ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast

methodological naturalism

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Jonathan Wells Evaluates Darwinian Evolution in New Online Course

How strong is the evidence for Darwinian evolution? What are the limits of the Darwinian mechanism? How should concepts like evolution and science best be defined? On this episode of ID The Future, we bring to you the first three video lectures from a new online course by molecular and cell biologist Jonathan Wells. In the first brief lecture, Wells explains his own evolution; the evolution of his thinking about evolution, that is. You'll glean some interesting details about Wells's career here. In the second lecture, Wells defines the word evolution by reminding us of its various meanings and uses. He also describes how Darwin's theory of natural selection became the framework that bolstered a materialistic metaphysic that endures today. You'll learn that Darwin's proposal relied less on evidence-based science and more on theological and philosophical arguments. In the third lecture, Wells defines science, and explains what happens when the definition of science is confined to naturalistic explanations only. Every so often, says Wells, enough data accumulates to present a challenge to the prevailing scientific framework. It happened in Newton's day. It happened in Darwin's day. And it may happen again soon, if the mounting evidence supportive of intelligent design is any indication. Learn more about Wells's online course at Over 40 short video lectures, Wells explains the major concepts of both chemical and biological evolution, and he critically assesses the evidence for evolution offered by genetics, developmental biology, fossils, and more. Wells deals with some of the most popular “icons” of evolution found in standard textbooks, including Darwin’s finches, whales, antibiotic resistance, peppered moths, “junk” DNA, and more. Read More ›
Bruegel tower of babel
Vienna, Austria. 2019/10/23.

David Berlinski on His New Book, Science After Babel

On today’s ID the Future, host Andrew McDiarmid rings up Science After Babel author David Berlinski in Paris to discuss the philosopher’s latest book. Berlinski is at his cultivated best as the two discuss everything from the biblical Tower of Babel as a metaphor for modern materialistic science, to his friendship with the brilliant and colorful French intellectual Marcel Schützenberger, a world-class mathematician who was self-taught and, as we learn here, came within a hair’s breadth of being swept up in the Chinese Revolution. Berlinski also reflects on the seminal 1966 WISTAR symposium, which laid out some mathematical challenges to Darwinism, challenges that Berlinski says remain unanswered to this day. At the same time, Berlinski gives the devil—here Darwinism—its due. Tune in for this and more, and order your copy of Berlinski’s Science After Babel here.

Cocked empty mousetrap on dark background.

Behe Counters the Best Objections to Irreducible Complexity and ID, Pt 3

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.

galaxy parabola
Collision galaxies. Three-dimensional parabola with collision of galaxies. Universe with stars and stars. Starry sky

Paul Nelson on Freeing Minds Trapped in a Naturalistic Parabola

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.

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The Very Large Array (VLA) radio-astronomy antennas, in New Mexico, is one of the most impressive observatories in the world. The Sun was piercing through after a major storm during a public tour.

Carl Sagan’s Love/Hate Relationship with Intelligent Design

On today’s ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson explores an intriguing tension in the thinking of famous scientist and science popularizer Carl Sagan concerning his agnosticism shading into atheism on the one hand, and on the other hand his embrace of certain ideas consistent with the theory of intelligent design. As Nelson is quick to clarify, if Sagan had lived to see the rise of the contemporary intelligent design movement, he probably would have rejected it, particularly its theistic implications. And yet, Nelson says, Sagan’s thinking and arguments laid out in his Gifford lectures and in his science fiction novel Contact strongly support the idea that intelligent design can be detected. Nelson goes further, saying that if we take the methods Sagan laid out for detecting intelligently designed radio signals from extra-terrestrial intelligence, and apply them to patterns in nature that ID theorists have pointed to (such as DNA), it’s hard not to see his methodology triggering a design inference. Tune in to hear Nelson’s reflections on this important tension in Sagan’s thinking, and what, according to Nelson, prevented Sagan from fully resolving it.

God the Geometer

William Dembski on Scientism, Science, and Christian Faith

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.

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Pt. 2: Stephen Meyer and Skeptic Michael Shermer

Today’s ID the Future continues a lively and cordial conversation between 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 segment of the four-part series, Shermer and Meyer discuss a fourth argument for theism, the moral law within. Then they discuss the similarities and differences between inferring design for something like the Rosetta Stone versus inferring intelligent design from the information in DNA or the fine tuning of the universe. The interview is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.

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Stephen Meyer and Skeptic Michael Shermer, Pt. 1

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.

Casey Luskin Reviews Three Views on Christianity and Science

On today’s ID the Future, host Tom Gilson and guest Casey Luskin discuss a new book Luskin recently reviewed at Evolution News, Three Views on Christianity and Science. Luskin, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, summarizes the three views covered in the book: the independence view presented by Michael Ruse, the dialogue view presented by Alister McGrath, and the constrained integration view presented by Bruce Gordon. Luskin critiques the first two and argues that the dialogue view, in practice, quickly devolves into a monologue where religion is supposed to sit down and shut up the moment there is a point of difference between religion and consensus science. He says this is doubly problematic because (a) scientists are fallible and the scientific consensus changes; it’s not an infallible guide; and (b) key founders of modern science were inspired by a genuine cross-fertilization between scientific and theological reflection as opposed to a faux dialogue where all the influence moves only in one direction, from scientific consensus to religion. Luskin further points out that theistic evolutionists, such as those involved with the BioLogos group, promote the dialogue view but tend to quickly cede ground when evolutionary materialists muscle their way into an area previously claimed by a religious explanation. Luskin gives the example of theistic evolutionist and BioLogos founder Francis Collins pointing to universal human morality as something best explained not but by blind evolution but by the idea of humans made in the image of God. Luskin adds that this explanation apparently even played a role in bringing Collins to belief in God. In contrast, evolutionary psychology insists on explaining human personality in purely materialistic evolutionary terms, and as it has expanded its influence in recent years, BioLogos has tended to steer away from this very argument that helped bring their founder to belief in God. A better approach, Luskin argues, is the third one in the book, the constrained integration view advocated by CSC senior fellow Bruce Gordon.

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An old man shakes hands with an opponent in a game of chess, he lost and acknowledges it.

Alfred Russel Wallace and His Friendly Battle with Darwin

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.