Tag Archives: Ben Shapiro

Video, audio and summary of intelligent design discussion, with Ben Shapiro and Stephen C. Meyer

Stephen C. Meyer and Ben Shapiro discuss evolution and intelligent design
Stephen C. Meyer and Ben Shapiro discuss evolution and intelligent design

This is a must-see / must-hear conversation. Famous conservative Ben Shapiro discusses evolution and intelligent design with Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, author of “Signature in the Cell” (origin of life) and “Darwin’s Doubt” (fossil record). These are the two best books on intelligent design. Their conversation covers the most important issues in the origins debate.

So to start, here’s the full video:

And here is a link to the audio. You can download the MP3 there.

Someone actually put out an outline on Youtube, with a time-based index, so I’ll just steal that as a base, and add to it:

  • 1:34 What is your scientific background? Science undergraduate degree, professional geologist, later did a PhD in philosophy of science from Cambridge University.
  • 2:39 What is the difference between intelligent design and creationism? Creationism starts from the Bible and posits a shorter history of the universe. ID starts from the data of the natural world and is neutral about the age of the Earth / universe. Meyer accepts the old-Earth.
  • 3:36 How is Intelligent Design a scientific theory? The discovery of DNA reveals that code is central to living systems. Intelligent design uses the method of “inference to the best explanation” in order to argue that the best explanation for the code is an intelligent agent.
  • 6:10 What evidence would have to arise to make Intelligent Design Falsifiable? If a naturalistic mechanism was discovered that could produce biological information using the probabilistic resources of the universe, and the time available, then intelligent design would be falsified.
  • 7:26 Is religion separate from science or intertwined within it? There are three views: science is totally separate from religion, science is in total conflict with religion, science and religion agree on some issues, e.g. – the origin of the universe and Genesis 1:1. There are areas where science and religion overlap.
  • 9:55 Why are the most prominent Darwinians also militant atheists? Evolution is a theory that tries to explain nature using naturalistic mechanisms, so it is compatible with atheism.
  • 10:45 What does the theory of evolution say? The term evolution has multiple meanings, and should be defined before discussions. It can refer to change over time. It can refer to animals changing slightly to adapt to enviromental changes. It can refer to the idea that all animals evolved from simpler life forms, and that there is a tree of life showing how different types of organisms share common ancestors. And it can refer to the idea that purely undirected processes can explain the history of life using purely materialistic forces. It’s that final view that intelligent design challenges.
  • 13:15 Where is the discontinuity in naturalistic processes in the development of life? The first discontinuity is the origin of simple life from non-living components. The second discontinuity is the sudden appearance of different body plans in a very narrow window of time in the Cambrian era.
  • 15:42 Why does information theory suggest that code requires some sort of designer? DNA is a true information-bearing system identical to the software in computers, e.g. – operating system, applications.
  • 19:45 Can information be created by random mutation, and favorable mutations preserved by natural selection? Just as in software code, instructions must be added in order to develop new functionality. Random additions of characters will almost always degrade biological function. The number of possible sequences that do nothing useful is vastly higher than the number of sequences that perform biological functions. Doug Axe did research on this at Cambridge University, and he found that the number of functional sequences of amino acids is 1 in 10 to the 77th power. Given the probabilistic resources (replicating organisms)and the time available, it is extremely unlikely to find sequences that have functional information by chance.
  • 25:05 What about Stephen Jay Gould’s model of punctuated equilibrium – doesn’t it explain the sudden jumps in information? Gould’s mechanism is accurate according to the fossil record, which shows a lot of jumps. But he did not have a naturalistic explanation for sudden jumps in biological function. Darwinian mechanisms work slowly and would (in theory) produce different body plans gradually. But this is not what the fossil record shows.
  • 27:22 What is the mechanism for injecting information in the theory of intelligent design? The information comes in from an intelligence when new major body plans appear, and minor variations within types could be explained by evolution.
  • 29:25 Does the Miller-Urey experiment provide a naturalistic explanation for the building blocks necessary for the origin of life? The MU experiment only produced a few types of amino acids, it doesn’t say anything about how to sequence the amino acids in order to form protein folds that can perform biological functions. The MU experiment also pre-supposes conditions on the early Earth (reducing gases) that do not match what was there (oxidyzing or neutral gases).
