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Intelligent Design/ Faking Your Death

Date Monday - December 5, 2016
Host George Noory
Guests Douglas AxeElizabeth Greenwood

In the first half, engineer turned biologist, Douglas Axe, who holds a PhD degree from CalTech, discussed the questions that much of the scientific community would rather silence on the origins of life, and why he believes evidence points to intelligent design over evolution. He referred to "design intuition," the sense that people have starting in childhood that life is the work of a "God-like" designer, as a correct and undeniable guidepost. While science claims to disprove this common sense conclusion, he argues that their notion that human life is a cosmic accident defies logic. Further, the materialist neo-Darwinian framework cannot account for mind, consciousness, higher rational faculties, and a moral sense, he cited.

Life is full of marvelous inventions that demonstrate purposeful design, he continued. The inner workings of living creatures, including their organs, and even the protein molecules within a cell "are remarkably orchestrated," he added. The scientific community stifles or rejects other viewpoints, Axe said, detailing how he was let go from his job as a research scientist at Cambridge University in 2002 because of his controversial views in favor of intelligent design.

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In the latter half, Elizabeth Greenwood, who teaches creative nonfiction at Columbia University, talked about how and why people fake their own deaths. She was inspired to write about the "death fraud" industry as she briefly considered the option for herself due to extensive student loan debt. Many of the faked deaths or "pseudocides" are done for the "survivors" to cash in on insurance policies. Typically, there is a trusted co-conspirator, and sometimes bodies are even claimed or purchased from morgues, and then cremated for staged funerals, she recounted. There are about 200 cases a year in the US, though these are the ones where people are caught. The reason most people get caught is that they can't completely cut ties to their past and loved ones, she noted.

Greenwood detailed the case of a man in England named "John Darwin" who faked his death in a kayaking accident, with his wife cashing in on life insurance policies and pensions. John camped out on the beach in a different part of the country for several months, growing a beard and losing weight. Eventually, he returned to the family's home incognito, and rented out a room under a different name, without his sons even knowing he was still alive. In another case, a money manager who bilked his clients, piloted a prop plane and signaled Mayday, while parachuting out of his plane. Greenwood pointed out that faking one's death by drowning often arouses suspicion because bodies typically wash up ashore. She also talked about the pseudocide cultural myths that have sprung up around pop culture figures such as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Tupac, and Andy Kaufman.

News segment guests: Jeff Nelken, Steve Kates

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