On this episode of ID the Future, host Eric Anderson talks with scientist and fellow engineer Rob Stadler about a recent origin-of-life paper and how the authors paint themselves into a corner. The context for the paper is this: Decades of research have undermined the three great hopes for a purely naturalistic origin of life — scenarios starting with some sort of metabolism, scenarios starting with some kind of membrane, and scenarios starting with RNA. All three are necessary for cellular life; none seems able to have come ahead of the others. So now some recent work described in an article in New Scientist suggests it all happened at once in a sort of “chemical big bang.” It’s the return Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, host Eric Anderson speaks again with medical engineer Rob Stadler, co-author with molecular biologist Change Laura Tan of the new book Stairway to Life: An Origin of Life Reality Check. Here in Part 2 of their conversation, Stadler says that following the Miller-Urey experiments in the mid-twentieth century, researchers were optimistic that a purely naturalistic explanation for the origin of the first life was just around the corner, but since then the field has run into one obstacle after another. The challenge to mindless origin-of-life scenarios is now far greater than it was 60-70 years ago. And yet many in the field still cling to the belief that life must have arisen by Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, guest host Eric Anderson speaks with medical engineer Rob Stadler, co-author with molecular biologist Change Laura Tan of the new book Stairway to Life: An Origin of Life Reality Check. Stadler explains that it’s a “reality check” because many of the “stairway steps” that have to be mounted for chemistry to become biology must, very inconveniently, happen all at once. DNA can’t survive without repair enzymes, for example, but those enzymes are able to exist because they’re coded in DNA. The reality check is needed, says Stadler, because the media eagerly touts every oversold “advance” in origin-of-life research, ignore the mounting difficulties for an unguided origin of life posed by various fresh discoveries, Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid concludes his conversation with Eric Anderson, one of the co-authors of the new Discovery Institute Press book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. Today they talk about Anderson’s second of two chapters in the book, where he explores the challenges of building a self-replicating 3D printer, and the light this sheds on the origin-of-life community’s search for their Holy Grail, a self-reproducing molecule that could have kickstarted the evolutionary process on the early earth. In their conversation, Anderson suggests that there are engineering principles involved in the origin of life that may mean that a naturalistic origin of life is less like winning a long-odds lottery, and more like the Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid interviews Eric Anderson, one of the co-authors of the new book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. The two discuss Eric’s chapters on the origin-of-life problem. There’s the problem of generating the information required of the first life form. And there’s another problem, one Anderson uses his engineering background to explore — the insuperable challenges to generating a self-replicating molecule, a hypothetical entity at the heart of some recent attempts to render plausible the evolution of non-life into cellular life.
On this episode of ID the Future, Eric H. Anderson reads from his newly co-authored book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, written to provide a clear and simple introduction to the evolution/ID controversy, and broad overview of the evidence for design in nature — including fine tuning and the Big Bang, the origin of life, irreducibly complex machines, and the Cambrian Explosion. In this chapter excerpt, Anderson tells of Richard Dawkins’ glib assurances that the mystery of the origin of life is one not far from being solved. Not so, Anderson says. Origin-of-life researchers haven’t found a pathway to a self-replicating biological entity, the beginning point for any sort of Darwinian evolution. And it’s not for lack of Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, host Rob Crowther interviews Dr. Thomas Y. Lo, one of the co-authors of the brand new Discovery Institute Press book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. The genesis of the book was at a Discovery Institute summer seminar. Lo began discussing with professors and students the idea of a new concise, accessible guide to evolution and design. Before long he was joined by four others, including two PhD biologists. The new book covers everything from cosmology and the origin of life to irreducibly complex biological marvels. The final chapter focuses on the mystery of the Cambrian explosion and the extraordinary Cambrian fossils of Chengjiang, China, including a firsthand account of one of Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher Jay Richards hosts science historian Michael Keas in another conversation about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s series Cosmos: Possible Worlds. They talk this time about what the show itself calls its “most plausible creation myth… for the origin of life,” involving hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean floor — with no mention at all of the equally deep scientific problems with the idea. Tyson’s imagination wanders from there to a moon of Saturn to the Cambrian explosion, everywhere supposing that just because one or two necessary conditions exist for life, that’s all the explanation that’s needed. Richards and Keas ably explore why this is untrue.
On this episode of ID the Future, Robert Marks interviews Roger Olsen, co-author of the groundbreaking 1984 book The Mystery of Life’s Origin. In the book’s epilogue they suggested that a designing intelligence stands as the best explanation for the origin of life. And with a revised and greatly expanded new edition of the book now available, he says that 36 years of additional research from the origin-of-life community has left their conclusions stronger than ever. Now an environmental scientist, Olsen has spent his career since then helping homes and families abroad protect children from the ravages of environmental pollution.
On this episode of ID the Future, Robert J. Marks interviews chemist Charles Thaxton about a seminal 1984 book he co-authored, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, foundational to the intelligent design movement, and a later project, Of Pandas and People. The main body of Mystery was generally praised, Thaxton explains. It was the epilogue that proved controversial. There the three authors reviewed five proposed explanations for life’s origins and suggested that the best explanation was that the first life originated through an act of creative intelligence. The Mystery of Life’s Origin is now being re-released in an updated and greatly expanded version, with new contributions by Stephen Meyer, James Tour, and others.