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

Paul Nelson

rusty shovel broken
old rusty shovel in the ground
old rusty shovel in the ground Photo by MrP on Adobe Stock

Nature Paper: Groundbreaking Science on the Decline

On today’s ID the Future philosopher of science Paul Nelson discusses a new paper in Nature making waves in the scientific community, “Papers and Patents are Becoming Less Disruptive over Time.” According to Michael Park and his fellow researchers, the rate of groundbreaking scientific discoveries is declining while the percentage of consolidating (or incremental) science is coming to dominate. Is the spirit of groundbreaking scientific discovery withering, and if so, why? Nelson notes a 1997 book by John Horgan, The End of Science. Nelson credits Horgan for seeing the trend a generation ahead of the Park paper, but Nelson breaks with Horgan on the diagnosis. Horgan posits that groundbreaking science is declining because we have already made most of the Read More ›

mama bear cubs
Female Eurasian brown bear and her cubs in boreal forest
Female Eurasian brown bear and her cubs in boreal forest Photo by giedriius on Adobe Stock

Mama Bear Apologetics Takes on Atheist Richard Dawkins

Today’s ID the Future puts atheist Richard Dawkins’s book Outgrowing God under the microscope and reveals multiple ways his argument smashes up against contrary scientific evidence. Walking us through the critique are author and Mama Bear Apologetics founder Hillary Morgan Ferrer and her co-host, Amy Davison. Dawkins invokes the beautiful order evident in the murmuration of bird flocks as evidence that complexity can evolve from simple algorithmic rules. But Ferrer explains why the phenomenon of bird murmuration doesn’t even begin to approach what we find when sophisticated engineering order emerges in the growth of embryos. Ferrer also considers the challenges of re-engineering sperm thermoregulation to move from how it works in marine life to how it works in land animals. Read More ›

Hubble Goes High Def to Revisit the Iconic 'Pillars of Creation'
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has revisited the famous Pillars of Creation, revealing a sharper and wider view of the structures in this visible-light image. Astronomers combined several Hubble exposures to assemble the wider view. The towering pillars are about 5 light-years tall. The dark, finger-like feature at bottom right may be a smaller version of the giant pillars. The new image was taken with Hubble's versatile and sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3. The pillars are bathed in the blistering ultraviolet light from a grouping of young, massive stars located off the top of the image. Streamers of gas can be seen bleeding off the pillars as the intense radiation heats and evaporates it into space. Denser regions of the pillars are shadowing material beneath them from the powerful radiation. Stars are being born deep inside the pillars, which are made of cold hydrogen gas laced with dust. The pillars are part of a small region of the Eagle Nebula, a vast star-forming region 6,500 light-years from Earth. The colors in the image highlight emission from several chemical elements. Oxygen emission is blue, sulfur is orange, and hydrogen and nitrogen are green. Object Names: M16, Eagle Nebula, NGC 6611 Image Type: Astronomical Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Astrophysicist Bijan Nemati on Why Intelligent Design Matters

On today’s ID the Future, astrophysicist and intelligent design proponent Bijan Nemati shares the first part of his story of science and faith. Those who follow Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture may know Nemati from his appearance in the popular ID documentary The Privileged Planet. Born and raised in Iran, he moved to the United States shortly before the Iranian revolution, became an atheist in college, but eventually found his way to a strong religious faith, in part through his exposure to the scientific evidence for intelligent design, first in biology and then in cosmology. Along the way he landed a high-level job with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and became a leading expert in space interferometer telescopes Read More ›

coral reef tropical fish
Tropical fishes on the coral reef
Tropical fishes on the coral reef Photo by belyay on Adobe Stock

