ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast

Fossil Record

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Berlinski: Why Humans Are Unique in the World of Matter

Eminent paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould has argued that humans differ only in degree, not kind, from other organisms, and to think otherwise betrays an ancient and outdated prejudice. But does this match up with what science has revealed in the last century? On this ID The Future, we are pleased to share the first half of an engaging conversation between Dr. David Berlinski and host Eric Metaxas on the subject of Berlinski's recent book Human Nature. Some argue that humans are growing more peaceful, enlightened, and improved by the year, and that a coming technological singularity may well usher in utopia. Berlinski isn't buying it. "There is no society without its underlying ideology," he writes in Human Nature. A universal civilization requires a universal theory, and the prevailing grand narrative preferred by most materialist scientists today is fueled largely by Darwin's theory of evolution. But is the world of matter the only world that matters? In this conversation and in his book, Berlinski argues that human beings have a fundamental essence that is radically different from the essence of other organisms and that cannot be changed at will. It's a view that is supported by the latest evidence about life and the universe in biology, chemistry, physics, and even cosmology. And it represents a fatal flaw in the Darwinian story. This is Part 1 of a 2-part conversation. This interview originally aired as a Socrates in the City event in 2022. We are grateful to Eric Metaxas for permission to share it. Watch the conversation in video form on YouTube. Read More ›
Knowledge and science books artistic graphic collage - Generative AI illustration

Is Evolution Taught Fairly in Textbooks? A High School Senior Investigates

Has the accuracy of teaching on evolutionary theory improved in standard biology textbooks in recent years? On this ID The Future, host Daniel Reeves, Director of Education & Outreach at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, speaks with a recent high school graduate named Natalie about her senior year research project. Natalie has had an interest in evolution and intelligent design for years, and she's noticed that textbooks don't always cover important or controversial topics fairly. So when she discovered her school was trialing a new biology textbook, she decided to evaluate the proposed textbook's approach to accuracy and fairness in light of the available scientific evidence. Focusing on the fossil record and genetics, Natalie organized quotations from the textbook into three categories - misrepresented, underdeveloped, or well-aligned - based on how well they conveyed the available evidence. From whale evolution to genetic differences among organisms, Natalie found that more often than not, the textbook was misleading to students in the way it presented or omitted important scientific ideas. "High school students are in such a pivotal time in their life because they're forming their worldview," says Natalie. "And evolution is a theory on the origin of life...that's huge to answering those questions." Natalie encourages her fellow students, and anyone interested in origins, to question and dive deep as they evaluate competing ideas. As biologist and Center for Science and Culture Senior Fellow Jonathan Wells puts it at the start of his latest book, Zombie Science, this book is "dedicated to the students who will need to discern the truth for themselves." Here's one young scholar who is doing just that. AN IMPORTANT NOTE In the interview, Natalie shares her personal view that intelligent design should be included in public school science classrooms. However, as a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. Attempts to require teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scholars and within the scientific community. Furthermore, most teachers at the present time do not know enough about intelligent design to teach about it accurately and objectively.  Instead of recommending teaching about intelligent design in public K-12 schools, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in curriculum. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned. Read more of our recommendations for science curriculum here: Read More ›
creatures of the Cambrian period, underwater scene with Anomalocaris, Opabinia, Hallucigenia, Pirania and Dinomischus (3d science illustration)

Why Intelligent Design Best Explains the Fossil Record Data

The fossil record reveals sudden explosions of new life forms followed by long periods of stasis. Is this evidence to be expected from a gradual Darwinian model? On this episode of ID The Future, host Eric Anderson talks with Casey Luskin on location at this year’s Conference on Engineering and Living Systems (CELS). Luskin discusses three different models of the fossil record - the gradual descent model, the punctuated equilibrium model, and the explosion model. He explains why gradual Darwinian models are built on a lack of data and cannot adequately explain the patterns revealed in the record. He also shows that the sudden appearance of complex organisms and long periods of non-change are exactly what we would expect to find from a design perspective. "These organisms...are designed to change within limits," says Luskin, "and that's why we see stasis." Indeed, the fossil record is consistent with the engineering-based theory of bounded adaptation, the idea that organisms are deeply designed, purposeful, and capable of adapting within their operating parameters. It's an intriguing new way to look at the history of life on earth. Says Luskin, "The only way you're going to be able to generate all the information needed to yield an organism that's alive and functional all at once is through an intelligent cause." Don't miss this intriguing conversation! Casey Luskin holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, where he specialized in paleomagnetism and the early plate tectonic history of South Africa. He serves as Associate Director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Want to dive deeper into the fascinating explosions of plant and animal life in the geologic record? Luskin recommends reading a chapter by Stephen C. Meyer and Gunter Bechly (Chapter 10) on the topic, in Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique. Available here: Read More ›
dawn sunrise sea
sunrise in the sea

