Today’s ID the Future continues intelligent design theorist Casey Luskin’s conversation with Apologetics 315 podcast hosts Brian Auten and Chad Gross. Here in Part 2, Luskin give a peek behind the scenes of ID 3.0, the current research program inspired by the intelligent design framework. Luskin is then asked to explain his reservations about theistic evolution, and Luskin points out the evidential, rhetorical, and logical problems he sees with the brand of theistic evolution advocated by Francis Collins and Biologos. What about the future of the intelligent design movement? Luskin says he’s optimistic, both because of the exciting research and publication breakthroughs of late, and because of the many converts he’s seeing to the ID framework. According to Luskin, many of these recruits remain behind the scenes to avoid reprisals from opponents of ID in positions of power, but some top scientists have come out publicly in support of intelligent design, including at least one Nobel Laureate. This episode is presented here with permission from Apologetics 315.
On this ID the Future, distinguished German paleontologist Günter Bechly continues unpacking his new argument against modern evolutionary theory. According to Bechly, contemporary species pairs diverge hardly at all over millions of years, even when isolated from each other, and yet we’re supposed to believe that the evolutionary process built dramatically distinct body plans in similar time frames at various other times in the history of life. Why believe that? He suggests this pattern of relative stasis among species pairs strikes a significant and damaging blow to Darwinian theory. In this Part 2 episode, Bechly and host Casey Luskin discuss mice/rat pairs, cattle and bison, horses and donkeys, Asian and African elephants, the Asian black bear and the South American Spectacled bear, river hippos and West African pygmy hippos, the common dolphin and the bottle-nosed dolphin, and the one outlier in this pattern, chimpanzees and humans. If chimps and humans really did evolve from a common ancestor, why do they appear to be the lone exception to this pattern of modern species pairs differing in only trivial ways? Bechly notes that whatever one’s explanation, there appears to be clear evidence here of human exceptionalism. He and Luskin go on to cast doubt on the idea that mindless evolutionary processes could have engineered the suite of changes necessary to convert an ape ancestor into upright walking, talking, technology-fashioning human beings. What about Hawaiian silversword plants? They seem to have evolved into dramatically different body plans in the past few million years. Are these an exception to Bechly’s claimed pattern of species pair stasis? After all, the differences among silverswords can be quite dramatic, with differences far more extensive than what we find between, say, Asian and African elephants or horse and donkey. Drawing on a second article on the topic, he notes that some extant species of plants possess considerable phenotypic plasticity. They have the capacity to change quite dramatically and still breed with other very different varieties. This appears to be the case with silverswords. There is more to his argument. Tune in to hear him unpack it and also respond to additional objections Luskin raises. Part 1 of their conversation is here.
This ID the Future continues the debate between design theorist Casey Luskin, an editor of The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, and science historian Adam Shapiro, co-author of Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Justin Brierley, of the popular British debate program Unbelievable?, hosts. In this second half of the conversation, Shapiro argues that intelligent design’s popularity seems to have waned. Casey Luskin counters, arguing that the number and frequency of New York Times articles on ID is a superficial metric and that the ID research program is exploding, with the number of peer-reviewed ID papers growing every year, and the number of interested graduate students, ID hubs, and conferences expanding around the world, including ID conferences attended by high-level scientists, including Nobel Laureates. Luskin and Shapiro also discuss religious and academic freedom as it relates to the teaching of evolution and intelligent design in the classroom. Shapiro is actually more sanguine than Luskin about the freedom of high school biology teachers to teach intelligent design. Luskin, who has both a PhD in geology and a law degree, strongly advises high school biology teachers in public schools against teaching ID in the classroom. Instead, he says, the better and legally safer approach is to teach evolutionary theory comprehensively, covering both the evidence for it but also some of the evidence in the peer-reviewed literature against it. Luskin and Shapiro also part company on the nature of the intelligent design argument, with Shapiro suggesting that in practice it often amounts to a presenter highlighting some amazing feature in biology and then giving glory to God. Luskin pushes back, reiterating that intelligent design is an argument based on positive evidence, and is an argument to the best explanation–intelligent design–one that employs standard methods of scientific reasoning. This program is presented here with permission of Justin Brierley. To see this and other Unbelievable? episodes, go here. The first half of this conversation can be found here.
