This ID the Future continues the debate between design theorist Casey Luskin, an editor of The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, and science historian Adam Shapiro, co-author of Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Justin Brierley, of the popular British debate program Unbelievable?, hosts. In this second half of the conversation, Shapiro argues that intelligent design’s popularity seems to have waned. Casey Luskin counters, arguing that the number and frequency of New York Times articles on ID is a superficial metric and that the ID research program is exploding, with the number of peer-reviewed ID papers growing every year, and the number of interested graduate students, ID hubs, and conferences expanding around the world, including ID conferences attended by high-level scientists, including Nobel Laureates. Luskin and Shapiro also discuss religious and academic freedom as it relates to the teaching of evolution and intelligent design in the classroom. Shapiro is actually more sanguine than Luskin about the freedom of high school biology teachers to teach intelligent design. Luskin, who has both a PhD in geology and a law degree, strongly advises high school biology teachers in public schools against teaching ID in the classroom. Instead, he says, the better and legally safer approach is to teach evolutionary theory comprehensively, covering both the evidence for it but also some of the evidence in the peer-reviewed literature against it. Luskin and Shapiro also part company on the nature of the intelligent design argument, with Shapiro suggesting that in practice it often amounts to a presenter highlighting some amazing feature in biology and then giving glory to God. Luskin pushes back, reiterating that intelligent design is an argument based on positive evidence, and is an argument to the best explanation–intelligent design–one that employs standard methods of scientific reasoning. This program is presented here with permission of Justin Brierley. To see this and other Unbelievable? episodes, go here. The first half of this conversation can be found here.
On this ID the Future award-winning actor Max McLean joins host John West to discuss his new film, The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis. West and McLean discuss how McClean came to do stage plays focused on Lewis’s work, and how he and filmmaker Norman Stone came to create a feature-length dramatic film in the midst of the coronavirus shutdown. McLean tells about Lewis’s long and winding conversion from agnosticism to Christianity, and then he and West focus on those aspects of Lewis’s conversion centered on science, evolutionary theory, and rational theism. Key to Lewis’s move from agnosticism to idealism and eventually Judeo-Christian theism—his friend Owen Barfield and the question of the origin of reason. Lewis realized that Darwinian materialism gives us little reason to trust our reason (as Darwin himself conceded in one of his franker moments). Lewis determined that he should and inevitably does trust the human capacity to reason. And if that trust is based on something real, then we have strong grounds to distrust Darwinian materialism, Lewis decided. For more on Lewis’s views on science, evolution, intelligent design, and the rational case for theism, check out this Discovery Institute website on C.S. Lewis.
On the episode of ID the Future we bring you a production by Discovery Institute about C.S. Lewis and Intelligent Design. With contributions by Discovery Institute’s John West and philosophers Victor Reppert and Angus Menuge, we hear about Lewis’s early doubts about God based in part on an argument from undesign or “bad design” in nature, and how he moved from this position to developing multiple arguments for intelligent design. Another contribution he made to the intelligent design project wasn’t a specific argument but the example he set. As John West explains near the end of the episode, one of his greatest contributions was a commitment to free inquiry and open debate, one he modeled while a professor at Oxford University.