In this ID the Future, Stephen Meyer takes a deep dive into the case for not only intelligent design, but also for a designer of the cosmos who is immaterial, eternal, transcendent, and involved. Meyer draws on evidence for design at the origin of life, in the origin of plants and animals, and from the fine tuning of the laws and constants of chemistry and the initial conditions of the universe. He connects all this to the scientific evidence that the universe is not eternal but had a beginning—the Big Bang. What about the main materialistic alternative for explaining this suite of evidence—the idea that there is a multiverse with our universe just being one of the lucky universes with just the right conditions to allow for advanced life? In step-by-step fashion, Meyer walks through why the multiverse explanation fails to explain away the insistent evidence of a cosmic designer. Tune in to hear the full argument. Meyer is author of the recent bestseller Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe, available here.
On this ID the Future, Return of the God Hypothesis author Stephen Meyer and skeptic Michael Shermer address the question of how a divine immaterial being could act in the material world to design and fashion things such as the first life. Meyer argues that while we don’t know precisely how an immaterial mind would do this or did do this, we have good evidence that minds can and do affect matter, as for instance in the evidence that our minds can affect our brains and, by extension, our bodies. Meyer and Shermer also discuss the idea of front-loaded intelligent design—that is, where God loaded into the moment of the Big Bang everything necessary for the emergence of stars, planets, Earth, and life’s diversity, with no need for subsequent design tinkering. Meyer says he doesn’t have an in-principle objection to that idea, but that the evidence doesn’t support it. He also makes a distinction between two distinct modes by which God can direct things in the natural world, an analytic distinction that Meyer notes is not part of his design arguments in Return of the God Hypothesis but instead is drawn from the theology of nature developed many hundreds of years ago. The two also touch on the idea of extra-terrestrials becoming so technologically advanced that their abilities become indistinguishable from God’s, what Shermer has labeled Shermer’s Last Law. Might such beings be the explanation for certain features in nature that appear to be intelligently designed? Meyer argues that no, there would always remain certain features of the universe that are only adequately explained by reference to a designer with the skillset of the God of theism. This is part three of a four-part IDTF series, and is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.
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.
On this ID the Future host Eric Anderson continues his conversation with physicist and Canceled Science author Eric Hedin. Here Hedin argues that the dogmatic rule that natural science should only ever invoke natural causes has at its heart a logical problem. He and Anderson also review some startling cases of fine-tuning for life and why a “theory of everything” would not solve the fine-tuning problem for atheists but merely move it back to the theory of everything itself. Also in today’s conversation, a highly accessible flyover of how scientists came to realize that the universe wasn’t eternal but had had a beginning. Hedin also tackles a theological poser: If the universe was designed for life, why did the designer wait nine billion plus years to create the first life? It’s all material explored in Hedin’s new book, Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See. Host Robert Crowther and author Eric Hedin begin by revisiting the atheist attack on Professor Hedin and his Ball State University course, the Boundaries of Science. The course was an interdisciplinary honors course exposing students to some basic astrophysics and cosmology, as well as to some of the big questions raised by such discoveries as the Big Bang and the fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics for life. The course included mention of world-leading scientists who saw evidence of design in some of these findings, as well as mention of scientists who denied any evidence of design in nature. Atheist Jerry Coyne and the Freedom from Religion Foundation charged Hedin with infusing religion into the course, and soon the controversy spilled over into the national news. Hear Hedin tell his side of the story, followed by a quick flyover of some of the evidence for design Hedin explores in the new book. Hedin earned his PhD in experimental plasma physics from the University of Washington and conducted post-doctoral research at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Canceled Science is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple.
On this episode of ID the Future, Kirk Durston, a biophysicist focused on identifying high-information-density parts of proteins, completes a three-part series on three categories of science: experimental, inferential, and fantasy science. Fantasy science makes inferential leaps so huge that virtually none of it is testable, either by the standards of experimental science or by those of the historical sciences, which reason to the best explanation by process of elimination. One example of fantasy science, according to Durston, is the multiverse. As he insists, an imaginative story largely untethered from evidence and testing but told using math instead of literary devices is still an imaginative story untethered from evidence and testing. Scientism, “atheism dressed up in a lab coat,” can lead to fantasy science of this kind because it commits itself to materialistic conclusions for philosophical reasons, not scientific ones.
This episode of ID the Future features the second half of philosopher of science Stephen Meyer’s recent appearance on the Dennis Prager Show. Meyer and Prager discuss some of the critics of intelligent design who tie themselves in knots: Theistic evolutionists who claim life arose through a completely undirected process directed by God, and materialists who insist on a universe from “nothing,” but where “nothing” means something.Read More ›