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ON THE ORIGIN OF THE COSMOS, LIFE, AND THE HIGHER TAXA
An Interview with Dr. Walter Bradley
1. In his book, God and the Astronomers, Robert Jastrow, a self-proclaimed agnostic wrote, "For the scientist who has lived by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." Would you comment on Jastrow's thoughts?
2. Paul Davies has moved from promoting atheism to conceding that "the laws [of physics] ... seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design." (Superforce, p. 243) He further testifies, "[There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all ... it seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature's numbers to make the Universe ... The impression of design is overwhelming." (The Cosmic Blueprint, p. 203) Would you comment on Davies' conclusions?
3. Could you give some examples of the fine-tuning of the universe necessary for the existence of life?
4. Has it become more or less reasonable in the past 50 years to account for our universe that seems to be so ideally tailored for life with natural causes alone?
5. Atheists and agnostics often multiply the astronomically small odds of a single fine tuned universe by introducing either an infinite number of universes or an eternally oscillating universe. Would you first comment on the infinite universe scenario? Is such a hypothesis scientific?
6. Is the oscillating universe model plausible? Stephen Hawking suggested this as one possibility to avoid a creator in his book, A Brief History of Time.
7. As co-author of The Mystery of Life's Origin, you are well acquainted some of the major problems with contemporary origin of life scenarios? Do you believe that scientists' attempts to discover a completely natural explanation for how life began will be successful?
8. Commenting on the problem of developing a materialistic origin of life theory, Jaques Monod wrote, "the major problem is the origin of the genetic code and its translation mechanism. Indeed, instead of a problem it ought rather to be called a riddle. The code is meaniningless unless translated. The modern cell's translating machinery consists of at least fifty macromolecular components WHICH ARE THEMSELVES CODED IN DNA: THE CODE CANNOT BE TRANSLATED OTHERWISE THAN BY PRODUCTS OF TRANSLATION [emphasis original]. It is the modern expression of omne vivum ex ovo [all life from eggs, or idiomatically, what came first, the chicken or the egg?]. When and how did this circle become closed? It is exceedingly difficult to imagine." (Chance and Necessity, pp 134-135). Could you comment on this riddle?
9. What chemical processes might prevent a purely naturalistic origin of life?
10. Despite evidence to the contrary, why do biology textbooks continue to use the Miller-Urey experiments as evidence for a naturalistic origin of life?
11. What additional information should be included in biology textbooks to avoid these misrepresentations?
12. Do you believe that the origin of life constitutes a natural discontinuity?
13. Is it possible that there are other natural discontinuities in the history of life on Earth?
14. One of the more serious objections to Darwinian theory is that natural selection itself will tend to eliminate uselss incipient and transitional stages and thus inhibit major evolutionary change from taking place. Do you agree with this assessment of natural selection?
15. Darwinian theory predicts that species diversity should accumulate through time to produce the disparity of the phyla and the profound differences separating the higher taxa. Natural history reveals a pattern in reverse to Darwinian predictions - disparity precedes diversity. Would you comment on this conundrum?
16. Have naturalistic assumptions ever impeded the progress of science?
17. Do you believe that Christianity and science are in conflict?
18. Does the intelligent design hypothesis have any scientific value? What sort of the testable hypotheses can be framed in terms of natural phenomena?