Ann Gauger on Her New Book, God’s Grandeur: The Catholic Case for Intelligent Design

Today’s ID the Future spotlights the richly stimulating new book, God’s Grandeur: The Catholic Case for Intelligent Design. Edited by biologist Ann Gauger, the anthology explores the evidence for intelligent design from a Catholic perspective, with contributions from an impressive range of Catholic scientists, philosophers, and theologians, including Gauger; internationally renowned paleontologist Günter Bechly; philosopher Jay Richards; molecular biologist Michael Behe; Rector of the European University in Rome Fr. Pedro Barrajón, LC; Aquinas and Evolution author Michael Chaberek; philosopher J. Budziszewski; professor of neurosurgery Michael Egnor; and noted Dante scholar Anthony Esolen. Listen in as Gauger gives a quick flyover of the book’s content, tells how she found her way into the intelligent design fold, and explains why Catholics should reject modern evolutionary theory, not only on theological grounds but scientific ones as well. Is it just for Catholics? Gauger says that the vast majority of the theological arguments will resonate with Christians of every stripe, and the parts focused on science and philosophy should resonate with anyone seeking to determine the best, most reasonable explanation for the origin of life, the universe, and the human race. Get your copy of the book here.

Close up portrait of a cute baby chimpanzee making eye contact

Chimp and Human Genomes: An Evolution Myth Unravels

On today’s ID the Future, Casey Luskin rebuts the oft-repeated claim that the human and chimp genomes are 98-99% similar and therefore surely resulted from Darwinian common descent. Luskin cites an article in the journal Science which describes the 98-99% claim as a myth. The original figure was derived from a single protein-to-protein comparison, but once you compare the entire genomes, and use more rigorous methods, the similarity drops several percentage points, and on one account, down into the mid-80s. Additionally, the chimp genomes used in the original comparison studies borrowed the human genome for scaffolding, thus artificially boosting the degree of similarity. What about supposed junk DNA similarities between human and chimp? Why would an intelligent designer put the same useless “pseudogene” in both the original chimp population and original human population? Surely a better explanation, the evolutionists argue, is Darwinian common ancestry. The problem with that argument, according to Luskin, is that pseudogenes are turning out to have functions. In other words, they aren’t, as evolutionists had assumed, just so much junk DNA. One example: evolution advocates Kenneth Miller and Eugenie Scott cited the beta-globin pseudogene as knockdown evidence of common descent between humans and apes. But the beta-globin pseudogene, it turns out, is essential for producing red blood cells. This means that finding this gene in both apes and humans is no more indicative of mindless common descent than finding wheels on both cars and airplanes. An intelligent designer would be expected to use the successful design element in both cases. Luskin provides still other lines of evidence undercutting the DNA-similarity argument for chimp-human common ancestry. Tune in to hear it all. And to read Luskin’s latest work on the subject, get the new free online ID book from South Africa, Science and Faith in Dialogue, with contributions from Luskin, Stephen Meyer, Hugh Ross, Guillermo Gonzalez, James Tour, Fazale Rana, Marcos Eberlin, and others.

3d rendered medically accurate illustration of a fetus at week 20

David Galloway: The Fetal Circulatory System is Irreducibly Complex

On today’s ID the Future, distinguished British physician and author David Galloway explains why he’s convinced that the human fetal circulatory system is irreducibly complex and therefore beyond the reach of blind gradualistic evolution to have built. In his conversation with host and fellow physician Geoffrey Simmons, Galloway also mentions some molecular machines that he’s convinced are irreducibly complex and shout intelligent design. The occasion for the conversation is Galloway’s new book, Design Dissected.


