ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast
Topic

RNA

University of Tokyo

Origin-of-Life Mystery at the University of Tokyo, Pt. 2

Today’s ID the Future is Part 2 of physicist Brian Miller exploring a recent report from the University of Tokyo claiming a big breakthrough in origin-of-life research. As Miller and host Eric Anderson make clear, the university’s laboratory work on RNA, detailed in a recent Nature Communications article, involved the intelligent interference of the lab scientists and, despite this intelligent interference, the devolution of RNA rather than the evolution of increasing RNA sophistication. Miller says that it’s ironic that Steven Novella, a scientist committed to puncturing science hype, seems to have fallen for the hype surrounding this laboratory work. Miller and Anderson go on to discuss critiques of origin-of-life tall-tale claims, critiques coming Robert Shapiro, James Tour, and others. Life, Read More ›

RNA
Single strand ribonucleic acid, RNA research and therapy

Did U of Tokyo Just Solve the Mystery of Life’s Origin?

On this ID the Future, Brian Miller, research coordinator for the Center for Science & Culture, reports on laboratory research recently presented in Nature Communications and in a University of Tokyo press release— research that supposedly provides dramatic “new insights into the possible origin of life,” and specifically “the molecular evolution of RNA.” The popular press picked up on these claims and ran with them, including in this May 5 Quanta article that breathlessly reported, “When researchers gave a genetic molecule the ability to replicate, it evolved over time into a complex network of ‘hosts’ and ‘parasites’ that both competed and cooperated to survive.” Miller says nothing remotely this dramatic occurred in the experiment. He insists there were no great Read More ›

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The student is sitting at the table and is looking for excuses for not being ready for the lesson. Photo by Dmitriy on Adobe Stock

How Universal Common Descent Survives Failed Predictions

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 Read More ›

New Animated Video Dismantles Origin-of-Life Hype

Today’s ID the Future spotlights a new origin-of-life video showing that researchers aren’t anywhere close to creating life from non-life, despite the fact most Americans seem to believe otherwise. In the episode, host Eric Anderson interviews Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler, who helped create the new Long Story Short animated video. Stadler and Anderson explore how origin-of-life papers and popular media reports have misled the public, evidenced by a survey underscored by Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Then they discuss several daunting origin-of-life hurdles beyond the synthesis of key chemical building blocks. These are hurdles significant enough that each alone may doom the idea of life having once emerged from non-life spontaneously. Indeed, it is now a Read More ›

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Couple standing on the beach at sunset are having problems with each other

Brian Miller Talks Star-Crossed RNA Strands and the Origin of Life

On today’s ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller continues his conversation with host Eric Anderson. Here they explore more problems facing the idea that life began as strings of RNA. In their discussion of the RNA World Hypothesis and the origin of life generally, they touch on ideas advanced by Jeremy England, Jack Shostak, Nick Lane, Helen Hansma, and others. One of several big problems with the RNA-first hypothesis underscored by Miller and Anderson: For it to have even a slender chance of working, you need prebiotic Earth to generate not one but two information-rich RNA strands, and they somehow need to find each other before falling apart, and do so despite the fact that they aren’t looking for each Read More ›

James Tour–A Flyover of the Challenges Facing Abiogenesis

Today’s ID the Future features the next in a YouTube video series by Dr. James Tour on the origin-of-life problem. Here Tour, a distinguished synthetic organic chemist, lists the characteristics of life and describes some features of the early Earth where life first appeared. Then he provides a fast flyover of the many grave problems of blindly evolving the first living cell from prebiotic materials. 

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Michael Denton Discusses The Miracle of the Cell

On this episode of ID the Future, Eric Anderson speaks with biochemist Michael Denton about Denton’s new book The Miracle of the Cell, part of his continuing Privileged Species series exploring nature’s fine tuning for life. New research keeps unveiling ever more ways in which this fine tuning exists, from the cosmos to the atoms of the periodic table, even to the subatomic level of quantum tunneling. As for the cell itself, It is as if scientists are discovering a “third infinity,” says Denton.

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zero

New ID Book Zeroes in on Evolution’s Zero-Probability Problem

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 Read More ›

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Virus protection. Vaccine search. Antibodies and viral infection. Immune defense of the body. Attack on antigens 3D illustration

Covid-19, Random Mutations, and Aristotle’s Matrix of Design

On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid speaks with neurosurgeon Michael Egnor about Egnor’s recent Evolution News article, The Coronavirus Demonstrates How Evolution Presupposes Intelligent Design. Egnor notes that the coronavirus and other viruses are not, strictly speaking, considered living things, even if they depend on living hosts for their continued existence. Egnor also discusses the role of random mutations in viruses and draws upon Aristotle to argue that these and other random events only occur, and have their meaning, against a backdrop of purpose and design — in this case, the designed systems — the bodies — that viruses invade.

Photo by Jong Marshes

Marcos Eberlin on Evolution’s Water-Gate Problem

On this episode of ID the Future, internationally distinguished scientist Marcos Eberlin, author of the new book Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose, talks about evolution’s “water gate” problem. There’s no conspiracy here, just life’s astonishing answer for admitting water into cells through “gates” while keeping lethal acidifying proteins out. There’s also a chicken-egg problem involving proteins and molecular chaperones. That and more, Eberlin argues, add up to the conclusion that life required foresight.