Today’s ID the Future explores with physicist and space telescope expert Bijan Nemati the amazing discoveries that may await us when the singularly powerful James Webb space telescope goes on line in summer 2022. Nemati and host Jay Richards, co-author of The Privileged Planet, discuss the telescope’s ability to see far deeper into space than any previous telescope, and further into the past. If all goes well it will be able to see so far into the past, Nemati says, that we will get glimpses of the universe close to when galaxies were first forming, not long after the Big Bang. These glimpses may confirm our most current ideas of early cosmic history and galaxy formation, or turn them on their head. Nemati also explains how the new space telescope, already launched and arrived at its orbital point in space, will provide us potentially exciting new information about extrasolar planets. What are the telescope’s strengths and weaknesses, and are there any other telescopes in the works to complement the Webb telescope? As a matter of fact, Nemati himself is working on one of those future telescopes, and he gives Richards and podcast listeners a sneak peek at the project.
On today’s ID the Future Biola University physicist John Bloom discusses his chapter in the recent anthology The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, co-edited by host Casey Luskin. Bloom’s focus in his contributed chapter is the pivotal role of Christianity in the rise of science. Bloom, the academic director of Biola’s master’s program in science and religion, draws on his PhD training in physics but also on his PhD in ancient Near Eastern studies and his study of the history of science. Here he argues that while the Babylonians and Greeks contributed some discoveries and insights that would eventually play into the rise of science, science did not take off, was not born, until a cluster of crucial ideas drawn from the Judeo-Christian worldview infused Western thought. Only then did astrology become astronomy, alchemy chemistry, and the great adventure of scientific discovery begin in earnest. Tune in as Bloom and Luskin discuss the ancient predecessors of science and some of the key founders of science, including Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Bacon, along with crucial ideas drawn from the Judeo-Christian worldview that lit the match. And find your copy of The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith here.
On today’s ID the Future, astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez unpacks one of his chapters in the new book The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, edited by episode host Casey Luskin. Gonzalez and Luskin look at how our atmosphere as well as the sun, moon, distance from our host star, and position in the Milky Way are all curiously fine tuned not only for life but also for allowing Earth’s human inhabitants to observe and discover things near and far about nature. It’s as if a master designer made the Earth not merely for life but for curious and intelligent beings. What about the fact that Earth is such a tiny part of a vast universe, a “pale blue dot” as atheist astronomer Carl Sagan put it? Gonzalez fields that objection and uses diamonds to illustrate his point.
On this episode of ID the Future, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe discusses the closing sections of his new book Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA That Challenges Evolution. He compares evolutionary biology in Darwin’s time and today to the world of astronomy before and after the telescope was invented. The cell was a black box to Darwin and his contemporaries. Today we can explore that black box like never before, much better even than even two decades ago, allowing us to observe what evolution can actually do at the molecular level. According to Behe, the answer is, not much. Evolution can create niche advantages by breaking certain things, but it doesn’t build fundamentally new structures or new machines. That’s because it can’t do what mind can do. It can’t purposefully arrange things. Behe and host Andrew McDiarmid discuss what it might mean for origins science to again recognize, and allow room in its explanatory toolkit for, the unique causal powers of mind. Finally, Behe reflects on his critics’ confident predictions that they’d have the evidence to refute his groundbreaking book Darwin’s Black Box within 20 years. It’s now been 20 years, so where does the score stand? Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid talks with science historian Michael Keas on pioneering mathematical astronomer Johannes Kepler, based on Keas’ new work from ISI Books, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. Kepler studied theology before turning to math and science, and it was his belief in God that guided his extraordinary discoveries. “Without an architect who created the world,” he said, “there is no … power in mathematics to make anything material.” Scientists, in his view of God, were thinking the thoughts or ideas that God himself had thought any time they discovered some law or deep pattern in nature. Kepler is just one of a long list of great early scientists, including Galileo, who saw a “book” of God’s revelation in nature written in the language of mathematics. God designed the world for discovery, Kepler believed, and that conviction inspired his groundbreaking investigations.Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future host Andrew McDiarmid continues his series with science historian Michael Keas about Mike’s new work from ISI Books, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. Here they focus on the myth that a vast cosmos renders humanity insignificant, and in the process, discredits the Judeo-Christian worldview. As Keas notes, science popularizer Bill Nye recently dusted off this old saw, but the Old Testament itself, in the Psalms, depicts man and the earth as tiny in compared to a vast universe. Keas also discusses C.S. Lewis’s take on the matter. Lewis pointed out that atheists have argued that a universe where earth is the lone habitable planet argues against God. And they have argued that a universe filled with many habitable planets argues against God. Heads the atheists win; tails the theists lose. As Lewis and Keas suggest, we are rightly skeptical of such rigged games. Listen in to learn more about this complex and fascinating issue touching on philosophy, theology, and the history of science. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID: The Future, CSC Senior Fellow Jay Richards explains how perfect solar eclipses are the tip of an iceberg-size design argument found in a book he co-wrote, The Privileged Planet. The conditions for a habitable planet (right distance from the right size star, a big but not too big moon that is the right distance away to stabilize Earth’s tilt and circulate its oceans) are also conditions that make perfect solar eclipses from the Earth’s surface much more likely. And perfect eclipses aren’t just eerie and beautiful. They’ve helped scientists test and discover things, and are part of a larger pattern: The conditions needed for a habitable place in the cosmos correlate with the conditions well suited for scientific discovery. As Richards notes, this correlation is inexplicable if the cosmos is the product of chance. But if it’s intelligently designed with creatures like us in mind, it’s just what we might expect.Read More ›