Today’s ID the Future concludes a debate over the merits of intelligent design and modern evolutionary theory. Günter Bechly is a distinguished German paleoentomologist who was an atheist and Darwinist but became convinced of theism after he finally decided to read some of the books written by leading ID proponents and found their arguments far stronger than he had been led to believe from second-hand accounts. S. Joshua Swamidass is a computational biologist at Washington University in Saint Louis who says ID may or may not be true in some part of what it affirms, but while he believes in a Creator, he doesn’t find the central arguments of intelligent design proponents logical and cogent. He also is more sanguine than Bechly about modern evolutionary theory, specifically when one looks beyond neo-Darwinism to consider additional evolutionary mechanisms from the extended evolutionary synthesis. Bechly counters that none of these additional proposed mechanisms have demonstrated the ability to generate novel biological functions and form. Neutral evolution has been shown to generate Rube Goldberg complexity, he says, but not fundamentally new biological machinery and functions in the first place. And he says, contra Swamidass, that neo-Darwinism’s joint mechanism of random mutation and natural selection remains a prominent feature of the contemporary scientific landscape, so the ID arguments demonstrating its inadequacy are highly apropos. The two met in a dialogue hosted by Justin Brierley on his Unbelievable? podcast, reposted here with Brierley’s permission.
Today’s ID the Future features a debate over the merits of intelligent design. Günter Bechly is a German paleoentomologist heard many times on ID the Future, who says the science convinced him that intelligent design is true. S. Joshua Swamidass is a computational biologist at Washington University in Saint Louis who says ID may or may not be true in some part of what it affirms, but for him, the science doesn’t lead you to it. They met in a dialogue hosted by Justin Brierley on his Unbelievable? podcast, reposted here with Brierley’s permission. This is the first half of the conversation. The second half is coming to IDTF soon.
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 provides another peek at A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics. Here Behe and host Eric Anderson discuss the new book’s section on malaria evolution. Evolutionists say malaria’s ability to evolve resistance to the antimalarial drug chloroquine is powerful evidence of unguided microbe-to-man evolution. Behe discusses how this evolutionary innovation required two coordinated mutations and lies at the outside edge of what blind evolution can manage. But many innovations in the history of life require three or more coordinated mutations, which Behe argues is so improbable as to lie beyond the reach of blind evolution. If so, this would discredit evolutionary theory. Drawing from his new book, Behe discusses various attempts to discredit his argument and explains why he’s convinced that each such attempt collapses under scrutiny.
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.
On this ID the Future, Eric Anderson interviews Michael Behe about Behe’s new book, A Mousetrap for Darwin. In this episode, Behe explains that he was spurred to build this collection of essays by a review in the journal Science claiming he had never answered his critics on key points. That annoyed Behe, because he had, multiple times. A Mousetrap for Darwin compiles more than a hundred of his responses, some of them from difficult-to-access places. The book also contains fresh material from Dr. Behe, including some lively behind-the-scenes details about his interactions with colleagues and critics. In this episode, the Lehigh University biochemist answers misconceptions about irreducible complexity, responds to the claim that “molecular machines” is a misnomer, relates the surprising confessions some of his fellow biologists have made outside the spotlight about evolutionary theory, and offers his appraisal of why scientists in general don’t know what’s going on with studies in evolution or intelligent design. Behe remains optimistic, though. “You can’t deny the data forever,” he says.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid continues his conversation with Robert Waltzer, chair of the department of biology at Belhaven University and co-author of Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, on three big problems faced by naturalistic evolutionary theory. First, it appears that science has turned up several instances of what is known as irreducible complexity, something that Darwin himself said would falsify his theory if ever discovered. Second, various proposed “trees of life” conflict with each other, a problem that has grown worse as additional evidence and methods have arisen, a trend that makes theories of common descent difficult to sustain. And third, we know of no case where information is generated or improved without intelligent action behind it. Evolutionists still hold on to their theories, but why are they not more open at least to debate and criticism? Professor Waltzer suggests multiple possibilities.