  • 32:00 Is the RNA world hypothesis is a good explanation for the origin of life? Evolution requires that replication already be in place, because evolution assumes that mutations appear during the replication. The RNA world hypothesis suggests that sequences contain information, but also catalyze origin of life chemistry. The problem with RNA world is that it starts with self-replicating systems. And those replicating systems require the scientist to inject information into the system to get even the simplest replication started.
  • 34:56 How do scientists respond to the critiques of Darwinism proposed by intelligent design advocates? By and large, they accept them. They think that mutation and selection works once living systems are in place, but they realize it has no explanation for the origin of life or the sudden origin of body plans. (Tells about the  conference of the Royal Society, where problems with Darwinian mechanisms were discussed, and the 2003 MIT Press book by Muller and Newman).
  • 37:16 Why do people hold to Darwinian evolution in the face of these problems? Many scientists presuppose methodological naturalism, which requires that any explanation for the origin of life and the origin of major body plans involve materialist explanations only. No intelligent agents are allowed. The problems occur when assumption of naturalism causes scientists to propose incorrect explanations for what we observe in nature. It’s also not clear how naturalistic mechanisms could produce organisms who are capable of reason and free will.
  • 40:43 Does naturalistic evolution have an answer for conscious minds, reasoning, free will? No, consider the work of atheist scholar Thomas Nagel, who argues in his book “Mind and Cosmos” (Oxford University Press 2012) that the existence of mind is a disproof of the neo-Darwinian explanation for life. Darwinism stops us from accepting the reality of minds.
  • 42:06 So do naturalistic evolutionists have to explain away the mind as an illusion? First, we humans have immediate experience of consciousness, reason and free will. Second, our whole legal system is based on the idea free will, because you can’t hold someone guilty unless they chose to do something they knew was wrong. Third, we have an epidemic of suicide among young people. This is caused by a crisis of meaning. Intelligent design opens up the possibility of their being a mind behind the universe, who we could have a relationships with.
  • 44:53 Why aren’t schools allowed to be honest about the problems with neo-Darwinian evolution? The intellignt design view is to that teachers should be allowed to teach all the vidence for Darwinian evolution, and also discuss some of the problems with the theory. Students learning science should not be told that everything is solved. Students learn science better when they are presented with peer-reviewed evidence for and against a theory, rather than being indoctrinated.
  • 47:37 Is intelligent design theory connected to God? Intelligent design infers from the information content in nature that a mind with capabilities like ours injected information into living systems. Intelligent design is agnostic about the designer, because in principle, embodied or unembodied agents could inject information into living systems. Intelligent design is friendly to theism, because theists will immediately identify the mind as God. Furthermore, the fine-tuning in the initial conditions of the universe is another intelligent design argument. In that case, since the design occurs at the beginning of the universe, the intelligent agent acting prior to the creation of the universe would have to be supernatural, i.e. – God.
  • 50:53 Can naturalists say that the imposition of “function” on a sequence is arbitrary, in the same way that the English language is arbitrary? This won’t work, because biological function is not arbitrary in the same way as language. Biological function is not arbitrary, because sequences can be tested for function objectively by observing whether sequences can perform functions necessary for life, e.g. – replication.
  • 52:43 Doesn’t the multiverse explain away the improbabilities of the fine-tuning, the origin of life, and the development of life? No, because all models of the multiverse require fine-tuning in the mechanism that generates the different universes.
  • 55:42 What about cosmological models that eliminate the beginning of the universe? The standard Big Bang model and the inflationary model both posit a beginning of the universe. There is also the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theory which proves that any universe that is expanding requires a beginning. The only chance for naturalists is quantum cosmologies, but this doesn’t work because 1) it requires an abstract reality of mathematics to actualize the physical universe, but this presupposes a mind. 2)  The model requires an earlier input of information, which can only have come from a mind.

