On this episode of ID the Future, Robert Crowther interviews Sarah Chaffee, Education and Public Policy Program Officer for the Center for Science and Culture, on a recent survey conducted by the dogmatically pro-Darwin National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and published in Nature. The NCSE claims that the survey shows that science teachers “advocate evolution” even more now than in 2007. But as Crowther and Chaffee’s discussion suggests, the survey appears gamed to produce a pro-Darwinist outcome, so much so that even teachers who follow the Discovery Institute’s policy of promoting critical thinking skills by teaching biology students both the strengths and weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory could be counted as evolution advocates by the survey. Then too, as Crowther and Chaffee further note, how likely are biology teachers with doubts about modern Darwinism to participate in a survey by an organization famously instrumental in attacking Darwin-doubting biology teachers?
On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, attorney and engineer Eric Anderson continues his discussion hosted by Mike Keas on what it means that there’s information in DNA, and how this distinguishes it from most other physical objects. He talks about what intelligence really is and does — and why we know it’s involved in creating the unique information in DNA. And he recommends an answer we can give to those who “dig their heels in” and disagree on what information is about.
On this episode of ID the Future, host Jay Richards interviews historian of science Michael Keas about a new documentary claiming that Copernicus’s heliocentric model of the solar system “demoted” humans from the place of honor at the center of everything. Neil deGrasse Tyson champions this persistent myth in episode 8 of the new National Geographic series Cosmos: Possible Worlds. The reality is quite different. As Keas explains, in Copernicus’s day, the Earth was thought to be at the bottom of the universe, the “sump” where all the filth collected, while the starry heavens were considered the place of honor. Keas and Richards trace the history of the demotion myth and discuss how Copernicus, Kepler, and other luminaries of the scientific revolution saw the Copernican revolution very differently, as a glorious promotion of humanity’s place in the cosmos.
On the episode of ID the Future we bring you a production by Discovery Institute about C.S. Lewis and Intelligent Design. With contributions by Discovery Institute’s John West and philosophers Victor Reppert and Angus Menuge, we hear about Lewis’s early doubts about God based in part on an argument from undesign or “bad design” in nature, and how he moved from this position to developing multiple arguments for intelligent design. Another contribution he made to the intelligent design project wasn’t a specific argument but the example he set. As John West explains near the end of the episode, one of his greatest contributions was a commitment to free inquiry and open debate, one he modeled while a professor at Oxford University.
In this episode of ID the Future from the vault, Mike Keas interviews attorney and engineer Eric Anderson about the first of two mistakes ID antagonists often make regarding information in nature. There is information to be gained about natural phenomena, like Saturn’s rings for example, but is there information actually in Saturn’s rings, or is that information produced by intelligent agents studying Saturn’s rings? The answer to that question should be clear — and it makes a huge difference in how we understand information and intelligence. Eric Anderson is the co-author of the new Discovery Institute press book Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell.
On this episode of ID the Future, host Andrew McDiarmid draws on an essay at Evolution News & Science Today to explore some intricate optimized insect designs that are inspiring human engineers and raise the question, could evolution have done that? Cicadas and dragonflies use an exquisitely engineered "bed of nails" on their wings to disarm and neutralize bacteria. Butterflies and bird feathers also use this trick. There are fruit flies that have multiple navigation systems, complete with error correction for hard turns. And the sea skater insect is able to walk on water and launch itself explosively thanks to an impressive combination of engineering marvels. Did evolution really bring all those design factors together? Or was something else required--intelligence and foresight?
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid continues his conversation with Robert Waltzer, chair of the department of biology at Belhaven University and co-author of Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, on three big problems faced by naturalistic evolutionary theory. First, it appears that science has turned up several instances of what is known as irreducible complexity, something that Darwin himself said would falsify his theory if ever discovered. Second, various proposed “trees of life” conflict with each other, a problem that has grown worse as additional evidence and methods have arisen, a trend that makes theories of common descent difficult to sustain. And third, we know of no case where information is generated or improved without intelligent action behind it. Evolutionists still hold on to their theories, but why are they not more open at least to debate and criticism? Professor Waltzer suggests multiple possibilities.
On this episode of ID the Future, biochemist Michael Behe reviews the Long Term Evolution Experiment at Michigan State, where Richard Lenki’s team was initially excited to see what they thought was a new species forming in their flasks of E. coli. As Behe has written at Evolution News, one flask of E. coli in Lenski’s experiment evolved the ability to metabolize (“eat&rdquo citrate in the presence of oxygen. But along with it came multiple mutations breaking genes, degrading genetic information, and ultimately increasing the bacteria’s death rates. It all goes to support Behe’s thesis in Darwin Devolves: evolution is good at creating niche advantages by breaking things; it isn’t good at building fundamentally novel form, the very thing the grand narrative of modern evolutionary theory purports to do.
On this episode of ID the Future, biologist and professor Robert Waltzer talks with host Andrew McDiarmid about Waltzer’s chapter in the new Discovery Institute Press volume Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell. Waltzer’s chapter covers some key terms in the evolution/ID conversation that are often misunderstood or misused. These include the word “evolution” itself, “change over time,” “common descent,” and “natural selection.” He offers quick definitions and explains some of the confusion surrounding them. Waltzer also describes an encouraging success story of his about fostering open dialogue and exploration of the evidence for design in nature.
On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of science Paul Nelson concludes his talk with host Andrew McDiarmid on what it takes to converse effectively with scientists who are trapped in a naturalistic parabola--that is, researchers who draw their conclusions from naturalism’s authority rather than following the evidence wherever it leads. Nelson urges us to keep the third party in the conversation: Nature herself. We listen to nature through experiment, he says, and warns against the message from scientists such as CalTech’s Sean Carroll who have suggested that testing is “overrated.” If we listen and test, nature can keep revealing herself in surprising ways, says Nelson, which is what makes science so fun.