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Is Evolution Falsifiable? Doug Axe Versus Biochemist Keith Fox on Premier Radio

David Klinghoffer


In the U.S., we don’t have anything quite like the U.K. talk show Unbelievable? with host Justin Brierley. Over the course of a little more than an hour on Premier Radio, Brierley conducts a dual interview with proponents of competing views. While clearly identifying himself as a Christian, he turns a polite skepticism on both guests so that you really feel you’re drilling down to the core issue on which they disagree, rather than being distracted by peripherals.

In the past Brierley has led Stephen Meyer and UC Berkley paleontologist Charles Marshall through an enlightening debate. On other episodes he has hosted ENV‘s Jonathan M. versus thoughtful atheist Cory Markum, and our colleague Richard Weikart versus bioethicist Peter Singer. On a recent program he invited Biologic Institute’s Douglas Axe, author of Undeniable, for a discussion of protein evolution with biochemist Keith Fox. Listen to it here.

Fox, who teaches at the University of Southampton, is a BioLogos-style theistic evolutionist. Brierley does a great job of illuminating the scientific issues (theological ones too) separating Fox and Axe. It’s a remarkably substantive as well as calm and respectful conversation. To his credit, from question to question, you can never quite tell what side Brierley himself comes down on.

A telling challenge he gives to Dr. Fox, however, is whether as an evolutionist he can imagine any evidence of ID that would convince him to give up his commitment to unguided Darwinian processes as explaining the history of life. “Part of me wonders, is there any level of complexity of which one could say, ‘OK, Doug, you’ve got a point. This does look designed now.’ Or is design just never going to be an option no matter how much things look incredibly like the math’s against their ever developing in that way?”

In other words, is evolution falsifiable? Or as Dr. Axe puts it, “Is it possible to use science to show that something can’t happen? I would say yes.” “Can’t happen,” in other words, never happen. Fox’s reply, in brief: “Never say never, as they say.” That’s a telling response in a fascinating conversation.

I’m on Twitter. Follow me @d_klinghoffer.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.