ID the Future Podcasting on Intelligent Design and Evolution

Galapagos giant tortoise

Paul Nelson on Listening to Nature for Her Answers

On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson concludes his talk with host Andrew McDiarmid on what it takes to converse effectively with scientists who are trapped in a naturalistic parabola — that is, researchers who draw their conclusions from naturalism’s authority rather than following the evidence wherever it leads. Nelson urges us to keep the third party in the conversation: Nature herself. We listen to nature through experiment, he says, and warns against the message from scientists such as CalTech’s Sean Carroll who have suggested that testing is “overrated.” If we listen and test, nature can keep revealing herself in surprising ways, says Nelson, which is what makes science so fun.

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Paul Nelson on Freeing Minds Trapped in a Naturalistic Parabola

On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson continues sharing with host Andrew McDiarmid about pursuing intelligent design theory in a science culture committed to naturalism. Or as Nelson puts it this time, it’s about trying to communicate with scientists who are trapped in a naturalistic parabola. That parabola sets the rule and defines the boundaries for science: naturalistic answers only. And it extends to infinity, so no finite number of objections or counter-examples can force naturalistic scientists out of it. Nelson, however, offers an alternative strategy for drawing them out of the parabola.

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University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in North Oakland

Design in a Naturalistic Culture

On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson speaks with host Andrew McDiarmid about pursuing intelligent design theory in a naturalistic culture. Nelson springboards from his appreciation for his University of Pittsburgh mentor Adolf Grünbaum, with whom he shared the kind of friendship that can come from caring deeply about the same things, even if taking different positions on them. He speaks of what it means to hold a minority position, and some of the potential pitfalls that come with holding a majority position — and the danger we can all face of seeking polemical advantage rather than truth.

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Paul Nelson on the 2020 Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design

On this episode of ID the Future, host Rob Crowther talks with Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and philosopher of science Paul Nelson about the upcoming Summer Seminars at the Discovery Institute in Seattle in July. In two overlapping tracks, these seminars provide nine days of intensive study on design in the natural sciences and in humanities and the social sciences, with the opportunity to interact with top scholars and other students. It’s “summer camp for nerds,” says Nelson, and the opportunity for upper-level undergrads, grad students, professors, and professionals to break free of the isolation they often experience in environments where design is kept off the table. Nelson discusses why he loves lecturing at the seminars every July, and what Read More ›

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Marine iguana with blue footed boobies, booby, Sula nebouxii and Amblyrhynchus cristatus, on Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador, South America

Paul Nelson Visits the Galapagos Islands, Pt. 3

On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson wraps discussion of his recent visit to the Galapagos Islands, sharing lessons he learned there. He says Darwin was right to see natural history as crucial to understanding biology; but he was wrong in making it the be-all and end-all. Nelson then limns a picture of a day when scientists frankly concede the limits of evolution and the necessity of intelligent design in the history of life, and with the ID/evolution war behind them, can explore without distraction the fertile ground of integrating the aspects of evolutionary theory that actually work into a larger design framework.

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Sierra Negra Volcano - Galapagos

Paul Nelson Visits the Galapagos Islands, Pt. 2

On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson continues his discussion with host Andrew McDiarmid about Nelson’s recent visit to the Galapagos Islands, made famous by Charles Darwin. Nelson explains how Darwin was right — partly. Darwin urged biologists to consider the history of a plant or animal, an idea that was much neglected in the work of his predecessors. As Darwin’s experience on the Galapagos showed, and as Nelson’s experience there echoed, history must be part of our explanation for how species and populations have become the way they are today. At the same time, there are demonstrated limits to evolutionary change, Nelson argues, and so natural history alone cannot be the entire explanation for Read More ›

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Flightless cormorant aka Galapagos cormorants - animals and wildlife of Galapagos by sea on Fernandina island, Espinoza Point, Galapagos Islands.

Paul Nelson Visits Darwin’s Galapagos Islands, Pt. 1

On this episode of ID the Future, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and philosopher of biology Paul Nelson tells about his surprise 60th birthday gift from his wife, a trip to the “scientific Mecca,” the Galapagos Islands. Charles Darwin, whose own birthday lands today, devoted a big portion of his notes and field books from his Beagle voyage to these amazing islands, where species can be found that exist nowhere else on earth, and where from Darwin’s day until now, the creatures have no fear of humans. These unusual creatures have history, Nelson reminds us, and that history needs explaining. This is the first of three podcasts; there will be more to come.

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Huge tree at Peradeniya Botanical Garden Sri lanka

A Single Tree? Paul Nelson On Whether Evidence Supports Common Descent

On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, Brian Miller, CSC Research Coordinator, interviews Paul Nelson, CSC Senior Fellow and philosopher of science, on universal common ancestry. Listen in as Nelson describes how common descent predicts one — and only one — genetic code. Yet, this is not what we find.

Honoring Phillip Johnson, Pt. 2: Jonathan Wells and Paul Nelson

Today’s episode of ID the Future comes from a Berkeley, California symposium honoring the recently deceased Phillip Johnson. Biologist Jonathan Wells recalls how he met Johnson and the huge influence he had on Wells’ own research and writing. Then philosopher of biology Paul Nelson reminisces on Johnson’s keen intellect, his eye for hidden assumptions, his awareness that “we are not of our own devising,” and on the mountain range of new knowledge opening up to us in biology, one that scientists knew little about even 30 years ago and that Nelson says points strongly away from Darwin’s idea of common descent.

Photo by National Cancer Institute

Paul Nelson on Orphan Genes and Evolution

On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, Brian Miller interviews Paul Nelson about orphan genes. What are these genes? How common are they? What is the pan-genome? And how does all this impact the evolution-intelligent design debate? Nelson argues that these little orphans spell big trouble for Neo-Darwinism.