Today’s ID the Future completes a talk by award-winning British engineer Stuart Burgess, who explains how the human ankle and wrist joints offer powerful evidence of engineering genius. Burgess is answering evolutionist Nathan Lents, who has argued that human joints are badly designed and, therefore, evidence against intelligent design and for Darwinian evolution’s blind trial-and-error process. According to Burgess, Lents ignores—and seems to be ignorant of—the many ingeniously engineered features of our joints, leading Lents to make easily refuted claims. For example, Lents says an ankle with fused bones would be a superior design to a healthy human ankle. Not if the person hopes to play squash or tackle any number of other activities that require the suppleness and responsiveness of the human ankle, Burgess notes. Burgess’s lecture was taped at the 2022 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith in the greater Philadelphia area. The conference was jointly sponsored by Westminster Theological Seminary and Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.
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.
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.)
On today’s ID the Future, Bristol University engineer Stuart Burgess dives deeper into the engineering marvels of such sea creatures as the parrotfish, sling-jaw wrasse, mantis shrimp, and the deep sea dragonfish, with a particular focus on the amazing linkage mechanisms found in these creatures. Burgess says these mechanisms are extraordinary examples of engineering prowess, and they are irreducibly complex, thereby posing a challenge to modern evolutionary theory. He and host Eric Anderson also discuss the engineering sophistication of muscles, with a specific look at the human bicep and how the muscle and the brain work together. Burgess is an expert on linkage mechanisms. His design work in this area helped Great Britain’s cycling team win gold in the two most recent Summer Olympics, and his gearboxes can be found on the European Space Agency’s large Earth-observation satellites. The occasion for today’s discussion is Burgess’s recent scholarly paper in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a Bristol University engineer whose design work helped Great Britain’s cycling team win gold in the most recent Summer Olympics. Stuart Burgess, currently on a visiting fellowship at the University of Cambridge and an expert on linkage mechanisms, discusses with host Eric Anderson how top engineering firms are paying big money to learn from the extraordinary designs found in biology so as to improve their own designs. Burgess has designed groundbreaking linkage mechanisms, but he says the human knee is still well ahead of what even the most advanced human engineers have managed in this area, even accounting for the fact that wear and tear and misuse can lead to knee problems. He walks listeners through some things that make the knee an engineering marvel, and takes a look at some other masterfully designed linkage mechanisms in nature, including those found in the jaws of fish. The occasion for the discussion is Burgess’s recent scholarly paper in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.
On this episode of ID the Future, host Andrew McDiarmid draws on an essay at Evolution News & Science Today to explore some intricate optimized insect designs that are inspiring human engineers and raise the question, could evolution have done that? Cicadas and dragonflies use an exquisitely engineered “bed of nails” on their wings to disarm and neutralize bacteria. Butterflies and bird feathers also use this trick. There are fruit flies that have multiple navigation systems, complete with error correction for hard turns. And the sea skater insect is able to walk on water and launch itself explosively thanks to an impressive combination of engineering marvels. Did evolution really bring all those design factors together? Or was something else required — intelligence and foresight?
On this episode of ID the Future, internal medicine specialist Dr. Geoff Simmons speaks with host Andrew McDiarmid about his recent Evolution News article on the body’s response to the coronavirus, our immune system. It comprises an enormously complex enterprise with adaptive memory for millions of pathogens and the ability to keep on learning more. Researchers study it to learn how to create vaccines for diseases like COVID-19. Their work is one of intelligent design from start to finish. But, Simmons says, we ought to recognize that it starts with studying systems in our bodies that are even more intelligently designed. One might object that if our immune system were intelligently designed, it would be utterly immune to all pathogens, but such an objection makes theological or philosophical assumptions about the proper intentions of any would-be designer of life. The objection also overlooks the fact that we routinely recognize intelligent design in objects that are masterfully designed and yet not invulnerable to attack.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid looks at three new discoveries in nature that shout design. The cone snail has a harpoon as fast as a speeding bullet. Researchers are looking at it for design ideas for robots and medical devices. The humble dandelion’s seeds are so optimized for lift and flight time that scientists wonder about borrowing its design for parachutes. And there’s a species, the mantis shrimp, whose larvae have “flashlights” in their eyes similar to advanced optics designed by human researchers. See more on these design wonders at Evolution News.
On this episode of ID The Future, Casey Luskin talks with ARN Executive Director Dennis Wagner on the Access Research Network’s Top 10 Science Stories of 2011. Gaining top honors on the list was the publication of the 50th peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific paper. Biomemetics, the field of science where man tries to mimic designs found in nature, made the top 10 list again this year with inventors from Harvard building a prototype butterfly and researchers in China reverse-engineering the woodpecker in order to build a better shock-absorbing system. Tune in to find out what else made science headlines in 2011.Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin shares his article in the latest issue of Salvo Magazine on how biomimetics points to intelligent design. He also rebuts common objections that the vertebrate eye is “poorly designed.” For more information on Salvo Magazine, check out Salvomag.com.