Stephen Meyer attempts to explain the origin of life in a way that combines Biblical fidelity with scientific rigor.

Stephen Meyer attempts to explain the origin of life in a way that combines Biblical fidelity with scientific rigor.

For years, debates over the origin of life were framed as a fight between the growing scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution and what many believe are the plain teachings of the Bible about a literal seven-day creation event. But in recent years, a third option has emerged under the banner of “Intelligent Design” or ID for short. The ID movement attempts to combine Biblical fidelity with scientific rigor, and even though many scientists have criticized the movement as being unscientific, it’s hard to ignore the growing number of people embracing ID explanations for life on earth.

Stephen Meyer, founder and director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, is a respected leader in the ID movement. He is author of Signature in the Cell, which uses genetics to argue for ID, and his newest book, Darwin’s Doubt tackles the most controversial aspect of Darwin’s theory of evolution: the rapid appearance of animal life 530 million years ago. Here we talk about what he believes are weaknesses in Darwinian explanations for the origin of life and what he thinks it will take to make an intelligent defense of Intelligent Design.

JM: For starters, will you describe the argument of your previous book, Signature in the Cell, and why it’s foundational for what you’re suggesting in Darwin’s Doubt?

SM: In Signature in the Cell, I explained that chemical evolutionary theories—theories that attempt to explain the origin of the first life from simpler non-living chemicals—have failed to do so. I also showed that these theories have failed in large part because they do not give an adequate explanation for the origin of the genetic information in DNA necessary to build the first living cell. Instead, I argued that Intelligent Design (ID) best explains the origin of that necessary information in part because of what we know from our uniform and repeated experience of what it takes (namely, intelligence) to generate new information—especially information that is encoded in a digital form.

In Darwin’s Doubt, I show that theories of biological evolution—theories that attempt to explain the origin of new forms of life from simpler pre-existing forms—also face an “information problem.” In particular, I show that events in the history of life such as the Cambrian Explosion, in which numerous novel forms of animal life arise in the fossil record, not only represent an explosion of biological form, but an explosion of biological information. I argue that the standard materialistic evolutionary mechanisms such as natural selection acting on random mutations do not account for this explosion of new information in the biosphere. Instead, I again point out that, as one information theorist put it, “the creation of information is habitually associated with conscious activity.”

JM: What was the inexplicable conundrum that Darwin recognized and acknowledged, and why does it matter?

SM: Darwin expressed a doubt about the ability of his theory to account for an event in the history of life known as the Cambrian Explosion. The Cambrian Explosion refers to an event in which most of the major animal groups appear abruptly in the fossil record without any apparent evolutionary precursors. Chordates such as fish, arthropods, various types of worms, mollusks (e.g., shellfish), and many other groups of animals, first appear in a geological “blink of an eye,” without any direct ancestors in the fossil record. Even Richard Dawkins has observed that the Cambrian animals looked as if “they were just planted there without any evolutionary history.”

JM: Did Darwin attempt an explanation, or was there simply a void in his theory of natural selection?

Book cover courtesy of HarperOne

Book cover courtesy of HarperOne

SM: Darwin himself knew that the abrupt appearance of animals in the ancient fossil record posed a problem for his theory. He knew that his proposed mechanism of natural selection worked gradually by acting on “numerous, successive, slight modifications.”

But the Cambrian Explosion contradicted that expectation, since it showed diverse and complex animal body plans appearing abruptly, without any fossil record of their gradual evolution in lower Precambrian strata. Darwin acknowledged this problem in his On the Origin of Species, and said it presented a “valid argument against the views here entertained.”

Nevertheless, he suggested that perhaps future fossil discoveries would document the missing Precambrian ancestral fossils of the Cambrian animals. As I show in Darwin’s Doubt, however, fossil discoveries since Darwin’s time have actually intensified the mystery associated with the Cambrian Explosion—as has our growing knowledge from molecular biology, genetics and developmental biology about the importance of genetic and other forms of information to the origin and maintenance of animal life.

JM: And you believe the information necessary to build the Cambrian animal forms arose from an intelligent cause, rather than an undirected natural process?

SM: In Darwin’s Doubt I argue that there is good reason to infer the activity of a designing intelligence in the history of life. The DNA in all forms of life contains information in digital form that functions much like a software program. The development of animal life also contains other forms of information called epigenetic information, or information stored beyond the genome.

We know from experience that software comes from programmers. We know generally that information in whatever form we find it—whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book or encoded in radio signals—always arises from an intelligent source. So the discovery of information in the DNA molecule, and our realization that events such as the Cambrian Explosion required huge infusions of new information into the biosphere—the provides strong grounds for inferring that intelligence played a role in the history of life, even if we weren’t there to observe the first life or new animals coming into existence.

JM: How is Intelligent Design distinct from both Creationism and Darwinism?

SM: Contrary to media reports, Intelligent Design is not a religious-based idea, but instead an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins—one that challenges strictly materialistic views of evolution.

According to Darwinian biologists such as Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, living systems “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” But for modern Darwinists, that appearance of design is entirely illusory. Why? Because they think the undirected processes of natural selection acting on random mutations can produce the intricate structures found in living organisms. In contrast, the theory of Intelligent Design holds that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by a designing intelligence. The theory does not challenge the idea of evolution (defined as change over time), or even common ancestry, but it does dispute Darwin’s idea that the cause of biological change is wholly blind and undirected. Intelligent Design, unlike Creationism, is not based on the Bible. Design is an inference from biological data, not a deduction from religious authority.

