On this episode of ID the Future, Mike Keas interviews science historian and bioethicist Michael Flannery about his recent article on Charles Darwin and archrival Richard Owen. Owen was an evolutionist, too, but of a different stripe. Unlike Darwin, he believed that evolution was guided by teleology or purpose, and he saw humans as different from animals not only in degree but in kind. This led him to reject Darwin’s conclusion of a “hierarchy of races,” as well as Darwin’s expectation that the supposedly “less fit” races of humankind ultimately would be exterminated by the so-called “superior” white race. Most Darwinists today aren’t racist, but Darwinism did grease the skids into a dubious scientific racism that became widespread, encouraging racist eugenics campaigns in both Europe and the United States.
On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson continues his discussion with host Andrew McDiarmid about Nelson’s recent visit to the Galapagos Islands, made famous by Charles Darwin. Nelson explains how Darwin was right — partly. Darwin urged biologists to consider the history of a plant or animal, an idea that was much neglected in the work of his predecessors. As Darwin’s experience on the Galapagos showed, and as Nelson’s experience there echoed, history must be part of our explanation for how species and populations have become the way they are today. At the same time, there are demonstrated limits to evolutionary change, Nelson argues, and so natural history alone cannot be the entire explanation for the origin of biological form.
On this episode of ID the Future, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and philosopher of biology Paul Nelson tells about his surprise 60th birthday gift from his wife, a trip to the “scientific Mecca,” the Galapagos Islands. Charles Darwin, whose own birthday lands today, devoted a big portion of his notes and field books from his Beagle voyage to these amazing islands, where species can be found that exist nowhere else on earth, and where from Darwin’s day until now, the creatures have no fear of humans.