Today’s ID the Future completes a talk by award-winning British engineer Stuart Burgess, who explains how the human ankle and wrist joints offer powerful evidence of engineering genius. Burgess is answering evolutionist Nathan Lents, who has argued that human joints are badly designed and, therefore, evidence against intelligent design and for Darwinian evolution’s blind trial-and-error process. According to Burgess, Lents ignores—and seems to be ignorant of—the many ingeniously engineered features of our joints, leading Lents to make easily refuted claims. For example, Lents says an ankle with fused bones would be a superior design to a healthy human ankle. Not if the person hopes to play squash or tackle any number of other activities that require the suppleness and responsiveness of the human ankle, Burgess notes. Burgess’s lecture was taped at the 2022 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith in the greater Philadelphia area. The conference was jointly sponsored by Westminster Theological Seminary and Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.
On this ID the Future, Stuart Burgess, one of Britain’s top engineers, explains how the skeletal joints in the human body are masterpieces of intelligent design. He also responds to claims by some evolutionists that human joints are badly designed and supposedly evidence of Darwinian evolution’s blind trial-and-error process. This presentation was taped at the 2022 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith in the greater Philadelphia area, which was jointly sponsored by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, and Westminster Theological Seminary. Here in Part 1, Burgess focuses on the ankle joint, showing that it packs an extraordinary amount of functionality into a small space, beyond anything human engineers have managed to achieve either in prosthetics or robotics.
Today’s ID the Future brings listeners physicist and engineer Brian Miller’s recent lecture at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, “The Surprising Relevance of Engineering in Biology.” Miller rebuts several popular arguments for evolution based on claims of poor design in living systems, everything from the “backward wiring” of the vertebrate eye to whales, wrists, ankles, and “junk DNA.” But the main emphasis of this discussion is the exciting sea change in biology in which numerous breakthroughs are occurring by scientists who are treating living systems and subsystems as if they are optimally engineered systems. Some in this movement reject intelligent design for ideological reasons. Others embrace it. But all systems biologists treat these systems as if they are masterfully engineered systems, and that perspective is rapidly accelerating progress in experimental biology. At the forefront of this work is the Conference on Engineering in Living Systems (CELS). Miller provides an exciting sneak peek at some of the cutting edge research from members of this group.
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 this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid continues his conversation with biochemist Michael Behe, author of the newly released Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution. Here Behe further presses the case that the review bypasses his book’s main point and that the reviewers appear to have misunderstood the plain language of one of his arguments in a previous book. Also, the reviewers claim that Behe hasn’t answered his critics’ objections on key points, a charge Behe shows is demonstrably false. Despite the negative review, Behe says he remains optimistic. Listen in to learn why. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid interviews biochemist Michael Behe, author of the forthcoming Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution (order here) to get his response to a review of the book that appeared in the prestigious journal Science. Behe says the review largely ignores the central point of his book; the reviewers fail to distinguish between claims that evolution built something, and explanations for how it could have built it; and they miss something crucial about lab experiments that engineer examples of evolution. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.