If you listen to this lecture, or watch the video, and you enjoyed it, then please share. If you have questions, I can try to answer them for you – just leave your question in the comments, or shoot me an e-mail, or message me from the blog’s Facebook page, or direct message me on Twitter. I’ve invested a lot of time in this, and have been studying intelligent design since the late 1990s.

By the way, I listen to the Ben Shapiro podcast, (and the Andrew Klavan podcast), every day. I never miss an episode, and I think if you give them a try, you’ll enjoy them, too.

Ben Shapiro promotes books that challenge atheism and naturalistic evolution on his podcast

Come here, Mr. Dragon, I want a word with you
Come here, Mr. Dragon, I want a word with you

So, I was listening Ben Shapiro’s podcast, and he mentioned how he had been reading Stephen C. Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell”, which makes the case for intelligent design in the origin of the first living system. Dr. Meyer is a Christian, and got his PhD from Cambridge University. His work is the most effective statement of the case for intelligent design. His second book, “Darwin’s Doubt”, strengthens his argument for intelligent design by discussing the sudden origin of body plans in the fossil record.

Ben also mentioned that he was reading agnostic biologist Michael Denton’s book “Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis”, which is a comprehensive argument against naturalistic evolution. If that were not enough, he has previously mentioned reading “On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision” by Dr. William Lane Craig, and Ed Feser’s book “Five Proofs of the Existence of God”. He’s already had Ed Feser on his podcast, and William Lane Craig was mentioned as a future guest.

I posted this good news on my Facebook page and declared something like: 1) “Wow! Isn’t it great that this Jewish conservative thinker is publicizing arguments to his audience that will help people explore belief in God, and evaluate naturalistic evolution?” and 2) “I wish that more Christians were reading these books, and that pastors in the churches encouraged Christians to read them, too”.

In a later dialog, I also mentioned how good it was for Jordan Peterson to have tweeted an article about the minimal facts case for the resurrection of Jesus to his massive audience. Peterson also had a dialog with William Lane Craig where Dr. Craig presented his arguments for Christianity. Many people went to that dialog to hear Dr. Peterson, but they came away having heard the arguments of Dr. Craig – the most able defender of Christianity today. I considered both the tweet and the dialog to be good things, because any time evidence for the Christian worldview is promoted to large audiences, it is good for the Kingdom of God. Most people haven’t heard of this evidence, and they are settling these important questions based on their feelings, or what the popular culture tells them. It is good for people who are still deciding the big questions to know that there is real evidence to evaluate before they decide.

Two women disagreed

Imagine my surprise when two Christian women I was friends with on Facebook disapproved of my two observations.

The first one said this exactly:

“What difference does it make if he has all the knowledge in the world and not Christ? Maybe I’m missing something?”

And the second one is even worse than the first:

“What good is the evidence, though, if people remain in unbelief toward Jesus, as Peterson and Shapiro do.”

Does the Bible support the use of evidence?

As I blogged before, the Bible records believers in God using evidence to convince non-believers from the start through to the finish. Whether it’s the miracles of Moses, Elijah on Mount Carmel, or Jesus’ miracles, or the resurrection, you can barely find a page where evidence is not being presented to non-believers in order to get them to believe. That is God’s approach, it’s seen in Jesus offering “the Sign of Jonah” (his resurrection) to unbelievers. These people were not saved FIRST. Evidence was presented to them FIRST. Evidence was part of God’s saving initiative in the lives of these non-believers. They were expected to evaluate and respond to the evidence when it was presented to them.

Why did they say it?

So then why not get excited when influential people promote resources filled with evidence relevant to the big questions of life?

