On this ID the Future, German paleontologist Günter Bechly explains why the Precambrian fossil Namacalathus fails as a transitional precursor to the Cambrian explosion. Darwinists want to find transitional precursors to the Cambrian animals to minimize how poorly the Cambrian explosion fits with Darwinism’s story of a gradual evolutionary development. Dr. Bechly gives other examples of such efforts as well and shows how each fails. As he says, the more we learn about the Cambrian and Precambrian, the more dramatic the Cambrian explosion appears and the poorer it fits with modern evolutionary theory. As he also notes, the points he makes in this episode have been made by mainstream evolutionary paleontologists. He differs only in stepping back from the larger pattern and arguing for intelligent design as a far better explanation than any version of blind evolution. His conversation with host Andrew McDiarmid pivots off of two articles Bechly wrote at Evolution News, here and here.
On this ID the Future Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe dives deeper into A Mousetrap for Darwin. Behe and host Eric Anderson pivot to the new book’s section defending Behe’s earlier work, The Edge of Evolution. In that earlier book, Behe reviewed hard data from evolution studies of malaria parasites, HIV, and E. coli, showed that blind evolutionary processes face severe limits as to what they can build, and argued that intelligent design was required for the origin of life’s great diversity. In this new conversation Behe touches on some of the attempts to refute that argument and suggests why those refutations fail. For a more in-depth look at his defense of The Edge of Evolution, get your copy of A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics and check out Part 3 of the book.
On this ID the Future, host Stephen Meyer concludes his three-part conversation with Oxford mathematician and philosopher John Lennox on Lennox’s new film Against the Tide: Finding God in an Age of Science. Science depends on word, on logos, says Lennox, meaning the rational intelligibility of the universe. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, wished to disprove the need for God, but the language of DNA has turned out to be a signpost to an intelligence, Lennox comments, a logos, behind nature. Scientists still claim authority to pronounce against theism, but according to Lennox, such pronouncements come not from science but from a dogma known as scientism. Far from being “science vs. God,” it’s really a collision of competing worldviews. All this and more will be covered in the beautifully filmed Against the Tide, also starring Hollywood actor Kevin Sorbo, in theaters November 19. Go to https://againstthetide.movie/ to learn more and purchase tickets.
On this ID the Future, John Lennox tells about discovering the damage atheism does to people, by seeing it firsthand in communist Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and seeing what it does to rationality itself. In his continuing conversation with host and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, Lennox relates how in his interactions with famous religiously skeptical scientists, he emphasizes that the Judeo-Christian worldview did much to give us science. When skeptical scientists ask the Oxford mathematician and philosopher how Christianity could have anything to say to science, Lennox is ready with an answer. This is the second part of a three-part conversation in which Lennox discusses his new documentary, Against the Tide, filmed with actor and host Kevin Sorbo.
On this episode of ID the Future, we recognize the 75th anniversary this month of the publication of C. S. Lewis’s prophetic science fiction novel That Hideous Strength, with the first slightly abridged part of John West’s documentary The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism. Several scholars were interviewed for the film, including Jay Richards, Angus Menuge, Victor Reppert, John West, and Michael Aeschliman. Scientism is the idea that science is the ultimate path to knowledge and wisdom — the only sure path — and that the spiritual realm is a mirage. Lewis never criticized science, only scientism, the abuse of science that bears an unexpected twinship with magic.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid concludes his conversation with Eric Anderson, one of the co-authors of the new Discovery Institute Press book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. Today they talk about Anderson’s second of two chapters in the book, where he explores the challenges of building a self-replicating 3D printer, and the light this sheds on the origin-of-life community’s search for their Holy Grail, a self-reproducing molecule that could have kickstarted the evolutionary process on the early earth. In their conversation, Anderson suggests that there are engineering principles involved in the origin of life that may mean that a naturalistic origin of life is less like winning a long-odds lottery, and more like the chances of an inventor successfully building a perpetual motion machine. That is, it isn’t just a tough probability problem; there are reasons for concluding that it’s impossible in principle. Also, Anderson notes, the early Earth wasn’t the kinder, gentler place for simple self-replicators that Darwin or Dawkins has imagined.
On this episode of ID the Future, Eric H. Anderson reads from his newly co-authored book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, written to provide a clear and simple introduction to the evolution/ID controversy, and broad overview of the evidence for design in nature — including fine tuning and the Big Bang, the origin of life, irreducibly complex machines, and the Cambrian Explosion. In this chapter excerpt, Anderson tells of Richard Dawkins’ glib assurances that the mystery of the origin of life is one not far from being solved. Not so, Anderson says. Origin-of-life researchers haven’t found a pathway to a self-replicating biological entity, the beginning point for any sort of Darwinian evolution. And it’s not for lack of time, effort, or funding. The single cell that Darwin saw as a relatively simple blob has proven to be far more complex than anything imagined. What about a self-reproducing molecule, thought to be easier to evolve than a full-blown cell? As Anderson explains in Chapter 3 of the book, the idea remains a purple unicorn, and for reasons that are perhaps most easily appreciated by looking at the ongoing attempts to build a self-reproducing 3D printer.
On this episode of ID the Future, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe discusses the closing sections of his new book Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA That Challenges Evolution. He compares evolutionary biology in Darwin’s time and today to the world of astronomy before and after the telescope was invented. The cell was a black box to Darwin and his contemporaries. Today we can explore that black box like never before, much better even than even two decades ago, allowing us to observe what evolution can actually do at the molecular level. According to Behe, the answer is, not much. Evolution can create niche advantages by breaking certain things, but it doesn’t build fundamentally new structures or new machines. That’s because it can’t do what mind can do. It can’t purposefully arrange things. Behe and host Andrew McDiarmid discuss what it might mean for origins science to again recognize, and allow room in its explanatory toolkit for, the unique causal powers of mind. Finally, Behe reflects on his critics’ confident predictions that they’d have the evidence to refute his groundbreaking book Darwin’s Black Box within 20 years. It’s now been 20 years, so where does the score stand? Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads from David Berlinski’s new book Human Nature. The excerpt is a tribute to Phillip Johnson and his 1991 book Darwin on Trial. Berlinski calls the work a “Majestic Ascent.” Johnson, he writes, not only brought evolution into question logically and scientifically; he brought the case where it belongs, before “the considered reflection of the human race.” Berlinski himself reflects on various empty attempts to build a scientific theory on prior commitments to materialism. “Darwin’s theories,” he says, “are correspondingly less important for what they explain, which is very little, and more important for what they deny, which is roughly the plain evidence of our senses.”
On this episode of ID The Future, Stephen Meyer, director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, honors Phillip Johnson, the U.C. Berkeley law professor who helped ignite the modern intelligent design movement with the publication of his highly successful book Darwin on Trial.