In 2009 atheist biologist Richard Dawkins offered a scientific test to decide between Darwinian evolution and intelligent design (ID). The results are in, and as guest Casey Luskin explains on this ID the Future, the evidence has broken strongly in favor of intelligent design. At the time Dawkins presented the test, he was confident that comparative DNA evidence supported Darwin’s tree of life and its idea of universal common ancestry. He made the point in his 2009 book The Greatest Show on Earth and in two interviews. As he put it, “The single most convincing fact or observation you could point to” in favor of Darwinian evolution over against ID “would be the pattern of resemblances that you see when you compare the genes … of any pair of animals you like … and then plot out the resemblances and they form a perfect hierarchy, a perfect family tree. And the only alternative to it being a family tree is that the intelligent designer deliberately set out to deceive us in the most underhanded and devious manner.” But fourteen years later the picture looks very different. Tune in as Casey Luskin details the various ways that the rapidly developing field of phylogenomics is uncovering data that powerfully fits the ID model of life’s history and strongly undermines the idea of universal common ancestry via mindless evolution. As Luskin says in a recent Evolution News article, “Now, years later, scientists have sequenced a great number of whole genomes. And as a consequence, they know that Dawkins was wrong. Every gene does not deliver ‘approximately the same tree of life.’… On its own terms, the Dawkins test for evolution has come up for ID.” So why haven’t evolutionary biologists given up on universal common ancestry? Luskin says that some have, while others reflexively invoke auxiliary hypotheses and employ question-begging computer models to generate tree-like ancestries in the face of contrary data. Luskin compares the behavior to astronomers who protected the dying geocentric model of the solar system by invoking “epicycles” to explain away contrary astronomical data. Better to let the Dawkins Test speak for itself, Luskin says. Listen in for the full story.
On today’s ID the Future, geologist Casey Luskin continues to unpack his recently published essay against the view that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors via blind Darwinian processes. In this episode he shares his experience of walking into the fossil hall at South Africa’s famous Maropeng Museum and immediately being confronted by a piece of shameless materialist propaganda, a Richard Dawkins quotation prominently displayed as part of a floor-to-ceiling display. The quotation insisted that humans are essentially just DNA survival machines. Luskin says, not so fast, and points out the various ways such a view fails to explain important aspects of human behavior, including altruistic behavior toward non-kin. Luskin and host Eric Anderson also call evolutionary theory to task for being overly supple, with its adherents regularly employing vague just-so stories to explain virtually any behavior or feature AND its opposite. To read Luskin’s essay on the subject, get the new free online ID book from South Africa, Science and Faith in Dialogue, with contributions from Luskin, Stephen Meyer, Hugh Ross, Guillermo Gonzalez, James Tour, Fazale Rana, Marcos Eberlin, and others. Find Part 1 in this Anderson/Luskin podcast series here, and Part 2 here.
On today’s ID the Future, Casey Luskin rebuts the oft-repeated claim that the human and chimp genomes are 98-99% similar and therefore surely resulted from Darwinian common descent. Luskin cites an article in the journal Science which describes the 98-99% claim as a myth. The original figure was derived from a single protein-to-protein comparison, but once you compare the entire genomes, and use more rigorous methods, the similarity drops several percentage points, and on one account, down into the mid-80s. Additionally, the chimp genomes used in the original comparison studies borrowed the human genome for scaffolding, thus artificially boosting the degree of similarity. What about supposed junk DNA similarities between human and chimp? Why would an intelligent designer put the same useless “pseudogene” in both the original chimp population and original human population? Surely a better explanation, the evolutionists argue, is Darwinian common ancestry. The problem with that argument, according to Luskin, is that pseudogenes are turning out to have functions. In other words, they aren’t, as evolutionists had assumed, just so much junk DNA. One example: evolution advocates Kenneth Miller and Eugenie Scott cited the beta-globin pseudogene as knockdown evidence of common descent between humans and apes. But the beta-globin pseudogene, it turns out, is essential for producing red blood cells. This means that finding this gene in both apes and humans is no more indicative of mindless common descent than finding wheels on both cars and airplanes. An intelligent designer would be expected to use the successful design element in both cases. Luskin provides still other lines of evidence undercutting the DNA-similarity argument for chimp-human common ancestry. Tune in to hear it all. And to read Luskin’s latest work on the subject, get the new free online ID book from South Africa, Science and Faith in Dialogue, with contributions from Luskin, Stephen Meyer, Hugh Ross, Guillermo Gonzalez, James Tour, Fazale Rana, Marcos Eberlin, and others.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a new free online ID book from South Africa, Science and Faith in Dialogue, with contributions from Stephen Meyer, Hugh Ross, Guillermo Gonzalez, James Tour, Fazale Rana, Marcos Eberlin, and others. Geologist Casey Luskin joins host Eric Anderson to tell how the new peer-reviewed book came together and to describe the chapter he contributed, “Evolutionary Models of Palaeoanthropology, Genetics, and Psychology Fail to Account for Human Origins: A Review.” Luskin did his PhD in South Africa and had many opportunities to study various hominid fossils. Here he explains why he is convinced that intelligent design far better explains the fossil evidence than does Darwinian evolution.
Today’s ID the Future continues geologist Casey Luskin’s presentation about how Earth is fine tuned in numerous ways for life, a talk he gave at the 2022 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith. Here in the second half, he highlights the many ways Earth’s precise mix of atmospheric gases is strikingly fit for life. On top of that (or rather, beneath that), Earth’s active geology and water-rich surface—unique in our solar system—are masterful at helping maintain our life-friendly atmosphere over long ages. Luskin argues that these and other finely tuned characteristics of planet Earth strongly suggest intelligent design. He then offers an additional design argument, this one aesthetic in nature, and then takes questions from the audience. Part 1 of his talk is here.
On today’s ID the Future geologist Casey Luskin explains how Earth contains many intricate geological processes required for life. He argues that, taken together, this points to intelligent design rather than dumb luck. This episode is the first half of a talk Dr. Luskin presented at the 2022 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith. Stay tuned for Pt. 2 and a Q&A with his original audience.