On today’s ID the Future, Casey Luskin rebuts the oft-repeated claim that the human and chimp genomes are 98-99% similar and therefore surely resulted from Darwinian common descent. Luskin cites an article in the journal Science which describes the 98-99% claim as a myth. The original figure was derived from a single protein-to-protein comparison, but once you compare the entire genomes, and use more rigorous methods, the similarity drops several percentage points, and on one account, down into the mid-80s. Additionally, the chimp genomes used in the original comparison studies borrowed the human genome for scaffolding, thus artificially boosting the degree of similarity. What about supposed junk DNA similarities between human and chimp? Why would an intelligent designer put the same useless “pseudogene” in both the original chimp population and original human population? Surely a better explanation, the evolutionists argue, is Darwinian common ancestry. The problem with that argument, according to Luskin, is that pseudogenes are turning out to have functions. In other words, they aren’t, as evolutionists had assumed, just so much junk DNA. One example: evolution advocates Kenneth Miller and Eugenie Scott cited the beta-globin pseudogene as knockdown evidence of common descent between humans and apes. But the beta-globin pseudogene, it turns out, is essential for producing red blood cells. This means that finding this gene in both apes and humans is no more indicative of mindless common descent than finding wheels on both cars and airplanes. An intelligent designer would be expected to use the successful design element in both cases. Luskin provides still other lines of evidence undercutting the DNA-similarity argument for chimp-human common ancestry. Tune in to hear it all. And to read Luskin’s latest work on the subject, get the new free online ID book from South Africa, Science and Faith in Dialogue, with contributions from Luskin, Stephen Meyer, Hugh Ross, Guillermo Gonzalez, James Tour, Fazale Rana, Marcos Eberlin, and others.
On today’s ID the Future, biologist and intelligent design researcher Ann Gauger tells host Eric Anderson the rest of her story about how she was drawn into the intelligent design movement. The two discuss everything from the challenges she faced making it in a male-dominated field to the evidential power of beauty in the natural world. But how did she end up in the ID movement? After stepping out of a promising career as a research scientist to focus on her family and meeting the needs of an autistic child, she assumed that her life as a scientist was behind her. But then several years later she began reading the work of Darwin skeptics and intelligent design trailblazers—Phillip Johnson, Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, and others—and then she realized they were all associated with a think tank, Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, just down the street from where she lived. She eventually signed DI’s Dissent from Darwin list, then a year or so after that she signed up for a regular ID newsletter, Nota Bene, signing her name “Ann Gauger, PhD.” She got a phone call from someone at Discovery Institute twenty minutes later. The rest of the story is by turns comical, inspiring, and touching. Before wrapping up her story she urges young women scientists to not let themselves get pressured out of contributing just because STEM fields tend to be male dominated. And she shares a story of being accused at a public university event of lying and suppressing research evidence that supposedly supported evolutionary theory. Not true, she explains.
On today’s ID the Future, Your Designed Body co-author and physician Howard Glicksman talks with host and neurosurgery professor Michael Egnor about Glicksman’s new book, co-authored with systems engineer Steve Laufmann. Glicksman walks through a series of systems in the human body that are each irreducibly complex, and are each part of larger coherent interdependent systems. As Glicksman puts it, the human body is “irreducible complexity on steroids.” How could blind evolutionary processes, such as neo-Darwinism’s joint mechanism of natural selection working on random genetic mutations, build this bio-engineering marvel? Your Designed Body makes the case that it couldn’t. It’s not even close. What is required instead is foresight, planning, and engineering genius.
On today’s ID the Future, Michael Medved interviews biologist Michael Behe about Behe’s visually stunning YouTube series, Secrets of the Cell. Behe summarizes one of the key messages of the video series, namely that everything from the life-essential blood clotting system to a myriad of crucial protein structures in our bodies increasingly appear to be far beyond the reach of blind evolutionary mechanisms to build. Instead they appear to be the work of planning and purpose, which is the purview of mind. Meanwhile, even many mainstream evolutionists are growing skeptical of neo-Darwinism, Behe says, as biologists continue to uncover more and more layers of cellular sophistication. The emerging field of metagenomics, he says, is a case in point. Medved also mentions a recent article in World magazine where Behe also lays out a case for intelligent design The piece is here.
Today’s ID the Future continues A Mousetrap for Darwin author Michael Behe’s conversation with philosopher Pat Flynn, focused on some of the more substantive objections to Behe’s case for intelligent design in biology. In this segment the pair discuss the bacterial flagellum, the cilium, and the blood clotting cascade, and tackle critiques from Alvin Plantinga, Graham Oppy, Russell Doolittle, Kenneth Miller, and others. This interview is posted here by permission of Pat Flynn.
On today’s ID the Future Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe addresses what Philosophy for the People host Pat Flynn considers some of the best objections to Behe’s central intelligent design argument. As far back as the 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box, Behe has argued that certain features in biology are irreducibly complex. That is, they require numerous essential parts, each carefully fitted to its task and integrated with the other parts, in order for the molecular machine or system to function at all. Two examples are the bacterial flagellum motor and the blood clotting cascade. Such systems are, in Behe’s words, irreducibly complex and could not have arisen through any blind and gradual evolution process. The better explanation for their origin: intelligent design. Since Darwin’s Black Box became a bestseller a generation ago, Behe has attracted opponents in places high and low. Following the philosopher Alvin Plantinga, Flynn says that some of the attacks on Behe have been hysterical, but some have been more thoughtful. In this series Flynn focuses the discussion on what he regards as some of the more substantive and interesting objections, beginning with one from a noted philosopher who is partly sympathetic to Behe’s work, Plantinga himself. Behe gamely responds. This episode is used by permission of Pat Flynn. To see Behe’s responses to common and key objections collected in a single book book, get your copy of his newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics.