ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast

Natural Theology

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Online Course Explores History of Science and Christianity

Did Christianity help or hinder the rise of science? On this ID The Future, host Andrew McDiarmid speaks with Dr. Melissa Cain Travis about her latest online course Science & Christianity: An Historical Exploration. The live 6-week course offered this spring gives a small cohort of students the opportunity to dive into the historical relationship between science and Christianity and the skill to address the distorted historical narratives that persist in the contemporary conversation. Read More ›
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Parables from Nature: A Profile of Margaret Gatty

She was born the same year as Charles Darwin. Like him, she studied nature and wrote books. But while Darwin staked his life's work on the power of natural selection, she recognized the evidence of intelligent design in nature and living organisms. On this ID The Future, host Andrew McDiarmid shares his profile of 19th century naturalist and children's author Margaret Gatty. Here, McDiarmid reports on Gatty's life and work within the framework of Darwin's, to show where both were similar as well as where they diverged. The result is a better understanding of 19th century Britain during a crucial chapter in the history of biology, and indeed, in the history of human ideas. Read More ›
Thomas Doughty - Fanciful Landscape 1834 - NGA 1963.9.2

Stephen Meyer: Evidence of Mind in The Natural World

Can we scientifically detect the activity of a mind behind the universe? On this ID The Future, philosopher of science Dr. Stephen Meyer answers this question and more in the concluding hour of a new two-hour interview on various topics related to his work and books. Dr. Meyer discusses the problems with scientific materialism, the problems with quantum cosmological models, a good theology of nature, and more. This is Part 2 of a two-part interview. Read More ›
The study of the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe as a whole

Uncovering the Hidden Mathematical Structure of the Universe

Do humans project mathematical order onto nature? Or was it there all along? On this ID The Future, host Andrew McDiarmid concludes his conversation with Dr. Melissa Cain Travis about her recent book Thinking God’s Thoughts: Johannes Kepler and the Miracle of Cosmic Comprehensibility. In Part 3, we look at how Kepler's ideas and work can inform the scientific enterprise today. Many scientists recognize the mystery of cosmic comprehensibility, including such respected voices as Albert Einstein, Sir Roger Penrose, and Paul Davies. Materialists remain agnostic or put it down to chance. But there's a more satisfying explanation, says Travis. "Centuries ago, Kepler already held the trump card. Science itself...can't be explained within the framework of scientific materialism." Genuine human rationality - the very thinking that helped fuel the enormous success of the natural sciences - would not exist if a naturalistic account of the human mind were correct. To get an intellectually satisfying answer for the cosmic comprehensibility we enjoy as humans, we have to think outside the materialist box. Travis explains how we can do that using Kepler's tripartite harmony of archetype, copy, and image. It turns out Keplerian natural theology is more robust than ever before and can help us make sense of the mysteries of our age, including the multiverse, the limits of AI, transhumanism, and more. This is Part 3 of a 3-part discussion. Read More ›
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Kepler’s Pursuit of a Mathematical Cosmology

Why is the cosmos intellectually accessible to us? On this ID The Future, host Andrew McDiarmid continues his conversation with Dr. Melissa Cain Travis about her recent book Thinking God’s Thoughts: Johannes Kepler and the Miracle of Cosmic Comprehensibility. In Part 2, Travis illuminates Kepler's university years to show us how his study of mathematics and astronomy complemented his interest in theology. We learn about obstacles he overcame during his education and how an unexpected appointment to assist imperial mathematician Tycho Brahe jump-started his career as an astronomer and gave him the tools he needed to develop and advance his revolutionary ideas. Travis unpacks Kepler's major works, from Mysterium Cosmographicum to his magnum opus Harmonices Mundi. She also tracks for us the progression of Kepler's ideas to show us how he became a key figure in the transition from ancient astronomy to a true celestial physics. This is Part 2 of a 3-part discussion. Read More ›
Silhouette of the man standing against the Milky Way in the mountains with a flashlight in his hands. Nepal, Everest region, view of the mount Thamserku (6,608 m) from Thame village (3,750 m).

