Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

[Music] welcome to uncommon knowledge I'm Peter Robinson shooting today in Fiesole a town in the hills above Florence Italy with me today three guests david Berlinski is a philosopher mathematician and author who has lived in Paris for a couple of decades now and is now the editor of inference the international review of science David Galanter is a professor of computer science at Yale and the author of a number of books including most recently the tides of mind uncovering the spectrum of consciousness Stephen Meyer is a philosopher and author he directs the center for science and culture at the Discovery Institute a think tank in Seattle here's what brings us together in the Claremont Review of Books this past spring David Galanter published an essay titled giving up Darwin quote Steven Myers thoughtful and meticulous book Darwin's doubt convinced me that Darwin has failed the deniable Darwin and other essays a book by David Berlinski is also quote essential David kilometre David Berlinski Steven Mayer welcome thank you all right definitions Darwin's book is on the Origin of Species and to quote from David galera ters essay quote there's no reason to doubt that Darwin's successfully explained the small adjustments by which an organism adapts to local circumstances changes defer density or wing style or beak shape yet there are many reasons to doubt whether he can explain the big picture not to fine tuning of existing species but the emergence of new ones closed quote okay I'm a layman I know nothing start by convincing me somebody that you're not just defining the term species to Darwin's disadvantage who wants to take that with David there really is very little disagreement on the issue of what a species is and I think it doesn't have to be a technical term I think virtually any alert child knows when he passes from one species of pet creature to another species or what cat yeah a cow or a sheep or something like that this is part of our innate view of the universe nobody wants to define anything to Darwin's disadvantage I think you're looking at three scientists here and I think every one of us has appreciated and is speaking only for myself and I'd be surprised appreciated the beauty of what Darwin did it certainly was no joy to conclude that Steve was right it was no joy for me to to give up a beautiful theory and was Immunization a beautiful aesthetic so there's some things subjective about it but explain that why did Darwin strike he was beautiful uh you know whatever yeah each year of my life I am I am less convinced that there is anything at all subjective about beauty oh really the fact that here we are in Florence and every single person in the city wants to see the Michelangelo so portrait I mentioned to you and the slaves in the academia and they and and the great paintings in new feet see people come from all over Asia people come from Africa they come from all over the world there's spectacularly little disagreement I mean their disagreement about theorems and topology also when people say I believe the proof i don't believe the proof there's disagreement about everything in human life but i think less about the greatest art than about any other subject beauty is something that i think scientists tend to agree on to use as a pointer in the direction of truth Darwin's theory struck me as beautiful insofar as it explains big things by generalizing little things the you mentioned the change in the density of fur creature with fur in the shape of the beak of a bird or of a feather of their bird Darwin can explain those things by principles of natural selection and when he says well we can go from these little changes a beak is is is three inches as opposed to three and a quarter inches we can use the same mechanism that by which we explain that to explain why there are sheeps and cows why there are monkeys and also orangutans and why that why apes are different for a monkey's the fact that we can explain this huge question of where species came from the Origin of Species using the same mechanism that will work for tiny variations in the fur of a sheep or the beak of a bird if one aspect of what makes the theory beautiful I mean other people look at it from different just quickly because I want to go into the arguments against but is this did you have the same response does Darwin strike you as beautiful never for a minute Stephen it was a comprehensive synthesis and so from the standpoint of what scientists look for it had an appeal it was also well a well argued book the Origin of Species but it was well argued on the basis of evidence that was known in the nineteenth century and not things that we've learned mostly from the 20th and 21st ok we come to that now again from David giler enters sa quote Darwinian the fossil record problem one the fossil record Darwinian evolution of quoting you is gradual step by step yet in the Cambrian explosion of around half a billion years ago a striking variety of new organisms including the first ever animals pop up suddenly in the fossil record over a mere 70 million years close quote now 70 million years seems to be plenty of time for all kinds of surprising things to this layman explain why is the Cambrian explosion such a problem for the Cambrian explosion was something that such a problem that it even began to convince this man you know it was a problem that even Darwin was aware of and he wrote in the Origin of Species it was inexplicable on his view of of life and but he felt that the future fossil finds would fill in the missing ancestral forms that were evident what happens in the Cambrian is you get a huge number of what are called the animal body plans where a body plan is a unique configuration of body parts and tissues and they arrive very abruptly in the fossil record without discernible connection to earlier precursors or earlier ancestors in the Precambrian record if this wall were the side of a canyon halfway up we'd see you have a stripe of rock and in that stripe you'd find a whole bunch of new forms of animal life and then during the layers underneath there would be no intermediate they're not leading with any just turnable connection right and so the Cambrian explosion itself has been differently dated but increasingly