ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast
Category

Life Sciences

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Ribosome translating mRNA into a polypeptide chain

Orphan Proteins Spell Trouble for AlphaFold 2

On this ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson further explores AlphaFold 2, a cutting edge computer program from Google’s DeepMind designed to rapidly suss out important secrets in the realm of proteins, indispensable molecular biological workhorses that come in thousands of different shapes and sizes. Nelson enthuses about AlphaFold 2 but also explains why he is convinced that AlphaFold’s creators have hit a series of immovable obstacles. The watchword here—orphans. Tune in to learn what these mischievous orphan proteins are about, and what they suggest for AlphaFold, evolution, and intelligent design.

protein
Chain of amino acid or bio molecules called protein - 3d illustration

Powerful Protein Folding Algorithm AlphaFold Foiled by Singletons

Today’s ID the Future spotlights AlphaFold, an artificial intelligence program in the news for its impressive breakthroughs at predicting a protein’s 3D structure from its amino acid sequence. Philosopher of Biology Paul Nelson walks listeners through the importance of this “amazing breakthrough,” as he describes it in a recent Evolution News article; but don’t uncork the champagne bottles just yet. The reason, according to Nelson, is that while proteins, protein sequences, and protein folding promise to reveal much that is still mysterious in molecular biology, we now know that biological information involves far more than just an organism’s proteome—that is, far more than the full suite of proteins expressed by an organism. Nelson uses analogies to manmade machines and cognates Read More ›

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Emily Reeves: The Systems Biology Revolution

On today’s ID the Future, biochemist and metabolic nutritionist Emily Reeves tells the story of the systems biology revolution, why it is intelligent-design friendly, and why it is overturning Darwinian reductionism. This presentation was taped at the 2022 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith in the greater Philadelphia area, which was jointly sponsored by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and Westminster Theological Seminary.

tuskless elephant
Tuskless female elephant with trunk in mouth

Michael Behe: Evolution, Devolution, Design

Today’s ID the Future features three recent Evolution News essays by Lehigh University biology professor and Darwin Devolves author Michael Behe, as read by host Andrew McDiarmid. In the first, nothing shows the feebleness of Darwinism quite so much as breathless stories about new results that turn out to be much ado about nothing. In this case, it’s some recent speculation about the rise of “lactase persistence” in many human adults. Then it’s onto malaria, much beloved of evolutionists, not for its lethality but as a demonstration of evolution in action. But Behe dissects the latest news story on the topic to show that the touted malaria evolution is, once again, malaria gnawing off the proverbial leg to achieve a Read More ›

harvester ants
Messor Barbarus harvester ants cutting a green plant. High quality photo

Evolution Challenge: The Harvester Ant Foraging Algorithm

On this ID the Future, Animal Algorithms author Eric Cassell explores an algorithm in the brains of harvester ants that adjusts their foraging strategy based on how available food is in their environment, thereby guiding the harvester ants toward more efficient foraging. Cassell builds off a March 2022 article in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface to explain how the algorithm in the ant’s tiny brain involves a sophisticated feedback control mechanism that includes both positive and negative feedback systems. As he further notes in the episode and in an article at Evolution News, a mathematical model of the harvester ants’ foraging behavior by Stanford University scientists confirms the control algorithm is largely optimized. Cassell’s recent book, Animal Algorithms, Read More ›

ants

Amazing Insect Colonies vs. Evolution

On today’s ID the Future, Animal Algorithms author Eric Cassell delves into another fascinating portion of his new book, the programmed social behaviors of colony insects and the challenge these instinctive behaviors pose for modern evolutionary theory. Cassell and host Robert J. Marks discuss the complex caste system of these colonies, the impressive signaling systems they use to communicate, and how technologists study these tiny-brained creatures to learn tricks for developing and improving drone swarm technology. How could a mindless evolutionary process have evolved these sophisticated colonies, where various castes appear essential to the functioning and survival of the colony, and possess their division-of-labor skills instinctively? Some colony members also behave altruistically, a fact that Charles Darwin himself conceded posed Read More ›

comet earth

It Came from Outer Space? Astrobiologist: Not Likely

On today’s ID the Future astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez and host Casey Luskin discuss the idea of undirected panspermia. Gonzalez explains the basic idea and what the best current evidence says about its plausibility. The occasion is his chapter on panspermia in the new anthology A Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, co-edited by Casey Luskin, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Undirected panspermia is the idea that the first life on our planet came from outer space, carried by chance processes from a faraway living planet on space dust, asteroids, or comets either from within our solar system, or from another star system to here. The idea of panspermia was inspired by the extreme difficulty of Read More ›

Animal Algorithms

New Book Spotlights High Tech Animal Navigation

Today’s ID the Future spotlights the new book Animal Algorithms: Evolution and the Mysterious Origin of Ingenious Instincts. The author, Eric Cassell, joins host and Baylor computer engineering professor Robert J. Marks to discuss the groundbreaking book and, in particular, the chapters on some of the animal kingdom’s most stunning navigators—the arctic tern, homing pigeons, the monarch butterfly, and the desert ant, among others. Cassell has degrees in biology and engineering, and he draws on these and his decades of professional expertise in aircraft navigation systems to show that these creatures instinctively employ navigational technologies that humans have only recently mastered. According to Cassell, their skills are driven by sophisticated algorithms embedded in their brains. But what created these algorithms Read More ›

solar eclipse
Solar Eclipse In Clouds

Carl Sagan Wrong about “Pale Blue Dot,” Says Astrobiologist

On today’s ID the Future, astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez unpacks one of his chapters in the new book The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, edited by episode host Casey Luskin. Gonzalez and Luskin look at how our atmosphere as well as the sun, moon, distance from our host star, and position in the Milky Way are all curiously fine tuned not only for life but also for allowing  Earth’s human inhabitants to observe and discover things near and far about nature. It’s as if a master designer made the Earth not merely for life but for curious and intelligent beings. What about the fact that Earth is such a tiny part of a vast universe, a “pale blue dot” as Read More ›

white horses
White horses in Camargue, France.

Life: Fearfully and Wonderfully Fine Tuned

Today’s ID the Future spotlights the incredible fine tuning of life. Robert J. Marks hosts Stockholm University professor of mathematical statistics Ola Hössjer and University of Miami population geneticist Daniel Díaz. The three discuss strategies for extending the concept of fine tuning to biological systems, and along the way touch on population genetics, entropy, and probability theory. At the center of the discussion are three technical papers—here, here, and here—each co-authored by one or more of the three members of today’s podcast discussion. This episode is reposted with permission from Mind Matters News, a website of Discovery Institute’s Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence. Head over to their podcast site to find the other episodes in this interview Read More ›