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, 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, 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.