the the date that David use of 70 million years is a very generous state for the the age range is actually narrowing as a result of additional findings it's now about 10 million years as the increasingly accepted date and there are major explosion in one Chinese seam there's 13 to 16 different major groups of animals that have arisen in a 5 to 6 million or window it's it's incredibly abrupt geologically when you consider the age of the earth the four and a half billion years it's also very abrupt biologically because there is a mathematical branch of Darwinian theory called population genetics that allows us to calculate how much how much change evolutionary change we ought to expect in a given amount of time if we know things like the mutation rate the generation time regulation sizes and 5 10 even 70 million years is a blink of an eye in terms of those the calculations that can be made or for what are called waiting times and the expected waiting times for the amount of change that's evident in the Cambrian blowout the timescale if you will they're hundreds of millions or billions of years so this is a really unexpected event both biologically mathematically and geologically on a Darwinian view of things all right back to David Gill Aaron tour we moved from the fossil record I'm coming to you go nowhere I'm patient up thank you David Galera main problem is molecular biology now this is complicated to me but I'm going to continue quoting your essay and then ask somebody to unpack it for this layman here for this layman who can't tell a cat from a dog apart the the species I'm I'm gonna treat me as a very slow student quoting what I'm quoting you what does generating new forms of life entail many biologists agree that generating a new shape of protein is the essence of it this argument step number one argument step number two and inventing a new protein means inventing a new gene you might have give me the the overview on that one Steve is the real biologist life means new life new form of life means new protein means new gene well I'll explain it in terms that would be familiar today but if you want to give a computer a new function right a new program for it to accomplish a new function you've got to give it new code and the big discovery of 20th century biology following Watson and Crick and what's now called the molecular biological revolution is the same thing as true in life you want to invent a new form of life you've got to have you've got to have code in the form of the information inscribed along the spine of the DNA molecule and we're learning and other forms of information so you need the information to build the the protein molecules that serviced the different types of cells and then you need additional information to arrange the cells into the body plants and so the the Cambrian explosion is an explosion of biological form but it's also an explosion of biological information and that fact gives us a way of grappling with this question that Darwin didn't have because we know something about what it takes to generate information in our high-tech digital world of computing right I know I have to say that David Gill enter in his essay goes very easy on Darwin first he calls the theory beautiful and says how sad he is to have to dismiss it and then he says this molecular stuff Darwin couldn't have known that but nobody so if tell me if you tell me if I've got it more or less right in Darwin's time it was good enough to imagine that the basic unit of life a cell was like a little brick of jell-o it was an undifferentiated quite uncomplicated thing and you could imagine putting many many many of them together into getting different forms of life is that roughly fair you know is good enough for Darwin it's probably good enough for us as well but it's not true it's that's the big problem this cell is an unbelievably complex bit of machinery unfathomably complex and we haven't understood its complexity at all every time we look there seems to be an additional layer of Rabaul bit of complexity that needs to be factored in to our theories don't forget the the the eternal goal is to explain the emergence of this complexity yes and if we're continually behind the curve because the complexity is increasing every time we look that eternal goal is also receding from you not approaching it's receding it's becoming more and more difficult to construct a theory for that all right now somebody give me some notion of the math here things are more complicated than Darwin knew we understand that producing new forms of life now means not just new shapes new activities in which life engages but a prior code or is that fair you're the you're the man you mate you know the the mathematical element of this not of population genetics in in the complex sophisticated predictive sense that si was referring to but just the simple issue of the code it is remarkable for young people learn in high school is remarkable for me or an elementary school to learn that proteins molecules are assembled because there are codes there are codes in the nucleus of cells that spell them out character by character codon by codon this codon means this amino acid and the next one means that and the next one means that but the but the mathematics the mathematics underlying these codons is very simple and then Darwin could perfectly well have understood if he had the facts each one of these positions has to be occupied by one of 20 amino acids okay so you picked one of 20 guys for this position and one of 20 guys for this position my talk about visualizing a string of B yeah like as you're building a protein or different colored beads roughen build on building a protein out of amino acids yes and and I'm doing it by choosing the amino acids one by one by one by one by one yeah and I have 20 choices each time now if there are several hundred of these things in the string in the bead in the necklace it's a big nut and necklace that wraps around your neck 18 times so there are several hundred like five times whatever it is that's a huge number of possible choices the number of ways in which you can arrange the Emerald followed by the Ruby followed by the opal followed by the tunngle Platinum and another Ruby in another Ruby and a diamond and a aquamarine the number of ways you can arrange that is huge grows exponentially as this as the string gets longer so even when the string is short even if it's a cheap necklace for your very first girlfriend and so you can afford it's still there's an astronomical number of choices and Darwin could easily have computed that he just didn't know about the amino acids he didn't know about the necklace he didn't know about the string it's not the mathematics that stumped him it's the biology the mathematics is simple a high school student can compute how many choices there are if there are 20 gems for position number one and twenty gems or position number two and you have 60 gems altogether and the task here you're trying to mute you so I'm quoting from your - you can even though I got it you got it right I'm David this David Olinsky has a memorable phrase going to describe this mathematical problem he calls it the problem of combinatorial inflation yes yes of length the required length of the pro molecule grows the numbers grow exponentially they inflate exponentially and so that the the odds of a random search finding the the the one that makes the pretty necklace to use right other metaphor dropped precipitously and in this huge unimaginably vast universe of possible combinations the number of combinations that would produce a useful protein is what they are exceedingly rare exceedingly rare and this is what we didn't know until the last just the last couple decades there was an extraordinary conference in the 1960s held by convened by a number of MIT scientists some of whom David knew very well Murray Eden Marsha Martin burger and they were the first to see the mathematical problem with Darwinism they called it their conference was called mathematical challenges to neo-darwinism but at the time they could compute the number of possible arrangements but they didn't know at the time how many of the arrangements would result in functional proteins that would do a job in the cell and so they didn't know they couldn't exactly measure how hard this search was would be on a random random basis the especially the computer scientist Marie Eden and others knew that based on computer science if this is functioning like a true linguistic system it's going to be it's like unlikely that you can do a random search and find a meaning a meaningful string of characters in DNA that will produce a meaningful protein ok but people didn't know in in the 1960s by that by early 2000s there been a number of different experimental measures of the rarity of the functional genes and proteins versus all the gibberish sequences right and for a short fruit for example just one result for a short protein 150 amino acids long the ratio is one protein that will fold into a a functional structure for it compared to 10 to the 77th jibberish sequences so the ratio of functional to non-functional is 1 over 10 to the 77th power okay so functioning proteins are extremely rare it's very hard to imagine random mutations leading to functional proteins except that and here I quote dr. Gill errant her again but the theory understands that mutations are rare and successful ones even scarcer Darwinism knows this to balance that out there are many organisms and a staggering immensity of time your chances of winning might be infinitesimal but if you play the game often enough you win in the end correct that's the question do you play it often enough there's always an often enough and the question is does the history of life with which Darwin was concerned allow you enough chances to make it at all probable let's say or even possible that you'll hit on what statistically that you'll hit on one of those amazingly rare necklaces that folds up into a protein that can be stuck in a Cell on actually doing doing anything I'm not a biologist and so I look at this and say yeah there ain't sure there's enough time you know there's been a lot of creatures on earth and life is going on for a long time but when biologists look at this and try and nail it down and figure it out try and make it guess Chinese heuristics to make a guess like using the number of total bacterial lifetime as a measure of the number of total mutations we're playing with the point is from whatever angle you come out it the the answer is no there has not been enough time the the number of throws we've had is too puny even to talk about doesn't even approach pew ninis and certainly is nowhere near reasonable so so we would get that if we had a reasonable time but we don't we didn't we have it so let me just be very explicit from my little Winnie the Pooh Bear sized mind you are saying you are saying that Darwin is unlikely to have to be able it's unlikely that species arose the way Darwin said or you are saying it is impossible Darwin was just mr. lovely man beautiful idea is hardly a difference it is hardly a difference unlikely and plus we're talking about odds that are so prohibitum if you wish to say it's impossible fine I'll defend you saying it's impossible if you wish to say it's highly unlikely I'll be in your corner as defense attorney as well but there's no practical difference it's look like we've known it justice things for hundreds of years I had a million monkeys at a million typewriters all of them typing at random we know they're not going to produce the collected works of Shakespeare anything like a reasonable amount of time it's like that wonderful episode of The Simpsons do you remember if mr. burns has a million monkeys typing in a million typewriters they're going to produce the greatest novel ever written he pulls out one sheet of paper and it was the best of times it was the worst of times it was the best of times it was the worst of times stupid stupid monkey to put the discussion down even lower the Jim Carrey film where he's trying to get a date with a young lady he fancies and she tells him to go away he says well what are they what are the odds a girl like me and a guy like you could get together not good he says what do you mean not good like one in a hundred and she's like one in a million and then he says well but if there's a chance here's a precise way of yes of cashing out this probabilistic argument if you have 1 over 10 to the 77th power as your ratio but then you have all if every organism in the history of the planet