ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast
Topic

origin of life

RNA World in a World of Hurt

On this ID the Future, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter and host Eric Anderson discuss the RNA World hypothesis, an explanation for how the first self-reproducing organism might have arisen via mindless chemical processes. Hunter and Anderson have each written on the topic, and together they unpack some of the many and growing problems with this RNA-first explanation for the origin of life. They also spotlight some recent admissions in mainstream scientific publications that it’s time to move on from the cherished but embattled RNA World. The conversation pivots off of a recent essay by Hunter at Evolution News, “RNA World: Repeated Downfalls, Repeated Resurrections.” For more on the challenges of creating the first self-reproducing biological entity, see Eric Anderson’s Chapter 3 Read More ›

Casey Luskin Returns, Teases a New Book, Celebrates ID 3.0

On today’s ID the Future, Rob Crowther continues his conversation with Casey Luskin, the intelligent design proponent who previously worked for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and has now returned. As Luskin explains, he left to pursue a PhD in geology at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. The two discuss the wild conspiracy theories circulated by opponents of intelligent design when Luskin stepped away from Discovery Institute five years ago. Luskin also tells about an upcoming book he’s been working on with William Dembski, another intelligent design proponent who stepped away from day-to-day ID work and is now putting a foot back in the ID waters. Also on tap in today’s conversation, Luskin and Dembski’s upcoming appearance Read More ›

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James Tour and Brian Miller Talk Engines We Can’t Live Without

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 Read More ›

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A Reading from Michael Denton’s New Book, The Miracle of the Cell

On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads an excerpt from the new book The Miracle of the Cell by Michael Denton. Denton, a biochemist from Perth, Australia, and senior fellow of Discover Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, introduces the wonders of the cell as “the universal constructor set of life.” The diversity of cells — their variety of form, function, and locomotion — is beyond describing, with some cells almost seeming sentient, even ingenious. As Denton notes, our growing knowledge of the cell’s staggering sophistication has provoked the name “the third infinity.” And this quick flyby of the cell is just an excerpt from the book’s introductory chapter. There Denton lays the groundwork for the book’s deeper dive into the Read More ›

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Quantum physics, time quantum travel. Nanocosmos, nanoworld

James Tour and Stephen Meyer on the Origin of Life, Pt. 3

On this episode of ID the Future, Rice University synthetic organic chemist and inventor James M. Tour continues his conversation with Stephen C. Meyer. Read More ›
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Hybrid Biotechnology - Biomimicry - Abstract Illustration

James Tour and Stephen Meyer on the Origin of Life, Pt. 2

On this episode of ID the Future,  James M. Tour and Stephen C. Meyer begin a discussion about the hard problems facing researchers trying to discover how the first life could have come about naturalistically. Meyer is the director of the Center for Science and Culture; Tour is a world-renowned synthetic organic chemist with over 700 research publications and multiple major recognitions, including TheBestSchools.org naming him one of the 50 most influential scientists in the world today. Though he doesn’t sign on to ID theory, he says he’s sympathetic with the idea, and certainly not impressed with any naturalistic explanations for the origin of life. In this first of a three-part series, they explore problems ranging from the extreme improbabilities associated with protein assembly, Read More ›

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Biology.

James Tour and Stephen Meyer on the Origin of Life, Pt. 1

On this episode of ID the Future,  James M. Tour and Stephen C. Meyer begin a discussion about the hard problems facing researchers trying to discover how the first life could have come about naturalistically. Meyer is the director of the Center for Science and Culture; Tour is a world-renowned synthetic organic chemist with over 700 research publications and multiple major recognitions, including TheBestSchools.org naming him one of the 50 most influential scientists in the world today. Though he doesn’t sign on to ID theory, he says he’s sympathetic with the idea, and certainly not impressed with any naturalistic explanations for the origin of life. In this first of a three-part series, they explore problems ranging from the extreme improbabilities associated with protein assembly, Read More ›

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Golden bubbles of sludge gas on a swamp

New Origin-of-Life Proposal Revives a Hopeful Monster

On this episode of ID the Future, host Eric Anderson talks with scientist and fellow engineer Rob Stadler about a recent origin-of-life paper and how the authors paint themselves into a corner. The context for the paper is this: Decades of research have undermined the three great hopes for a purely naturalistic origin of life — scenarios starting with some sort of metabolism, scenarios starting with some kind of membrane, and scenarios starting with RNA. All three are necessary for cellular life; none seems able to have come ahead of the others. So now some recent work described in an article in New Scientist suggests it all happened at once in a sort of “chemical big bang.” It’s the return Read More ›

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The Origin of Life and the Materialism of the Gaps

On this episode of ID the Future, host Eric Anderson speaks again with medical engineer Rob Stadler, co-author with molecular biologist Change Laura Tan of the new book Stairway to Life: An Origin of Life Reality Check. Here in Part 2 of their conversation, Stadler says that following the Miller-Urey experiments in the mid-twentieth century, researchers were optimistic that a purely naturalistic explanation for the origin of the first life was just around the corner, but since then the field has run into one obstacle after another. The challenge to mindless origin-of-life scenarios is now far greater than it was 60-70 years ago. And yet many in the field still cling to the belief that life must have arisen by Read More ›

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The Giant Causeway

New Book: The Stairway to Life Is Really a Cliff

On this episode of ID the Future, guest host Eric Anderson speaks with medical engineer Rob Stadler, co-author with molecular biologist Change Laura Tan of the new book Stairway to Life: An Origin of Life Reality Check. Stadler explains that it’s a “reality check” because many of the “stairway steps” that have to be mounted for chemistry to become biology must, very inconveniently, happen all at once. DNA can’t survive without repair enzymes, for example, but those enzymes are able to exist because they’re coded in DNA. The reality check is needed, says Stadler, because the media eagerly touts every oversold “advance” in origin-of-life research, ignore the mounting difficulties for an unguided origin of life posed by various fresh discoveries, Read More ›