First, some people think of Christianity as being about themselves. One Christian woman I worked for once told me why she wouldn’t read books about apologetics: “there’s enough unhappiness in the world already, I’m sure God doesn’t want me to do anything that would make me feel unhappy”. This woman was a troop leader for the “Calvinettes”, the Reformed equivalent of the Girl Scouts. She saw Christianity as being about her, and her feelings. Any expectations, responsibilities, obligations, etc. in the Bible could easily be dismissed, because she knew (from her feelings) that God would never want her to do anything that would make her feel unhappy.

Her view was: “Who cares about those people over there in the university, in Hollywood, in government, and in the Supreme Court, who are discussing whether God exists and whether evolution is true? I shouldn’t have to do any work to convince them that the Christian worldview is correct about these big questions.” It doesn’t matter to some people whether Christianity is respected as a “live option” in the marketplace of ideas. It doesn’t matter whether the rationality of the Christian worldview is diminished in the culture. They don’t care about being ready with an answer to questions from college professors, co-workers, and children. God’s concern for the universe begins and ends with their happiness.

There are conversations going on out there in the culture about big questions. How did the universe begin? Does God exist? How did life begin? Is there life after death? Is anything really right or wrong? We should read good books in order to know how to participate in those conversations with non-Christians. And we should rejoice when  influential non-Christians recommend those books to people still leaning and deciding those big questions.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

The backlash against Karen Pence reveals the fascist ambitions of the secular left

The Pence family: Karen is on the right
The Pence family: Karen is on the right

I saw this story about Mike Pence’s splendid wife Karen getting a job teaching in a Christian school. The school has Biblical views on sexuality, i.e. – no sex outside of marriage and marriage defined as one woman and one man. Well, the mainstream media didn’t a Christian woman behaving like a Christian in public, and they decided to shame her for being a Christian.

Here are the facts from the centrist Washinton Examiner:

The story at issue is that Pence has resumed teaching at a school that “does not allow gay students,” and otherwise discriminates against homosexuals. Well, that’s a rather slanted way to describe the situation.

The school requires adherence to beliefs that include rejection of all forms of pre- or extramarital sex, specifically including heterosexual activity outside of marriage. It’s not homosexuality per se the school disapproves of; it’s the act of sex except as pro-sanctioned by the Bible. This may sound strange to those with oh-so-modern sensibilities, but it’s hardly invidious discrimination.

[…]Yet that crucial context, that the school bans its students from engaging in all forms of sexual activity considered immoral by Christians, is buried (if included at all) in multiple leading news outlets in the bowels of stories beneath headlines and lead paragraphs portraying the school as being particularly ” anti-gay.”

If you’re relying on the mainstream media for your news sources, then you’re almost certainly being lied to.

The secular leftists in the media always Christian moral rules as bad things that exclude and hurt people’s feelings. The secular left treats the feelings of being offended or excluded as more important than the Constitutional rights of freedom of religion and freedom of association.

What was interesting to me about this article was the tone of the original story from the Washington Post.

This article from The Federalist explains:

It’s progressive dogma that leads Harvard-educated Washington Post editor to incredulously ask how traditional Christian schools can even “happen” in contemporary American society. She is not merely questioning whether Second Lady Karen Pence is right or wrong to teach at a Christian school –after all, Americans are free to be critical of  people’s faith (well most)—but rather how the existence of a school that adhere to the teachings of a church that counters progressive dogma can exist at all.

This is the same progressive moral dogma that justifies years-long attacks on the livelihood of Christian bakers and florists. It’s the same dogma that justifies coercing nuns to offer the rite of birth control. If one doesn’t adhere to these commandments, the state, the most powerful institution in the world, will sue them into submission.

The secular leftist wonders “how can people who disagree with me be allowed to exist at all?”

The Daily Caller noted:

Several progressive groups including the NOH8 Campaign, the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project targeted Karen and the school over its faith-based policies. The Trevor Project even announced it plans to send 100 copies of a book depicting the Pences’ pet rabbit as homosexual to the school.

