ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast

Artificial Intelligence

Chain of amino acid or bio molecules called protein - 3d illustration

Powerful Protein Folding Algorithm AlphaFold Foiled by Singletons

Today’s ID the Future spotlights AlphaFold, an artificial intelligence program in the news for its impressive breakthroughs at predicting a protein’s 3D structure from its amino acid sequence. Philosopher of Biology Paul Nelson walks listeners through the importance of this “amazing breakthrough,” as he describes it in a recent Evolution News article; but don’t uncork the champagne bottles just yet. The reason, according to Nelson, is that while proteins, protein sequences, and protein folding promise to reveal much that is still mysterious in molecular biology, we now know that biological information involves far more than just an organism’s proteome—that is, far more than the full suite of proteins expressed by an organism. Nelson uses analogies to manmade machines and cognates among closely and distantly related human languages to shed light on just how much more sophisticated the biological information directing life is than any model narrowly fixated on DNA, the amino acids DNA codes for, and the protein formed from those amino acids. Nelson further explains that, as powerful as the AlphaFold algorithm is, it has not solved the protein-folding problem, if we take such a solution to mean “predicting the three-dimensional conformation of a protein strictly from its primary DNA sequence, ab initio.” The clearest evidence of this: the algorithm is utterly stymied by sequence “singletons.” What are these curious sequences, why do they baffle AlphaFold, and why do these singletons trouble some evolutionists? Tune in as Nelson and host Eric Anderson explore this problem at the leading edge of biological research.


AI Expert: Pilots in TOP GUN–MAVERICK are Obsolete; You are Not

Today’s ID the Future features a recent Michael Medved Show with artificial intelligent expert Robert J. Marks, author of the new book Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will. The occasion for the conversation is an article by Marks about the Tom Cruise movie Top Gun: Maverick. In the article, Marks argues that, strictly in terms of optimal military tactics, the job of the human fighter pilots in the movie would have been better filled by drones. But as sanguine as Marks is about the possibilities for AI in military and other applications, he is among the loudest voices insisting that the AI community tends to overhype AI capabilities. In his conversation with Michael Medved, and in greater depth in his new book, Marks argues that AI will never replace certain roles and capacities possessed only by human soldiers. And AI, he says, will never be conscious or truly creative. While AI’s best days are still ahead, says Marks, AI will always be limited to what can be performed by an algorithm, in contrast to non-computable you, who face no such limitation.

Green sea turtle breathing

Hank Hanegraaff and Animal Algorithms Author Eric Cassell, Pt. 2

On today’s ID the Future, radio host Hank Hanegraaff continues his conversation with Animal Algorithms author Eric Cassell. Here they look at more insects with strikingly sophisticated innate behavior, suggesting intricate algorithms encoded into their brains from birth, all of which cannot be effectively explained by reference to Darwinian evolution. Cassell and Hanegraaff touch on wasp martial arts; termite altruism and termite architectural skills, including a cooling system that has inspired a human design; interdependent social caste systems that enhance fitness; and spiderweb architecture and the extraordinary properties of spider silk, including the different kinds of silk and the spider’s ability to employ different types precisely tailored for different needs. Cassell looks at evolutionary explanations for these innate abilities that appeal to the ideas of convergent evolution and selection pressure, and he shows why these don’t get us very far. He suggests the path forward is to set aside the dogmatic insistence on restricting ourselves to only naturalistic explanations and instead to consider the possibility of intelligent design. Hanegraaff and Cassell wrap up their discussion by taking on some common objections against the theory of intelligent design. The interview is presented here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. Find the original at Hank Unplugged. Pick up your copy of Cassell’s book here.

hawksbill sea turtle
Hawksbill Sea Turtle in Indian ocean

Hank Hanegraaff Interviews Animal Algorithms Author Eric Cassell, Pt. 1

On this ID the Future radio host Hank Hanegraaff interviews Animal Algorithms author Eric Cassell about insects and other small-brained animals with innate behaviors of astonishing sophistication — desert ants, leafcutter ants, honey bees, spiders, monarch butterflies, and many more. These appear to be hard-wired from birth with complex algorithms coded into their neural networks, and some of the algorithms seem to involve complex mathematics. Also mysterious: many of these innate abilities are do or die. So how could they have blindly evolved one small Darwinian step at a time? Also, how would genetic mutations generate the ability to make navigational calculations (as in the case of some birds) that for humans require spherical geometry? Listen in to learn more about this and other wonders of the animal world. Pick up your copy of Cassell’s book here. (The interview is presented here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff.)

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CAMBRIDGE, UK - JANUARY 18, 2015: Clare college inner yard view

John Lennox and Steve Meyer Against the Tide, Pt. 1

On this ID the Future, Stephen Meyer and Oxford University mathematician and thinker John Lennox begin a three-part conversation about Lennox’s upcoming documentary, Against the Tide: Finding God in an Age of Science. As Lennox explains, he grew up as the child of a uniquely non-sectarian Christian family in Northern Ireland, with parents who encouraged him to question broadly, read widely, and respect every person as a creature made in the image of God. He tells of his encounters with C. S. Lewis at Cambridge University, relates a humorous story in which atheist Peter Atkins gave him the title of one of his books, and describes his front-row seat as he watched the scientific atheism of the 1960s transform into the aggressive and contemptuous New Atheism of more recent years — a story that includes Lennox’s own debate with Richard Dawkins.