ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast

specified complexity

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Michael Behe on the Origin of Biological Information

Just what is information? Why is so much of it needed for life? And where did it all come from? On this ID The Future, we're pleased to rebroadcast in audio form the latest episode in biochemist Michael Behe's Secrets of the Cell series on the mystery of biological information. In this episode, Behe starts by explaining just what information actually is. From the decision to flip a switch to the thousands of decisions needed to build complex structures, information is everywhere in our world, and it also runs the show in the hidden inner world of cells. Behe describes how cells manage information to build tissues, organs, and systems. He also explains that each cell is part of a massive collaboration of trillions of cells, where the right information at the right time flows through us in the form of chemical and electrical signals, activating different energy modes and keeping our entire body functioning efficiently. To conclude, Behe invites us to join him for a sobering thought experiment: attempting to build an instruction manual for a human femur bone. Sounds simple enough in theory. It's just a bone, after all! But Behe reminds us of the many layers of complexity inherent in making even a single bone part of a larger, dynamic, and coordinated living system. Complex machines and working structures, says Behe, are possible only through specific code that determines form and function. And our uniform and repeated experience affirms that specified or functional information always arises from an intelligent source, not a strictly material process. Read More ›
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Female Eurasian brown bear and her cubs in boreal forest

Mama Bear Apologetics Takes on Atheist Richard Dawkins

Today’s ID the Future puts atheist Richard Dawkins’s book Outgrowing God under the microscope and reveals multiple ways his argument smashes up against contrary scientific evidence. Walking us through the critique are author and Mama Bear Apologetics founder Hillary Morgan Ferrer and her co-host, Amy Davison. Dawkins invokes the beautiful order evident in the murmuration of bird flocks as evidence that complexity can evolve from simple algorithmic rules. But Ferrer explains why the phenomenon of bird murmuration doesn’t even begin to approach what we find when sophisticated engineering order emerges in the growth of embryos. Ferrer also considers the challenges of re-engineering sperm thermoregulation to move from how it works in marine life to how it works in land animals. For a blind process to traverse this evolutionary pathway while maintaining viability at every stage would require—to adapt a line from Alice in Wonderland—six hundred impossible things before breakfast. What about evolving something simpler, such as the bilayer cell membrane, essential for cellular life? No, Ferrer argues. It’s also far too sophisticated to have evolved through a blind evolutionary process. What is needed is the foresight that comes with intelligent design. Tune in to hear Ferrer and Davison rebut these and other pro-evolution arguments from Richard Dawkins. This episode of the Mama Bear Apologetics podcast is reposted here with permission. To read more from Ferrer and some of her Mama Bear colleagues, pick up their bestselling book Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies.

Business concept Strategy of red Chess Game

Did Chess Ace Hans Niemann Cheat? A Design Detection Poser

On this ID the Future, mathematician William Dembski and host Eric Anderson explore whether design detection tools shed any light on the recent chess scandal involving world chess champion Magnus Carlsen and American grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann. Did Niemann cheat in a match where he beat Carlson, as some have claimed? There is no smoking gun in the case, so how might one determine if cheating occurred? At first glance the problem might seem far removed from the design detecting rules and tools Dembski laid out in his Cambridge University Press monograph The Design Inference. But actually there is some intriguing overlap. Is there a way to dig into the chess data and determine whether Niemann secretly used a computer chess engine to help him win the match? Tune in as Dembski and host Eric Anderson wrestle with the problem.

tuskless elephant
Tuskless female elephant with trunk in mouth

Michael Behe: Evolution, Devolution, Design

Today’s ID the Future features three recent Evolution News essays by Lehigh University biology professor and Darwin Devolves author Michael Behe, as read by host Andrew McDiarmid. In the first, nothing shows the feebleness of Darwinism quite so much as breathless stories about new results that turn out to be much ado about nothing. In this case, it’s some recent speculation about the rise of “lactase persistence” in many human adults. Then it’s onto malaria, much beloved of evolutionists, not for its lethality but as a demonstration of evolution in action. But Behe dissects the latest news story on the topic to show that the touted malaria evolution is, once again, malaria gnawing off the proverbial leg to achieve a niche advantage—that is, mere devolution. It’s akin, Behe says, to the rise of tuskless elephants in Africa, where having the devolutionary mutation that leaves an elephant tuskless renders the creature of no interest to elephant-slaying ivory poachers, thereby improving its chances of survival. In the third essay Behe makes a case for his favorite way of concisely describing what we detect when we detect intelligent design in biology. For a great collection of Dr. Behe’s essays, get a copy of his newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael Behe Answers His Critics.

