This ID the Future continues Miracle of Man author Michael Denton’s conversation with host Eric Anderson about his latest book. The focus of this capstone work in his Privileged Species series is, as the subtitle explains, The Fine-Tuning of Nature for Human Existence. Here Denton and Anderson dive deeper into the book’s argument that science has uncovered multiple ensembles of fitness for creatures much like ourselves—land-going, airbreathing, intelligent bipeds capable of controlling fire and developing new technologies. In other words, it’s not just a handful of things about nature that appear fine tuned for our existence. It’s a long list of things, and indeed, a long list of interdependent ensembles of prior fitness—what Denton sometimes refers to as a “primal blueprint.” Internationally distinguished chemist Marcos Eberlin describes the new book as “marvelous… an epic journey through a stunning landscape of scientific discovery… most convicting.” Get your copy here.
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.