On today’s ID the Future Casey Luskin hosts distinguished German paleontologist Günter Bechly to discuss Bechly’s essay in the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos. Darwinian evolution predicts a gradually branching tree of living forms, with one form shading into another over long periods of evolution, with each transitional step almost too modest to notice. Does the fossil record suggest such a pattern? Quite the opposite, Bechly says. Instead the pattern of the fossil record is consistently one of sudden appearance, and evolutionists have yet to successfully construct a single robustly populated series of gradually transitioning fossils that move chronologically from one form to a distinctly different morphology. Darwinism would lead us to expect such transitional sequences all over the fossil record, and yet evolutionists, searching assiduously for more than 160 years, have yet to construct a single one of these. Bechly debunks the hype around some fossil sequences, such as that said to have been assembled from ape-like to human. He explains the difference between “transitional forms” as paleontologists generally use the term and the meaning of the term for evolutionists attempting to defend modern Darwinism. And he and Luskin also discuss fossil forgeries, how to tell real from fake fossils, and four explosions of morphological novelty in the history of life.
On today’s ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson discusses his chapter in a recent Harvest House anthology edited by host Casey Luskin, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Nelson says the theory of universal common descent, a key component of modern evolutionary theory, has generated multiple predictions that have failed. The prediction he discusses here is that there would turn out to be a single universal genetic code, since that’s what we should expect if all life on earth is descended from the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). Findings over the past three decades have proven that prediction spectacularly wrong. How does the theory of universal common descent shrug off this contrary empirical finding? The trick for LUCA in this and similar cases is to shift blame for failure to an ancillary theory. It’s a clever move, says Nelson, but it comes at a cost.
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 this ID the Future, Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas continues a lively conversation with radio host Hank Hanegraaff. In this second in a three-part series, the two touch on the fossil record’s challenge to Darwinism, Gould and Eldredge’s rescue attempt, the question of whether Darwin’s best known contemporary defender is dishonest or merely self-deluded, the wishful thinking surrounding origin-of-life studies, the failed attempts to reduce the mind to mere brain chemistry, and the morally repugnant pro-eugenics ideas rooted in Darwinism and touted in the textbook at the heart of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial. The conversation is posted here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. Get Neil Thomas’s book here.
Today’s ID the Future kicks off a three-part series featuring Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas interviewed by radio host Hank Hanegraaff. In this first part, Hanegraaff begins by lauding Thomas’s book and underscoring how influential Darwin’s theory of evolution has been on Western culture. Then Thomas sketches the cultural milieu and individual motivations that he’s convinced drew Darwin toward his formulation of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Here the focus is not on the various evidential weaknesses of Darwin’s theory (which Thomas does cover in his book) but on a question that puzzled Thomas once he became convinced of just how evidentially weak the case for Darwinism was: How was it that a theory so poorly supported by the evidence (such that even some of its most ardent supporters found themselves rejecting key aspects of it) nevertheless came to dominate the academy? Tune in to find out what Thomas ultimately concluded from his autopsy of the theory and its early reception, and stay tuned for episodes two and three. This audio material is used by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. Thomas’s book is available here.
On today’s ID the Future, guest Casey Luskin and host Eric Anderson untangle the differences between creationism, intelligent design, and theistic evolution. There are important distinctions as well as areas of overlap, Luskin explains, but the theory of intelligent design focuses on the book of nature, rather than on the Bible or some other sacred book, and offers evidence that certain features of the natural world are best explained by reference to an intelligent cause. The case for intelligent design includes negative arguments against competitor explanations, such as neo-Darwinism, as well as positive evidence for design. And Luskin notes that increasingly this paradigm is fueling fruitful scientific research in everything from protein science to pharmacology and cosmology. To support this important work and Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, click here for options.
This ID the Future brings in protein scientist Douglas Axe to discuss his contribution to a new book, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Axe and host Casey Luskin discuss Axe’s thinking on the design intuition, the evidence that it’s triggered almost universally in small children when they observe things like dragonflies or fresh-baked cookies, and why he’s convinced that this intuition is a rational one rooted in our true sense of what sorts of things require know-how for their creation. For those who retort “Science!,” Axe has some of that to offer as well. As he tells Luskin, he led an experiment at a lab in Cambridge, England, on the abilities and limits of an enzyme to evolve. The research findings on this protein, beta-lactamase, were published in a prestigious, peer-reviewed research journal, and showed that while the enzyme does mutate, the odds of it randomly mutating to a fully novel function are so slim as to place such an event beyond the reach of chance, even if we give all the life forms that have ever existed on Earth a go at the challenge. The Petri dishes don’t lie. The numbers don’t lie. So why do so many academic biologists and other scholars resist the design implications of Axe’s research? For many it’s because they are theophobes, says Axe. He explains the term and, for evidence, points to a noted contemporary philosopher who frankly admits to being one.
