What happens when someone tries to present to the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Charles Darwin’s top arguments against his own theory? Herman Bouma, founder of the National Association for Objectivity in Science, knows from personal experience. As he relates to host Casey Luskin on this ID the Future, he recently had a poster presentation on the topic accepted for an NSTA conference, but then a defender of Darwinian orthodoxy rushed in and spiked it. Bouma describes the censored presentation and the Kafkaesque back and forth he says he had with the organizer, who ultimately shut him down. Bouma warns of what has been described as the “Censorship Industrial Complex,” but he also says he hasn’t given up trying to open up hearts and minds at the NSTA. The incident Bouma describes in this episode echoes an earlier one, which Bouma describes in this 2019 podcast episode.
On today’s ID the Future distinguished nanoscientist James Tour explains to host Eric Metaxas why the origin-of-life community is further than ever from solving the mystery of life’s origin, and how the public has gotten the false impression that scientists can synthesize life in the lab. Tour explains that origin-of-life scientists aren’t even close to intelligently synthesizing life from non-life in the lab. The problem, Tour says, is that some leading origin-of-life researchers give the impression they are right on the cusp of solving the problem. Not so, Tour says. He offers the analogy of someone claiming, in the year 1500, that he has the know-how to build a ship to travel to the moon, when no one yet knows even how to build an airplane, car, or car engine. Tour says that if he took a cell that had just died a moment before and asked top origin-of-life researchers to engineer it back to life, they couldn’t do it. They’re not even close to being able to do it. And yet all the ingredients, all the building blocks of life are right there, all in one place, in the right proportions. And not only can scientists not engineer those ingredients back to life, they still can’t synthesize even a fraction of the building blocks essential to cellular life, despite decades and millions of dollars poured into the problem. And yet they assume that purely blind material processes turned prebiotic chemicals into all the key building blocks, and then mindlessly engineered those into the first self-reproducing cell on the early Earth. There are no models that would make such a scenario plausible. And the more we learn about cellular complexity, the harder the problem gets. Indeed, as Tour puts it, origin-of-life research is like moving down a football field in nanometer increments while the goalposts are racing away. What’s left is only the dogmatic assumption among origin-of-life researchers that the first life must have appeared on Earth purely through blind material forces. Tour has made it his mission to show the broader scientific community and the public that the emperor has no clothes. Not surprisingly, the origin-of-life community has not responded with heartfelt gratitude. Tune in to hear more of Tour’s argument and to learn what kind of blowback he has experienced. The interview is reposted here with permission of Eric Metaxas and Socrates in the City. Find James Tour’s many videos on the origin-of-life problem here.
On this ID the Future, distinguished German paleontologist Günter Bechly continues unpacking his new argument against modern evolutionary theory. According to Bechly, contemporary species pairs diverge hardly at all over millions of years, even when isolated from each other, and yet we’re supposed to believe that the evolutionary process built dramatically distinct body plans in similar time frames at various other times in the history of life. Why believe that? He suggests this pattern of relative stasis among species pairs strikes a significant and damaging blow to Darwinian theory. In this Part 2 episode, Bechly and host Casey Luskin discuss mice/rat pairs, cattle and bison, horses and donkeys, Asian and African elephants, the Asian black bear and the South American Spectacled bear, river hippos and West African pygmy hippos, the common dolphin and the bottle-nosed dolphin, and the one outlier in this pattern, chimpanzees and humans. If chimps and humans really did evolve from a common ancestor, why do they appear to be the lone exception to this pattern of modern species pairs differing in only trivial ways? Bechly notes that whatever one’s explanation, there appears to be clear evidence here of human exceptionalism. He and Luskin go on to cast doubt on the idea that mindless evolutionary processes could have engineered the suite of changes necessary to convert an ape ancestor into upright walking, talking, technology-fashioning human beings. What about Hawaiian silversword plants? They seem to have evolved into dramatically different body plans in the past few million years. Are these an exception to Bechly’s claimed pattern of species pair stasis? After all, the differences among silverswords can be quite dramatic, with differences far more extensive than what we find between, say, Asian and African elephants or horse and donkey. Drawing on a second article on the topic, he notes that some extant species of plants possess considerable phenotypic plasticity. They have the capacity to change quite dramatically and still breed with other very different varieties. This appears to be the case with silverswords. There is more to his argument. Tune in to hear him unpack it and also respond to additional objections Luskin raises. Part 1 of their conversation is here.
