ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast

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3d render of dna structure, abstract background

A Guide to Understanding Contemporary Models of Human Origins

Are there ways to reconcile the latest scientific evidence with traditional theological views? On this ID The Future, host Emily Reeves talks to geologist and Center for Science & Culture Associate Director Casey Luskin about his recent paper in the mainstream journal Religions. In "Comparing Contemporary Evangelical Models Regarding Human Origins," Luskin compares eight different models of human origins. Four of the models present an evolutionary mechanism, while the other four models propose non-evolutionary approaches. Luskin explains how each of the models interface with the scientific evidence and with key theological views. "The hope is not necessarily to tell you which model you should adopt," says Luskin, "but to help you understand the models and to get a better feel for them." In doing the research on this issue, Luskin learned that you don't have to jettison traditional beliefs about Adam and Eve in light of the findings of science. He notes that there's a rich diversity of models to explore with an open mind and a willingness to learn. But the landscape of options can get confusing, notes Reeves, so a good first step is understanding all the models. In this interview and in his new paper, Luskin gives us a concise and organized guide to do just that. Luskin's Religions paper is open-access and free to read here: Read More ›
People walking across the street in New York City with the bright light of sunset shining between the buildings along 23rd St in Midtown Manhattan

Children of Light — and Water — With Dr. Michael Denton

On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, biochemist and medical doctor Michael Denton continues his conversation with host Sarah Chaffee about his book Children of Light: The Astonishing Properties of Sunlight That Make Life Possible, part of his Privileged Species book series that also includes The Miracle of Man, The Miracle of the Cell, The Wonder of Water, and Fire-Maker. Here, Dr. Denton speaks of the properties of both light and water. From photosynthesis to metabolism to circulation, and even from plate tectonics to the hydrologic cycle, both have exactly what it takes — in “amazingly fortuitous” ways — to make complex organic life possible. The sun, Denton points out, has a fantastic range of electromagnetic radiation, from high-energy gamma rays all the way to long wavelength radio waves. "And in this vast range, there's only one...infinitesimally small band which has the right energy for photosynthesis," an essential prerequisite for human life. Coincidence? When coupled with bountiful evidence of other examples and types of fine-tuning in the universe, we think not. This is Part 2 of a two-part conversation. Read More ›
humpback whale flipper
A whale breaching water.

The Pentadactyl Whale Flipper: An Engineering Masterstroke

Does the five-digit design of the whale flipper, curiously akin to the five-digit design of so many different kinds of animal limbs, point to evolutionary common descent? That was Charles Darwin’s argument, and the argument is a staple of high school and college biology textbooks. But no, says distinguished British engineer Stuart Burgess on today’s ID the Future in his conversation with host Eric Anderson. The repeated recurrence of the pentadactyl form is better explained by reference to the idea of common design. That is, a master designer reused the pentadactyl design theme because it achieves an optimal trade-off between strength on the one hand (no pun intended) and suppleness or dexterity on the other. And yes, Burgess says, the giant flipper on a whale needs to be not just incredibly strong but also supple to allow the whale to maneuver adroitly through the water. This reuse of a good design concept shouldn’t surprise us, Burgess says. Just as human engineers reuse the concepts of the wheel, axle, nut and bolt, or pulley, so too the designer of life reuses shrewd engineering solutions in widely different applications, in each case adapting the design concept for the particular use. Burgess also rebuts the claim that whales have vestigial pelvic bones from a land-dwelling ancestor. He then moves from the big to the small, pointing to more positive evidence in favor of common design (over Darwinian common descent) in marsupial and placental rats and in a protein machine best known for one job but that has been found to “moonlight” doing a very different job in a very different biological context. Tune in to hear Burgess unpack the full argument. The conversation took place at the 2023 Conference on Engineering in Living Systems (CELS) in Denton, Texas. Read More ›
creatures of the Cambrian period, underwater scene with Anomalocaris, Opabinia, Hallucigenia, Pirania and Dinomischus (3d science illustration)

Why Intelligent Design Best Explains the Fossil Record Data

The fossil record reveals sudden explosions of new life forms followed by long periods of stasis. Is this evidence to be expected from a gradual Darwinian model? On this episode of ID The Future, host Eric Anderson talks with Casey Luskin on location at this year’s Conference on Engineering and Living Systems (CELS). Luskin discusses three different models of the fossil record - the gradual descent model, the punctuated equilibrium model, and the explosion model. He explains why gradual Darwinian models are built on a lack of data and cannot adequately explain the patterns revealed in the record. He also shows that the sudden appearance of complex organisms and long periods of non-change are exactly what we would expect to find from a design perspective. "These organisms...are designed to change within limits," says Luskin, "and that's why we see stasis." Indeed, the fossil record is consistent with the engineering-based theory of bounded adaptation, the idea that organisms are deeply designed, purposeful, and capable of adapting within their operating parameters. It's an intriguing new way to look at the history of life on earth. Says Luskin, "The only way you're going to be able to generate all the information needed to yield an organism that's alive and functional all at once is through an intelligent cause." Don't miss this intriguing conversation! Casey Luskin holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, where he specialized in paleomagnetism and the early plate tectonic history of South Africa. He serves as Associate Director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Want to dive deeper into the fascinating explosions of plant and animal life in the geologic record? Luskin recommends reading a chapter by Stephen C. Meyer and Gunter Bechly (Chapter 10) on the topic, in Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique. Available here: Read More ›
Light Sunlight through redwood trees on a path in the redwood forest in big basin

