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Monday, May 18, 2009

Podcasts in the intelligent design controversy

1. Socratic Method: Short Stories and James Hoskins

Click here to listen.

Today on ID the Future, Casey Luskin interviews James Hoskins about his latest creative writing endeavors. Hoskins, a philosophy major at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has written several pieces based on the debate between ID and Darwinian evolution, including one that pits Socrates and imaginary materialist Hector Dawkins against each other as they argue over the scientific merit of ID. Hoskins also reads excerpts from some of his stories, and describes the inspiration behind them.

Hoskins' work, including his Debate Between Socrates and Hector Dawkins, can be downloaded from ID Arts here. It is interesting that intelligent design is increasingly the subject of artwork. See also Steve Fuller's clever little play, which puts Abe Lincoln and Charles Darwin (born on the same day) on a contemporary talk show, hosted by a big hair hostette and a wisecracking dude on a short lead.)

2. The Dark Darwinian History of Eugenics

Click here to listen.

On this episode of ID the Future, John West takes a look at the eugenics movement of the early twentieth century and how it drew direct inspiration from Darwinian biology and the writings of Charles Darwin himself. The eugenics movement was no fringe effort, but was the view of mainstream science and espoused by those at Harvard, Princeton, and the National Academy of Science.

For more, visit the website of Dr. West's book, Darwin Day in America.

(Someone should write a book about the Darwin industry's efforts to separate their prophet from the eugenics he believed in and inspired. Unlike the Catholic Church, they cannot just face up to that episode in their history, and get past it. They react with outrage and denial when anyone brings it up, though the history is very well documented. See, for example, From Darwin to Hitler.)

3. Intelligent Design 101: Casey Luskin on Human Chromosomal Fusion

Click here to listen.

On this episode of ID The Future, Casey Luskin continues the series begun in the previous podcast (Intelligent Design 101: State of the Debate), rebutting an argument for common ancestry between humans and chimpanzees in Dr. Francis Collins' book The Language of God.

Taken from a recently finished appendix to Intelligent Design 101: Leading Experts Explain the Key Issues, Luskin responds to the notion that similar chromosomal structure between the two species is proof of a common lineage by saying plainly that the discovery is equally compatible with a theory of common design.

(I find this a messy and complex issue. I don't really have a problem with common descent of humans and chimpanzees in principle. If you think about it, we are all more closely related to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and other moral monsters than we are to Travis, the rampaging chimpanzee.

That said, the vast majority of common descent zealots see it as downgrading humans (= "We are not a little lower than the angels, as the Bible says; we are merely the third chimpanzee species, animals like any other.") It was supposed to be Darwin's great achievement to establish that that is so. The reality is that, common descent or not, we moved away from the chimpanzees' neighbourhood a long time ago, which is why I can call Joseph Stalin a moral monster, but not Travis.)

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