Ann Gauger: A Scientist’s Journey into the Intelligent Design Movement

On today’s ID the Future, biologist and intelligent design researcher Ann Gauger tells host Eric Anderson the rest of her story about how she was drawn into the intelligent design movement. The two discuss everything from the challenges she faced making it in a male-dominated field to the evidential power of beauty in the natural world. But how did she end up in the ID movement? After stepping out of a promising career as a research scientist to focus on her family and meeting the needs of an autistic child, she assumed that her life as a scientist was behind her. But then several years later she began reading the work of Darwin skeptics and intelligent design trailblazers—Phillip Johnson, Jonathan Read More ›

ribosome-translating-mrna-into-a-polypeptide-chain-stockpack-adobe-stock
Ribosome translating mRNA into a polypeptide chain
Ribosome translating mRNA into a polypeptide chain Photo by Juan Gärtner on Adobe Stock

Orphan Proteins Spell Trouble for AlphaFold 2

On this ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson further explores AlphaFold 2, a cutting edge computer program from Google’s DeepMind designed to rapidly suss out important secrets in the realm of proteins, indispensable molecular biological workhorses that come in thousands of different shapes and sizes. Nelson enthuses about AlphaFold 2 but also explains why he is convinced that AlphaFold’s creators have hit a series of immovable obstacles. The watchword here—orphans. Tune in to learn what these mischievous orphan proteins are about, and what they suggest for AlphaFold, evolution, and intelligent design.

protein
Chain of amino acid or bio molecules called protein - 3d illustration
Chain of amino acid or bio molecules called protein - 3d illustration Photo by Christoph Burgstedt on Adobe Stock
Chain of amino acid or bio molecules called protein - 3d illustration

Powerful Protein Folding Algorithm AlphaFold Foiled by Singletons

Today’s ID the Future spotlights AlphaFold, an artificial intelligence program in the news for its impressive breakthroughs at predicting a protein’s 3D structure from its amino acid sequence. Philosopher of Biology Paul Nelson walks listeners through the importance of this “amazing breakthrough,” as he describes it in a recent Evolution News article; but don’t uncork the champagne bottles just yet. The reason, according to Nelson, is that while proteins, protein sequences, and protein folding promise to reveal much that is still mysterious in molecular biology, we now know that biological information involves far more than just an organism’s proteome—that is, far more than the full suite of proteins expressed by an organism. Nelson uses analogies to manmade machines and cognates Read More ›

radio dishes seti
The Very Large Array (VLA) radio-astronomy antennas, in New Mexico, is one of the most impressive observatories in the world. The Sun was piercing through after a major storm during a public tour.
The Very Large Array (VLA) radio-astronomy antennas, in New Mexico, is one of the most impressive observatories in the world. The Sun was piercing through after a major storm during a public tour. Photo by Xenomanes on Adobe Stock

Carl Sagan’s Love/Hate Relationship with Intelligent Design

On today’s ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson explores an intriguing tension in the thinking of famous scientist and science popularizer Carl Sagan concerning his agnosticism shading into atheism on the one hand, and on the other hand his embrace of certain ideas consistent with the theory of intelligent design. As Nelson is quick to clarify, if Sagan had lived to see the rise of the contemporary intelligent design movement, he probably would have rejected it, particularly its theistic implications. And yet, Nelson says, Sagan’s thinking and arguments laid out in his Gifford lectures and in his science fiction novel Contact strongly support the idea that intelligent design can be detected. Nelson goes further, saying that if we Read More ›

shift blame
The student is sitting at the table and is looking for excuses for not being ready for the lesson. Photo by Dmitriy on Adobe Stock
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

How Universal Common Descent Survives Failed Predictions

On today’s ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson discusses his chapter in a recent Harvest House anthology edited by host Casey Luskin, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Nelson says the theory of universal common descent, a key component of modern evolutionary theory, has generated multiple predictions that have failed. The prediction he discusses here is that there would turn out to be a single universal genetic code, since that’s what we should expect if all life on earth is descended from the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). Findings over the past three decades have  proven that prediction spectacularly wrong. How does the theory of universal common descent shrug off this contrary empirical finding? The trick for Read More ›