On this ID the Future, science historian Michael Flannery continues discussing his newly updated Intelligent Evolution: How Alfred Russel Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwin. Wallace was co-founder with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by random variation and natural selection, but unlike Darwin he saw teleology or purpose as essential to life’s history, and a teleological view as essential to the life sciences. According to Flannery, Wallace’s views on the nature of the cell, the special attributes of humans, the irreducible nature of life, and the fine tuning of the universe hold up well today. He and Darwin disagreed on much of this, yet they maintained mutual respect. In this, Flannery says, the two are a great model for scientists who disagree today.
On this episode of ID the Future, science historian and host Michael Keas talks with fellow science historian Michael Flannery about the newly updated book Intelligent Evolution: How Alfred Russell Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwin. Flannery tells of Darwin’s involvement in the Plinian Society, a “freethinkers” group at Edinburgh University where he studied medicine as a teenager. It was there that he first encountered radical philosophical materialism, the worldview that laid the philosophical foundation for his work in evolution. Flannery also speaks of Alfred Russel Wallace’s “intelligent evolution” and how it differs from Darwinism and from today’s theistic evolution — what Flannery prefers to call “Darwinian theism.”
On this episode of ID the Future, host Robert Marks continues his conversation with Oxford University mathematician John Lennox about Lennox’s new book 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity. Lennox reviews mythology and science fiction writing stretching from the ancient poet Hesiod to the novelist Dan Brown and MIT physicist Max Tegmark. He says that artificial intelligence (AI) predictions down through the ages are all heavily dependent on theological and philosophical presuppositions. He and Marks also discuss AI’s cousin, transhumanism, its surprising history, and its potentially very dark future, including the risk of what C.S. Lewis called “the abolition of man.”
On this episode of ID the Future, Mike Keas interviews science historian and bioethicist Michael Flannery about his recent article on Charles Darwin and archrival Richard Owen. Owen was an evolutionist, too, but of a different stripe. Unlike Darwin, he believed that evolution was guided by teleology or purpose, and he saw humans as different from animals not only in degree but in kind. This led him to reject Darwin’s conclusion of a “hierarchy of races,” as well as Darwin’s expectation that the supposedly “less fit” races of humankind ultimately would be exterminated by the so-called “superior” white race. Most Darwinists today aren’t racist, but Darwinism did grease the skids into a dubious scientific racism that became widespread, encouraging racist eugenics campaigns in both Europe and the United States.
On this episode of ID the Future, Emily Kurlinski interviews bioethicist, author, and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith on transhumanism. It’s a technology-driven anti-aging effort to create a post-human species with advanced intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, and even immortality. Built on zeal and desperation to defeat death, it’s a quasi religion, except with no plan or apparent interest in cultivating a more wise and loving human species — which, Smith argues, makes it more dangerous than it might at first appear.
On this episode of ID the Future, Dean Abbott hosts Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith in a conversation about human cloning, human exceptionalism, and human rights. Smith explains some of the reasons behind the drive toward human cloning, and places the error of that thinking in historic context of some of the worst ethical mistakes humans have made down through history. It’s all about forgetting who we are as human beings.Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads an excerpt from a speech prepared by philosopher, mathematician, and trailblazing design theorist William Dembski for the launch of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Dembski asks whether we need worry about an AI takeover, and says no, there’s no evidence that artificial intelligence (AI) could reach that level, or achieve consciousness, and there’s mounting evidence from both philosophy and the field of artificial intelligence technology that it cannot and will not. “The real worry,” Dembski says, “isn’t that we’ll raise machines to our level, but that we’ll lower humanity to the level of machines.”
On this episode of ID the Future, Robert Crowther talks with author Jay Richards about Richards’ new book The Human Advantage: The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines. Science fiction tantalizes us — and pundits terrorize us — with images of intelligent machines taking over for humans. Really taking over, as in replacing us. Some thinkers even say that’s just the next phase, since we’re machines ourselves. Jay Richards explains how that’s wrong, and there’s a lot more to hope for than to fear in our future with our new smart machines.Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, host Robert Crowther talks with Rachel Adams, special projects coordinator at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, about Thanos, the arch-villain from the Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War, and a couple of real-life thinkers, Eric Pianka and Paul Ehrlich, who share the villain’s view that the world would be a better place with far fewer humans. Thanos, Pianka, and Ehrlich appear to share a materialistic view of the human person, one that ignores the inherent dignity and worth of every person as well as humanity’s capacity to create solutions and new resources, growing the resource pie. Thanks to this, life is not a zero-sum game. The human species is, as Julian Simon put it, the ultimate resource.Read More ›