Today’s ID the Future features a debate over the merits of intelligent design. Günter Bechly is a German paleoentomologist heard many times on ID the Future, who says the science convinced him that intelligent design is true. S. Joshua Swamidass is a computational biologist at Washington University in Saint Louis who says ID may or may not be true in some part of what it affirms, but for him, the science doesn’t lead you to it. They met in a dialogue hosted by Justin Brierley on his Unbelievable? podcast, reposted here with Brierley’s permission. This is the first half of the conversation. The second half is coming to IDTF soon.
On today’s ID the Future Stephen C. Meyer fields questions about Return of the God Hypothesis*, his new bestselling book from HarperOne. The occasion was a live Zoom event for people who had pre-ordered the book. Daniel Reeves emceed, and in his introductory conversation with Meyer the two discuss a colorful tidbit about Meyer’s time at Cambridge University when he was working on his PhD. Turns out we may have Meyer’s wife to thank for him still possessing the ability to write such a probing book. In the Q&A Meyer summarizes the thesis of the book and then takes questions—everything from how evolutionists explain, or fail to explain, the pattern of stacked information in living things to what’s the object on the shelf behind Meyer. (*As an Amazon Associate, Discovery earns from qualifying purchases.)
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.)
Today’s ID the Future episode features excerpts from a lively conversation with Frank Turek as host and Stephen Meyer as guest. The focus: Meyer’s new USA Today bestseller, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries that Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe.* The two discuss the new book, and Meyer fields questions from the audience. The conversation originally appeared on Turek’s national radio show, CrossExamined, and the excerpts from that longer interview are used here with permission.
On today’s ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller continues his conversation with host Eric Anderson. Here they explore more problems facing the idea that life began as strings of RNA. In their discussion of the RNA World Hypothesis and the origin of life generally, they touch on ideas advanced by Jeremy England, Jack Shostak, Nick Lane, Helen Hansma, and others. One of several big problems with the RNA-first hypothesis underscored by Miller and Anderson: For it to have even a slender chance of working, you need prebiotic Earth to generate not one but two information-rich RNA strands, and they somehow need to find each other before falling apart, and do so despite the fact that they aren’t looking for each other and the statistical odds of them bumping into each other at random are vanishingly small. What about approaching the origin of life from an intelligent design perspective? Miller explains why he’s convinced that the design perspective, far from stopping science, is actually much more fruitful than a blind-evolution approach.
In today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller discusses fellow physicist Jeremy England’s book Every Life Is on Fire: How Thermodynamics Explains the Origin of Living Things. Has England made a significant step toward solving the mystery of how life first began? In Miller’s conversation with host Eric Anderson, he argues that while England’s laboratory work is fascinating and innovative, what’s happening in his experiments differs dramatically from what is required of even the simplest life, so much so that the experiments do not shed the kind of light on the mystery of life’s origin that some may hope they do. Moreover, life does certain crucial things with energy that are unknown outside of the biological realm, Miller says, and without those processes available to prebiotic chemicals, it is far from clear how they could ever assemble into the molecular biological machinery essential for the first self-reproducing biological entity.
Today’s ID the Future features, by permission, a recent conversation between radio show host Michael Medved and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer as they discuss Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis. Listen in as Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, provides a swift flyover of 500 years of scientific history, in which he traces the rise, fall, and rise again of a paradigm Meyer refers to as “the God hypothesis.” To learn more about Meyer’s new book and see the growing list of enthusiastic reviews from top scientists, go to ReturnoftheGodHypothesis.com.
Today’s ID the Future features the next in a YouTube video series by Dr. James Tour on the origin-of-life problem. Here Tour, a distinguished synthetic organic chemist, lists the characteristics of life and describes some features of the early Earth where life first appeared. Then he provides a fast flyover of the many grave problems of blindly evolving the first living cell from prebiotic materials.
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.
Today’s ID the Future features Part 1 of an extended interview that first appeared on a podcast show hosted by distinguished Rice University synthetic organic chemist James M. Tour. As he typically does, since it’s the Science & Faith podcast, Dr. Tour begins his show by asking his guest for a statement of faith. Miller, a Christian, gives his, and then they dive into origin-of-life science. In a surprisingly accessible discussion given the depth of the material, the pair cover a range of issues—thermodynamics and the origin of the first cell, entropy, free energy, order and disorder, molecular engines, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and the need for engines and information to overcome the vicissitudes of entropy. Also in the mix—feedback loops, Jeremy England, and much more.