On today’s ID the Future biologist Michael Behe and Philosophy for the People host Pat Flynn conclude their conversation (posted by permission here) about some of the best objections to Behe’s central case for intelligent design. One objection Behe and Flynn tackle in this episode: the idea of evolution overcoming the irreducible-complexity hurdle through co-option. That is, maybe the precursors to what would become one of today’s molecular machines, such as the bacterial flagellum motor, co-opted simpler machines being used for other purposes, allowing evolution to build a bacterial flagellum motor one small step at a time over thousands or millions of generations, even though the completed bacterial flagellum ceases to function at all when just one of its many key parts is removed. Behe has illustrated the idea of irreducible complexity with a mechanical mousetrap. Take away just one of its several key parts and it ceases to function even a little bit as a mousetrap. Evolutionist Kenneth Miller counters by noting that parts of the mousetrap could have served other purposes, such as a paper weight or a tie clip. Listen in to hear Behe’s explanation as to why such imaginative reasoning is no help to the evolution of irreducibly complex biological wonders like the bacterial flagellum. At the end of the conversation, Flynn points listeners to a web page where he has gathered his several conversations with Behe over the years, including two that involved debates with pro-evolution guests. That page is here. Flynn also calls attention to Behe’s four books, including his latest one, where he answers many objections posed by his critics, with many of the critiques appearing in high-level science journals. The book is A Mousetrap for Darwin. You can get it here and here in hardcover, paperback, or Kindle/eBook.
On this ID the Future, Human Nature author and polymath David Berlinski and radio host Michael Medved discuss everything from human depravity, the burning of Notre Dame, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the Big Bang and a quixotic century-old pact to ban war. Berlinski argues that the case for the death of God and the case for the impending demise of human depravity have been greatly exaggerated. Contra Steven Pinker, Berlinski insists that there is little if any evidence that human evil is being steadily rolled back by the spread of secular values. Further, the idea that science has disproven God flies in the face of trends running in the opposite direction, perhaps most dramatically in the triumph of the Big Bang theory over an eternal universe model. Berlinski, who himself is not religious, insists that Whig history is bankrupt and that anyone imagining that human depravity and the God hypothesis are things of the past are themselves living in the past. Today’s recording is reproduced here by permission of Michael Medved and The Michael Medved Show.
On this ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller looks at various attempts to evade the mounting evidence that the universe had a beginning, a Big Bang. Miller and host Casey Luskin first review the fascinating history of how the eternal universe model of the nineteenth century gave way to the Big Bang model. Then Miller walks through about a half a dozen attempts to evade a cosmic beginning after the Big Bang model had won the day. These evasions include the steady state model, the idea of an eternal cyclical universe, and the string landscape model. According to this model, our universe exists in a multi-dimensional brane (not “brain”) which exists in a higher dimensional space, and our multi-dimensional brane can collide with other branes, with each collision creating a Big Bang moment, a process said to have been going on for all eternity. Miller then explains why each of these attempts to evade a true cosmic beginning fail, and he says that if matter, energy, and space came into existence at the moment of the Big Bang, then it follows that the cause of this cosmic beginning is something immaterial. And since the cosmic beginning was finely tuned in many astonishing ways, Miller says, the cause of the Big Bang has left the signature of intelligent design. The cause, then, is an intelligent, immaterial being and one, obviously, of unimaginable power. Miller and Luskin then touch on a final attempt to evade these implications, the idea that the universe could have popped into existence from nothing—no God, no anything. But as Miller shows, the proposals along these lines, offered by such physicists as Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking, do not actually start from nothing. There is always a something at the ground state, a something whose origin is left unexplained. The occasion for the conversation is Miller’s essay in the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos.
On today’s ID the Future, Privileged Planet co-author Jay W. Richards sits down with host Eric Anderson to discuss the gold rush of extrasolar planet discovery and how the Privileged Planet hypothesis has held up since 2004. Richards teases an anniversary edition of The Privileged Planet in the works, and he and Anderson discuss the statement that Carl Sagan is perhaps most famous for. Richards explains how science had already disproven the famous Sagan claim by the time the astronomer first uttered it to millions of viewers in his documentary series Cosmos.
In today’s ID the Future, intelligent design pioneer Michael Behe continues his conversation with philosophers Pat Flynn and Jim Madden. Here in Part 2 of a three-part series, Behe offers an illustration from language and Madden presses him, noting that meaning detection in language is not parts to whole. A lively exchange ensues and then Behe turns the discussion back to his primary focus, detecting design in molecular biological machines by recognizing the purposeful arrangement of parts. From there the conversation turns to everything from epigenetics, systems biology, and autopoiesis to co-option, mousetraps, tie clips, biologist Kenneth Miller, and the philosophers Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. For Behe’s newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin, go here. This discussion is presented here with permission of philosopher and podcaster Pat Flynn.
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.