If you ask the secular leftists in the mainstream media “what would you do about Karen Pence and Christian schools, if you had all the power in the world, and were not accountable to anyone?” And the answer is pretty clear from their treatment of Christian bakers, florists, wedding photographers. The would use any means necessary in order silence and coerce Bible-believing Christians into behaving like progressive atheists. And why not? This has been the pattern of the secular left throughout history. Just look at Stalin, Mao, and the other secular leftist tyrants in atheist countries.

Ben Shapiro to the rescue

So where is the church on this? Well, I have noticed that many Christian pastors have nothing to say about politics, or any of the conflicts between Christians and the secular left. A friend of mine from Ohio just sent me this clip of pastor Alistair Begg, a pious fundamentalist pastor with limited real-world abilities, denouncing those who take political issues seriously. I am so sick and tired of these useless pastors who are coasting on the religious liberty that was provided for them by bolder men in ages past. (Aside: Wayne Grudem is pretty good on policy and politics, though)

But wait! The battlefield has not been abandoned by everyone. You see, Orthodox Jews have the same kinds of rules for their religious schools as evangelical Christians do. So, the task of defending Christian religious liberty was taken up by Orthodox Jew and conservative superhero Ben Shapiro.

Here is this Thursday podcast:

Watching Ben reminds me of being at university, feeling very alone, and then discovering videos of William Lane Craig debating atheists on campus. “Is anyone going to speak up for us?” Yes. Someone is going to speak up for us. Make sure you subscribe to Ben’s podcast. I never miss a single episode.

Ben Shapiro speaks out against “microaggression” oversensitivity at U of Missouri

Nearly 400 students showed up to hear Ben Shapiro speak
Nearly 400 students showed up to hear Ben Shapiro speak

My favorite political podcast is The Weekly Standard, and my favorite cultural podcast is Ben Shapiro. I really recommend subscribing to both and listening to them. The video of this lecture shows you what makes Ben Shapiro special. (H/T Kevin the Super Husband)


Question and Answer:

And here’s a news article for those who cannot watch from Breitbart News.


Ben Shapiro’s speech Thursday evening at the University of Missouri was a galvanizing moment for the campus and community that became the national focus of media attention in early November after a group of radical black liberation activists, assisted by leftist faculty members, forced the resignation of the university’s president and chancellor.
The event marked the first large, public backlash to the political correctness gone wild that had overtaken Mizzou in the past several months.

Towards the end of his rousing speech, Shapiro discussed how the “micro aggression” culture of taking offense at minor, even unintended things leads to real aggression. Shapiro said, “There’s never been a bad person on planet Earth who has not felt justified in doing his or her bad thing. All colleges do now is give people reasons to feel justified in doing the bad things that they want to do.”

Shapiro lit into the very real aggressions that had played out at the University of Missouri, including the story that Breitbart News covered of Mizzou faculty member Dr. Melissa Click, who blocked a student reporter with a camera when he attempted to enter a public space on campus that #ConcernedStudent1950 activists had declared a “safe space” for themselves.

[…]The audience of over 350 responded immediately with applause that lasted several seconds. The crowd’s applause showed the cathartic impact of someone speaking the truth out loud at the University of Missouri.

Shapiro was invited to speak by the Young America’s Foundation. My first thought when I see an event like this is why aren’t Christian churches more involved in applying the Bible and Christian theology to the culture. My pastor almost never applies the Bible to anything that is happening in real life. He almost never references anything that is happening in the culture, much less current events.

