On today’s ID the Future, Tom Gilson, a writer and editor for The Stream, shares his experiences in high school biology. Important mysteries (i.e., major problems) with evolutionary theory were hurried past and papered over, and yet his biology teacher could take an entire class period to tell Charles Darwin’s life story, and then repeat the same class, virtually verbatim, five more times that same semester. Tune in to hear how the class put Tom Gilson off of biology, but how he now finds the subject fascinating, thanks to the work of intelligent design researchers and the larger community of life scientists. Gilson’s commentary is taken from, and builds on, a recent essay of his, available at Evolution News.
Today’s ID the Future puts atheist Richard Dawkins’s book Outgrowing God under the microscope and reveals multiple ways his argument smashes up against contrary scientific evidence. Walking us through the critique are author and Mama Bear Apologetics founder Hillary Morgan Ferrer and her co-host, Amy Davison. Dawkins invokes the beautiful order evident in the murmuration of bird flocks as evidence that complexity can evolve from simple algorithmic rules. But Ferrer explains why the phenomenon of bird murmuration doesn’t even begin to approach what we find when sophisticated engineering order emerges in the growth of embryos. Ferrer also considers the challenges of re-engineering sperm thermoregulation to move from how it works in marine life to how it works in land animals. For a blind process to traverse this evolutionary pathway while maintaining viability at every stage would require—to adapt a line from Alice in Wonderland—six hundred impossible things before breakfast. What about evolving something simpler, such as the bilayer cell membrane, essential for cellular life? No, Ferrer argues. It’s also far too sophisticated to have evolved through a blind evolutionary process. What is needed is the foresight that comes with intelligent design. Tune in to hear Ferrer and Davison rebut these and other pro-evolution arguments from Richard Dawkins. This episode of the Mama Bear Apologetics podcast is reposted here with permission. To read more from Ferrer and some of her Mama Bear colleagues, pick up their bestselling book Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies.
On this ID the Future, mathematician William Dembski and host Eric Anderson explore whether design detection tools shed any light on the recent chess scandal involving world chess champion Magnus Carlsen and American grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann. Did Niemann cheat in a match where he beat Carlson, as some have claimed? There is no smoking gun in the case, so how might one determine if cheating occurred? At first glance the problem might seem far removed from the design detecting rules and tools Dembski laid out in his Cambridge University Press monograph The Design Inference. But actually there is some intriguing overlap. Is there a way to dig into the chess data and determine whether Niemann secretly used a computer chess engine to help him win the match? Tune in as Dembski and host Eric Anderson wrestle with the problem.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights Darwinian racism, past and present. In this first half of a panel discussion at the 2022 Center for Science and Culture Insider’s Briefing, Darwin Day in America author John West introduces the other panel members, teases an upcoming book, Darwin Comes to Africa, and discusses his experience visiting the Museum of Criminal Anthropology in Turin, Italy, where the work of infamous Darwinian criminologist Cesare Lombroso’s racist ideas about evolution and race are on dramatic display. Then historian Richard Weikart, author of Darwinian Racism, debunks the popular media claim that white nationalist racism in America is a Southern evangelical phenomenon. Weikart shows that the most prominent white nationalists show little if any interest in promoting Christianity, but they very consistently anchor their racist ideas of white superiority and the racial struggle for supremacy in Darwinism, with straightforward links to Charles Darwin’s own ideas and arguments in The Descent of Man. Weikart is careful to emphasize that Darwinism does not necessarily lead its adherents to racism and, in fact, most Darwinists today are not racists. But racist ideas were woven into modern evolutionary thinking from the beginning and do serve as a major inspiration for white nationalist writers and even for some recent mass shooters. Weikart ends his lecture with a twist. He says there is one strongly anti-racist component in Darwinian materialism: Darwinian materialism, if true, means that all humans are equally without value — just so many DNA survival machines in a world without higher purpose or meaning. A grim takeaway, but only for those who feel compelled to embrace modern Darwinism. If you are open to questioning it, there are a wealth of resources at this podcast and at intelligentdesign.org showing that the evidence points strongly in another direction.