Michael Denton Explains How Light Sustains Human Life

On this episode of ID the Future from the archive, biochemist and medical doctor Michael Denton explores a “miraculous convergence of properties” for life. The topic is Denton's book Children of Light: The Astonishing Properties of Sunlight That Make Us Possible, part of his Privileged Species book series that also includes The Miracle of Man, The Miracle of the Cell, The Wonder of Water, and Fire-Maker. Here, Denton lets his astonishment flow freely in an interview with host Sarah Chaffee, with topics ranging from the light of the sun to key chemicals here on earth. "The atmosphere lets through just the light we need," says Denton, "and the sun puts out just the light we need. It's a remarkable coincidence...The atmosphere does just what is needed for life on earth." Taken together, it’s an astonishing array of evidence showing how finely tuned Earth is for human life. And the common-sense conclusion, Denton says, is that a designing intelligence is the most adequate explanation for the properties on our planet that make life like us possible. This is Part 1 of a two-part discussion. Read More ›
3d rendered medically accurate illustration of a sprinter

Engineering, not Evolution, Explains the Body

The groundbreaking recent book Your Designed Body is the focus of today’s ID the Future. Here in Part 2 of a two-part conversation with host Wesley J. Smith, the two authors, systems engineer Steve Laufmann and physician Howard Glicksman, delve deeper into the exquisite, multi-layered fine tuning of the human body. They point to essential systems within systems within systems—irreducible complexity cubed, if you will. They also respond to the charge that aspects of the human body are poorly designed and, therefore, are supposedly better explained by the blind process of Darwinian evolution. Laufmann identifies five common errors that Darwinists make when pushing this bad-design argument. All of the errors involve an ignorance of key engineering principles, he says, one of them being a failure to consider the principle of constrained optimization. This episode is reposted at ID the Future by permission of Wesley J. Smith and the Humanize podcast. Read More ›
3d rendered medically accurate illustration of a sprinter

The Human Body As a Marvel of Engineering

Is your body engineered? Or did it evolve through impersonal, random processes over millions of years through natural selection? On this ID The Future, host Wesley J. Smith interviews engineer Steve Laufmann and physician Howard Glicksman about their recent book Your Designed Body. In their book, Laufmann and Glicksman evaluate the causal factors of Darwinism - heritability, random mutation, natural selection, and time - and find that they are both inadequate and incapable of producing the interconnected systems of the human body. "The systems that are required to make the human body work," says Laufmann, "are exactly the kinds of things that engineers design and build." Instead, they explain the body through the lens of engineering, showing that design is the most adequate mechanism currently available to explain how the origin of our amazing human bodies. Says Glicksman: "The more we understand how life actually works, the more the neo-Darwinian narrative becomes impossible." This is Part 1 of a two-part interview, originally airing on the Humanize podcast, a production of Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism. Read More ›
inscription on the courthouse

PBS, Darwin, and Dover: an Interview with Phillip Johnson 

On this classic episode of ID The Future from the vault, host Casey Luskin interviews Phillip Johnson, former UC Berkeley law professor and one of the founders of the modern intelligent design movement. Back in 2007, Johnson was one of the only intelligent design proponents interviewed for and included in PBS's long-running science series NOVA in an episode about the Dover case called "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial." Johnson weighs in with his thoughts about the ruling issued by Judge Jones, about the scientific status of intelligent design, his views on PBS's teaching guide about intelligent design, and the popular claim at the time that intelligent design would inject religion into the classroom. Johnson was the author of the 1993 bestseller Darwin on Trial, an inspiration to many scientists and scholars in the intelligent design research community. He was an advisor to Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture for many years. He died in 2019. Read More ›
father and son
Loving father walking side by side with son holding hands.

Nancy Pearcey on Her New Book, The Toxic War on Masculinity

Today’s ID the Future spotlights the new book The Toxic War on Masculinity, by author and scholar Nancy Pearcey, professor and scholar in residence at Houston Christian University. In her conversation with host Andrew McDiarmid, Pearcey argues against the current fashion of seeing masculinity as inherently toxic. She traces the tendency back to Darwinism and explains how the industrial revolution, working hand in glove with secularism, fueled toxic masculinity at the expense of virtuous masculinity. Tune in for the stimulating discussion and to hear what Pearcey offers as an antidote to the war on virtuous masculinity. Read More ›
Galapagos Darwin Finch

Is Adaptation Actually a Fight to Stay the Same?

On this ID The Future, host Casey Luskin talks with Eric Anderson on location at this year's Conference on Engineering and Living Systems (CELS). The two discuss an intriguing new engineering-based model of bounded adaptation that could dramatically change how we view small-scale evolutionary changes within populations of organisms. In presenting his argument for natural selection, Charles Darwin pointed to small changes like finch beak size and peppered moth color as visible evidence of an unguided evolutionary process at work. Many have adopted this perspective, quick to grant the Darwinian mechanism credit for micro, if not macro, evolution. But Anderson and other attendees of the CELS conference are starting to promote a different view. "We need to stop saying organisms are partly designed," says Anderson. "We need to view them as deeply designed and purposeful, active and engaged in their environments, and capable of adapting within their operating parameters." Tune in to get a fascinating glimpse of this novel approach to biology. Read More ›