and we can estimate that about 10 to the 40th organisms so you define bacteria a little tiny bacterium yeah every time one of those replicates there's a possibility for a mutation that could search the space of possibilities so you've got 10 to the 40th possible mutations against a search space 10 to the 77th strong right so if you do your exponential math you end up with you can what it means is you can search 110 trillion trillionth 110 trillion trillion trillionth of the possible combinations so in that case are you more like to succeed or fail you're overwhelmingly more likely to fail to find one of the functional combinations even taking into account every organism that's lived on earth and that's that that means that the the are winning hypothesis so overwhelmingly more likely to be false than true it just didn't happen okay one last piece of the argument here that you mentioned there are other pieces in this book of course and in David's book but here's one last word that you mentioned in your essay is compelling to you David Gilliland er to help create a brand new and this is the the question mute mutations proving harmful at least as often as useful if I have it right to help create a brand new form of organism a mutation must affect a gene that does its job early and in the development of the life form and the controls the expression of other genes that come into play as the organism grows evidently there are total of no examples in the literature of mutations that affect early development and the body plan as a whole and are not fatal somebody explain that one to me briefly who wants you start in Stephen if I'm if if I want to direct the Assembly of an animal that I've got to get in there early before they've finished putting them together putting all the you know the hoofs on and getting the wool on he's a sheep I like sheep I have to say you know I have to get in there early before they start building them so they don't accidentally build a mouse or a leopard or or a zebra I have some say look there's only sheep get bones this I and we need a nose about this big and we need cheap ears and we need to if she passes we need wool you know get all this stuff together so I've got to act early now if I'm going to now if I'm going to create a new species I'm going to mutate and instead of building a sheep I'm going to build a little horse because horses come in cheap size what are they called well anyway Shetland ponies I got to do that there may be a mutation that makes me order purple wool or or the wrong color hooves or a stomach that won't quite fit but a mutation that is going to recreate the creature in such a way that it's a different creature is biologists tell me in Forrest County almost certainly likely to be fatal I mean they're a that makes a huge difference and that starts putting the head on backwards it starts starts giving him 17 tails or or too many internal organs or fur gets the blood or something like that because this is right early on that I'm acting when I'm doing tremendously important things and if I make a slip at this all-important stage not gonna make a little error in the density of the fur it's gonna be a big error in the design of the internal of the external that makes its creature what it is that's a that's an informal report David a good argumentative disjunction if you talk about major changes if they come late in development they're not gonna make a difference the the organism is already constructed may have no Shriver eyes okay if they come early they can't make a difference because inevitably they destroy the organism too many things downstream depend on those early cell divisions so what we're faced with a real destructive dilemma late no good early no good well when we've sort of exhausted the possibilities and I'm sure the David Lerner wants to stick up for Darwin one more time and say he couldn't have known this this is not an attack on Darwin as a man or a thinker or a scientist but it's the job of signs to figure out what guesses are right and what are wrong scientists are paid for making guesses not for making right guesses but for making interest in plausible ones and if scientists after after the guest has been made don't do their job don't investigate the gas don't do their best to figure out is it true or false then we are false to science and we're betraying sign intelligent design from david gilliland news essay the evidence suggests Stu Meyer who's seated with us today that an intelligent designer must have been responsible I can't accept intelligent design as Meyer presents it close quote you also have seated next to you David Berlinski who has been who his missus David who has said that his attitude toward intelligent design and I'm quoting him is warm but distant it's the same attitude that I displayed toward my ex-wives so so you have one man who can't accept it another man who definitely wants to keep his distance I'd leave Meyer out so so well I don't know you want to start the easier case try to convince David tell us what tell us what intelligent design is that distinguishes it from some kind of effort to sneak God in by some backdoor sure the intelligent design apparently just one word that's definitely not Steve's intention in in this book in intelligent design it's not a way to bring in a theological argument it is a scientific approach purely and absolutely valid scientifically one can agree with it or disagree with it but one doesn't have to reject it insofar its theology making an illegal move cuz that's not what that's not what you good let me sketch the arguments truthfully and then we can just discuss it the the big discovery of the 1950s and 60s was that the DNA molecule encodes information in a roughly digital or alphabetic or typographic form this way to use the term digital well because in computer science we have characters you know zeros and ones this was this is Crick 1957 is the sequence hypothesis he realized that that the information in DNA or the the chemical subunits of DNA called nucleotide bases were functioning like alphabetic characters in a written text or like the zeros and ones in a section of computer code that is to say it's not it wasn't their chemical properties that gave them their function but rather their specific arrangement in accord