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 from the vault, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson continues sharing with host Andrew McDiarmid about pursuing intelligent design theory in a science culture committed to naturalism. As Nelson puts it here, it’s about trying to communicate with scientists who are trapped in a “naturalistic parabola.” That parabola sets the rule and defines the boundaries for science: naturalistic answers only. And it extends to infinity, so no finite number of objections or counter-examples can force naturalistic scientists out of it. Nelson, however, offers an alternative strategy for drawing them out of the parabola.
On today’s ID the Future, philosopher William Dembski and host Casey Luskin explore the relationship between science and faith. What is science? What is faith? How does Christianity define faith? Dembski explains that faith in the Judeo-Christian tradition is not the opposite of reason; at the same time, faith possesses a relational component—trust in a just, gracious, and reasonable God—that goes beyond mere assent to propositions. As for science, Dembski describes it as a careful search for truths about the natural world, including truths about key elements such as the birth of our fine-tuned universe and the origin of living things. Dembski says that he is convinced that scientific discoveries, unshackled from atheistic blinders, point strongly to intelligent design as the best explanation for life and the universe, a conclusion friendly to theism. As Dembski also notes, science was invented by theists, most of them Christians. They were motivated to search out the rational underpinnings of a cosmos because they believed it was fashioned by a rational designer. The occasion for the conversation is the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions about Life and the Cosmos, which Dembski co-edited and contributed a pair of chapters to. Get your copy here.
On today’s ID the Future, radio host Hank Hanegraaff continues his conversation with Animal Algorithms author Eric Cassell. Here they look at more insects with strikingly sophisticated innate behavior, suggesting intricate algorithms encoded into their brains from birth, all of which cannot be effectively explained by reference to Darwinian evolution. Cassell and Hanegraaff touch on wasp martial arts; termite altruism and termite architectural skills, including a cooling system that has inspired a human design; interdependent social caste systems that enhance fitness; and spiderweb architecture and the extraordinary properties of spider silk, including the different kinds of silk and the spider’s ability to employ different types precisely tailored for different needs. Cassell looks at evolutionary explanations for these innate abilities that appeal to the ideas of convergent evolution and selection pressure, and he shows why these don’t get us very far. He suggests the path forward is to set aside the dogmatic insistence on restricting ourselves to only naturalistic explanations and instead to consider the possibility of intelligent design. Hanegraaff and Cassell wrap up their discussion by taking on some common objections against the theory of intelligent design. The interview is presented here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. Find the original at Hank Unplugged. Pick up your copy of Cassell’s book here.
On this ID the Future radio host Hank Hanegraaff interviews Animal Algorithms author Eric Cassell about insects and other small-brained animals with innate behaviors of astonishing sophistication — desert ants, leafcutter ants, honey bees, spiders, monarch butterflies, and many more. These appear to be hard-wired from birth with complex algorithms coded into their neural networks, and some of the algorithms seem to involve complex mathematics. Also mysterious: many of these innate abilities are do or die. So how could they have blindly evolved one small Darwinian step at a time? Also, how would genetic mutations generate the ability to make navigational calculations (as in the case of some birds) that for humans require spherical geometry? Listen in to learn more about this and other wonders of the animal world. Pick up your copy of Cassell’s book here. (The interview is presented here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff.)
On today’s ID the Future, Human Nature author David Berlinski continues his conversation with host Wesley J. Smith. Here Berlinski reflects on the Jewish Holocaust, the destructive nihilism of the Nazis and the SS, and the shortcomings of Neo-Darwinism as an explanation for the diversity of life. Berlinski and Smith also discuss the increasingly widespread attacks on human exceptionalism, the growth of emotivism and why it’s a problem, and the bizarre nature rights movement. This is the second and concluding part of a conversation borrowed, with permission, from Wesley J. Smith’s Humanize podcast.
