Today’s ID the Future concludes our series on A Mousetrap for Darwin, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe’s new book on evolution and intelligent design. Here Behe and host Eric Anderson tackle an objection to Behe’s work from evolutionary biologist Larry Moran. Moran says that while the Darwinian process may find it difficult to find any particular solution requiring evolutionary innovation, there are countless possible solutions to a given problem, not just the one solution that evolution did hit upon and that is under investigation. According to Moran, Behe failed to take this into account, a factor that greatly enhances the chances of blind evolution to engineer novel solutions to ecological challenges. Behe counters that Moran’s objection misses the force of the evidence gained from the study of evolution in the malaria parasite and in other microbes. That evidence shows that evolution is extremely limited in what it can achieve, no holds barred, no possible solutions disallowed. Behe also discusses recent research confirming Dollo’s Law, why that’s bad news for Darwinism, and why Behe’s time-symmetric Dollo’s Law spells even bigger trouble for Darwinism.
Today’s ID the Future extends the discussion of A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael Behe Answers His Critics, the newest book from Discovery Institute Press. Here the focus is on Parts 4 and 7 of the new book, and in particular Richard Lenski’s Long Term Evolution Experiment at Michigan State. What has this long-running project demonstrated? As Behe explains in the book (and elaborates on in today’s podcast), “The study has addressed some narrow points of peculiar interest to evolutionary population geneticists, but for proponents of intelligent design the bottom line is that the great majority of even beneficial mutations have turned out to be due to the breaking, degrading, or minor tweaking of pre-existing genes or regulatory regions. There have been no mutations or series of mutations identified that appear to be on their way to constructing elegant new molecular machinery of the kind that fills every cell.” Listen in as Behe fills in the details with host Eric Anderson. And to dive still deeper, pick up A Mousetrap for Darwin here.
On today’s ID the Future, host Andrew McDiarmid presents an Evolution News essay, “How to Destroy Love with Darwinism.” Altruism as defined by evolutionists means “behavior by an animal that may be to its disadvantage but that benefits others of its kind.” It’s not an easy fit with Darwinism, since Darwinian evolution is all about passing your favored genes onto your offspring. How can a creature do that if she gives her life for another, particularly when it’s not even her own children, and before she has produced any offspring? Such individuals fail to pass on their own genes — a seeming conundrum for Darwinism. Evolutionists have made some progress (they think) explaining such things with theories of group selection or kin selection. But those explanations face some fresh challenges and don’t even begin to explain self-sacrificial acts done for non-kin, a behavior we see among humans. From a design perspective, though, such behaviors are not baffling, for they are not genetically determined acts, as if humans are only wet robots governed by genes. They are acts of true self-sacrificial love, done freely and made possible because reality is more than matter and energy, and humans are more than just DNA survival machines.
On this ID the Future Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe dives deeper into A Mousetrap for Darwin. Behe and host Eric Anderson pivot to the new book’s section defending Behe’s earlier work, The Edge of Evolution. In that earlier book, Behe reviewed hard data from evolution studies of malaria parasites, HIV, and E. coli, showed that blind evolutionary processes face severe limits as to what they can build, and argued that intelligent design was required for the origin of life’s great diversity. In this new conversation Behe touches on some of the attempts to refute that argument and suggests why those refutations fail. For a more in-depth look at his defense of The Edge of Evolution, get your copy of A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics and check out Part 3 of the book.
On this ID the Future, Michael Behe continues discussing his new book, A Mousetrap for Darwin, with host Eric Anderson. Here the focus is the blood clotting cascade. Behe has argued it’s irreducibly complex, like a mousetrap, and that blind evolution couldn’t build it one small functional step at a time. Behe says a better explanation is that it was intelligently designed. His critics have responded to his argument over the years. Here Behe returns the favor. His most prominent interlocutor on the matter is the recently deceased Russell Doolittle. Behe shows that Doolittle misread the paper he relied on to refute Behe. Professor Behe also responds to Kenneth Miller and Keith Robison. According to Behe, his critics have managed to provide little more than hand waving, smoke screens, and the sweeping of crucial problems under the rug. Tune in to catch some of the back and forth, and for a deeper dive into this challenge to modern evolutionary theory, pick up a copy of Behe’s new book.
Today’s ID the Future features Part 1 of an extended interview that first appeared on a podcast show hosted by distinguished Rice University synthetic organic chemist James M. Tour. As he typically does, since it’s the Science & Faith podcast, Dr. Tour begins his show by asking his guest for a statement of faith. Miller, a Christian, gives his, and then they dive into origin-of-life science. In a surprisingly accessible discussion given the depth of the material, the pair cover a range of issues—thermodynamics and the origin of the first cell, entropy, free energy, order and disorder, molecular engines, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and the need for engines and information to overcome the vicissitudes of entropy. Also in the mix—feedback loops, Jeremy England, and much more.
On this ID the Future Eric Anderson and physician Howard Glicksman further discuss a recent Journal of Anatomy article suggesting possible evolutionary changes in humans: a persistent, prominent median artery in some people’s arms. Journalists have hyped this as evolution in action, but Anderson and Glicksman say there’s little reason to treat this as an evolutionary change, even if it’s real. And they say it’s far from clear how natural selection could select for this as an “adaptation” when its most obvious effect is to contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and other health problems.
On this ID the Future neurosurgeon Michael Egnor interviews Bernardo Kastrup, a philosopher with a background in computer engineering, about consciousness, evolution, and intelligent design. Did consciousness evolve? What does the evidence suggest? And how do materialists deal with the seemingly immaterial reality that is consciousness? This is a guest episode borrowed with permission from Mind Matters, a podcast of Discovery Institute’s Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence.
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, biologist and professor Robert Waltzer talks with host Andrew McDiarmid about Waltzer’s chapter in the new Discovery Institute Press volume Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. Waltzer’s chapter covers some key terms in the evolution/ID conversation that are often misunderstood or misused. These include the word “evolution” itself, “change over time,” “common descent,” and “natural selection.” He offers quick definitions and explains some of the confusion surrounding them. Waltzer also describes an encouraging success story of his about fostering open dialogue and exploration of the evidence for design in nature.