On today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller and host Eric Anderson explore a recent conversation between physicists Jeremy England and Paul Davies on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio show. Davies admitted he doesn’t want the origin of life to require divine design, while England argued that his work on non-equilibrium systems offers a promising avenue for explaining the origin of the first life in naturalistic terms. Miller and Anderson demur on both counts. They hold out hope that Davies, having recognized his philosophical bias, will eventually decide to follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if doing so has theistic implications. And as for Jeremy England’s approach, Miller says it’s fascinating work but fails to solve the origin-of-life challenge in naturalistic terms, and for multiple reasons.
Today’s ID the Future concludes a debate over the merits of intelligent design and modern evolutionary theory. Günter Bechly is a distinguished German paleoentomologist who was an atheist and Darwinist but became convinced of theism after he finally decided to read some of the books written by leading ID proponents and found their arguments far stronger than he had been led to believe from second-hand accounts. S. Joshua Swamidass is a computational biologist at Washington University in Saint Louis who says ID may or may not be true in some part of what it affirms, but while he believes in a Creator, he doesn’t find the central arguments of intelligent design proponents logical and cogent. He also is more sanguine than Bechly about modern evolutionary theory, specifically when one looks beyond neo-Darwinism to consider additional evolutionary mechanisms from the extended evolutionary synthesis. Bechly counters that none of these additional proposed mechanisms have demonstrated the ability to generate novel biological functions and form. Neutral evolution has been shown to generate Rube Goldberg complexity, he says, but not fundamentally new biological machinery and functions in the first place. And he says, contra Swamidass, that neo-Darwinism’s joint mechanism of random mutation and natural selection remains a prominent feature of the contemporary scientific landscape, so the ID arguments demonstrating its inadequacy are highly apropos. The two met in a dialogue hosted by Justin Brierley on his Unbelievable? podcast, reposted here with Brierley’s permission.
Today’s ID the Future features a debate over the merits of intelligent design. Günter Bechly is a German paleoentomologist heard many times on ID the Future, who says the science convinced him that intelligent design is true. S. Joshua Swamidass is a computational biologist at Washington University in Saint Louis who says ID may or may not be true in some part of what it affirms, but for him, the science doesn’t lead you to it. They met in a dialogue hosted by Justin Brierley on his Unbelievable? podcast, reposted here with Brierley’s permission. This is the first half of the conversation. The second half is coming to IDTF soon.
On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher Jay Richards hosts science historian Michael Keas in another conversation about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s series Cosmos: Possible Worlds. They talk this time about what the show itself calls its “most plausible creation myth… for the origin of life,” involving hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean floor — with no mention at all of the equally deep scientific problems with the idea. Tyson’s imagination wanders from there to a moon of Saturn to the Cambrian explosion, everywhere supposing that just because one or two necessary conditions exist for life, that’s all the explanation that’s needed. Richards and Keas ably explore why this is untrue.
On this episode of ID the Future, guest host Jay Richards interviews science historian Michael Keas about the new Neil deGrasse Tyson Cosmos television series and its “very impressionistic storytelling.” Starting with an episode titled “Ladder to the Stars,” Cosmos: Possible Worlds weaves a tale of chemical evolution that, according to Keas, fails to engage the tough problems required to build the first self-reproducing biological entity. Keas says it then it moves into a glib explanation for the origin of mind and human intelligence. As Richards and Keas show, evidence takes a back seat to storytelling in both this latest version of Cosmos and in its predecessors.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid continues his conversation with science historian Michael Keas on myths of science and religion, based on Keas’ new work from ISI Books, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. This time the myth comes not from the past but the future. That is, it’s the supposedly scientific belief that ET is coming, and when it comes, it will look just like a god to us. It will replace earthly religion with an advanced, more ethical alternative, and we’ll finally achieve enlightenment. It’s just as much a myth as any other, yet it’s shaping people’s worldviews anyway. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid again hears from science historian Michael Keas about another science myth exploded in Keas’ new ISI book Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. This time it’s the belief that Copernicus’s sun-centered cosmos demoted humans from our privileged position at the center. As another pioneering early astronomer, Galileo, noted, under the old astronomy the center was no privileged place. Instead it was viewed as the bottom of the universe, the “sump where the universe’s filth and ephemera collect.” So Copernicus’s discovery, if anything, elevated Earth’s place in the cosmos.Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid continues his conversation with science historian Michael Keas on myths of science and religion, based on Keas’ new work from ISI Books, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. This time they tackle two golden oldies and a kicker: (1) that the West suffered a thousand-year “Dark Ages” after the fall of the Roman Empire, (2) that the Europeans from this period believed in a flat earth, and — the kicker! — that Christianity was responsible for both errors. Keas asks, if people are trying to use myths like this to attack religion’s track record on knowledge and education, shouldn’t they know more about what’s really true?
On this episode of ID the Future host Andrew McDiarmid continues his series with science historian Michael Keas about Mike’s new work from ISI Books, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. Here they focus on the myth that a vast cosmos renders humanity insignificant, and in the process, discredits the Judeo-Christian worldview. As Keas notes, science popularizer Bill Nye recently dusted off this old saw, but the Old Testament itself, in the Psalms, depicts man and the earth as tiny in compared to a vast universe. Keas also discusses C.S. Lewis’s take on the matter. Lewis pointed out that atheists have argued that a universe where earth is the lone habitable planet argues against God. And they have argued that a universe filled with many habitable planets argues against God. Heads the atheists win; tails the theists lose. As Lewis and Keas suggest, we are rightly skeptical of such rigged games. Listen in to learn more about this complex and fascinating issue touching on philosophy, theology, and the history of science. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.