On this ID the Future host Casey Luskin interviews science journalist Denyse O’Leary about her recent essay, “Is Evolutionary Psychology a Legitimate Way to Understand Our Humanity,” which appears in the new Harvest House anthology co-edited by Luskin, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. O’Leary, a science journalist and co-author of The Spiritual Brain, offers a withering critique of evolutionary psychology and traces its roots, beginning with The Descent of Man (1871), where Charles Darwin attributed various human behaviors to natural and sexual selection. That fed into what became known as social Darwinism, which fell out of favor after World War II thanks to Hitler and the Nazis’ application of social Darwinist ideas to defend Nordic superiority and genocide. The ideas resurfaced in modified form under the banner of sociobiology, and then later still, as evolutionary psychology. This latter manifestation, O’Leary says, marks the most comprehensive attempt to explain the various facets of human behavior in evolutionary terms, but its comprehensiveness has not won it widespread acceptance. Far from it. The field is quick to offer explanations for why we do what we do, but it has left a train of blunders in its wake. So for instance, evolutionary psychologists claimed that we associate pink with little girls and blue with little boys due to the sex-based division of labor among our primitive ancestors over the course of millions of years of evolutionary development. In primitive societies the girls gathered fruit (pink when ripe), and the boys fished (and blue is associated with water). Mystery solved? But wait. In Victorian England, pink was associated with boys and blue with girls. Do we have an evolutionary explanation for that as well? Give any reasonably creative company of evolutionary psychologists an evening and a twelve-pack, and they’d probably be able to dream up a sure-fire evolutionary explanation. Evolutionary psychology, with its ability to explain everything and its opposite, convincingly explains nothing. According to O’Leary, distaste for the field stretches well beyond the company of Darwin dissenters. Most evolutionists steer clear of evolutionary psychology, and even some who probably count themselves as fully paid-up members of the Darwinian materialist guild openly criticize it. Thus it seems that if we want to effectively explain human behavior in all its messy richness, we would do well to look beyond the box of just-so stories built from Darwin’s toolkit of natural and sexual selection.
On this ID the Future Stephen Meyer sits down with talk show host and bestselling novelist Andrew Klavan to discuss Meyer’s Return of the God Hypothesis. In this fast-paced conversation the pair touch on the Judeo-Christian roots of science, how fine tuning in physics and cosmology point to intelligent design, and how a great many scientists held out hope that the universe was eternal and therefore did not require a creator, but eventually threw in the towel as evidence mounted for a cosmic beginning. What about the multiverse hypothesis as an escape for atheists wishing to explain away the evidence for a cosmic designer? Meyer explains why it fails Occam’s Razor, and then he and Klavan discuss a noted atheist philosopher who frankly admits that he doesn’t want theism to be true and yet also admits that modern Darwinism has crashed and burned, and the evidence for design in various scientific fields is too powerful to be ignored. Today’s material is borrowed, with permission, from the Daily Wire and Episode 1050 of the Andrew Klavan Show. If you value the work of Stephen Meyer, our other design theorists, and the work of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, along with intelligent design resources such as ID the Future, please consider a gift this holiday season. The generous donations of our supporters and regular listeners make this good work possible. Your gift will translate into more and more people encountering—some for the very first time—the powerful evidence that the universe is not meaningless but instead is charged with evidence of design and purpose. Click here to view donation options.
This ID the Future wraps up a lively four-part series between religious skeptic Michael Shermer and Return of the God Hypothesis author and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer. Here Meyer underscores the fact that every worldview must posit something as the prime reality, and he argues that positing mind (rather than matter) as the prime reality solves far more problems in science, and not just in origins science. What about the idea of a multiverse to explain the fine tuning of the laws and constants of physics? Meyer concedes that this is a solution of sorts, but it comes at a tremendous cost, which he explains. That’s just a taste of where Meyer and Shermer go in this final segment. Also threading its way through this rich finale–Deepak Chopra’s eastern take on reality, the mind-bending idea of absolute nothingness, mind-body dualism, Michael Polanyi, John Searle, and even a cameo appearance from the Boltzmann brain. This podcast series is posted here by permission of Michael Shermer. The full video conversation is available here.