Today’s ID the Future wraps up a debate over evolution and intelligent design between Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe and Benedictine College theologian Michael Ramage. Both Behe and Ramage are Catholic, and they carry on their conversation in the context of Catholic thinking about nature and creation, in particular the work of Thomas Aquinas and contemporary Thomist philosophers. Ramage seeks to integrate his Thomistic/personalist framework with modern evolutionary theory’s commitment to macroevolution and common descent. Behe doesn’t discount the possibility of common descent but lays out a case that any evolution beyond the level of genus (for instance, the separate families containing cats and dogs) cannot be achieved through mindless Darwinian mechanisms and, instead, would require the contributions of a designing intelligence. Behe then summarizes both the negative evidence against the Darwinian mechanism of change and the positive evidence in nature for intelligent design. This debate was hosted by Pat Flynn on his Philosophy for the People podcast, and is reposted here by his permission.
This episode of ID the Future features the second part of a conversation between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and polymath David Berlinski, author of the newly released book Human Nature. In this segment of the interview, Robinson asks Berlinski about a book by Nicholas Christakis, Blueprint, which argues that evolution has endowed us with a genetic makeup that drives human culture toward virtue and progress. Berlinski demurs, pointing to the horrors of the twentieth century and by noting that the virtues Christakis underscores, such as cooperativeness, can also be put to nefarious purposes. The Nazi Party, for instance, “was a marvelous engine of cooperation. All those Nazis cooperated with one another running death camps.” Robinson also asks Berlinski about Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg address and the West’s relegating religious thinking, in Peter Robinson’s words, “to the children’s table.” Berlinski says he would frame the situation a little differently: we are today less able to entertain a whole category of arguments we used to be able to entertain — theological arguments. As a habit of thought, theology has receded, but Berlinski says he sees this as temporary. “Theological arguments are not going to disappear, and the fundamental questions they address are not going to disappear either.”