On this new episode of ID the Future, The Price of Panic co-author and philosopher Jay Richards hosts bioethicist Wesley J. Smith to discuss a Tweet from Physics-Astronomy.org. The Tweet read, “Imagine a world ruled by scientists, not politicians.” The drift of the Tweet was, wouldn’t rule by scientists be wonderful! Smith immediately threw up a great big “Don’t go there” sign at the Epoch Times. As Smith and Richards emphasize, such an approach to governance would be disastrous, and would actually be anti-science. It would tend to corrupt the practice of science, thrust scientific specialists into positions calling for generalist skills, and further the arrogant mistake that is scientism—the view not only that nature is all there is, but also that science is the be all and end all of human wisdom. As Richards and Smith go on to emphasize, political leaders definitely should have the humility to take into account scientific insights; it’s just that they shouldn’t stop there. They also have to factor in insights from economics, law, ethics, and other fields. Richards and Smith use the response to the coronavirus pandemic as a case in point. Smith’s latest book is Culture of Death: The Age of ‘Do Harm’ Medicine.
Today’s ID the Future provides another peek at A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics. Here Behe and host Eric Anderson discuss the new book’s section on malaria evolution. Evolutionists say malaria’s ability to evolve resistance to the antimalarial drug chloroquine is powerful evidence of unguided microbe-to-man evolution. Behe discusses how this evolutionary innovation required two coordinated mutations and lies at the outside edge of what blind evolution can manage. But many innovations in the history of life require three or more coordinated mutations, which Behe argues is so improbable as to lie beyond the reach of blind evolution. If so, this would discredit evolutionary theory. Drawing from his new book, Behe discusses various attempts to discredit his argument and explains why he’s convinced that each such attempt collapses under scrutiny.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid speaks with pediatric neurosurgeon and professor Michael Egnor about public policy decisions regarding the coronavirus. In a conversation based on a recent Evolution News article, Egnor says scientists should have “stayed in their lane,” giving policymakers the information that science can provide about a potential pandemic, and left the political calculations alone. He argues that WHO failed in one of its primary jobs, which is providing timely information and recommendations for preventing and slowing the spread of pandemics. They sat on information about Covid-19 for weeks, long after they knew there was a serious problem in China. Egnor also urges policymakers to apply science along with other expert information in a transparent decision-making process. And they must apply sound ethics — for which Egnor offers Thomas Aquinas’s four-fold framework, including the principle of “double effect.”
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid speaks with neurosurgeon Michael Egnor about Egnor’s recent Evolution News article, The Coronavirus Demonstrates How Evolution Presupposes Intelligent Design. Egnor notes that the coronavirus and other viruses are not, strictly speaking, considered living things, even if they depend on living hosts for their continued existence. Egnor also discusses the role of random mutations in viruses and draws upon Aristotle to argue that these and other random events only occur, and have their meaning, against a backdrop of purpose and design — in this case, the designed systems — the bodies — that viruses invade.
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, biologist and Discovery Institute senior fellow Jonathan Wells tackles questions of evolution and intelligent design as they relate to the novel coronavirus SARS CoV-2. Is it the product of evolution, in the sense of Darwin’s Origin of Species? Wells argues to the contrary: It’s not a new species; in fact viruses aren’t even considered living species. Does modern evolutionary theory guide medicine’s response? Not when you consider that most of the major treatments being used and pursued actually preceded Darwin. Is intelligent design involved? Yes and no, Wells says. Listen in to get his take on this and more.
On this episode of ID the Future, biochemist Michael Behe and host Andrew McDiarmid discuss the anti-malarial drug chloroquine, now being investigated as a treatment for COVID-19, and how it may work on the cellular level against the coronavirus. The same drug was featured in Behe’s 2007 book The Edge of Evolution, as part of his demonstration that evolution has strict limits: It can do adaptive work for organisms with single mutations, but if just two coordinated mutations are required at once, evolution’s random processes have great difficulty even with natural selection helping them along. In cases where population sizes are enormous, as with malaria, it can eventually overcome the need for two simultaneous and coordinated mutations, but only just barely. Because the odds go up exponentially, three simultaneous coordinated mutations may be beyond the edge of evolution. What does all this bode for chloroquine and the coronavirus? Listen in as McDiarmid and Behe discuss.