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.
In this ID the Future, Stephen Meyer takes a deep dive into the case for not only intelligent design, but also for a designer of the cosmos who is immaterial, eternal, transcendent, and involved. Meyer draws on evidence for design at the origin of life, in the origin of plants and animals, and from the fine tuning of the laws and constants of chemistry and the initial conditions of the universe. He connects all this to the scientific evidence that the universe is not eternal but had a beginning—the Big Bang. What about the main materialistic alternative for explaining this suite of evidence—the idea that there is a multiverse with our universe just being one of the lucky universes with just the right conditions to allow for advanced life? In step-by-step fashion, Meyer walks through why the multiverse explanation fails to explain away the insistent evidence of a cosmic designer. Tune in to hear the full argument. Meyer is author of the recent bestseller Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe, available here.
On today’s ID the Future, physicist and engineer Brian Miller sits down with host Casey Luskin to survey exciting developments in intelligent design research that are driven by an engineering model for understanding and studying variations in species. ID researchers are pushing this work, but so too are systems biology researchers outside the intelligent design community. Tune in to hear Miller and Luskin discuss everything from fruit flies, finch beaks, and stickleback fish to mutational hotspots, phenotypic plasticity, and the gravity well model of biological adaptation.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a new book, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions about Life and the Cosmos, and specifically a chapter by biologist Jonathan Wells titled “What are the Top Scientific Problems with Evolution?” Wells is the guest, and the host is geologist and Center for Science and Culture associate director Casey Luskin, who co-edited the anthology from Harvest House Publishers. In this episode the first problem that Wells highlights concerns homology and convergence. A second problem involves fossils. Darwin anticipated “innumerable transitions” in the fossil record, but such a rainbow of transitional forms has never been found. Not even close. Another problem, molecular phylogenies. Another: the lack of observational evidence that natural selection can help to accumulate many small changes into major new innovations. What about the power of random mutations, with or without natural selection? Wells says that this, too, is a problem for modern evolutionary theory, and he provides laboratory evidence to support his claim. Another problem: evidence pouring in from what are known as molecular phylogenies. As Luskin notes, there is much more in the essay, and it’s only one of many essays in the new anthology, with contributions from many of the leading lights of the intelligent design movement. Each essay is written in a concise and accessible form. Find the new book at Amazon and other online booksellers.
On this ID the Future, ID biologist Michael Behe continues fielding tough questions from philosophers Pat Flynn and Jim Madden. Here in Part 3 of 3, Behe responds to the claim that some designs in biology are bad designs and to criticisms leveled at ID from some Thomists. Also in the mix, the issue of academic pressure to distance oneself from ID, even before those involved understand what the theory of intelligent design actually is. Madden also asks Behe what reforms he’d pursue if he suddenly found himself in charge of the National Academy of Sciences. Tune in to hear Behe’s response, and much more. This three-part series is borrowed, with permission, from Flynn’s podcast, which can be found on his YouTube channel.
On today’s ID the Future, host Jay Richards talks with Eric Holloway about his recent Mind Matters article, “Can Darwinian Theory Explain the Rise and Fall of Businesses?” Why would anyone think Darwinian theory could explain business ups and downs? Holloway explains, and also notes that there’s an entire sub-discipline, organizational ecology, dedicated to studying business from a Darwinian framework. Richards, who has published on Darwinism, design, economics, and entrepreneurship himself, also weighs in. Darwinism sees business as survival of the fittest, with natural selection playing an obvious role, but where do the businesses and the innovations come from in the first place? Here is where Darwinism really founders as a tool for understanding business and entrepreneurship, says Holloway. It’s a mistake shared by Communism and to disastrous results. If we’re to look for a framework that can make sense of creativity and innovation in business, we need to look to a very different framework, he and Richards argue. Here they draw on the perspective of tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, author with Blake Masters of Zero to One.
Today’s ID the Future offers a 20-minute sneak peek at a new online course: Douglas Axe Investigates Molecular Biology and Intelligent Design. In this podcast excerpt from the course, Dr. Axe explains why Darwinism’s idea of evolution through a series of small stepping stone mutations meets several serious problems, why the need for cleverness is inescapable for creating clever things, and how his published work in the Journal of Molecular Biology shows that the Darwinian mechanism is helpless to construct new functional protein folds, never mind whole new organisms. In the full course, he investigates proteins and how they work, the genetic code, gene recruitment, population genetics, natural selection, and much more. Along the way, he explains why natural selection cannot explain the arrival of the fittest; what Twitter can teach us about evolution; and what paper airplanes have to do with Darwin. Find the complete video course here. And through April 30, 2021, you can get 30% off by using the discount code podcastspecial.