with an independent symbol convention which was later explicate 'add in the form of what we call the genetic code we had genetic text functioning according to a code so it really was a pure it was it was pure information but this is a genuine information storage system Creek by the way was a Code Breaker in World War two so there's a fascinating is application of the information science system molecular biology now what we and this is the argument that I make is that what we know from experience is that information whether we find it in a hieroglyphic inscription or a paragraph in a book or information embedded in a radio signal or in a section of computer code whenever we find information and we trace it back to its ultimate source we always come to a mind not a material process and what I do in the book in Darwin's doubt and my prior book signature in the cell is show that these undirected evolutionary mechanisms that have been proposed as an explanation for the origin of information fail for various reasons we've talked about the reason that Darwinian mechanism fails because it can't search the space when it's so vast that the odds are overwhelmingly against it so if we from a materialistic evolutionary standpoint don't have any explanation for the origin of the information that's necessary to build new biological form and yet we do know from our uniform and repeated experience which is the basis of all scientific reasoning of a source of information of a cause of the origin of information that that causes intelligence or mind and so what I've argued in both Darwin's doubt and signature in the cell is that what we're seeing in life is evidence of the activity of a directing mind in the history of life David Berlinski to quote the old saying if you see a turtle on a fence post you know it didn't get there by itself look around you there's intelligence behind this creation we inhabit yes that's an easy one for a man like you yes I guess you're not leaving me much to chew with much you are a contrary man what do you mean I don't know I mean look intelligence in the world intelligence behind the world I'm relying really why this subjection whatever he comes up with you you're going to be the one who answers so you're meanest kisses at famine prices it doesn't really in my point from my point of view it doesn't really give us much it's not yet a theory I'm certainly ought to say there's a lot of intelligence manifest in the world but at the same time I think that doesn't really look the technology to you look at this it's information yes its information that's pretty good yeah that's pretty good yeah it's information I recognize that information of some loose sense maybe Shannon since maybe a more elegant formulation of information theory but I'm much more persuaded by something that leads to a strong counterintuitive claim for example that the information is embedded in a topology in a certain way that makes it inevitable that certain life forms will emerge that would be an interesting conclusion and for a time I thought there was such a a mathematical construction I don't think my confidence was entirely well-founded but it was a good idea but just to say that the world is charged with the grandeur of God I could have said that before thinking about biology it is that's true David Gill Aaron I'm quoting your essay again if there was an intelligent designer what was his strategy how did he manage to back himself into so many corners wasting energy on so many doomed organisms what was his purpose and why did he do such a slip slip shod job why are we so disease prone heartbreak prone and so on close quote what aren't you setting a pretty high state aren't you saying in effect either Steven Mayer can explain all the mysteries of the human heart or he's not allowed to say anything that is to say the difference between a purely materialistic view that all that we see around us came about purely as a matter of chance and Stevens view that there is intelligence however little we can say about it however little we understand what we mean by that that's still a fundamental finding the question is whether the world around us that you're pointing at meets your standard of intelligence whether whether the design that we see is in fact an intelligent design or a total mess when I look at the world at large I see a mess when I look at the mind of man I see a worse mess I see a creature as likely to do bad is good or more likely I see many creatures who were who were fated to die out without leaving any contribution that we can associate with value not even becoming oil or something like that I don't look at I don't look at the world as we know it as more likely the result of intelligence than random playing around then just random taking your chances think of you took your chances you you'd come up with a mess like the world you'd have some lucky breaks there's some really great people there are some beautiful cities like Florence they're all sort of Elijah lay down in the valley there are wonderful things but on the whole I would fail this world if I were grading it and this is an important point in the Talmud by the way I won't magnate there's a famous argument between base and base ah my two schools of thought who are who lived at the same time famous for disagreeing about everything one of them was a lot like David but and but there's only one there's only one question on which they ever agreed and that question was is it good that the earth was created is a good thing the universe was created is it is it is it is it good that it happened and Hillel says and Shammai agrees with him no it's a catastrophe if we had to go back and do it all again how to tell the almighty don't do it the suffering outweighs that go all right Stephen so they fit in intelligent design it wasn't that intelligent I have looked at a little differently I see two things when I look at nature I see evidence of design Aboriginal design and regional meaning from the beginning in different in different groups of organisms from bakeneko but you also see evidence of decay and that's also something that's consistent with what when designers make things then there's this thing we call entropy and I think here a theological perspective does help because I think you from the judeo-christian