On today’s ID the Future, philosopher William Dembski and host Casey Luskin explore the relationship between science and faith. What is science? What is faith? How does Christianity define faith? Dembski explains that faith in the Judeo-Christian tradition is not the opposite of reason; at the same time, faith possesses a relational component—trust in a just, gracious, and reasonable God—that goes beyond mere assent to propositions. As for science, Dembski describes it as a careful search for truths about the natural world, including truths about key elements such as the birth of our fine-tuned universe and the origin of living things. Dembski says that he is convinced that scientific discoveries, unshackled from atheistic blinders, point strongly to intelligent design as the best explanation for life and the universe, a conclusion friendly to theism. As Dembski also notes, science was invented by theists, most of them Christians. They were motivated to search out the rational underpinnings of a cosmos because they believed it was fashioned by a rational designer. The occasion for the conversation is the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions about Life and the Cosmos, which Dembski co-edited and contributed a pair of chapters to. Get your copy here.
On today’s ID the Future, Casey Luskin, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, discusses his Evolution News article about the recently deceased Steven Weinberg. On Weinberg’s view, one of science’s social functions is to undermine religion, which he sees as superstition. Luskin takes the opposite view and points to skilled and successful scientists he got to know in Africa. He says these scientists are convinced that the supernatural is real and would find Weinberg’s secular Western rejection of the supernatural as blinkered. Luskin and host Robert Crowther also discuss a hopeful trend among some atheists toward a more civil and respectful way of engaging intelligent design, even to the point of acknowledging that design theorists are making thoughtful, substantive arguments. Luskin summarizes six lines of evidence for design, and encourages people to escape the internet atheist bubble and read the best ID scholars firsthand rather than depending on strawman summaries of those arguments.
On this new episode of ID the Future, The Price of Panic co-author and philosopher Jay Richards hosts bioethicist Wesley J. Smith to discuss a Tweet from Physics-Astronomy.org. The Tweet read, “Imagine a world ruled by scientists, not politicians.” The drift of the Tweet was, wouldn’t rule by scientists be wonderful! Smith immediately threw up a great big “Don’t go there” sign at the Epoch Times. As Smith and Richards emphasize, such an approach to governance would be disastrous, and would actually be anti-science. It would tend to corrupt the practice of science, thrust scientific specialists into positions calling for generalist skills, and further the arrogant mistake that is scientism—the view not only that nature is all there is, but also that science is the be all and end all of human wisdom. As Richards and Smith go on to emphasize, political leaders definitely should have the humility to take into account scientific insights; it’s just that they shouldn’t stop there. They also have to factor in insights from economics, law, ethics, and other fields. Richards and Smith use the response to the coronavirus pandemic as a case in point. Smith’s latest book is Culture of Death: The Age of ‘Do Harm’ Medicine.
On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson wraps discussion of his recent visit to the Galapagos Islands, sharing lessons he learned there. He says Darwin was right to see natural history as crucial to understanding biology; but he was wrong in making it the be-all and end-all. Nelson then limns a picture of a day when scientists frankly concede the limits of evolution and the necessity of intelligent design in the history of life, and with the ID/evolution war behind them, can explore without distraction the fertile ground of integrating the aspects of evolutionary theory that actually work into a larger design framework.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads the afterword to Michael Aeschliman’s newly revised and expanded The Restoration of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Continuing Case Against Scientism. As Aeschliman explains, Lewis neither deified nor defied science, but he did insist that science idolatry was the grave and present danger of our age. In this excerpt, Aeschliman, professor of Anglophone Culture at the University of Italian Switzerland (Lugano), focuses on Lewis’s brilliant critique of scientism in The Abolition of Man and elsewhere in his work, and on some key thinkers, past and present, who joined Lewis in the fight. It’s a battle, Aeschliman explains, against “the vanity of reason unhinged from ethics,” amidst “a culture that oscillates between the toxic and the trivial.” How did Lewis propose to counteract the polluting effects of scientism? Listen in to find out. And for a deeper dive, pick up a copy of The Restoration of Man.
On this episode of ID the Future, Emily Kurlinski speaks with author and professor Melissa Cain Travis about the path that led to her work in the field of science and faith, and the writing of her book Science and the Mind of the Maker: What the Conversation Between Faith and Science Reveals about God. It started for her at a conference ten years ago where she heard Dr. Michael Behe sharing on intelligent design. That led to studies and research on science and faith, and a commitment to communicating it understandably for lay persons. Early next month it comes full circle, as she’ll be sharing the program with Behe and others at the May 3-4 Discovery Institute conference “Reasons 2019: New Conversations on Science and Faith” in Houston (see discovery.org/events to register).
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid continues his conversation with biochemist Michael Behe, author of the newly released Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution. Here Behe further presses the case that the review bypasses his book’s main point and that the reviewers appear to have misunderstood the plain language of one of his arguments in a previous book. Also, the reviewers claim that Behe hasn’t answered his critics’ objections on key points, a charge Behe shows is demonstrably false. Despite the negative review, Behe says he remains optimistic. Listen in to learn why. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid interviews biochemist Michael Behe, author of the forthcoming Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution (order here) to get his response to a review of the book that appeared in the prestigious journal Science. Behe says the review largely ignores the central point of his book; the reviewers fail to distinguish between claims that evolution built something, and explanations for how it could have built it; and they miss something crucial about lab experiments that engineer examples of evolution. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future we hear part two of a panel discussion on “The Danger of Totalitarian Science,” held at the July 2018 FreedomFest in Las Vegas. This discussion followed a screening there of the film Human Zoos, written and directed by Dr. John West. In this second episode, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow George Gilder raises concerns about artificial intelligence — but not the usual economic ones. He’s more concerned about the thinking underlying some of the more ambitious attempts at AI — and how it would tend to turn the whole world into one very large yet confining human zoo.
On this episode of ID the Future we hear the first part of a panel discussion from FreedomFest 2018, where John West and Richard Weikart speak on “The Danger of Totalitarian Science.” Science is a great blessing, but like all exercises of human reason and creativity, it can be abused. When science is considered the only route to knowledge, scientific experts are given the right to rule, and science becomes totalitarian. It happened decades ago, as documented in the Discovery Institute film Human Zoos. But don’t think it’s all in the past. As the panelists explain, totalitarian science remains with us today.