Intelligent Design The Future
Summary: The ID The Future (IDTF) podcast carries on Discovery Institute's mission of exploring the issues central to evolution and intelligent design. IDTF is a short podcast providing you with the most current news and views on evolution and ID. IDTF delivers brief interviews with key scientists and scholars developing the theory of ID, as well as insightful commentary from Discovery Institute senior fellows and staff on the scientific, educational and legal aspects of the debate.
On this episode of ID the Future, internal medicine specialist Dr. Geoff Simmons speaks with host Andrew McDiarmid about his recent Evolution News article on the body’s response to the coronavirus, our immune system. It comprises an enormously complex enterprise with adaptive memory for millions of pathogens and the ability to keep on learning more. Researchers study it to learn how to create vaccines for diseases like COVID-19. Their work is one of intelligent design from start to finish. But, Simmons says, we ought to recognize that it starts with studying systems in our bodies that are even more intelligently designed. One might object that if our immune system were intelligently designed, it would be utterly immune to all pathogens, but such an objection makes theological or philosophical assumptions about the proper intentions of any would-be designer of life. The objection also overlooks the fact that we routinely recognize intelligent design in objects that are masterfully designed and yet not invulnerable to attack.
Today’s classic episode of ID the Future shines a light on Australian biochemist Michael Denton’s book, Children of Light: The Astonishing Properties of Sunlight that Make Us Possible. Denton explores the properties of sun and air, both fine-tuned for creatures like us. The book shows how they are crucial parts of the larger story of our fine-tuned place in the cosmos. Or as he puts it in his book, “Whatever the cause and whatever the ultimate explanation, nature appears to be fine-tuned to an astonishing degree for beings of our biology.”
On this episode of ID the Future, bestselling author and Center for Science and Culture director Stephen Meyer introduces an exciting and informative new Discovery U video course, “Stephen Meyer Investigates Scientific Evidence for Intelligent Design.” Here he sets the stage by recalling a few times when ID made national news headlines, sometimes with Meyer right in the middle of the controversy. He also addresses some of the questions generated by these dustups: Is ID faith-based or science-based? Did the earliest scientists follow ID principles or did they avoid them, as one state education commissioner claimed. And why did two highly regarded research scientists get expelled from their museum positions, and were the expulsions justified?
On this episode of ID the Future, host and philosopher Jay Richards interviews science historian Michael Keas about the National Geographic channel’s new Cosmos series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. In the Cosmos episode under discussion, the 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza is presented as an early advocate for science. It makes for a great story, Keas says, except that it’s a serious distortion. Spinoza was an advocate for nature, but he did so by equating it with God, and he opposed some of the most important innovations in science. As both Richards and Keas suggest in their conversation, it appears that the makers of Cosmos: Possible Worlds are trying to use Spinoza’s pantheism to invoke a spiritualized approach to nature and science, one more palatable than strict materialism, but that obscures how Christian theism provided important theological resources for the scientific revolution.
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, CSC Director of Communications Rob Crowther interviews CSC Senior Fellow Jay Richards. Listen in as Richards rebuts the warfare thesis – the idea that religion and science are antagonists – and argues that historically, Judeo-Christian culture “was the seedbed from which science emerged.” Has science missed out by being partnered with materialism?
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, biologist and Discovery Institute senior fellow Jonathan Wells tackles questions of evolution and intelligent design as they relate to the novel coronavirus SARS CoV-2. Is it the product of evolution, in the sense of Darwin’s Origin of Species? Wells argues to the contrary: It’s not a new species; in fact viruses aren’t even considered living species. Does modern evolutionary theory guide medicine’s response? Not when you consider that most of the major treatments being used and pursued actually preceded Darwin. Is intelligent design involved? Yes and no, Wells says. Listen in to get his take on this and more.
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, listen in as Wesley J. Smith and Stephen C. Meyer answer questions at a Washington D.C. event entitled “March for Science or March for Scientism? Understanding the Real Threats to Science in America.” Listen in as they discuss the politicization of science, and how these ideas are anti-human.
