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 easily made. Frankenstein’s monster makes an appearance, but tune in to see how the behavior of some actual investigators grew almost stranger than fiction. And to learn how some of the beliefs undergirding the pseudoscience of re-animation persist today in reincarnated form (in the field of abiogenesis), pick up a copy of Thomas’s Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design.
On this ID the Future, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter and host Eric Anderson discuss the RNA World hypothesis, an explanation for how the first self-reproducing organism might have arisen via mindless chemical processes. Hunter and Anderson have each written on the topic, and together they unpack some of the many and growing problems with this RNA-first explanation for the origin of life. They also spotlight some recent admissions in mainstream scientific publications that it’s time to move on from the cherished but embattled RNA World. The conversation pivots off of a recent essay by Hunter at Evolution News, “RNA World: Repeated Downfalls, Repeated Resurrections.” For more on the challenges of creating the first self-reproducing biological entity, see Eric Anderson’s Chapter 3 of Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell.