On this ID the Future, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter explores Charles Darwin’s theological arguments for his theory of evolution. By theological, Hunter doesn’t mean that Darwin was arguing for theistic evolution. He means that Darwin received what is known as theological utilitarianism from the intellectual culture of his youth, which had strong deistic tendencies and expected everything in creation to be perfectly adapted, and he made a case against it, presenting mindless evolution as a better explanation for his observations of the biological world than theological utilitarianism. But one problem with this approach, according to Hunter, is that it assumed that theological utilitarianism is THE alternative to blind evolution. In fact, there are other alternatives, including an orthodox Judeo-Christian understanding of God’s relationship to his creation. In Hunter’s conversation with host Casey Luskin, he unpacks the differences in this other understanding of God and shows how Darwin’s tunnel-vision fixation on theological utilitarianism led him into multiple problems. Hunter further shows that this basic theological mistake of Darwin’s also crops up in later defenders of Darwinism. Hunter and Luskin end the discussion by making what may strike some as a surprising claim: Evolutionary theory, argued in the way that Darwin and many of his followers argue the case, is fundamentally theology-based, whereas the theory of intelligent design, which points to a design of life and the cosmos, is strictly science-based. The occasion for the interview is Hunter’s chapter on this subject in the recent anthology co-edited by Luskin, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos. Check it out.
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, meet Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas, not at all the sort of person one might expect to find waging a campaign against modern evolutionary theory. An erudite and settled Darwinist living comfortably in a thoroughly secular English academic culture, Thomas nevertheless came to reject Darwinian materialism and, as he insists, did so on purely rationalist grounds. Listen in to learn about his journey and about his new book from Discovery Institute Press, Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads the afterword to Michael Aeschliman’s newly revised and expanded The Restoration of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Continuing Case Against Scientism. As Aeschliman explains, Lewis neither deified nor defied science, but he did insist that science idolatry was the grave and present danger of our age. In this excerpt, Aeschliman, professor of Anglophone Culture at the University of Italian Switzerland (Lugano), focuses on Lewis’s brilliant critique of scientism in The Abolition of Man and elsewhere in his work, and on some key thinkers, past and present, who joined Lewis in the fight. It’s a battle, Aeschliman explains, against “the vanity of reason unhinged from ethics,” amidst “a culture that oscillates between the toxic and the trivial.” How did Lewis propose to counteract the polluting effects of scientism? Listen in to find out. And for a deeper dive, pick up a copy of The Restoration of Man.