On this episode of ID the Future, paleontologist Günter Bechly speaks again with host Andrew McDiarmid about the growing case against Darwinian gradualism. Bechly points out two more cases where fossil discoveries refuted Darwin’s prediction of gradualism in species transitions. In one of the classic showcases for such alleged transitions, between two species of deep-sea protists called foraminifera, more recent research showed their speciation to be abrupt and not an ancestor-descendent sequence. And fossil freshwater snails from Germany, once viewed as another textbook example of gradual speciation, were discovered not to be separate species at all. Is there a paradigm change coming in evolutionary studies? Nothing fits the data better than intelligent design.
On this episode of ID the Future, paleontologist Günter Bechly and host Andrew McDiarmid discuss Bechly’s article “Ape-Man Waves Goodbye to Darwinian Gradualism.” Bechly touches on the oldest australopithecine fossil skull ever found, from 3.8 million years ago. The researchers behind the find are confident of its age but puzzled because the discovery undercuts one of the best examples of alleged gradual transition between two hominid species, and it also doesn’t fit well with common theories of phylogenetic relationship. The evidence poses a significant problem for the Darwinian mechanistic paradigm, but can be readily explained with an intelligent design approach.
On this episode of ID the Future, Robert Marks interviews Roger Olsen, co-author of the groundbreaking 1984 book The Mystery of Life’s Origin. In the book’s epilogue they suggested that a designing intelligence stands as the best explanation for the origin of life. And with a revised and greatly expanded new edition of the book now available, he says that 36 years of additional research from the origin-of-life community has left their conclusions stronger than ever. Now an environmental scientist, Olsen has spent his career since then helping homes and families abroad protect children from the ravages of environmental pollution.
On this episode of ID the Future, biochemist Michael Behe and host Andrew McDiarmid discuss the anti-malarial drug chloroquine, now being investigated as a treatment for COVID-19, and how it may work on the cellular level against the coronavirus. The same drug was featured in Behe’s 2007 book The Edge of Evolution, as part of his demonstration that evolution has strict limits: It can do adaptive work for organisms with single mutations, but if just two coordinated mutations are required at once, evolution’s random processes have great difficulty even with natural selection helping them along. In cases where population sizes are enormous, as with malaria, it can eventually overcome the need for two simultaneous and coordinated mutations, but only just barely. Because the odds go up exponentially, three simultaneous coordinated mutations may be beyond the edge of evolution. What does all this bode for chloroquine and the coronavirus? Listen in as McDiarmid and Behe discuss.
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, hear Stephen C. Meyer’s talk given April 2017 at the March for Science or March for Scientism? Understanding the Real Threats to Science in America event hosted by Discovery Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Listen in as he discusses weaknesses in the theory of neo-Darwinism.
On this episode of ID the Future, Mike Keas interviews science historian and bioethicist Michael Flannery about his recent article on Charles Darwin and archrival Richard Owen. Owen was an evolutionist, too, but of a different stripe. Unlike Darwin, he believed that evolution was guided by teleology or purpose, and he saw humans as different from animals not only in degree but in kind. This led him to reject Darwin’s conclusion of a "hierarchy of races," as well as Darwin’s expectation that the supposedly "less fit" races of humankind ultimately would be exterminated by the so-called "superior" white race. Most Darwinists today aren't racist, but Darwinism did grease the skids into a dubious scientific racism that became widespread, encouraging racist eugenics campaigns in both Europe and the United States.
On this episode of ID the Future, Robert J. Marks interviews chemist Charles Thaxton about a seminal 1984 book he co-authored, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, foundational to the intelligent design movement, and a later project, Of Pandas and People. The main body of Mystery was generally praised, Thaxton explains. It was the epilogue that proved controversial. There the three authors reviewed five proposed explanations for life’s origins and suggested that the best explanation was that the first life originated through an act of creative intelligence. The Mystery of Life’s Origin is now being re-released in an updated and greatly expanded version, with new contributions by Stephen Meyer, James Tour, and others.