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Intention, Agency, Even in “Simple” Life Is No Illusion

David Klinghoffer
Photo credit: Maksim Shutov via Unsplash.

What does it mean for something to be “alive”? Here is a classic episode of ID the Future that is very well timed with the release on Monday of Michael Denton’s new book, The Miracle of the Cell. In the book, Dr. Denton urges readers to watch a short video, “Neutrophil Chasing Bacteria”: “What one witnesses there seems to transcend all our intuitions: A tiny speck of matter, invisible to the naked eye, so small that one hundred of them could be lined up across the top of a pin, is seemingly endowed with intention and agency.” See it here:

Is the appearance of “intention and agency” on the part of seemingly simple “specks” of life an illusion or is it real? Biologist Scott Turner sat down with host Robert Crowther to discuss just that question. Download the podcast or listen to it here. Turner, a biologist and physiologist, explains that the appearance is no illusion. It’s very real, a fact from whose profound implications most scientists veil their eyes. Professor Turner teaches at the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry. He is the author most recently of Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something Alive and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed To Explain It.