On today’s ID the Future, astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, co-author of The Privileged Planet, provides a rapid survey of some of the growing evidence that Earth is finely tuned in numerous ways to allow for life. He draws a helpful distinction between local fine tuning and universal fine tuning. And he tells us about the many extra-solar planets astronomers have discovered in recent years and how all that new data continues to undermine the misguided assumption (encouraged by the misnamed “Copernican Principle”) that Earth is just a humdrum planet. Far from it, Gonzalez argues. The conversation is occasioned by Gonzalez’s essay in a newly released anthology, Science and Faith in Dialogue.
Today’s ID the Future continues geologist Casey Luskin’s presentation about how Earth is fine tuned in numerous ways for life, a talk he gave at the 2022 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith. Here in the second half, he highlights the many ways Earth’s precise mix of atmospheric gases is strikingly fit for life. On top of that (or rather, beneath that), Earth’s active geology and water-rich surface—unique in our solar system—are masterful at helping maintain our life-friendly atmosphere over long ages. Luskin argues that these and other finely tuned characteristics of planet Earth strongly suggest intelligent design. He then offers an additional design argument, this one aesthetic in nature, and then takes questions from the audience. Part 1 of his talk is here.
Today’s ID the Future concludes a three-part series featuring author Neil Thomas in a free-ranging conversation with radio show host Hank Hanegraaff. The focus is Thomas’s recent book, Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design. Here Thomas and Hanegraaff discuss the logical positivists and what Thomas sees as their failure to consistently apply their evidential standards to Darwinism. Thomas also contrasts the cosmic nihilism of Richard Dawkins with the mounting evidence of fine tuning for life, and calls out what Thomas describes as the magical thinking at the heart of Darwinism. Hanegraaff and Thomas also explore how Darwin’s theory of evolution has roots in an ancient philosophical system that was long regarded as resting on such flimsy speculative foundations that it wasn’t taken seriously for long centuries. In Thomas’s opinion, that philosophical system shouldn’t have been taken seriously then, and still shouldn’t be. In the wrap up, Hanegraaff and Thomas provide a model of how two men with differing positions on Christianity can converse and even challenge each other while remaining cordial. Hanegraaff, an Orthodox Christian, urges Thomas, a longtime agnostic rationalist who has recently become open to theism, to take his journey into theism further by considering the historical claims specific to Christianity. Does Thomas bridle? Not all. Listen in to hear how the conversation plays out, and find Thomas’s book, which Hanegraaff highly recommends, here. This three-part series is posted here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. For more Hank Hanegraaff, check out his podcast, Hank Unplugged.
On today’s ID the Future, astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez unpacks one of his chapters in the new book The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, edited by episode host Casey Luskin. Gonzalez and Luskin look at how our atmosphere as well as the sun, moon, distance from our host star, and position in the Milky Way are all curiously fine tuned not only for life but also for allowing Earth’s human inhabitants to observe and discover things near and far about nature. It’s as if a master designer made the Earth not merely for life but for curious and intelligent beings. What about the fact that Earth is such a tiny part of a vast universe, a “pale blue dot” as atheist astronomer Carl Sagan put it? Gonzalez fields that objection and uses diamonds to illustrate his point.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See with a focus on the book’s look at our privileged planet Earth, and how its location in the galaxy and solar system, as well as various unusual features, makes it strikingly fit for life. Is it just “dumb luck,” as one scientist put it? Host Eric Anderson continues his multi-part conversation with the book’s author, Biola physics professor Eric Hedin, who suggests that “dumb luck” is more of a cop-out than an explanation, and that when one takes all the evidence together, a better explanation for our finely tuned place in the cosmos is a fine-tuner, a designing intelligence. It’s just a taste of the deeper yet extremely accessible dive Hedin makes in his new book, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.
On this ID the Future, science historian Michael Flannery continues discussing his newly updated Intelligent Evolution: How Alfred Russel Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwin. Wallace was co-founder with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by random variation and natural selection, but unlike Darwin he saw teleology or purpose as essential to life’s history, and a teleological view as essential to the life sciences. According to Flannery, Wallace’s views on the nature of the cell, the special attributes of humans, the irreducible nature of life, and the fine tuning of the universe hold up well today. He and Darwin disagreed on much of this, yet they maintained mutual respect. In this, Flannery says, the two are a great model for scientists who disagree today.
On this episode of ID the Future, host Emily Kurlinski interviews “Mary,” a PhD biochemistry student who tells about her experiences at the annual Center for Science and Culture’s summer seminar program in Seattle, and how her relationships there developed into a community of friendship, professional connection, and support. What about the charge that ID is a “curiosity killer,” tempting scientists to answer every natural mystery with a shrug and a “God did it”? Mary says ID had just the opposite effect on her. Her pro-design perspective actually led her to choose a career in research, and the conviction that nature is a meaningful and purposeful affair makes her more eager and optimistic about uncovering deeper layers of order and elegance in the natural world than otherwise. Why does she use a pseudonym in the interview? You may be able to guess, but listen in to hear her explanation.
On this episode of ID the Future, host Jay Richards interviews historian of science Michael Keas about a new documentary claiming that Copernicus’s heliocentric model of the solar system “demoted” humans from the place of honor at the center of everything. Neil deGrasse Tyson champions this persistent myth in episode 8 of the new National Geographic series Cosmos: Possible Worlds. The reality is quite different. As Keas explains, in Copernicus’s day, the Earth was thought to be at the bottom of the universe, the “sump” where all the filth collected, while the starry heavens were considered the place of honor. Keas and Richards trace the history of the demotion myth and discuss how Copernicus, Kepler, and other luminaries of the scientific revolution saw the Copernican revolution very differently, as a glorious promotion of humanity’s place in the cosmos.
On this episode of ID the Future, Jay Richards and astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez discuss several discoveries made in the past 15 years supporting their conclusions in The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery. Gonzalez shows how the book’s thesis — that conditions for life and scientific discovery meet on earth to a fine-tuned degree that strongly points toward design — has been confirmed multiple times.