Today’s ID the Future kicks off a three-part series featuring Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas interviewed by radio host Hank Hanegraaff. In this first part, Hanegraaff begins by lauding Thomas’s book and underscoring how influential Darwin’s theory of evolution has been on Western culture. Then Thomas sketches the cultural milieu and individual motivations that he’s convinced drew Darwin toward his formulation of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Here the focus is not on the various evidential weaknesses of Darwin’s theory (which Thomas does cover in his book) but on a question that puzzled Thomas once he became convinced of just how evidentially weak the case for Darwinism was: How was it that a theory so poorly supported by the evidence (such that even some of its most ardent supporters found themselves rejecting key aspects of it) nevertheless came to dominate the academy? Tune in to find out what Thomas ultimately concluded from his autopsy of the theory and its early reception, and stay tuned for episodes two and three. This audio material is used by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. Thomas’s book is available here.
On this ID the Future, Zombie Science author and biologist Jonathan Wells and host Andrew McDiarmid explore the seductive but misleading appeal to consensus science. This is when someone makes a bandwagon appeal to support a scientific hypothesis rather than offering evidence and arguments—as in, “All serious scientists agree that X is the case.” Wells says history makes hash of the consensus-science appeal because the history of scientific progress is all about a consensus view being overthrown by a newer, more accurate view that for a time was a minority view. Wells also draws a distinction between evidence-based empirical science and ideologically driven science. The example he gives for the latter: scientific materialism. Instead of a search for truth about the natural world, science under scientific materialism becomes a search for the best materialistic explanation for this or that phenomenon. Mix scientific materialism and consensus science and you get what Wells has described as “Zombie Science.” Wells and McDiarmid also discuss the problem of science journalism hype. Most scientific discoveries are small, incremental findings of little interest to the general public. The solution for many science journalists: hype the small finding into something earth-shattering. As a remedy, Wells encourages a modest dose of skepticism anytime one is reading a science article in the popular press. What about the claims of Darwinists that the science “is settled,” that evolution “is a fact,” and that bad design in biology proves that hit-or-miss evolution is the maker of life’s diversity, not an intelligent designer? Here Wells encourages more than a modest dose of skepticism, and gives the example of the supposed “backward wiring of the vertebrate eye” as a case in point.
On today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller and host Eric Anderson continue their exploration of a recent conversation between origin-of-life investigators Jeremy England and Paul Davies on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio show. Miller begins with a quick flyover of the many nanotechnologies essential to even to the simplest viable cell. A minimally complex cell is vastly more sophisticated than our best human nanotechnology. What about England’s insistence that real progress has been made in origin-of-life studies since the 1950s? True, Anderson says, but the progress has been principally in better understanding how the simplest cells function, and in figuring out what doesn’t work to blindly evolve life from non-life. That is, the direction of discovery has been to throw cold water on one idea after another for the naturalistic origin of life. Miller then makes an even bolder statement. All the physics for us to have known this were in place more than a hundred years ago. The origin-of-life community just chose to ignore it, perhaps because they were dogmatically wedded to finding a purely materialistic explanation for the origin of the first life. To show why that’s misguided, Miller offers an illustrative story: Imagine that what looks for all the world like an alien spaceship is discovered in the desert. Two groups of scientists decide on radically different approaches to understanding the workings of this mysterious object. Tune in to hear the rest of the story.
On today’s ID the Future, philosopher Jay Richards, co-author of The Privileged Planet, continues a conversation with host Eric Anderson about Carl Sagan and a short video clip where Sagan fields questions about God. Sagan points out that there are different conceptions of God, but Jay asks, what’s his point? There are different conceptions of nature. That doesn’t mean that nature isn’t out there and that there aren’t true and false things that can be said about it. Also, when the vast majority of people speak about God, they have in mind a powerful, conscious Creator of nature. Sagan plays definitional games by redefining the meaning of “God.” Listen in to learn how, to what purpose, and to hear what Richards thinks would be a better approach for atheists such as Sagan.