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Stephen Meyer: One God or Many Universes?

In this ID the Future, Stephen Meyer takes a deep dive into the case for not only intelligent design, but also for a designer of the cosmos who is immaterial, eternal, transcendent, and involved. Meyer draws on evidence for design at the origin of life, in the origin of plants and animals, and from the fine tuning of the laws and constants of chemistry and the initial conditions of the universe. He connects all this to the scientific evidence that the universe is not eternal but had a beginning—the Big Bang. What about the main materialistic alternative for explaining this suite of evidence—the idea that there is a multiverse with our universe just being one of the lucky universes with just the right conditions to allow for advanced life? In step-by-step fashion, Meyer walks through why the multiverse explanation fails to explain away the insistent evidence of a cosmic designer. Tune in to hear the full argument. Meyer is author of the recent bestseller Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe, available here.

Big Bang

Physicist Brian Miller Answers the Big Bang Evaders

On this ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller looks at various attempts to evade the mounting evidence that the universe had a beginning, a Big Bang. Miller and host Casey Luskin first review the fascinating history of how the eternal universe model of the nineteenth century gave way to the Big Bang model. Then Miller walks through about a half a dozen attempts to evade a cosmic beginning after the Big Bang model had won the day. These evasions include the steady state model, the idea of an eternal cyclical universe, and the string landscape model. According to this model, our universe exists in a multi-dimensional brane (not “brain”) which exists in a higher dimensional space, and our multi-dimensional brane can collide with other branes, with each collision creating a Big Bang moment, a process said to have been going on for all eternity. Miller then explains why each of these attempts to evade a true cosmic beginning fail, and he says that if matter, energy, and space came into existence at the moment of the Big Bang, then it follows that the cause of this cosmic beginning is something immaterial. And since the cosmic beginning was finely tuned in many astonishing ways, Miller says, the cause of the Big Bang has left the signature of intelligent design. The cause, then, is an intelligent, immaterial being and one, obviously, of unimaginable power. Miller and Luskin then touch on a final attempt to evade these implications, the idea that the universe could have popped into existence from nothing—no God, no anything. But as Miller shows, the proposals along these lines, offered by such physicists as Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking, do not actually start from nothing. There is always a something at the ground state, a something whose origin is left unexplained. The occasion for the conversation is Miller’s essay in the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos.

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Information, Specified Complexity and the Explanatory Filter

On this episode of ID the Future, we hear the third and final portion of a talk given at the 2020 Dallas Science and Faith conference. Daniel Reeves, education outreach coordinator at Discovery Institute, rounds out his extended explanation of intelligent design theory. Far from being “Gee whiz that’s complicated; it must be designed!,” the theory relies on well-defined concepts such as specified complexity and an explanatory filter that allows one to distinguish designed events from either chance, necessity, or a combination of the two. The key in the molecular biological realm: detecting functional information.

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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.


Stephen Meyer: Yes, Intelligent Design is Detectable in Nature

On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads a popular essay by philosopher of science Stephen Meyer on the detectability of intelligent design in nature. The article recently appeared in Sapientia, and here at Evolution News. In the piece, Meyer explains the logic by which we routinely know there’s been a creative intelligence at work. Meyer unpacks this logic in terms of information, which we can see clearly in the cell, but elsewhere in nature, too. He also shows how this detection method is an established part of the historical sciences.

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Algorithmic Specified Complexity Part III: Measuring Meaning in Images

On this episode of ID The Future, Robert Marks and Winston Ewert, both of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, discuss three of their recently published papers dealing with evolutionary informatics, algorithmic specified complexity and how information makes evolution work.

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