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, 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.
On this episode of ID the Future, hear the second half of Discovery Institute’s John West talk given at the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, on how Darwinism has corroded Western culture. In this portion he examines the morally poisoning effects of Darwinism on marriage, sexual ethics, and religion, such that virtually anything can be defended asOK, and no particular culture’s ethic is to be preferred over another. Humankind’s spiritual purpose has likewise been eroded. Yet West closes with hope: science in our generation is discovering more and more signs of intelligent design and purpose in nature, and young researchers are learning that materialism shouldn't be the foregone conclusion of contemporary science.
On this classic episode of ID The Future, we bring you a clip from the documentary Privileged Species arguing that water possesses many unique properties that appear finely tuned to allow for life on Earth. The excerpt dips a toe into what biologist Michael Denton explores in much greater depth in his book, The Wonder of Water.
On this episode of ID the Future, catch the first half of talk political scientist John West recently gave on how Darwinism has poisoned Western culture. In the lecture, delivered at the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, West explores how Darwin’s purely materialistic theory of evolution drained meaning from nature, undercut the idea of inherent human dignity, and fueled the rise of scientific racism in the twentieth century.
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.