perspective you would expect to see both evidence of original creation or original design but you would also expect to see that something's gone wrong in nature as well and I think we see both so my theological perspective does inform my ability to answer that question about the things in nature that don't look so well it's interesting for example the problem of virulent bacteria you know nasty nasty bugs they are there they are invariably the result of a loss of information as a result of the mutational process so the very process that the Darwinists have invoked to explain the origin of good design is actually I think responsible for the evidence of decay so I think there's a the this is the question in philosophy known as the theodicy you know yes yes the problem and so I think there's ways of thinking about that but but but for me the the evidence of design is powerful it's ubiquitous in in both in life and at the level of physics of things like the fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics so I I say very powerful signal design but I don't deny the decay and the suffering in the world and I have a theological way of understanding if the if the if the the bad viruses are always a result of a defect that fits the theology perfectly with the theology suggests that good is the entity evil has no independent existence it's always a defect or a shortcoming and the good right isn't that right I think it does fit and and there's a quite a lot of microbiology that actually supports that that viewpoint but back to you dr. Gill Eric there what are two of the great Jewish minds in history doing saying the creation is bad when the beginning of the Hebrew Scripture is God saw that it was good we depart after Darwin just a bit but again is this I can't resist that one it's it's absolutely true that that he saw that it was good and both of the two creation stories agreed that the that that the world is a good thing and yet immediately as far as the Bible is concerned men start screwing it up from from Adam and Eve to Cain and Abel to Noah and his ark to these stories of the patriarchs and the and the world in which they lived to Moses who leads Israel to the promised land and the people are a bitch they're constantly fighting arguing struggling being a nuisance in every conceivable way so it God creates a perfect world on the other hand he hasn't created a perfect creature that's why we are obligated to study and struggle study the good and try to struggle in that direction but I you know I want to say I have no feel article argument with with Steve what I my argument is with people who dismiss intelligent design without considering it it seems to me it's widely dismissed in my world of academia as some sort of theological put up job it's an absolutely serious scientific argument in fact it's the first and most obvious and intuitive one that comes to mind it's got to be dealt with intellectually not not by the bigotry and religious bigotry which is one of the most important facts of the intellectual world the United States the West generally okay you know the case for intelligent design is not based on you know we can have a theological discussion as we've had a bit here but the case for intelligent design isn't an interpretation or a deduction from the scriptural text right it's an inference from biological evidence and in that sense it's different there's makes that assertion and you say yep he's being honest about that and anybody can show not only that but I think it's an important assertion because outside the scientific world one might not know how ideologically bent the world of science parts of the world of science are becoming I I say it with real sorrow and it's certainly not true of every scientist or even a most scientist but we have a cautionary tale in what happened to our English departments and our history departments it could happen to us all right Congress I think might sort of my last round of questions here I'm going to quote you once again David Gill errant nur Darwinism is no longer just a scientific theory but the basis of a world view and an emergency religion for the many troubled souls who need one close quote now lots of people have invested lots of energy in discrediting dr. Berlinski and dr. Maier over the years you dr. gallant nur are a professor of unquestioned competence and achievement in computer science and computer science is with it baby it is right at the middle of the new world we're creating it's technocracy we don't have to ask ultimate questions we just have to deal with zeros and ones it's totally rational it's producing a cornucopia of new wealth and now goal in there goes over to the other side he's done with us all along so what's the reception being greater at New Haven and in your profession in academia I mean that's a serious question what's going ok I have to make a distinction between the way I've been treated personally which isn't a very courteous inclusion wet by my colleagues at Yale there are nice guys and I like them there they're my friends on the other hand when I look at their intellectual TA they're what they publish and much more important what they tell their students [Music] Darwinism has indeed passed beyond a scientific argument as far as they are concerned you take your life in your hands to challenge it intellectually yeah they will destroy it if you challenge it now I haven't been destroyed I'm not a biologist and you know I don't claim to be an authority on this topic but and you know a book review is not the same as a book it's it's desert of a satellite around the book anyway it remains a case that I have nothing personally to charge my colleagues with but what I've seen in their behavior intellectually and it colleges across the West is nothing approaching free speech on this topic is a bitter rejection not a sort of bitter fundamental angry outraged violent rejection which comes nowhere near scientific or intellectual discussion I've seen that happen again and again I'm a Darwinism don't you say a word against it or will or I don't want to hear you period which proves that you're attacking their religion in effect I am attacking our religion and I don't blame them for being all head up it is a big issue for them unquestionably dr. Berlinski who holds