On today’s ID the Future, Casey Luskin, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, discusses his Evolution News article about the recently deceased Steven Weinberg. On Weinberg’s view, one of science’s social functions is to undermine religion, which he sees as superstition. Luskin takes the opposite view and points to skilled and successful scientists he got to know in Africa. He says these scientists are convinced that the supernatural is real and would find Weinberg’s secular Western rejection of the supernatural as blinkered. Luskin and host Robert Crowther also discuss a hopeful trend among some atheists toward a more civil and respectful way of engaging intelligent design, even to the point of acknowledging that design theorists are making thoughtful, substantive arguments. Luskin summarizes six lines of evidence for design, and encourages people to escape the internet atheist bubble and read the best ID scholars firsthand rather than depending on strawman summaries of those arguments.
This ID the Future wraps up a lively four-part series between religious skeptic Michael Shermer and Return of the God Hypothesis author and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer. Here Meyer underscores the fact that every worldview must posit something as the prime reality, and he argues that positing mind (rather than matter) as the prime reality solves far more problems in science, and not just in origins science. What about the idea of a multiverse to explain the fine tuning of the laws and constants of physics? Meyer concedes that this is a solution of sorts, but it comes at a tremendous cost, which he explains. That’s just a taste of where Meyer and Shermer go in this final segment. Also threading its way through this rich finale–Deepak Chopra’s eastern take on reality, the mind-bending idea of absolute nothingness, mind-body dualism, Michael Polanyi, John Searle, and even a cameo appearance from the Boltzmann brain. This podcast series is posted here by permission of Michael Shermer. The full video conversation is available here.
On this ID the Future, Return of the God Hypothesis author Stephen Meyer and skeptic Michael Shermer address the question of how a divine immaterial being could act in the material world to design and fashion things such as the first life. Meyer argues that while we don’t know precisely how an immaterial mind would do this or did do this, we have good evidence that minds can and do affect matter, as for instance in the evidence that our minds can affect our brains and, by extension, our bodies. Meyer and Shermer also discuss the idea of front-loaded intelligent design—that is, where God loaded into the moment of the Big Bang everything necessary for the emergence of stars, planets, Earth, and life’s diversity, with no need for subsequent design tinkering. Meyer says he doesn’t have an in-principle objection to that idea, but that the evidence doesn’t support it. He also makes a distinction between two distinct modes by which God can direct things in the natural world, an analytic distinction that Meyer notes is not part of his design arguments in Return of the God Hypothesis but instead is drawn from the theology of nature developed many hundreds of years ago. The two also touch on the idea of extra-terrestrials becoming so technologically advanced that their abilities become indistinguishable from God’s, what Shermer has labeled Shermer’s Last Law. Might such beings be the explanation for certain features in nature that appear to be intelligently designed? Meyer argues that no, there would always remain certain features of the universe that are only adequately explained by reference to a designer with the skillset of the God of theism. This is part three of a four-part IDTF series, and is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.
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.
On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin takes a look at Michael Shermer’s conflicted message on science, intelligent design, and evolution.