologists discuss criticisms of neo-Darwinism!
On this episode of ID the Future, Ray Bohlin interviews biologist Cornelius Hunter about the growing problem that epigenetics poses for Neo-Darwinism. Modern evolutionary theory has long insisted that genes and genetic mutations are where the evolutionary action is, and dismissed the early 19th century naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck for suggesting that new environmental pressures could drive heritable changes in a population within a single generation. But as Hunter explains, recent experiments reveal that this does happen and epigenetic sources in the cell are the key drivers. Worse for mainstream evolutionists, this epigenetic machinery is not easily domesticated into the Darwinian agenda of keeping teleology out of the picture.Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin talks with Dr. Cornelius Hunter — a Discovery Institute Fellow, adjunct professor, and author — about his website Darwin’s Predictions, which critically examines 22 fundamental predictions of evolutionary theory. In this fourth and final podcast of the series, Dr. Hunter discusses evolution’s failed prediction that competition should be greatest between neighbors.Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin talks with Dr. Cornelius Hunter — a Discovery Institute Fellow, adjunct professor, and author — about his website Darwin’s Predictions, which critically examines 22 fundamental predictions of evolutionary theory. In this third podcast of the series, Dr. Hunter discusses how mutations are adaptive and features of James Shapiro’s natural genetic engineering model.Read More ›