On this ID the Future, Taking Leave of Darwin author Neil Thomas continues a lively conversation with radio host Hank Hanegraaff. In this second in a three-part series, the two touch on the fossil record’s challenge to Darwinism, Gould and Eldredge’s rescue attempt, the question of whether Darwin’s best known contemporary defender is dishonest or merely self-deluded, the wishful thinking surrounding origin-of-life studies, the failed attempts to reduce the mind to mere brain chemistry, and the morally repugnant pro-eugenics ideas rooted in Darwinism and touted in the textbook at the heart of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial. The conversation is posted here by permission of Hank Hanegraaff. Get Neil Thomas’s book here.
On this ID the Future host Casey Luskin interviews science journalist Denyse O’Leary about her recent essay, “Is Evolutionary Psychology a Legitimate Way to Understand Our Humanity,” which appears in the new Harvest House anthology co-edited by Luskin, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. O’Leary, a science journalist and co-author of The Spiritual Brain, offers a withering critique of evolutionary psychology and traces its roots, beginning with The Descent of Man (1871), where Charles Darwin attributed various human behaviors to natural and sexual selection. That fed into what became known as social Darwinism, which fell out of favor after World War II thanks to Hitler and the Nazis’ application of social Darwinist ideas to defend Nordic superiority and genocide. The ideas resurfaced in modified form under the banner of sociobiology, and then later still, as evolutionary psychology. This latter manifestation, O’Leary says, marks the most comprehensive attempt to explain the various facets of human behavior in evolutionary terms, but its comprehensiveness has not won it widespread acceptance. Far from it. The field is quick to offer explanations for why we do what we do, but it has left a train of blunders in its wake. So for instance, evolutionary psychologists claimed that we associate pink with little girls and blue with little boys due to the sex-based division of labor among our primitive ancestors over the course of millions of years of evolutionary development. In primitive societies the girls gathered fruit (pink when ripe), and the boys fished (and blue is associated with water). Mystery solved? But wait. In Victorian England, pink was associated with boys and blue with girls. Do we have an evolutionary explanation for that as well? Give any reasonably creative company of evolutionary psychologists an evening and a twelve-pack, and they’d probably be able to dream up a sure-fire evolutionary explanation. Evolutionary psychology, with its ability to explain everything and its opposite, convincingly explains nothing. According to O’Leary, distaste for the field stretches well beyond the company of Darwin dissenters. Most evolutionists steer clear of evolutionary psychology, and even some who probably count themselves as fully paid-up members of the Darwinian materialist guild openly criticize it. Thus it seems that if we want to effectively explain human behavior in all its messy richness, we would do well to look beyond the box of just-so stories built from Darwin’s toolkit of natural and sexual selection.
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.
On this episode of ID the Future, hear the second half of Discovery Institute’s John West’s talk given at the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, on how Darwinism has corroded Western culture. In this portion he examines the morally poisoning effects of Darwinism on marriage, sexual ethics, and religion, such that virtually anything can be defended as OK, and no particular culture’s ethic is to be preferred over another. Humankind’s spiritual purpose has likewise been eroded. Yet West closes with hope: science in our generation is discovering more and more signs of intelligent design and purpose in nature, and young researchers are learning that materialism shouldn’t be the foregone conclusion of contemporary science.
This episode of ID the Future features the second part of a conversation between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and polymath David Berlinski, author of the newly released book Human Nature. In this segment of the interview, Robinson asks Berlinski about a book by Nicholas Christakis, Blueprint, which argues that evolution has endowed us with a genetic makeup that drives human culture toward virtue and progress. Berlinski demurs, pointing to the horrors of the twentieth century and by noting that the virtues Christakis underscores, such as cooperativeness, can also be put to nefarious purposes. The Nazi Party, for instance, “was a marvelous engine of cooperation. All those Nazis cooperated with one another running death camps.” Robinson also asks Berlinski about Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg address and the West’s relegating religious thinking, in Peter Robinson’s words, “to the children’s table.” Berlinski says he would frame the situation a little differently: we are today less able to entertain a whole category of arguments we used to be able to entertain — theological arguments. As a habit of thought, theology has receded, but Berlinski says he sees this as temporary. “Theological arguments are not going to disappear, and the fundamental questions they address are not going to disappear either.”