his doctorate in philosophy I wanted to part this isn't strictly Darwin but it's I'm indulging myself this is a quotation that has struck me as compelling for a long time but for a long time I thought I really want to try it on Berlinski so here we go okay try I'll try you.this is CS lewis granted that reason is prior to matter I can understand how men should come to know a lot about the universe they live in if on the other hand I swallow the scientific cosmology and for scientific cosmology we may as well read the Darwinian theory of evolution if I swallow the scientific cosmology then not only can I not fit in religion but I cannot even fit in science here we go here's the ears to pay off on this if minds are wholly dependent on brains and brains on biochemistry and biochemistry on the meaningless flux of the atoms I cannot understand how the thought of those Minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees close quote he's on to something there isn't he isn't the existence of isn't consciousness the first question we have to answer not mine totally wrong just it's not even the first question I would think of asking why does it seem so very compelling to you or CS Lewis business yeah it's one of those things it's certainly true that I'm conscious I have my doubts about you and and these two guys here but those doubts really don't matter whole lot I'm prepared to welcome my friends as automata he mattered to me he he's not onto a point or he's onto something that's just uninteresting I'm not sure I understand the point I mean let's say does this make any sense to you expense to me this is this is what bothered Thomas Nagel no and well he's become a skeptic of neo-darwinism is that mines are real things and if you can't give an account of where they came from or what they do that isn't itself self-defeating then you end up in a in a really incoherent ok tell us the goal Aaron or to break the tie because his latest book was on consciousness I have I have to agree and the question of consciousness is unsolved you can argue whether it's important or not I think I think most people intuitively believe it's important I think they're right but the the question of the origins of life and the organs of consciousness are the intellectual bookends of modern science and philosophy and we can't say much about either of them we can't characterize either of them and if we can't characterize them we're not really in a position to explain how they emerged that seems to me a prior commitment to be able to say what we wish to explain someone says I'm deeply puzzled about consciousness but everybody says that that's a very fashionable thing they say in teen vogue for heaven's sakes but I would like to have a better sense of what is prompting the puzzlement I don't have that I can't sit in your seat when you're sitting there so I can't experience your sensations when you're having them Wow all right so what why is that intelligible from a scientific or a philosophical point of view as a pressing issue if you say most of your friends happen to be automata we'll turn you into an automata and you'll get a $50 coupon right now where you can spend in Florence would you accept the deal or not 50 bucks my consciousness yeah for coming in oh you're mr. Floyd well but now you're just dickering over the price yeah exactly but that's true of all intellectual discussions we're always talking about the price the price seems to me very low to be puzzled there are lots of things that are puzzling in the world some of them we understand some of them we don't but we follow you your consciousness at least at $50 yeah $50 at least you've established a floor we can go up from there we're all saying it's a mystery but we're framing the mystery in there that's exactly right it's a puzzle I don't even I'm not even persuaded it's a mystery in the sense which the structure of a natural language whatever it is it's valuable to you to me maybe not to you just as yours is valuable to you but not entirely to me but is this we have to be very skeptical about these claims of profundity because when examined they don't always remain what they seem they don't always remain that gentleman let me name three names that all but remade modern consciousness I think the three of you would agree with that formulation when you hear the names 19th and early 20th century Karl Marx no longer taken seriously I a few faculty lounges in American Universities fundamentally Karl Marx no longer taken seriously Sigmund Freud fascinating a few interesting insights but psychology has now moved so far beyond Freud that at universities across the country they're renaming the department's the department's of psychology and brain sciences we're scanning brains we all right and now we have Darwin and the three of you are taking him down to what does this mean for the way people think about the world is this he won't go down easily no one has taken down Friday is every decade I'm with David Ronn Freud Rises my Estonian feminists in this 1970s were outraged because of something he said or didn't say in a political way has nothing to do with the value of his writing but I'm right at two out of three marks and Darwin certainly with marks in Darwin Marx is kind of a windbag let's agree on that and a bastard person yeah it didn't Bay the whole lot certainly had no sense of style Darwin is a different case I think you're under something to group them together because you've talked about how Darwinism David talked about how Darwinism has become the foundation of a worldview and if you look at the questions that they address Marx Darwin tells us where we came from Marx has a utopian vision of the future and Freud tells us what to do about our guilt in between the three of these great materialistic thinkers of the nineteenth century and early 20th century they form a the basis of a kind of comprehensive materialistic worldview they answer all the same questions that traditional judeo-christian religion is addressed and so it's understandable when we talk about some of the the intense opposition that Darwin's skeptics often face that it's understandable when you realize that you actually it makes sense because you're challenging a fundamental plank in the worldview of many of the scientists many scientists equate