In today’s ID the Future philosopher Stephen Meyer revisits Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Templeton Prize speech from May 10, 1983, where Solzhenitsyn indicted the West for forgetting God. Meyer argues that Solzhenitsyn’s indictment is more timely than ever. But at the same time, there is today more scientific evidence than ever for the existence of a personal God, Meyer says, and the argument from intelligent design is a powerful means to awaken individuals to the presence of God and to renew culture. Meyer goes on to support those claims with concrete examples. Today’s episode is taken from a talk Dr. Meyer gave at the 2023 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith. Meyer is author of the bestselling book Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries that Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe.
On today’s ID the Future, Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson talks with historian Tom Holland, journalist Douglas Murray, and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer about the decline of theistic faith in the West. Here in Part I of the conversation, the men consider possible causes for the decline of theistic faith. According to Meyer the decline has occurred in the face of increasing scientific evidence for the existence of God. So what gives? Tune in to hear their stimulating exploration of the question, and what each sees as the appropriate response. This material is used by permission of Peter Robinson and the Uncommon Knowledge podcast.
On this ID the Future intelligent design pioneer William Dembski unpacks one of his chapters in The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions about Life and the Cosmos, which Dembski co-edited with Joseph Holden and episode host Casey Luskin. The chapter, “Why Intelligent Design Matters,” focuses on ID’s cultural implications. Dembski notes that atheists use mindless evolution to provide a God-free explanation for life and the universe. Intelligent design checks that move, showing that blind material processes couldn’t have created many things in nature, much less the cosmos itself. Intelligent design is the better explanation. What about the idea that an alien created, say, the first life on Earth (intelligent design without the need for God)? Dembski says that idea–one that some atheists have suggested as a fallback explanation—is a poor explanatory substitute for an immaterial intelligent designer.
On today’s ID the Future, guest Casey Luskin and host Eric Anderson untangle the differences between creationism, intelligent design, and theistic evolution. There are important distinctions as well as areas of overlap, Luskin explains, but the theory of intelligent design focuses on the book of nature, rather than on the Bible or some other sacred book, and offers evidence that certain features of the natural world are best explained by reference to an intelligent cause. The case for intelligent design includes negative arguments against competitor explanations, such as neo-Darwinism, as well as positive evidence for design. And Luskin notes that increasingly this paradigm is fueling fruitful scientific research in everything from protein science to pharmacology and cosmology. To support this important work and Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, click here for options.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Host Eric Anderson interviews one of the anthology’s co-editors and contributors, geologist Casey Luskin. The two focus on just one of Luskin’s contributed essays, one that addresses two primary questions: Is intelligent design true? And is it worth expending the energy to defend it against powerful opposition? Luskin answers both questions in the affirmative, and explains why he sees the new anthology as a great resource in the cause of intelligent design.
On today’s ID the Future, Animal Algorithms author Eric Cassell delves into another fascinating portion of his new book, the programmed social behaviors of colony insects and the challenge these instinctive behaviors pose for modern evolutionary theory. Cassell and host Robert J. Marks discuss the complex caste system of these colonies, the impressive signaling systems they use to communicate, and how technologists study these tiny-brained creatures to learn tricks for developing and improving drone swarm technology. How could a mindless evolutionary process have evolved these sophisticated colonies, where various castes appear essential to the functioning and survival of the colony, and possess their division-of-labor skills instinctively? Some colony members also behave altruistically, a fact that Charles Darwin himself conceded posed a challenge to his theory. And what about all the growing number of orphan genes researchers are finding among colony insects—genes without any apparent evolutionary ancestry in the history of life? This too, Cassell argues, poses a major challenge to evolutionary theory. Cassell argues that underlying these complex instinctive social behaviors are complex algorithms not unlike those we find in computers; and, as he argues in the book, the best explanation for their origin is intelligent design. Learn more about the book, read the endorsements from a range of scientists and engineers, and pick up your copy here.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a new origin-of-life video showing that researchers aren’t anywhere close to creating life from non-life, despite the fact most Americans seem to believe otherwise. In the episode, host Eric Anderson interviews Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler, who helped create the new Long Story Short animated video. Stadler and Anderson explore how origin-of-life papers and popular media reports have misled the public, evidenced by a survey underscored by Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Then they discuss several daunting origin-of-life hurdles beyond the synthesis of key chemical building blocks. These are hurdles significant enough that each alone may doom the idea of life having once emerged from non-life spontaneously. Indeed, it is now a matter of record that the hurdles are so daunting that for several decades they have kept many brilliant and lavishly funded scientists from intelligently designing life from non-life in the lab. Thus it is hardly unreasonable to entertain the idea that the origin of the first life required not merely intelligent design, but an ingenious designing intelligence far beyond that of our smartest origin-of-life researchers.
On today’s ID the Future, Casey Luskin, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, discusses his Evolution News article about the recently deceased Steven Weinberg. On Weinberg’s view, one of science’s social functions is to undermine religion, which he sees as superstition. Luskin takes the opposite view and points to skilled and successful scientists he got to know in Africa. He says these scientists are convinced that the supernatural is real and would find Weinberg’s secular Western rejection of the supernatural as blinkered. Luskin and host Robert Crowther also discuss a hopeful trend among some atheists toward a more civil and respectful way of engaging intelligent design, even to the point of acknowledging that design theorists are making thoughtful, substantive arguments. Luskin summarizes six lines of evidence for design, and encourages people to escape the internet atheist bubble and read the best ID scholars firsthand rather than depending on strawman summaries of those arguments.
On today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller and host Eric Anderson continue their exploration of a recent conversation between origin-of-life investigators Jeremy England and Paul Davies on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio show. Miller begins with a quick flyover of the many nanotechnologies essential to even to the simplest viable cell. A minimally complex cell is vastly more sophisticated than our best human nanotechnology. What about England’s insistence that real progress has been made in origin-of-life studies since the 1950s? True, Anderson says, but the progress has been principally in better understanding how the simplest cells function, and in figuring out what doesn’t work to blindly evolve life from non-life. That is, the direction of discovery has been to throw cold water on one idea after another for the naturalistic origin of life. Miller then makes an even bolder statement. All the physics for us to have known this were in place more than a hundred years ago. The origin-of-life community just chose to ignore it, perhaps because they were dogmatically wedded to finding a purely materialistic explanation for the origin of the first life. To show why that’s misguided, Miller offers an illustrative story: Imagine that what looks for all the world like an alien spaceship is discovered in the desert. Two groups of scientists decide on radically different approaches to understanding the workings of this mysterious object. Tune in to hear the rest of the story.