On this ID the Future, Return of the God Hypothesis author Stephen Meyer and skeptic Michael Shermer address the question of how a divine immaterial being could act in the material world to design and fashion things such as the first life. Meyer argues that while we don’t know precisely how an immaterial mind would do this or did do this, we have good evidence that minds can and do affect matter, as for instance in the evidence that our minds can affect our brains and, by extension, our bodies. Meyer and Shermer also discuss the idea of front-loaded intelligent design—that is, where God loaded into the moment of the Big Bang everything necessary for the emergence of stars, planets, Earth, and life’s diversity, with no need for subsequent design tinkering. Meyer says he doesn’t have an in-principle objection to that idea, but that the evidence doesn’t support it. He also makes a distinction between two distinct modes by which God can direct things in the natural world, an analytic distinction that Meyer notes is not part of his design arguments in Return of the God Hypothesis but instead is drawn from the theology of nature developed many hundreds of years ago. The two also touch on the idea of extra-terrestrials becoming so technologically advanced that their abilities become indistinguishable from God’s, what Shermer has labeled Shermer’s Last Law. Might such beings be the explanation for certain features in nature that appear to be intelligently designed? Meyer argues that no, there would always remain certain features of the universe that are only adequately explained by reference to a designer with the skillset of the God of theism. This is part three of a four-part IDTF series, and is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.
Today’s ID the Future continues a lively and cordial conversation between atheist Michael Shermer and Stephen Meyer, author of Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this segment of the four-part series, Shermer and Meyer discuss a fourth argument for theism, the moral law within. Then they discuss the similarities and differences between inferring design for something like the Rosetta Stone versus inferring intelligent design from the information in DNA or the fine tuning of the universe. The interview is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights the first part of a lively and cordial conversation between host and atheist Michael Shermer and Stephen Meyer, author of Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this first of the four-part series, the two touch on everything from Meyer’s three key lines of evidence for theism to a quick flyover of less well-known materialistic origins theories, including the oscillating universe model, panspermia as an explanation for the origin of the first life on earth, and Stephen Hawking’s idea of imaginary time. Meyer lumps many of these ideas under what he terms exotic naturalism and suggests that the atheists who defend these explanations are multiplying exotic and unobserved entities to hold at bay a much simpler and more reasonable explanation for the evidence—namely, intelligent design. But is Meyer simply guilty of confirmation bias in arriving at his conclusion? Meyer turns the question around and suggests that it’s those who are wedded to methodological materialism who appear to be led by a confirmation bias. The interview is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.
On this ID the Future, Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas and host Jonathan Witt continue their conversation about Thomas’s journey from Darwinian materialism to theistic humanism and a thorough skepticism of Darwinian theory. Here Thomas links the heroic posturing of modern atheists Richard Dawkins and Bertrand Russell, on the one hand, and on the other, the heroic fatalism of poetry stretching back to the early Middle Ages and, further still, to the ancient Greeks. Thomas also draws a link between the animistic thinking of much ancient pagan thought and the magical powers attributed to the Darwinian mechanism. Thomas explains why he now views the latter as essentially “crypto-animism.” In their wide-ranging conversation, Thomas and Witt also touch on contradictions in Darwin’s treatment of natural selection, the tug-of-war between the paleontologists and the geneticists in the evolutionist community (and how their battle points to a conclusion neither side appears willing to consider), and insights proffered by figures as diverse as British philosopher Antony Flew and celebrated American novelist John Updike. Thomas’s new book is available for purchase here.
Today’s ID the Future offers a sneak peek at the new book Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design by Neil Thomas (Discovery Institute Press). Here Scotsman Andrew McDiarmid reads from a Chapter 2 segment titled “The Elusive First Step.” Much of the book is a critical examination of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution, in its original and updated forms; but here Thomas takes up Darwin’s proposal for the unguided origin of the first living cell. Thomas, like others before, points up the persistent and growing problems with a designer-free origin of life, but here he also explores some of the cultural influences that primed society to view the leap from non-life to life as easily made. Frankenstein’s monster makes an appearance, but tune in to see how the behavior of some actual investigators grew almost stranger than fiction. And to learn how some of the beliefs undergirding the pseudoscience of re-animation persist today in reincarnated form (in the field of abiogenesis), pick up a copy of Thomas’s Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design.
On this ID the Future, Pat Flynn continues his conversation with bestselling author and philosopher of science Stephen C. Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. The focus is Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis, and here in the second and final part of their conversation, Flynn and Meyer discuss the beginning of the universe, the multiverse hypothesis, worldview bias, Bayesian probability calculus, methodological materialism, and specific scientific predictions that intelligent design thinking has motivated. This interview is presented here with permission of philosopher and YouTuber Pat Flynn.
On today’s ID the Future, host Eric Anderson and physicist Brian Miller, research director for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, discuss a recent debate between YouTube science educator Dave Farina and Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Tour has argued that no one—not even the most elite of origin-of-life scientists–has a clue how life could have arisen through blind natural forces on the early earth. Farina created a YouTube response on his channel arguing that Tour is wrong and that origin-of-life researchers are well on their way to solving the mystery of life’s origin. Tour then responded in his own YouTube video series. Now Miller and Anderson boil it all down and argue that Tour is right and Farina wrong on multiple levels.
Today’s ID the Future concludes the conversation between Stephen Meyer, author of the newly released USA Today bestseller Return of the God Hypothesis, and UC-San Diego physicist Brian Keating. In part three they discuss divine extravagance and the question of why, if the universe was made for humans, did it take so long before humans came onto the scene? From there Meyer turns to the evidence for intelligent design from the digital information embedded in DNA and RNA. Is this book just another intelligent design argument, similar to his previous two books? Meyer says it is that, but it goes further, combining an intelligent design argument with evidence from science outside the scope of ID science in order to draw some inferences about the nature of the designer of life and the universe. As Meyer says, when you take the ensemble of evidence from biology, paleontology, physics, and cosmology, one finds that the evidence points toward not just any sort of designer but toward one consonant with the God of theism. This three-part conversation is borrowed, with permission, from a recent episode of Keating’s show, Into the Impossible. Get a copy of Meyer’s bestseller here.
Today’s ID the Future features, by permission, the first part of a long-form conversation between Stephen Meyer, author of the newly released Return of the God Hypothesis, and Brian Keating, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. Do the laws of cosmology, physics, and biology exhibit dispositive evidence of a cosmic designer? Do the Big Bang and fine tuning suggest a “Mind” behind it all? In the book and in this conversation Meyer argues yes. Keating tells what he likes about the new book and draws on his deep knowledge of cosmology to press Meyer with some great followup questions. Check out Keating’s website here, and learn more about Meyer’s new book here.
Today’s ID the Future features, by permission, a recent conversation between radio show host Michael Medved and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer as they discuss Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis. Listen in as Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, provides a swift flyover of 500 years of scientific history, in which he traces the rise, fall, and rise again of a paradigm Meyer refers to as “the God hypothesis.” To learn more about Meyer’s new book and see the growing list of enthusiastic reviews from top scientists, go to ReturnoftheGodHypothesis.com.