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, Andrew McDiarmid interviews Eric Anderson, one of the co-authors of the new book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. The two discuss Eric’s chapters on the origin-of-life problem. There’s the problem of generating the information required of the first life form. And there’s another problem, one Anderson uses his engineering background to explore--the insuperable challenges to generating a self-replicating molecule, a hypothetical entity at the heart of some recent attempts to render plausible the evolution of non-life into cellular life.
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.
On this episode of ID The Future from the vault, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer discusses the move by National Review editor Rich Lowry in 2012 to sever ties with two regular contributors, John Derbyshire and Robert Weissberg, after discovering their connections to racialist groups promoting race superiority, eugenics, and other morally repugnant ideas. Klinghoffer explains how Darwinian evolution has informed proponents of these ideas, and how important it is to identify and root out this kind of thinking before it has a chance to pollute respectable institutions and publications. As Klinghoffer makes clear, Darwinian ideas are hardly the only possible source of racist thinking, and of course racism long predates Charles Darwin. But Darwinism has proved fertile soil for scientific racism in the modern period, one more reason among many to take a hard, honest look at the growing scientific evidence against modern Darwinism. For more on how Darwinism has contributed to the tragedy of scientific racism in America, watch the award-winning Discovery Institute documentary Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism, now with more than a million views.
On this episode of ID the Future, Discovery Institute education outreach specialist Daniel Reeves illustrates how ID opponents commonly erect mindless straw men versions of the theory of intelligent design, as if by refuting a false version they’ve done any damage to the real thing. Then, in this middle portion of a talk he gave to students at the 2020 Dallas Science and Faith Conference, he explains what ID really is, and the central question ID seeks to answer.
On this episode of ID the Future we hear the first part of Discovery Institute education outreach associate Daniel Reeves’ talk at the 2020 Dallas Science and Faith Conference. Reeves outlines the meaning of natural selection, and traces its history, starting from Darwin’s early understanding, in the days when cells were viewed as just blobs of protoplasm. Reeves carries the story from there through the neo-Darwinian modern synthesis and into the extended evolutionary synthesis, culminating in a 2016 meeting of the Royal Society on the theory’s continuing — and still unresolved — explanatory deficits.
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, Ira Berkowitz interviews M.I.T. Ph.D. Lee Spetner in Jerusalem. Spetner challenges the idea of convergent evolution and explains his non-random evolutionary hypothesis.
On this episode of ID the Future, Eric H. Anderson reads from his newly co-authored book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, written to provide a clear and simple introduction to the evolution/ID controversy, and broad overview of the evidence for design in nature--including fine tuning and the Big Bang, the origin of life, irreducibly complex machines, and the Cambrian Explosion. In this chapter excerpt, Anderson tells of Richard Dawkins' glib assurances that the mystery of the origin of life is one not far from being solved. Not so, Anderson says. Origin-of-life researchers haven't found a pathway to a self-replicating biological entity, the beginning point for any sort of Darwinian evolution. And it's not for lack of time, effort, or funding. The single cell that Darwin saw as a relatively simple blob has proven to be far more complex than anything imagined. What about a self-reproducing molecule, thought to be easier to evolve than a full-blown cell? As Anderson explains in Chapter 3 of the book, the idea remains a purple unicorn, and for reasons that are perhaps most easily appreciated by looking at the ongoing attempts to build a self-reproducing 3D printer.
On this episode of ID the Future, Ira Berkowitz interviews M.I.T. Ph.D. Lee Spetner in Jerusalem. Togethe they explore key arguments from Spetner’s books Not by Chance and The Evolution Revolution. Spetner takes on natural selection, discussing what it can and cannot do. He also explores aspects of population genetics and the constraints the Earth’s history imposes on evolving new species.
On this episode of ID the Future, host Rob Crowther interviews Dr. Thomas Y. Lo, one of the co-authors of the brand new Discovery Institute Press book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. The genesis of the book was at a Discovery Institute summer seminar. Lo began discussing with professors and students the idea of a new concise, accessible guide to evolution and design. Before long he was joined by four others, including two PhD biologists. The new book covers everything from cosmology and the origin of life to irreducibly complex biological marvels. The final chapter focuses on the mystery of the Cambrian explosion and the extraordinary Cambrian fossils of Chengjiang, China, including a firsthand account of one of the early trips there by Western scientists. That firsthand account is provided by one of Lo’s co-authors, University of San Francisco professor emeritus Paul Chien, a marine biologist made famous in ID circles in the Illustra Media film Darwin’s Dilemma and in Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid speaks with pediatric neurosurgeon and professor Michael Egnor about public policy decisions regarding the coronavirus. In a conversation based on a recent Evolution News article, Egnor says scientists should have “stayed in their lane,” giving policymakers the information that science can provide about a potential pandemic, and left the political calculations alone. He argues that WHO failed in one of its primary jobs, which is providing timely information and recommendations for preventing and slowing the spread of pandemics. They sat on information about Covid-19 for weeks, long after they knew there was a serious problem in China. Egnor also urges policymakers to apply science along with other expert information in a transparent decision-making process. And they must apply sound ethics--for which Egnor offers Thomas Aquinas’s four-fold framework, including the principle of “double effect.”
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, Ira Berkowitz interviews M.I.T. Ph.D. Lee Spetner in Jerusalem. Together they explore key arguments from Spetner’s books Not by Chance and The Evolution Revolution. Spetner explains why he considers Neo-Darwinism less than a theory and offers a surprising take on Thomas Malthus. Spetner also argues that, contrary to Darwinist propaganda, the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria demonstrates a loss of information rather than a gain.
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.
On this episode of ID the Future, science historian Michael Keas and philosopher Jay Richards continue their conversation about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new National Geographic series Cosmos: Possible Worlds. As Keas explains, Tyson’s story of ancient superstition evolving at last into modern medicine gets both ancient and modern medicine factually wrong. His long-running “history” of the warfare between science and religion also is historically mistaken, Keas, author of Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion insists. Curiously, Tyson has a future, quasi-religious myth of his own to promote: personal immortality through futuristic technology.
What do you know about eclipses? Join us today with this classic ID The Future episode from August of 2017, when a perfect solar eclipse was seen in the US. Here, CSC Senior Fellow Jay Richards explains how perfect solar eclipses are the tip of an iceberg-size design argument found in a book he co-wrote, The Privileged Planet. The conditions for a habitable planet (right distance from the right size star, a big but not too big moon that is the right distance away to stabilize Earth’s tilt and circulate its oceans) are also conditions that make perfect solar eclipses from the Earth’s surface much more likely. And perfect eclipses aren’t just eerie and beautiful. They’ve helped scientists test and discover things, and are part of a larger pattern: The conditions needed for a habitable place in the cosmos correlate with the conditions well suited for scientific discovery. As Richards notes, this correlation is inexplicable if the cosmos is the product of chance. But if it’s intelligently designed with creatures like us in mind, it’s just what we might expect.
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.