Debunked Transitional Fossils Just the Tip of the Iceberg

On today’s ID the Future Casey Luskin hosts distinguished German paleontologist Günter Bechly to discuss Bechly’s essay in the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos. Darwinian evolution predicts a gradually branching tree of living forms, with one form shading into another over long periods of evolution, with each transitional step almost too modest to notice. Does the fossil record suggest such a pattern? Quite the opposite, Bechly says. Instead the pattern of the fossil record is consistently one of sudden appearance, and evolutionists have yet to successfully construct a single robustly populated series of gradually transitioning fossils that move chronologically from one form to a distinctly different morphology. Darwinism would lead us to expect such transitional sequences all over the fossil record, and yet evolutionists, searching assiduously for more than 160 years, have yet to construct a single one of these. Bechly debunks the hype around some fossil sequences, such as that said to have been assembled from ape-like to human. He explains the difference between “transitional forms” as paleontologists generally use the term and the meaning of the term for evolutionists attempting to defend modern Darwinism. And he and Luskin also discuss fossil forgeries, how to tell real from fake fossils, and four explosions of morphological novelty in the history of life.


Neil Thomas Talks Darwin, Aquinas, OOL and … Young Frankenstein

On this ID the Future, Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas continues a lively conversation with radio host Hank Hanegraaff. In this second in a three-part series, the two touch on the fossil record’s challenge to Darwinism, Gould and Eldredge’s rescue attempt, the question of whether Darwin’s best known contemporary defender is dishonest or merely self-deluded, the wishful thinking surrounding origin-of-life studies, the failed attempts to reduce the mind to mere brain chemistry, and the morally repugnant pro-eugenics ideas rooted in Darwinism and touted in the textbook at the heart of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial. The conversation is posted here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. Get Neil Thomas’s book here.

tamarin new world monkey

Casey Luskin: Biogeography Is No Friend of Common Descent

On this ID the Future, geologist Casey Luskin discusses biogeography and the problems it poses for the idea of universal common descent. To make it work, evolutionists have to propose, for instance, that old world monkeys rafted across the Atlantic from Africa to South America on a natural raft. Really? That’s some raft. And how did the monkeys not starve to death? Or die of thirst? They couldn’t drink salty ocean water, after all. And talk about a genetic bottleneck! That’s just one of several problems Luskin raises with the idea that all species gradually evolved from a universal common ancestor. In his conversation with host Emily Reeves, he also touches on the problem of convergence, as when two creatures that are, at best, only very distantly related, nevertheless share a major common feature, such as humans and octopuses both having camera eyes. But evolutionists acknowledge that the putative common ancestor of humans and octopuses didn’t even have eyes, meaning the evolutionists must hold to the view that this very specific marvel of optical engineering just happened to evolve twice. Luskin notes that this example of convergence is just one of countless such instances. In each case, evolutionists find ways to explain the problem away, but Luskin compares these ad hoc patches to the epicycles that Renaissance-era proponents of an Earth-centered model of the solar system kept introducing to explain away the growing body of astronomical evidence that ran contrary to their geocentric theory. When your theory gets messier and messier to account for new data, Luskin argues, maybe it’s time to step back from the theory and consider other possibilities. The alternative he favors: common design. The occasion for this conversation is Luskin’s chapter on biogeography and evolution in the recent anthology from Harvest House Publishers, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions about Life and the Cosmos.

boat sailing away
Sunset in the sea, a small sailing boat at sunset away

Bidding Adieu to Steven Weinberg’s Take on Science and Faith

On today’s ID the Future, Casey Luskin, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, discusses his Evolution News article about the recently deceased Steven Weinberg. On Weinberg’s view, one of science’s social functions is to undermine religion, which he sees as superstition. Luskin takes the opposite view and points to skilled and successful scientists he got to know in Africa. He says these scientists are convinced that the supernatural is real and would find Weinberg’s secular Western rejection of the supernatural as blinkered. Luskin and host Robert Crowther also discuss a hopeful trend among some atheists toward a more civil and respectful way of engaging intelligent design, even to the point of acknowledging that design theorists are making thoughtful, substantive arguments. Luskin summarizes six lines of evidence for design, and encourages people to escape the internet atheist bubble and read the best ID scholars firsthand rather than depending on strawman summaries of those arguments.