On today’s ID the Future, Tom Gilson, a writer and editor for The Stream, shares his experiences in high school biology. Important mysteries (i.e., major problems) with evolutionary theory were hurried past and papered over, and yet his biology teacher could take an entire class period to tell Charles Darwin’s life story, and then repeat the same class, virtually verbatim, five more times that same semester. Tune in to hear how the class put Tom Gilson off of biology, but how he now finds the subject fascinating, thanks to the work of intelligent design researchers and the larger community of life scientists. Gilson’s commentary is taken from, and builds on, a recent essay of his, available at Evolution News.
On today’s ID the Future distinguished nanoscientist James Tour explains to host Eric Metaxas why the origin-of-life community is further than ever from solving the mystery of life’s origin, and how the public has gotten the false impression that scientists can synthesize life in the lab. Tour explains that origin-of-life scientists aren’t even close to intelligently synthesizing life from non-life in the lab. The problem, Tour says, is that some leading origin-of-life researchers give the impression they are right on the cusp of solving the problem. Not so, Tour says. He offers the analogy of someone claiming, in the year 1500, that he has the know-how to build a ship to travel to the moon, when no one yet knows even how to build an airplane, car, or car engine. Tour says that if he took a cell that had just died a moment before and asked top origin-of-life researchers to engineer it back to life, they couldn’t do it. They’re not even close to being able to do it. And yet all the ingredients, all the building blocks of life are right there, all in one place, in the right proportions. And not only can scientists not engineer those ingredients back to life, they still can’t synthesize even a fraction of the building blocks essential to cellular life, despite decades and millions of dollars poured into the problem. And yet they assume that purely blind material processes turned prebiotic chemicals into all the key building blocks, and then mindlessly engineered those into the first self-reproducing cell on the early Earth. There are no models that would make such a scenario plausible. And the more we learn about cellular complexity, the harder the problem gets. Indeed, as Tour puts it, origin-of-life research is like moving down a football field in nanometer increments while the goalposts are racing away. What’s left is only the dogmatic assumption among origin-of-life researchers that the first life must have appeared on Earth purely through blind material forces. Tour has made it his mission to show the broader scientific community and the public that the emperor has no clothes. Not surprisingly, the origin-of-life community has not responded with heartfelt gratitude. Tune in to hear more of Tour’s argument and to learn what kind of blowback he has experienced. The interview is reposted here with permission of Eric Metaxas and Socrates in the City. Find James Tour’s many videos on the origin-of-life problem here.
On today’s ID the Future, Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe argues that Darwinism was built on a foundation of ignorance. Through no fault of Darwin’s, neither he nor anyone else in his day had a clue about the nature of cellular life and biological information, says Behe. Even the biologists of the Neo-Darwinian synthesis in the first half of the twentieth century were fairly clueless about the foundation of life, Behe says. When researchers did finally begin to unravel the sophisticated foundations of life, earlier notions of how evolutionary processes might have invented the great diversity of life forms on earth were exposed as causally inadequate. Behe says that in fact all the attempts to rescue the idea of mindless macroevolution have been exposed as inadequate by our growing understanding of molecular biology, but evolutionary theory blithely sails along anyway, thanks to institutional inertia. A key defeater of the theory, Behe says, is captured by his concept of irreducible complexity. He explains the idea with a simple illustration, a mousetrap, and then applies it to a marvelous molecular machine that researchers have only recently come to appreciate, the Escherichia virus T4 bacteriophage. As he argues, this bacteriophage powerfully bespeaks the purposeful arrangement of parts, rather than mindless evolutionary processes. The occasion for his conversation with host Casey Luskin is his contribution to the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Image Credit: Dr. Victor Padilla-Sanchez: Atomic structural model of bacteriophage T4 in UCSF Chimera software using pdbs of the individual proteins.
On this episode of ID the Future we hear the first part of Discovery Institute Education Outreach Associate Daniel Reeves’ talk at the 2020 Dallas Science and Faith Conference. Reeves outlines the meaning of natural selection, and traces its history, starting from Darwin’s early understanding, in the days when cells were viewed as just blobs of protoplasm. Reeves carries the story from there through the neo-Darwinian modern synthesis and into the extended evolutionary synthesis, culminating in a 2016 meeting of the Royal Society on the theory’s continuing — and still unresolved — explanatory deficits.
On this episode of ID the Future, Eric H. Anderson reads from his newly co-authored book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, written to provide a clear and simple introduction to the evolution/ID controversy, and broad overview of the evidence for design in nature — including fine tuning and the Big Bang, the origin of life, irreducibly complex machines, and the Cambrian Explosion. In this chapter excerpt, Anderson tells of Richard Dawkins’ glib assurances that the mystery of the origin of life is one not far from being solved. Not so, Anderson says. Origin-of-life researchers haven’t found a pathway to a self-replicating biological entity, the beginning point for any sort of Darwinian evolution. And it’s not for lack of time, effort, or funding. The single cell that Darwin saw as a relatively simple blob has proven to be far more complex than anything imagined. What about a self-reproducing molecule, thought to be easier to evolve than a full-blown cell? As Anderson explains in Chapter 3 of the book, the idea remains a purple unicorn, and for reasons that are perhaps most easily appreciated by looking at the ongoing attempts to build a self-reproducing 3D printer.
On this ID the Future we continue a series of messages from a November 2019 symposium in Berkeley, California, presented in honor of the late Phillip Johnson, who played a crucial role in the flowering of the intelligent design movement. Read More ›