Thank goodness there are brave conservatives like Ben Shapiro who are willing to put rounds downrange onto the target, rather than focus on pious language doesn’t equip anyone to declare or defend their conservative beliefs. There are so many ideas that are undermining the life plans of Christian men these days – feminism, postmodernism, relativism, global warming alarmism, socialism, pacificism, unilateral surrender and appeasement, and so on. And yet so few pastors can see these threats and how they differ with the Bible’s teachings. Even those that see seem to lack the courage of those who speak out about them. We need to be talking about what is happening in politics and in the culture, so that we can make a world where it is safe to speak out about Christian things without fear – even if the truth makes people feel “offended”.

Ben Shapiro will press charges against transgender Zoey Tur

Conservative radio show host and author Ben Shapiro went on CNN and got grabbed and threatened repeatedly by a transgender guest.

The story is here from Breitbart News.


Breitbart Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro and transgender reporter for Inside Edition and helicopter pilot Zoey Tur engaged in a heated debate over Caitlyn Jenner and transgenderism during which Tur threatened to send Shapiro home in an ambulance on Thursday’s “Dr. Drew On Call.”

[…]Pinsky then argued that ABC did a good job getting viewers, which is the point of an awards ceremony. Pinsky continued, “In terms of the science behind gender disphoria, you’re very familiar with that, Zoey. It’s not about the…chromosomes within our nuclei.” Tur responded, “We both know chromosomes don’t necessarily mean you’re male or female.” And “you have a thing like Klinefelter’s syndrome. So, [turning to Shapiro and touching his shoulder] you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re not educated on genetics –.” Shapiro asked if the discussion was supposed to be on genetics and asked, “What are your genetics, sir?” Pinsky said to Tur, “I’d stay away from the genetics and back to the brain scans.”

Tur then said to Shapiro, “You cut that out now, or you’ll go home in an ambulance.” Shapiro responded, “That seems mildly inappropriate for a political discussion.” Oduolowu said that, to be fair, Shapiro was being rude, to which Shapiro answered, “I’m sorry, it’s not rude to say that someone who’s biologically a male is a male.” Tur stated, “You just called me a ‘sir.’”

If you watch the video, Tur grabs the back of Shapiro’s head in a rather menacing manner.

I listened to hour 1 of Ben Shapiro’s Friday radio show, and he said that Tur threatened him again – telling him he would be waiting for Shapiro in the parking lot.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s this threat to “curb-stomp” Shapiro on Twitter:

Transgender Zoey Tur threatens to curb-stomp Ben Shapiro
Transgender Zoey Tur threatens to curb-stomp Ben Shapiro

One thing for sure – he certainly didn’t appear to be very feminine or ladylike, grabbing the back of Ben Shapiro’s head and threatening to beat him up.

In case you are wondering what curb-stomping is, Breitbart News explains:

Curb-stomping is a heinously violent street practice where the victim is forced to bite the corner of a cement street curb before the assailant stomps on the victims head.

[…]Curb-stomping is a practice made infamous by American Nazi skinheads.

Ben Shapiro is Jewish.

That’s a serious threat. And yet people on the panel all talked about tolerance, and none of them thought anything of what Tur said to Shapiro.

If you listen to hour 1 of the Friday show, Shapiro says twice that he intends to press charges against Tur. The video was already turned over to the police by the time he was on air. He has to press charges because it’s wrong to say things like that to people just because you disagree with them. I really recommend listening to that hour of the radio show, to hear Ben’s full thoughts on the whole transgender issue. It’s sometimes helpful to hear someone speak about these issues with common sense, and that seems to be in short supply on the politically correct left these days. They talk about tolerance and diversity but there isn’t any tolerance and diversity unless you agree with them, and even celebrate them.

UPDATE: Mainstream media reacts to Shapiro-Tur altercation by blaming Shapiro:

Salon: Ben Shapiro tries — and spectacularly fails — to humiliate trans woman Zoey Tur:

Mediaite: Ben Shapiro and Transgender Reporter Get Heated on HLN

HLN(!): The moment this transgender debate got heated

The Wrap: Transgender Journalist, Breitbart Editor Nearly Come to Blows During Caitlyn Jenner Debate

Well, there’s consistency for you.