On today’s ID the Future, Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson talks with historian Tom Holland, journalist Douglas Murray, and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer about the decline of theistic faith in the West. Here in Part I of the conversation, the men consider possible causes for the decline of theistic faith. According to Meyer the decline has occurred in the face of increasing scientific evidence for the existence of God. So what gives? Tune in to hear their stimulating exploration of the question, and what each sees as the appropriate response. This material is used by permission of Peter Robinson and the Uncommon Knowledge podcast.
On this ID the Future, Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas continues a lively conversation with radio host Hank Hanegraaff. In this second in a three-part series, the two touch on the fossil record’s challenge to Darwinism, Gould and Eldredge’s rescue attempt, the question of whether Darwin’s best known contemporary defender is dishonest or merely self-deluded, the wishful thinking surrounding origin-of-life studies, the failed attempts to reduce the mind to mere brain chemistry, and the morally repugnant pro-eugenics ideas rooted in Darwinism and touted in the textbook at the heart of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial. The conversation is posted here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. Get Neil Thomas’s book here.
On today’s ID the Future astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez and host Casey Luskin discuss the idea of undirected panspermia. Gonzalez explains the basic idea and what the best current evidence says about its plausibility. The occasion is his chapter on panspermia in the new anthology A Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, co-edited by Casey Luskin, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Undirected panspermia is the idea that the first life on our planet came from outer space, carried by chance processes from a faraway living planet on space dust, asteroids, or comets either from within our solar system, or from another star system to here. The idea of panspermia was inspired by the extreme difficulty of satisfactorily explaining the chance origin of life on planet Earth. Two of the idea’s earliest proponents, Gonzalez notes, were the scientists Lord Kelvin and Svante Arrhenius, each with a different take. Gonzalez argues that our increasing knowledge about the conditions of interstellar space renders the idea of life successfully hitchhiking around trillions of miles and millions of years from a faraway star system to our big blue marble unlikely in the extreme.
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 spotlights the first part of a lively and cordial conversation between host and atheist Michael Shermer and Stephen Meyer, author of Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this first of the four-part series, the two touch on everything from Meyer’s three key lines of evidence for theism to a quick flyover of less well-known materialistic origins theories, including the oscillating universe model, panspermia as an explanation for the origin of the first life on earth, and Stephen Hawking’s idea of imaginary time. Meyer lumps many of these ideas under what he terms exotic naturalism and suggests that the atheists who defend these explanations are multiplying exotic and unobserved entities to hold at bay a much simpler and more reasonable explanation for the evidence—namely, intelligent design. But is Meyer simply guilty of confirmation bias in arriving at his conclusion? Meyer turns the question around and suggests that it’s those who are wedded to methodological materialism who appear to be led by a confirmation bias. The interview is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.
Today’s ID the Future features the next in a YouTube video series by Dr. James Tour on the origin-of-life problem. Here Tour, a distinguished synthetic organic chemist, lists the characteristics of life and describes some features of the early Earth where life first appeared. Then he provides a fast flyover of the many grave problems of blindly evolving the first living cell from prebiotic materials.
On this ID the Future, host Stephen Meyer concludes his three-part conversation with Oxford mathematician and philosopher John Lennox on Lennox’s new film Against the Tide: Finding God in an Age of Science. Science depends on word, on logos, says Lennox, meaning the rational intelligibility of the universe. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, wished to disprove the need for God, but the language of DNA has turned out to be a signpost to an intelligence, Lennox comments, a logos, behind nature. Scientists still claim authority to pronounce against theism, but according to Lennox, such pronouncements come not from science but from a dogma known as scientism. Far from being “science vs. God,” it’s really a collision of competing worldviews. All this and more will be covered in the beautifully filmed Against the Tide, also starring Hollywood actor Kevin Sorbo, in theaters November 19. Go to https://againstthetide.movie/ to learn more and purchase tickets.
On this episode of ID the Future, Robert Marks interviews Roger Olsen, co-author of the groundbreaking 1984 book The Mystery of Life’s Origin. In the book’s epilogue they suggested that a designing intelligence stands as the best explanation for the origin of life. And with a revised and greatly expanded new edition of the book now available, he says that 36 years of additional research from the origin-of-life community has left their conclusions stronger than ever. Now an environmental scientist, Olsen has spent his career since then helping homes and families abroad protect children from the ravages of environmental pollution.
On this episode of ID the Future, Robert Marks continues his conversation with Walter Bradley, co-author (with Charles Thaxton and Roger Olsen) of the groundbreaking 1984 work The Mystery of Life’s Origin. A revised and expanded edition of the book has just been released with new contributions from James Tour, Guillermo Gonzalez, Stephen Meyer, and others, but today Bradley and Marks discuss the book’s first release, including the cultural context that made finding a non-religious publisher an uphill battle, and discussion of some of the endorsements and early reviews, including one drive-by and four positive responses from distinguished scientists Robert Jastrow, Dean Kenyon, Robert Shapiro, and Fritz Schaefer. Bradley and Marks also discuss some scholars who more recently have testified to how the book, and Bradley, dramatically influenced their intellectual careers.
On this episode of ID the Future, host Sarah Chaffee and biologist Ann Gauger discuss panspermia, the topic of a peer-reviewed paper published recently by several very serious scientists. Panspermia tries to sidestep problems in origins biology by suggesting that, to quote the title of an old science fiction movie, “it came from outer space.” And yes, maybe even aliens sent it our way. Maybe (honest — this is a real theory) the first octopuses came here special delivery, as encapsulated embryos falling from the sky. Anything but intelligent design, for these very serious scientists.Read More ›