Today’s ID the Future features Part 1 of an extended interview that first appeared on a podcast show hosted by distinguished Rice University synthetic organic chemist James M. Tour. As he typically does, since it’s the Science & Faith podcast, Dr. Tour begins his show by asking his guest for a statement of faith. Miller, a Christian, gives his, and then they dive into origin-of-life science. In a surprisingly accessible discussion given the depth of the material, the pair cover a range of issues—thermodynamics and the origin of the first cell, entropy, free energy, order and disorder, molecular engines, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and the need for engines and information to overcome the vicissitudes of entropy. Also in the mix—feedback loops, Jeremy Read More ›
On this ID the Future from the vault, Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe discusses his peer-reviewed scientific paper in the Quarterly Review of Biology. Behe explains why most examples of evolution in bacteria and viruses entail loss or modification of function rather than gain of a new function at the molecular level. In Behe’s view, this poses a challenge to Darwinian explanations of molecular evolution. Darwinian evolution is supposed to explain how new forms and functions arose in the history of life, but when we study the process at the molecular level, we find evolution creating niche advantages not by building anything fundamentally new, but by throwing one or more things overboard. An example of this devolutionary process on a showier scale? Read More ›
On this ID the Future, Michael Behe responds to the attacks on … his mousetrap. Behe used the common mousetrap to illustrate the idea of irreducible complexity, showing how various mechanical contrivances need all of their main parts to function, and to show how irreducible complexity poses a major challenge to Darwinism’s idea of gradual, step-by-step evolution of some biological machines. Most of the attacks on Behe’s argument have focused on the irreducibly complex biological systems he spotlighted, such as the outboard motor known as the bacterial flagellum. But some of his critics fixated on the mousetrap itself, and argued that the mousetrap wasn’t actually irreducibly complex. Behe rebuts these counterarguments and explains why he’s convinced they fail. The discussion Read More ›
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. Read More ›
On this ID the Future from the vault, Wesley J. Smith concludes the discussion of his book and documentary The War on Humans. In this final segment, Smith discusses the impact of Darwinism on bioethics and human rights, and why we need to take the threat of the anti-humanism movement seriously.
On this ID the Future, Michael Behe continues discussing A Mousetrap for Darwin, his newest book. Understanding of the cell has grown “by leaps and bounds” since the 1990s, when Behe’s first book appeared. Fresh discoveries have revealed ever more complex structures inside the cell. As Behe explains, it isn’t just the bacterial flagellum that’s irreducibly complex; the “hook” region inside the flagellum is, too. Evolution’s proper place of study has moved from gross anatomy and population genetics to biochemistry. In his conversation with host Eric Anderson, Behe says that intelligent design theory’s predictions are coming true over time, while for every step of increasing knowledge, it gets “worse and worse” for the theory of evolution by undirected unintelligent processes. Read More ›
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 Read More ›
On this ID the Future, Eric Anderson interviews Michael Behe about Behe’s new book, A Mousetrap for Darwin. In this episode, Behe explains that he was spurred to build this collection of essays by a review in the journal Science claiming he had never answered his critics on key points. That annoyed Behe, because he had, multiple times. A Mousetrap for Darwin compiles more than a hundred of his responses, some of them from difficult-to-access places. The book also contains fresh material from Dr. Behe, including some lively behind-the-scenes details about his interactions with colleagues and critics. In this episode, the Lehigh University biochemist answers misconceptions about irreducible complexity, responds to the claim that “molecular machines” is a misnomer, relates Read More ›
On this ID the Future Eric Anderson and physician Howard Glicksman further discuss a recent Journal of Anatomy article suggesting possible evolutionary changes in humans: a persistent, prominent median artery in some people’s arms. Journalists have hyped this as evolution in action, but Anderson and Glicksman say there’s little reason to treat this as an evolutionary change, even if it’s real. And they say it’s far from clear how natural selection could select for this as an “adaptation” when its most obvious effect is to contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and other health problems.
On this classic ID the Future, hear more from bioethicist Wesley J. Smith about The War on Humans. In this episode of the series, hear about the legal movement to establish legal rights for animals, and even plants. Smith examines the meaning of the term “personhood” and its implications for human rights.