Today’s ID the Future wraps up a debate over evolution and intelligent design between Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe and Benedictine College theologian Michael Ramage. Both Behe and Ramage are Catholic, and they carry on their conversation in the context of Catholic thinking about nature and creation, in particular the work of Thomas Aquinas and contemporary Thomist philosophers. Ramage seeks to integrate his Thomistic/personalist framework with modern evolutionary theory’s commitment to macroevolution and common descent. Behe doesn’t discount the possibility of common descent but lays out a case that any evolution beyond the level of genus (for instance, the separate families containing cats and dogs) cannot be achieved through mindless Darwinian mechanisms and, instead, would require the contributions of a designing intelligence. Behe then summarizes both the negative evidence against the Darwinian mechanism of change and the positive evidence in nature for intelligent design. This debate was hosted by Pat Flynn on his Philosophy for the People podcast, and is reposted here by his permission.
On today’s ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson discusses his chapter in a recent Harvest House anthology edited by host Casey Luskin, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Nelson says the theory of universal common descent, a key component of modern evolutionary theory, has generated multiple predictions that have failed. The prediction he discusses here is that there would turn out to be a single universal genetic code, since that’s what we should expect if all life on earth is descended from the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). Findings over the past three decades have proven that prediction spectacularly wrong. How does the theory of universal common descent shrug off this contrary empirical finding? The trick for LUCA in this and similar cases is to shift blame for failure to an ancillary theory. It’s a clever move, says Nelson, but it comes at a cost.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, and specifically, an essay in the new anthology by biologist Jonathan Wells, “Is Darwinism a Theory in Crisis?” As Wells and host Casey Luskin note, the essay title alludes to philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn’s influential 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn argued there that if one studies the history of scientific revolutions, one finds that when the scientific evidence has begun to turn against a dominant scientific paradigm—when its days are numbered— its adherents do not simply concede defeat. Instead they use all their institutional power to suppress dissent and punish proponents of any competing paradigm. This is the period of crisis, which can last for years and even decades. Wells contends that modern evolutionary theory is a current instance of a dominant paradigm in crisis. He briefly makes the case in this episode, and at greater length in his essay, which appears in the newly released anthology from Harvest House Publishers, edited by William Dembski, Casey Luskin, and Joseph Holden. Find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.
On today’s ID the Future, meet Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas, not at all the sort of person one might expect to find waging a campaign against modern evolutionary theory. An erudite and settled Darwinist living comfortably in a thoroughly secular English academic culture, Thomas nevertheless came to reject Darwinian materialism and, as he insists, did so on purely rationalist grounds. Listen in to learn about his journey and about his new book from Discovery Institute Press, Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design.
Today’s ID the Future features Darwin Devolves author and Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe speaking about the logic and evidence of intelligent design with two philosophers, Pat Flynn and Jim Madden. In a friendly, stimulating exchange, Flynn and Madden press Behe with objections — some philosophic, others scientific — to see how well his position stands up to scrutiny from experts who have engaged the subject. Here in Part 1 of a three-part series, Behe counters the charge that ID is an argument from ignorance, and then the three men compare the contemporary design argument to philosopher Thomas Aquinas’s fifth way. For Behe’s newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin, go here. This discussion is presented here with permission of philosopher and podcaster Pat Flynn.
On this ID the Future, Pat Flynn continues his conversation with bestselling author and philosopher of science Stephen C. Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. The focus is Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis, and here in the second and final part of their conversation, Flynn and Meyer discuss the beginning of the universe, the multiverse hypothesis, worldview bias, Bayesian probability calculus, methodological materialism, and specific scientific predictions that intelligent design thinking has motivated. This interview is presented here with permission of philosopher and YouTuber Pat Flynn.