Protein Evolution, The Waiting Times Problem, and the Intriguing Possibility of Two First Parents
A PhD Evolutionary Biologist on Why He Embraces Intelligent Design
Jonathan McLatchie on Classic Examples of Irreducibly Complex Systems
Could Blind Forces Build a Self-Replicating Molecule?
On today’s ID the Future, scientist and Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler and host Eric Anderson examine a recent PNAS paper on origin of life, “An RNA Polymerase Ribozyme that Synthesizes Its Own Ancestor.” A superficial look at the paper—and the paper’s title in particular—might give the impression that the laboratory findings behind the paper render the blind evolution of the first self-replicating biological system appreciably more plausible. Not so fast, says Stadler. Listen in as he and Anderson highlight various ways the laboratory work in question is wildly unrealistic. And for a video exploring the many problems involved in blindly evolving the first self-replicator, check out a new Long Story Short animated YouTube video, created with input from Stadler, Debunking RNA world: Replication & Chemical Evolution.
God’s Grandeur: Ann Gauger on Beauty, Intelligibility, and Human Uniqueness
God’s Grandeur: Ann Gauger on the Scientific Case for Design
Ann Gauger on Her New Book, God’s Grandeur: The Catholic Case for Intelligent Design
Today’s ID the Future spotlights the richly stimulating new book, God’s Grandeur: The Catholic Case for Intelligent Design. Edited by biologist Ann Gauger, the anthology explores the evidence for intelligent design from a Catholic perspective, with contributions from an impressive range of Catholic scientists, philosophers, and theologians, including Gauger; internationally renowned paleontologist Günter Bechly; philosopher Jay Richards; molecular biologist Michael Behe; Rector of the European University in Rome Fr. Pedro Barrajón, LC; Aquinas and Evolution author Michael Chaberek; philosopher J. Budziszewski; professor of neurosurgery Michael Egnor; and noted Dante scholar Anthony Esolen. Listen in as Gauger gives a quick flyover of the book’s content, tells how she found her way into the intelligent design fold, and explains why Catholics should reject modern evolutionary theory, not only on theological grounds but scientific ones as well. Is it just for Catholics? Gauger says that the vast majority of the theological arguments will resonate with Christians of every stripe, and the parts focused on science and philosophy should resonate with anyone seeking to determine the best, most reasonable explanation for the origin of life, the universe, and the human race. Get your copy of the book here.
James Tour Talks Origin-of-Life Dealbreakers
On today’s ID the Future, distinguished synthetic organic chemist James Tour of Rice University explains why the goal of synthesizing life from non-life in conditions similar to those of the early Earth appears further away than ever. It’s not an illusion, he explains. The illusion was how close OOL researchers thought they were 50-70 years ago. They were never close, and the more we learn about how mind-bogglingly sophisticated even the simplest cells are, and how the complexity is essential for biological life, the more we realize just how far we are from constructing a plausible scenario for the mindless origin of the first life. Tour points out that even granting a great deal of intelligent design in the form of the highly skilled and interventionist work of the origin-of-life researchers in the lab, they still can’t engineer into existence all the key building blocks of a living cell. What if you handed them all the building blocks in the right proportions? They’re still nowhere near being able to intelligently design those ingredients into a living cell, Tour says. It has to do with what’s termed the interactome—that is, all the interdependent molecular interactions in a particular cell, many of which may initially appear unimportant but turn out to be crucial. Tour doesn’t argue that researchers will never be able to design a cell from non-living matter. He does say that if it is achieved, it will be well into the future. What will such an achievement underscore? As Luskin emphasizes, it will highlight the creative power of intelligent agency. The occasion for Dr. Tour’s conversation with host Casey Luskin is Tour’s essay in a new book now available for free download, Science and Faith in Dialogue. For more from Dr. Tour, check out his website and his YouTube channel.