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.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights the first part of a lively and cordial conversation between host and atheist Michael Shermer and Stephen Meyer, author of Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this first of the four-part series, the two touch on everything from Meyer’s three key lines of evidence for theism to a quick flyover of less well-known materialistic origins theories, including the oscillating universe model, panspermia as an explanation for the origin of the first life on earth, and Stephen Hawking’s idea of imaginary time. Meyer lumps many of these ideas under what he terms exotic naturalism and suggests that the atheists who defend these explanations are multiplying exotic and unobserved entities to hold at bay a much simpler and more reasonable explanation for the evidence—namely, intelligent design. But is Meyer simply guilty of confirmation bias in arriving at his conclusion? Meyer turns the question around and suggests that it’s those who are wedded to methodological materialism who appear to be led by a confirmation bias. The interview is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.
Today’s ID the Future concludes a debate over the merits of intelligent design and modern evolutionary theory. Günter Bechly is a distinguished German paleoentomologist who was an atheist and Darwinist but became convinced of theism after he finally decided to read some of the books written by leading ID proponents and found their arguments far stronger than he had been led to believe from second-hand accounts. S. Joshua Swamidass is a computational biologist at Washington University in Saint Louis who says ID may or may not be true in some part of what it affirms, but while he believes in a Creator, he doesn’t find the central arguments of intelligent design proponents logical and cogent. He also is more sanguine than Bechly about modern evolutionary theory, specifically when one looks beyond neo-Darwinism to consider additional evolutionary mechanisms from the extended evolutionary synthesis. Bechly counters that none of these additional proposed mechanisms have demonstrated the ability to generate novel biological functions and form. Neutral evolution has been shown to generate Rube Goldberg complexity, he says, but not fundamentally new biological machinery and functions in the first place. And he says, contra Swamidass, that neo-Darwinism’s joint mechanism of random mutation and natural selection remains a prominent feature of the contemporary scientific landscape, so the ID arguments demonstrating its inadequacy are highly apropos. The two met in a dialogue hosted by Justin Brierley on his Unbelievable? podcast, reposted here with Brierley’s permission.
Today’s ID the Future features a debate over the merits of intelligent design. Günter Bechly is a German paleoentomologist heard many times on ID the Future, who says the science convinced him that intelligent design is true. S. Joshua Swamidass is a computational biologist at Washington University in Saint Louis who says ID may or may not be true in some part of what it affirms, but for him, the science doesn’t lead you to it. They met in a dialogue hosted by Justin Brierley on his Unbelievable? podcast, reposted here with Brierley’s permission. This is the first half of the conversation. The second half is coming to IDTF soon.
On this episode of ID the Future, Rob Crowther speaks with David Klinghoffer, editor of Evolution News and Science Today, about contemporary “cancel culture” that’s attempting to push disfavored ideas and people out of the public square, and how the cancel-culture phenomenon struck intelligent design long before cancel culture was a household term. The term — and the movie title — more commonly used in ID circles has been “expelled.” It’s happened to Richard Sternberg, Günter Bechly, Douglas Axe, and other ID-friendly researchers, to the point that many ID-sympathizing scientists have to hide their beliefs to protect research funding and careers. Klinghoffer emphasizes that this isn’t just a debate off in the corner. Rather, ID is a “hard-core truth,” meaning it’s one of those on which our entire culture of freedom rests, for what else does it mean that we were “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights”?
On this episode of ID the Future we hear the first part of Discovery Institute Education Outreach Associate Daniel Reeves’ talk at the 2020 Dallas Science and Faith Conference. Reeves outlines the meaning of natural selection, and traces its history, starting from Darwin’s early understanding, in the days when cells were viewed as just blobs of protoplasm. Reeves carries the story from there through the neo-Darwinian modern synthesis and into the extended evolutionary synthesis, culminating in a 2016 meeting of the Royal Society on the theory’s continuing — and still unresolved — explanatory deficits.
On this episode of ID the Future, bestselling author and Center for Science and Culture director Stephen Meyer introduces an exciting and informative new Discovery U video course, “Stephen Meyer Investigates Scientific Evidence for Intelligent Design.” Here he sets the stage by recalling a few times when ID made national news headlines, sometimes with Meyer right in the middle of the controversy. He also addresses some of the questions generated by these dustups: Is ID faith-based or science-based? Did the earliest scientists follow ID principles or did they avoid them, as one state education commissioner claimed. And why did two highly regarded research scientists get expelled from their museum positions, and were the expulsions justified?