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.
On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson concludes his talk with host Andrew McDiarmid on what it takes to converse effectively with scientists who are trapped in a naturalistic parabola — that is, researchers who draw their conclusions from naturalism’s authority rather than following the evidence wherever it leads. Nelson urges us to keep the third party in the conversation: Nature herself. We listen to nature through experiment, he says, and warns against the message from scientists such as CalTech’s Sean Carroll who have suggested that testing is “overrated.” If we listen and test, nature can keep revealing herself in surprising ways, says Nelson, which is what makes science so fun.