On this episode of ID the Future, Dr. Richard Sternberg, research fellow at the Biologic Institute, speaks on his mathematical/logical work showing the difficulty of identifying genes purely with material phenomena, and that DNA doesn’t have all that’s needed to direct the development of organisms. The math, he says, is even showing gaps in the computability of what happens in the cell, which could help shed light on how machine-like organisms are or are not, how evolvable they are, and whether artificial life is possible.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads an excerpt from Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design by Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola and Jonathan Witt. It makes the case that modern neo-Darwinism is today’s “phlogiston,” a theory that explains everything but nothing, faces mounting contrary evidence, and survives only with ever more ancillary hypotheses. In the excerpt Leisola and Witt also discuss the well-documented pattern of scientists defending an existing scientific paradigm even after fresh discoveries have turned against it, with the obsolete dominant paradigm dying only very slowly. An especially dramatic and tragic example gave the name to this all-to-human tendency--the Semmelweis reflex. Listen in to learn more.
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, Zombie Science author Jonathan Wells talks about his multifaceted, impressive and, at times, quirky educational history. Dr. Wells started as an undergrad geology major at Princeton and later moved to Berkeley to finish his undergraduate work. He was arrested as a conscientious objector and saw the ugly side of the anti-war movement. Disgusted, he moved to the remote mountains and there discovered evidence of intelligent design. After snagging a Ph.D. in theology from Yale, he returned Berkeley for his second Ph.D., this one in embryology. It was in studying embryos that Dr. Wells came across his first Icon of Evolution, Haeckel’s embryos. More icons soon followed. These and the dogmatism of the scientific materialists are explored in his newest book, Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution.
On this episode of ID the Future Dr. Robert J. Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University and former President of the IEEE Neural Networks Council, argues that computer programs cannot be genuinely creative. Computer programs also won’t be able to experience consciousness, he says, never mind all the media hype on this point. Marks concedes that a computer code can surprise us, as when a program playing the game Go makes a surprising move. But when it does this, it’s following a rigorous algorithm that neatly explains the move. Marks says this isn’t true creativity. If the Go Program learned chess without programming for chess, or invented chess, that would be creative. Marks then defines creativity: “A computer program will be creative if it responds with an output that is inexplicable, that can’t be explained by the computer programmer.” Marks also discusses deep learning and computational neural networks, their promise and limitations. As for quantum computing, it will be dramatically faster but he insists it won’t provide a leap into consciousness. The episode concludes with a discussion of how automation and AI will impact the workplace over the next few decades.
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, Tod Butterfield reads from the beginning of Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design, by Jonathan Witt and Matti Leisola. It’s an exciting book that tells the story of how one major European scientist who applied the maxim, “Scientists are supposed to investigate mysteries with an open mind; not assume an explanation from the outset.” Leisola came to see that arguments insisting on purely material causes in nature are based on assumptions, not evidence. He noted how history shows that scientific consensus doesn’t always mean scientific truth. And ultimately — in spite of serious opposition from mainstream science — he came to see that the evidence in nature really points to intelligent design.
This episode of ID the Future features biologist Jonathan Wells and computer scientist Winston Ewert. Dr. Wells speaks on embryo development and the current mystery of ontogenetic development, which relies on continually updating information not found in DNA. Dr. Ewert describes his research on the “dependency graph of life.” This is an alternate explanation for the tree of life, which he says fits the data better than the usual answer, common descent.
On this episode of ID the Future, Scotsman Andrew McDiarmid reads from Marcos Eberlin’s recent book Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose. In this excerpt, the distinguished Brazilian scientist highlights the challenge the Venus flytrap poses for evolutionary theory. Dr. Eberlin, the former president of the International Mass Spectrometry Association, describes the problem: The Venus flytrap, like all carnivorous plants, had no use for its insect-trapping function unless it also had an insect-digesting function. And vice versa. Did they really both evolve together? And how when there would be no functional advantage along much of the evolutionary pathway to the sophisticated finished system? Finally, how did this “evolutionary miracle” also happen in four other carnivorous plant genera? (See the Venus flytrap here, as mentioned in the podcast.)
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, Brian Miller interviews Paul Nelson about orphan genes. What are these genes? How common are they? What is the pan-genome? And how does all this impact the evolution-intelligent design debate? Nelson argues that these little orphans spell big trouble for Neo-Darwinism. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast: idthefuture.org/donate.
On this episode of ID the Future, physicist Dr. Brian Miller explains several challenges to the origin of life, from thermodynamic challenges to the need for complex systems to create complex systems: information processing, energy production, manufacturing, auto-assembly, control systems, and feedback loops are all required from the start.. Dr. Miller also speaks to the “intellectual captivity” imposed on science students who don’t accept prevailing theories of scientific materialism. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast: idthefuture.org/donate.
On this episode of ID the Future, Stephen Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and author of Darwin’s Doubt, gives advice to students and recent graduates interested in intelligent design. He encourages students to recognize how pervasive philosophical naturalism is in the academy; master the material; do good work; and stand firm. When should you keep your head down, letting discretion be the better part of valor, and when should you speak out, publicly supporting the case for intelligent design? Meyer also offers advice about this. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast: idthefuture.org/donate.