Thinking God’s Thoughts: Kepler and Cosmic Comprehensibility

On this ID The Future, host Andrew McDiarmid kicks off a three-episode discussion with Dr. Melissa Cain Travis about her recent book Thinking God's Thoughts: Johannes Kepler and the Miracle of Cosmic Comprehensibility. A fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, Dr. Travis serves as Affiliate Faculty at Colorado Christian University's Lee Strobel Center for Evangelism and Applied Apologetics, where she teaches courses in the history and philosophy of science. In Part 1, learn why Kepler was instrumental in transforming classical astronomy into a true celestial physics. Like others before him, Kepler perceived a remarkable resonance between the rational order of the material world, mathematics, and the human mind. In response, he developed a three-part cosmic harmony of archetype, copy, and image to explain this unity. Travis unpacks his tripartite harmony for us. But that's not all. To give us a richer appreciation for Kepler's work, Travis also traces the intellectual pedigree of Kepler's ideas all the way back to the ancients, from pre-Socratic philosopher Pythagoras through the Early Christian era, the Middle Ages, and on through Kepler's own university years. It's a fascinating journey that shows how long humans have pondered the design of the universe and the uncanny connection between the natural world and the mathematics that lie at the heart of it. Kepler's revolutionary discoveries in natural philosophy and his unique insights into natural theology have inspired generations of scientists and philosophers. As we continue to discover new evidence of design in life and the universe, Travis argues that Kepler's work is as relevant today as ever. This is Part 1 of a 3-part discussion. Read More ›
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The Return of Natural Theology

Influenced by a long line of materialist thinkers, Charles Darwin proposed the mechanism of natural selection as a substitute for God. But how does his theory’s explanatory power measure up to recent scientific discoveries? On this ID The Future, physicist Brian Miller discusses the resurgence of natural theology in modern science with Pat Flynn, co-host of the Philosophy for the People podcast. Natural theology advances arguments for God based on reason and the discoveries of science. It’s an ancient pursuit that fell out of favor in the 19th century as a materialist account of life’s origins took center stage. But scientific findings of the last century point to mind, not a mindless process, as the likeliest explanation for a life-friendly universe. As a result, the pendulum is swinging back to teleology, ushering in a new heyday for natural theology. In addition to giving an historical overview of natural theology, Dr. Miller and Flynn also discuss fundamental problems in origin of life studies that demand a better explanation than materialists can offer. Miller speaks plainly about the problem: “Here’s the fundamental challenge,” he says. “All natural processes tend to create greater disorder (entropy)…The origin of life requires chemicals to go into a state of both high order and high energy. That never happens without help!” This is Part 1 of a 2-part discussion. With thanks to Pat Flynn and the Philosophy for the People podcast for permission to share this interview. Read More ›
Hubble Goes High Def to Revisit the Iconic 'Pillars of Creation'

Astrophysicist Bijan Nemati on Why Intelligent Design Matters

On today’s ID the Future, astrophysicist and intelligent design proponent Bijan Nemati shares the first part of his story of science and faith. Those who follow Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture may know Nemati from his appearance in the popular ID documentary The Privileged Planet. Born and raised in Iran, he moved to the United States shortly before the Iranian revolution, became an atheist in college, but eventually found his way to a strong religious faith, in part through his exposure to the scientific evidence for intelligent design, first in biology and then in cosmology. Along the way he landed a high-level job with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and became a leading expert in space interferometer telescopes and the science and technology of detecting earth-like planets. Tune in as he shares with host Eric Anderson his journey of discovery.


Casey Luskin and Adam Shapiro Debate Intelligent Design, Pt. 2

This ID the Future continues the debate between design theorist Casey Luskin, an editor of The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, and science historian Adam Shapiro, co-author of Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Justin Brierley, of the popular British debate program Unbelievable?, hosts. In this second half of the conversation, Shapiro argues that intelligent design’s popularity seems to have waned. Casey Luskin counters, arguing that the number and frequency of New York Times articles on ID is a superficial metric and that the ID research program is exploding, with the number of peer-reviewed ID papers growing every year, and the number of interested graduate students, ID hubs, and conferences expanding around the world, including ID conferences attended by high-level scientists, including Nobel Laureates. Luskin and Shapiro also discuss religious and academic freedom as it relates to the teaching of evolution and intelligent design in the classroom. Shapiro is actually more sanguine than Luskin about the freedom of high school biology teachers to teach intelligent design. Luskin, who has both a PhD in geology and a law degree, strongly advises high school biology teachers in public schools against teaching ID in the classroom. Instead, he says, the better and legally safer approach is to teach evolutionary theory comprehensively, covering both the evidence for it but also some of the evidence in the peer-reviewed literature against it. Luskin and Shapiro also part company on the nature of the intelligent design argument, with Shapiro suggesting that in practice it often amounts to a presenter highlighting some amazing feature in biology and then giving glory to God. Luskin pushes back, reiterating that intelligent design is an argument based on positive evidence, and is an argument to the best explanation–intelligent design–one that employs standard methods of scientific reasoning. This program is presented here with permission of Justin Brierley. To see this and other Unbelievable? episodes, go here. The first half of this conversation can be found here.


Casey Luskin and Adam Shapiro Debate Intelligent Design, Pt. 1

On today’s ID the Future, design theorist Casey Luskin, an editor of The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, and science historian Adam Shapiro, co-author of Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction, debate the meaning and prospects of intelligent design. Here in this first half of their conversation with host Justin Brierley of the Unbelievable? podcast, the focus is on how the term intelligent design is used, or misused, and its relationship to theological issues. The interview is used by permission of Justin Brierley.