On today’s ID the Future, host Robert Crowther sits down with writer Andrew McDiarmid to discuss his recent New York Post article, “Word to the Wise: Progressives Forget that Parents are in Charge of Kids’ Education.” The two discuss recent dustups in the news in which parents were told to butt out of the public education of their children. This is profoundly wrongheaded and for a variety of reasons, McDiarmid argues. McDiarmid, a Discovery Institute senior fellow, advocates for greater parental involvement, rather than less, and he and Crowther then apply the principle to the narrower question of how evolution is taught in the public high schools. In many districts evolutionary theory is taught as unquestionable dogma, with none of the theory’s weaknesses presented, and no attempt to encourage critical inquiry into the matter. Parents, students, and education leaders should never settle for this, McDiarmid says. He and Crowther wrap up their conversation by pointing listeners to several quality educational resources, many of them online, to help parents, students, and educators.
On today’s ID the Future, host Eric Anderson sits down with Canceled Science* author and physicist Eric Hedin to discuss Hedin’s new book and, in particular, the book’s take on the origin-of-life problem. Hedin says the second law of thermodynamics poses a serious problem for the idea of a mindless origin of the first single-celled organism from prebiotic materials. Such an event would have involved a breathtaking increase in new information, and Hedin says that physics tells us pretty clearly that mindless nature degrades information; it doesn’t create it. Are there workarounds? Listen in as he explains why he’s not optimistic. And grab a copy of his new book to get his extended take. (*As an Amazon Associate, Discovery earns from qualifying purchases.)
On today’s ID the Future, Canceled Science author and physicist Eric Hedin sits down with host Eric Anderson to discuss what does and doesn’t constitute science, what nature can and can’t accomplish, and the use and abuse of consensus claims in determining scientific truth. It’s all material explored in Hedin’s new book, Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See. Host Robert Crowther and author Eric Hedin begin by revisiting the atheist attack on Professor Hedin and his Ball State University course, the Boundaries of Science. The course was an interdisciplinary honors course exposing students to some basic astrophysics and cosmology, as well as to some of the big questions raised by such discoveries as the Big Bang and the fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics for life. The course included mention of world-leading scientists who saw evidence of design in some of these findings, as well as mention of scientists who denied any evidence of design in nature. Atheist Jerry Coyne and the Freedom from Religion Foundation charged Hedin with infusing religion into the course, and soon the controversy spilled over into the national news. Hear Hedin tell his side of the story, followed by a quick flyover of some of the evidence for design Hedin explores in the new book. Hedin earned his PhD in experimental plasma physics from the University of Washington and conducted post-doctoral research at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Canceled Science is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple.
On this ID the Future, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor discusses his recent article about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn, the great Soviet dissident and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, penned the essay “Live Not By Lies” in 1974, just before he was arrested and exiled from Russia. It was his advice, or even strategy, for living under totalitarianism. Solzhenitsyn’s basic advice is simply not to participate with lies, and to refuse to speak what one does not believe. It’s unnervingly relevant counsel to us in America today, where “cancel culture” and other silencing tactics, long foreshadowed in the intelligent design debate, are spreading to the broader culture.
On this episode of ID the Future, Rob Crowther speaks with David Klinghoffer, editor of Evolution News and Science Today, about contemporary “cancel culture” that’s attempting to push disfavored ideas and people out of the public square, and how the cancel-culture phenomenon struck intelligent design long before cancel culture was a household term. The term — and the movie title — more commonly used in ID circles has been “expelled.” It’s happened to Richard Sternberg, Günter Bechly, Douglas Axe, and other ID-friendly researchers, to the point that many ID-sympathizing scientists have to hide their beliefs to protect research funding and careers. Klinghoffer emphasizes that this isn’t just a debate off in the corner. Rather, ID is a “hard-core truth,” meaning it’s one of those on which our entire culture of freedom rests, for what else does it mean that we were “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights”?