their worldview of scientific materialism with the practice of science itself and when you challenge one of the thinkers that is that supports that worldview you're going to get a very kind of emotive reaction and that's often what happens last question here and I'm going to quote David Gill errant nerds that say one final time Darwin now poses a final challenge whether biology will rise to this last one as well as it did to the first when his theory upset every applecart remains to be seen how cleanly and quickly can the field get over Darwin and move on striking sentence this is one of the most important questions facing science in the 21st century close quote is a generational does the whole generation of biologists have to die before the field gets over Darwin what's going to happen here might be generational at best I mean I think I think that would be a great outcome to have the old guard died and and you bet but you know religion is imparted more than anything else by the parents to the children and and and the young people have been brought up as little Darwinists I mean kids I see running around New Haven or old Darwinist anyway the children I mean the students in my class they're all Darwinism so I these guys know more about it than I do I'm not what I think Darwin is eternal because an eternal eternal the name is eternal the ideas eternal the beliefs the commitment they're all eternal the theory will disappear in good riddance to a bad theory but no matter what's a beautiful theory all right it's a beautiful theory whatever it is it will disappear but whatever replaces it will be called Darwinian no doubt about that no matter what Christian heresy emerges in the tides of time it's always called a Christian heresy this will be a Darwinian heresy but that legacy that commemorative legacy will never disappear it's part of the history of the subject just like Newton will not disappear but Newton David clarity I'm prepared for that one because I read David Gardner's essay very carefully and they of course be based on your work in your work so but as as as this David says look there's a range of physical phenomena very big things planets stars Newton isn't too good at that very tiny things quantum mechanics tiny particles we can say he's not too good at that but this huge range Newton is perfectly predictive it fits it comports flawlessly with a with 98% of human experience and Darwin doesn't have to go farther oh I do yeah but I think what David Berlinski is getting at is that does help Darwinism has filled a niche in our intellectual life that is necessary you've got to have give some kind of account of where all these wonderfully intricate systems we call living organisms came from and the fundamental commitment of Darwinism is is some kind of bottom-up materialistic account where the molecules get more complex and form molecule more complex molecules and cells and the cells compete to form more complex organisms so now what we're getting is post neo-darwinian theories of evolution that are trying to provide new mechanisms that will account for the the things that the Darwinian mechanism doesn't account for so even you who bear the scars of abuse from Darwinists say Darwin may have been mistaken in his answers but he was asking invaluable question he's asking invaluable questions but I think he got it wrong I think all Darwinian --zz in the broad sense get it wrong they're trying to explain something very very complex in terms of bottom-up undirected processes and what we see in life complex miniature machines complex information processing systems digital code these are things that bear the hallmark of mind and they suggest rather a top-down instead of a bottom-up approach so I'm sure people committed to a materialistic view of things we'll continue to generate bottom-up explanations but I think we're in a new day we're looking at life in light of our own high-tech digital computing technologies and realizing there's these systems bear all the hallmarks of design let's start to look at life differently and I think looking at it from a bottom-up Darwinian approaches holding science back we're starting to make predictions based on intelligent design we were some of some of our guys were the first people to predict that the non-coding regions of the genome previously identified as junk by the neo-darwinian x' have in fact are in fact importantly functional and so there's the looking at life as a design system is actually yielding insights into how life works it's a new day you'll go with that yes sort of but there's been big changes let's put it this way I think what we have determined is that Darwin created a 19th century local theory without looking at extreme cases that was reasonably successful for breeders for the explanation of local characteristics like beak size or the growth of wings but he entirely failed to explain what he thought he was explaining the emergence of biological complexity on the species level or higher order levels he wasn't a it was a premature question to address an audience about the Origin of Species he couldn't say anything about what he did not know what he could not comprehend and the fact that he did not know or could not comprehend these things is simply a reflection of the fact that we do not know or cannot comprehend those things in the 21st century so the question was the question addressed was widely premature in the 19th century it's still premature we're just learning the structure of intellectual inquiry necessary to understand something like the biological cell and it's much harder a problem than we ever suspected much harder David giler last word to you do you concur it is much harder yeah absolutely it's a fantastically difficult problem we'll solve it but it's not gonna be simple David choleric 'nor author most recently of the tides of consciousness thank you david Berlinski author of many but all three of you author of many books but author in this case the relevant volume is the deniable darwin and other essays and Steve Meyer whose book in this case the relevant book is Darwin's doubt thank you all thank you thank you my friends I'm Peter Robinson for uncommon knowledge the Hoover Institution and Fox Nation thank you [Music] you

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