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.
On today’s ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson explores an intriguing tension in the thinking of famous scientist and science popularizer Carl Sagan concerning his agnosticism shading into atheism on the one hand, and on the other hand his embrace of certain ideas consistent with the theory of intelligent design. As Nelson is quick to clarify, if Sagan had lived to see the rise of the contemporary intelligent design movement, he probably would have rejected it, particularly its theistic implications. And yet, Nelson says, Sagan’s thinking and arguments laid out in his Gifford lectures and in his science fiction novel Contact strongly support the idea that intelligent design can be detected. Nelson goes further, saying that if we take the methods Sagan laid out for detecting intelligently designed radio signals from extra-terrestrial intelligence, and apply them to patterns in nature that ID theorists have pointed to (such as DNA), it’s hard not to see his methodology triggering a design inference. Tune in to hear Nelson’s reflections on this important tension in Sagan’s thinking, and what, according to Nelson, prevented Sagan from fully resolving it.
On this ID the Future intelligent design pioneer William Dembski unpacks one of his chapters in The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions about Life and the Cosmos, which Dembski co-edited with Joseph Holden and episode host Casey Luskin. The chapter, “Why Intelligent Design Matters,” focuses on ID’s cultural implications. Dembski notes that atheists use mindless evolution to provide a God-free explanation for life and the universe. Intelligent design checks that move, showing that blind material processes couldn’t have created many things in nature, much less the cosmos itself. Intelligent design is the better explanation. What about the idea that an alien created, say, the first life on Earth (intelligent design without the need for God)? Dembski says that idea–one that some atheists have suggested as a fallback explanation—is a poor explanatory substitute for an immaterial intelligent designer.
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 intelligent design pioneer William Dembski tells the story of his rocky journey into and out of higher education, the reasons for his sabbatical from the ID movement, his recent success as an entrepreneur, and his return to intelligent design work. Along the way Dembski bats down a mistaken rumor about his sabbatical. The occasion for his conversation with host Casey Luskin is the recent anthology Dembski and Luskin contributed to and helped edit, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions about Life and the Cosmos.
This ID the Future brings in protein scientist Douglas Axe to discuss his contribution to a new book, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Axe and host Casey Luskin discuss Axe’s thinking on the design intuition, the evidence that it’s triggered almost universally in small children when they observe things like dragonflies or fresh-baked cookies, and why he’s convinced that this intuition is a rational one rooted in our true sense of what sorts of things require know-how for their creation. For those who retort “Science!,” Axe has some of that to offer as well. As he tells Luskin, he led an experiment at a lab in Cambridge, England, on the abilities and limits of an enzyme to evolve. The research findings on this protein, beta-lactamase, were published in a prestigious, peer-reviewed research journal, and showed that while the enzyme does mutate, the odds of it randomly mutating to a fully novel function are so slim as to place such an event beyond the reach of chance, even if we give all the life forms that have ever existed on Earth a go at the challenge. The Petri dishes don’t lie. The numbers don’t lie. So why do so many academic biologists and other scholars resist the design implications of Axe’s research? For many it’s because they are theophobes, says Axe. He explains the term and, for evidence, points to a noted contemporary philosopher who frankly admits to being one.
Today’s ID the Future concludes the conversation between Stephen Meyer, author of the newly released USA Today bestseller Return of the God Hypothesis, and UC-San Diego physicist Brian Keating. In part three they discuss divine extravagance and the question of why, if the universe was made for humans, did it take so long before humans came onto the scene? From there Meyer turns to the evidence for intelligent design from the digital information embedded in DNA and RNA. Is this book just another intelligent design argument, similar to his previous two books? Meyer says it is that, but it goes further, combining an intelligent design argument with evidence from science outside the scope of ID science in order to draw some inferences about the nature of the designer of life and the universe. As Meyer says, when you take the ensemble of evidence from biology, paleontology, physics, and cosmology, one finds that the evidence points toward not just any sort of designer but toward one consonant with the God of theism. This three-part conversation is borrowed, with permission, from a recent episode of Keating’s show, Into the Impossible. Get a copy of Meyer’s bestseller here.
On today’s ID the Future, Rob Crowther continues his conversation with Casey Luskin, the intelligent design proponent who previously worked for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and has now returned. As Luskin explains, he left to pursue a PhD in geology at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. The two discuss the wild conspiracy theories circulated by opponents of intelligent design when Luskin stepped away from Discovery Institute five years ago. Luskin also tells about an upcoming book he’s been working on with William Dembski, another intelligent design proponent who stepped away from day-to-day ID work and is now putting a foot back in the ID waters. Also on tap in today’s conversation, Luskin and Dembski’s upcoming appearance at the 2021 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, and advances in the ID 3.0 research initiative, including some recent peer-reviewed papers.
On this episode of ID the Future, science historian and host Michael Keas talks with fellow science historian Michael Flannery about the newly updated book Intelligent Evolution: How Alfred Russell Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwin. Flannery tells of Darwin’s involvement in the Plinian Society, a “freethinkers” group at Edinburgh University where he studied medicine as a teenager. It was there that he first encountered radical philosophical materialism, the worldview that laid the philosophical foundation for his work in evolution. Flannery also speaks of Alfred Russel Wallace’s “intelligent evolution” and how it differs from Darwinism and from today’s theistic evolution — what Flannery prefers to call “Darwinian theism.”