On today’s ID the Future, host Andrew McDiarmid rings up Science After Babel author David Berlinski in Paris to discuss the philosopher’s latest book. Berlinski is at his cultivated best as the two discuss everything from the biblical Tower of Babel as a metaphor for modern materialistic science, to his friendship with the brilliant and colorful French intellectual Marcel Schützenberger, a world-class mathematician who was self-taught and, as we learn here, came within a hair’s breadth of being swept up in the Chinese Revolution. Berlinski also reflects on the seminal 1966 WISTAR symposium, which laid out some mathematical challenges to Darwinism, challenges that Berlinski says remain unanswered to this day. At the same time, Berlinski gives the devil—here Darwinism—its due. Tune in for this and more, and order your copy of Berlinski’s Science After Babel here.
In 2009 atheist biologist Richard Dawkins offered a scientific test to decide between Darwinian evolution and intelligent design (ID). The results are in, and as guest Casey Luskin explains on this ID the Future, the evidence has broken strongly in favor of intelligent design. At the time Dawkins presented the test, he was confident that comparative DNA evidence supported Darwin’s tree of life and its idea of universal common ancestry. He made the point in his 2009 book The Greatest Show on Earth and in two interviews. As he put it, “The single most convincing fact or observation you could point to” in favor of Darwinian evolution over against ID “would be the pattern of resemblances that you see when you compare the genes … of any pair of animals you like … and then plot out the resemblances and they form a perfect hierarchy, a perfect family tree. And the only alternative to it being a family tree is that the intelligent designer deliberately set out to deceive us in the most underhanded and devious manner.” But fourteen years later the picture looks very different. Tune in as Casey Luskin details the various ways that the rapidly developing field of phylogenomics is uncovering data that powerfully fits the ID model of life’s history and strongly undermines the idea of universal common ancestry via mindless evolution. As Luskin says in a recent Evolution News article, “Now, years later, scientists have sequenced a great number of whole genomes. And as a consequence, they know that Dawkins was wrong. Every gene does not deliver ‘approximately the same tree of life.’… On its own terms, the Dawkins test for evolution has come up for ID.” So why haven’t evolutionary biologists given up on universal common ancestry? Luskin says that some have, while others reflexively invoke auxiliary hypotheses and employ question-begging computer models to generate tree-like ancestries in the face of contrary data. Luskin compares the behavior to astronomers who protected the dying geocentric model of the solar system by invoking “epicycles” to explain away contrary astronomical data. Better to let the Dawkins Test speak for itself, Luskin says. Listen in for the full story.
On today’s ID the Future, geologist Casey Luskin continues to unpack his recently published essay against the view that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors via blind Darwinian processes. In this episode he shares his experience of walking into the fossil hall at South Africa’s famous Maropeng Museum and immediately being confronted by a piece of shameless materialist propaganda, a Richard Dawkins quotation prominently displayed as part of a floor-to-ceiling display. The quotation insisted that humans are essentially just DNA survival machines. Luskin says, not so fast, and points out the various ways such a view fails to explain important aspects of human behavior, including altruistic behavior toward non-kin. Luskin and host Eric Anderson also call evolutionary theory to task for being overly supple, with its adherents regularly employing vague just-so stories to explain virtually any behavior or feature AND its opposite. To read Luskin’s essay on the subject, get the new free online ID book from South Africa, Science and Faith in Dialogue, with contributions from Luskin, Stephen Meyer, Hugh Ross, Guillermo Gonzalez, James Tour, Fazale Rana, Marcos Eberlin, and others. Find Part 1 in this Anderson/Luskin podcast series here, and Part 2 here.
Today’s ID the Future puts atheist Richard Dawkins’s book Outgrowing God under the microscope and reveals multiple ways his argument smashes up against contrary scientific evidence. Walking us through the critique are author and Mama Bear Apologetics founder Hillary Morgan Ferrer and her co-host, Amy Davison. Dawkins invokes the beautiful order evident in the murmuration of bird flocks as evidence that complexity can evolve from simple algorithmic rules. But Ferrer explains why the phenomenon of bird murmuration doesn’t even begin to approach what we find when sophisticated engineering order emerges in the growth of embryos. Ferrer also considers the challenges of re-engineering sperm thermoregulation to move from how it works in marine life to how it works in land animals. For a blind process to traverse this evolutionary pathway while maintaining viability at every stage would require—to adapt a line from Alice in Wonderland—six hundred impossible things before breakfast. What about evolving something simpler, such as the bilayer cell membrane, essential for cellular life? No, Ferrer argues. It’s also far too sophisticated to have evolved through a blind evolutionary process. What is needed is the foresight that comes with intelligent design. Tune in to hear Ferrer and Davison rebut these and other pro-evolution arguments from Richard Dawkins. This episode of the Mama Bear Apologetics podcast is reposted here with permission. To read more from Ferrer and some of her Mama Bear colleagues, pick up their bestselling book Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies.
Today’s ID the Future continues A Mousetrap for Darwin author Michael Behe’s conversation with philosopher Pat Flynn, focused on some of the more substantive objections to Behe’s case for intelligent design in biology. In this segment the pair discuss the bacterial flagellum, the cilium, and the blood clotting cascade, and tackle critiques from Alvin Plantinga, Graham Oppy, Russell Doolittle, Kenneth Miller, and others. This interview is posted here by permission of Pat Flynn.
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.
Today’s ID the Future continues intelligent design theorist Casey Luskin’s conversation with Apologetics 315 podcast hosts Brian Auten and Chad Gross. Here in Part 2, Luskin give a peek behind the scenes of ID 3.0, the current research program inspired by the intelligent design framework. Luskin is then asked to explain his reservations about theistic evolution, and Luskin points out the evidential, rhetorical, and logical problems he sees with the brand of theistic evolution advocated by Francis Collins and Biologos. What about the future of the intelligent design movement? Luskin says he’s optimistic, both because of the exciting research and publication breakthroughs of late, and because of the many converts he’s seeing to the ID framework. According to Luskin, many of these recruits remain behind the scenes to avoid reprisals from opponents of ID in positions of power, but some top scientists have come out publicly in support of intelligent design, including at least one Nobel Laureate. This episode is presented here with permission from Apologetics 315.