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 ›
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a new origin-of-life video showing that researchers aren’t anywhere close to creating life from non-life, despite the fact most Americans seem to believe otherwise. In the episode, host Eric Anderson interviews Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler, who helped create the new Long Story Short animated video. Stadler and Anderson explore how origin-of-life papers and popular media reports have misled the public, evidenced by a survey underscored by Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Then they discuss several daunting origin-of-life hurdles beyond the synthesis of key chemical building blocks. These are hurdles significant enough that each alone may doom the idea of life having once emerged from non-life spontaneously. Indeed, it is now a Read More ›
On today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller and host Eric Anderson continue their exploration of a recent conversation between origin-of-life investigators Jeremy England and Paul Davies on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio show. Miller begins with a quick flyover of the many nanotechnologies essential to even to the simplest viable cell. A minimally complex cell is vastly more sophisticated than our best human nanotechnology. What about England’s insistence that real progress has been made in origin-of-life studies since the 1950s? True, Anderson says, but the progress has been principally in better understanding how the simplest cells function, and in figuring out what doesn’t work to blindly evolve life from non-life. That is, the direction of discovery has been to throw Read More ›
On today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller and host Eric Anderson explore a recent conversation between physicists Jeremy England and Paul Davies on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio show. Davies admitted he doesn’t want the origin of life to require divine design, while England argued that his work on non-equilibrium systems offers a promising avenue for explaining the origin of the first life in naturalistic terms. Miller and Anderson demur on both counts. They hold out hope that Davies, having recognized his philosophical bias, will eventually decide to follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if doing so has theistic implications. And as for Jeremy England’s approach, Miller says it’s fascinating work but fails to solve the origin-of-life challenge in Read More ›
Today’s ID the Future offers a sneak peek at the new book Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design by Neil Thomas (Discovery Institute Press). Here Scotsman Andrew McDiarmid reads from a Chapter 2 segment titled “The Elusive First Step.” Much of the book is a critical examination of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution, in its original and updated forms; but here Thomas takes up Darwin’s proposal for the unguided origin of the first living cell. Thomas, like others before, points up the persistent and growing problems with a designer-free origin of life, but here he also explores some of the cultural influences that primed society to view the leap from non-life to life as Read More ›
On today’s ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller continues his review of James Tour’s origin-of-life YouTube series. As Miller explains, Tour, a world-renowned synthetic organic chemist and professor at Rice University, was inspired to create the series when YouTuber and evolutionist Dave Farina critiqued Tour’s critique of contemporary origin-of-life claims. In reviewing Tour’s video series, Miller and host Eric Anderson praise the Tour series and discuss the Levinthal paradox of the interactome, the ridiculously long odds of blind processes assembling the first living cell, and the challenge of cell death (think Humpty Dumpty and what all the king’s men couldn’t do). Also discussed: entropy, molecular machines, the challenges that Brownian motion and homochirality pose, the presence of intelligent design in Read More ›
On today’s ID the Future, Canceled Science author and physicist Eric Hedin talks with host Eric Anderson about the challenge the generalized second law of thermodynamics poses for purely naturalistic scenarios for the origin of the first living organism. The problem is generating the reams of exquisitely orchestrated biological information required for even the simplest self-reproducing cell, and fundamental principles of physics, Hedin argues, mitigate against chemical processes getting the job done. What about the fact that the Earth is an open system, gaining energy from the sun? Does that provide an end-run around the second law? Hedin says no and explains why, using easy-to-grasp illustrations. His recent book from Discovery Institute Press, Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want Read More ›
On today’s ID the Future, host Eric Anderson and physicist Brian Miller, research director for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, discuss a recent debate between YouTube science educator Dave Farina and Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Tour has argued that no one—not even the most elite of origin-of-life scientists–has a clue how life could have arisen through blind natural forces on the early earth. Farina created a YouTube response on his channel arguing that Tour is wrong and that origin-of-life researchers are well on their way to solving the mystery of life’s origin. Tour then responded in his own YouTube video series. Now Miller and Anderson boil it all down and argue that Tour is right Read More ›
Today’s ID the Future again features Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour and intelligent design pioneer William Dembski. Here in Part 2 they discuss information theory, probability theory, the origin of life, evolution, the multiverse hypothesis, and Dembski’s contributions to the theory of intelligent design. Their conversation is borrowed, with permission, from Dr. Tour’s Science & Faith podcast.
Today’s ID the Future features Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour and intelligent design pioneer William Dembski discussing information theory, information as a meaningful reduction of possibilities, Shannon information versus specified information, and how natural selection has come to function as a God substitute for many scientists, despite the lack of evidence. The conversation is borrowed, with permission, from Dr. Tour’s Science & Faith podcast.