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.
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, host Eric Anderson speaks again with medical engineer Rob Stadler, co-author with molecular biologist Change Laura Tan of the new book Stairway to Life: An Origin of Life Reality Check. Here in Part 2 of their conversation, Stadler says that following the Miller-Urey experiments in the mid-twentieth century, researchers were optimistic that a purely naturalistic explanation for the origin of the first life was just around the corner, but since then the field has run into one obstacle after another. The challenge to mindless origin-of-life scenarios is now far greater than it was 60-70 years ago. And yet many in the field still cling to the belief that life must have arisen by some set of purely blind, material forces, no intelligence allowed. Why? Stadler says it’s the “materialism of the gaps,” a dogmatic mindset undeterred by the growing tide of evidence in the opposite direction.
On this episode of ID the Future, guest host Eric Anderson speaks with medical engineer Rob Stadler, co-author with molecular biologist Change Laura Tan of the new book Stairway to Life: An Origin of Life Reality Check. Stadler explains that it’s a “reality check” because many of the “stairway steps” that have to be mounted for chemistry to become biology must, very inconveniently, happen all at once. DNA can’t survive without repair enzymes, for example, but those enzymes are able to exist because they’re coded in DNA. The reality check is needed, says Stadler, because the media eagerly touts every oversold “advance” in origin-of-life research, ignore the mounting difficulties for an unguided origin of life posed by various fresh discoveries, and parrot the question-begging claim that origins scientists must consider only naturalistic explanations.
On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson continues sharing with host Andrew McDiarmid about pursuing intelligent design theory in a science culture committed to naturalism. Or as Nelson puts it this time, 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 this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads from David Berlinski’s new book Human Nature. The excerpt is a tribute to Phillip Johnson and his 1991 book Darwin on Trial. Berlinski calls the work a “Majestic Ascent.” Johnson, he writes, not only brought evolution into question logically and scientifically; he brought the case where it belongs, before “the considered reflection of the human race.” Berlinski himself reflects on various empty attempts to build a scientific theory on prior commitments to materialism. “Darwin’s theories,” he says, “are correspondingly less important for what they explain, which is very little, and more important for what they deny, which is roughly the plain evidence of our senses.”
On this episode of ID the Future, Jonathan Wells speaks with distinguished Brazilian chemist Marcos Eberlin about Eberlin’s new book Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose. Eberlin is a world leader in the field of mass spectrometry, and the book is endorsed by three Nobel laureates.Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, author, speaker, and radio talk show host Greg Koukl, president of Stand to Reason, talks through a review of Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design. It’s the autobiographical story, co-written by Jonathan Witt, of distinguished Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola. His whole perspective on science changed when he asked himself the question Koukl likes to ask: “Do you want the right answers, or do you demand the right kinds of answers — those answers that comport with naturalism, materialism, and physicalism?” Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future we hear part one of Dennis Prager’s remarkable Prager Show conversation with Dr. Stephen Meyer, director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Prager had been agnostic on evolution, but reading and talking with Meyer changed his mind, he says. And it wasn’t any religious concerns, Prager explains. It was the science. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.Read More ›