JM: Isn’t it clear by now that the scientific community has a consensus on evolution? And if so, doesn’t that matter?

SM: Truth in science is often achieved by challenging a consensus when new evidence suggests that a consensus view is wrong. In Darwin’s Doubt, I explain that the consensus that existed a generation ago, in favor of the still standard textbook version of evolutionary theory called Neo-Darwinism, has now fractured as evolutionary biologists themselves are now proposing numerous new theories of evolution.

I also show in my book that many of these theories are superior to the previous consensus view, but that they too fail to explain the origin of both the genetic and epigenetic information necessary to build the new animal life that arises in events such as the Cambrian Explosion. Into that dynamic situation in evolution biology in which there is currently no consensus about the cause or mechanism of macro-evolutionary innovation, I propose the theory of Intelligent Design as an explanation for the origin of the novel information necessary to build novel forms of animal life.

JM: Is the goal of ID and similar schools of thought just to create a populist movement among people who aren’t actually trained as scientists?

SM: No. Those of us who are advocating the theory of Intelligent Design are attempting to build a research community of scientists and scholars who not only recognize the strong scientific evidence for ID, but who also see the heuristic value of the theory in guiding and developing new lines of scientific research. The technical journal BIO-Complexity highlights some of the scientific work of this growing scientific research community.

50 Comments

  1. Charles D. Miller

    Dr Meyer’s remarks here do nothing to address the shortcomings of his new book–which is succinctly (and definitively) reviewed today in Religion Dispatches under the title: ‘Creationism 3.0: Meet Intelligent Design’s Huckster’ (at http://www.religiondispatches.org/books/science/7234/creationism_3_0__meet_intelligent_design_s_huckster/ )

  2. It’s sad to see Jonathan Merrit fall so completely for a hucker’s ruse, and provide the huckster with such valuable publicity. Merrit’s article above does a terrible disservice to all RN readers, especially Christians, by propping up an obvious hack, making Christianity look stupid in the process. Meyer’s dishonesty and vandalistic aims were well seen in previous events like the movie expelled, the Sternberg fraud, and his previous books. Merrit’s so-called “interview” is little more than soft-ball questions designed to set up this crank so he can reiterate the same creationist lies that have been debunked a thousand times. My view of Jonathan Merrit drops alot after this, either from sheer ineptitude (if he the article above was what he really thought a good interview might be) or for dishonesty (if he already knew the situation). As stated in the previous comment, the review at RD is much better, mostly because it is actually connected to reality.

    • Jonathan Merritt

      Jon,

      Thanks for your comments. My desire is that “On Faith and Culture” would be a space where various views are presented and explored. You can expect to encounter views here that you disagree with and may even believe are downright dumb.

      I promise that I will not present only one side of the debates presented here, and I will not ignore a perspective simply because I don’t agree with it or because it is unpopular. If you are looking for content that presents only a single side or attempts to flush particular perspectives from the marketplace of ideas, you should have no problem finding a forum that will cater to those expectations. This forum will not.

      • Well said Mr. Merritt. While I don’t need or desire a “creationist” view of evolution I still don’t think it’s all a simple little by product or accident either. I find much meaning in life from the so called physical to the so called spiritual.I get more holistic as I get older. I don’t think we are simply a “brain fart.” :-) But, I don’t think we were made in six days by a “superman” in the sky either. I do believe in God but it’s a very personal journey. Science is a wonderful “set” of tools and I think we are still evolving in our knowledge. But, there is no single entity that answers to the name of science. Peace. :-)

    • Jon,

      Is there a point in there somewhere, or are you simply giving everyone a run-down on your supply of ad hominems? Do you have any evidence to support your claims of Meyer’s dishonesty, or the claim the Sternburg situation was a fraud? Probably not. But hey, why not toss them out there anyway.

    • MIles V. Schmidt

      “It’s sad to see”, Jon, respond with such ad hominem attacks of character assassination (“crank, huckster, ruse, etc.) rather than debate the arguments. The more I read the responses from Darwinists, the more I realize how they must be running scared over their defenseless arguments. Meyer plainly and convincingly talks about causes and effects, whether intelligent codes can come from unintelligent sources, etc. and “Jon” doesn’t even have the courtesy to respond in a civil fashion. What drivel!

      • Gerry and others-

        I pointed out that Stephen Meyer is a crank because point by point refutation of his arguments has been done over and over already. You see, Meyer simply recycles and repeats the same creationist PRATTs (Points Refuted A Thousand Times) that he has been stating for years. Please do take the time to look them over. They are all refuted here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html . Sorry if I was a little short, but Meyer, along with other creationists, have been pushing the same canards, in the same deceptive ways, denying the same evidence, for decades. For instance, the old saw of “irreducible complexity”, itself, was actually first found by evolutionary biologists (called “interlocking complexity) nearly 100 years ago, who show why it is strong evidence in favor of evolution (see CB200 at the first link in this post), and so on.

        Meyer’s dishonesty is easy to see (and has long been shown, many times over) in both his work with Expelled (a propaganda piece packed with demonstrated lies, read about it here: http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/background), and his work in the Sternberg fraud case http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2004/09/meyer_and_deja.html.

        Also – newsflash: Creationism (and that included ID), isn’t a threat to “Darwinism”. Evolution and universal common descent are as well established as heliocentrism, as practically any of the millions of biologists who are Christian can tell you. Creationism is a threat to Christian credibility, and to your wallet, but not to biology.
        Meyer’s ineptitude in bioliogy is on display in this book , and is reviewed (by a real biologist!), here: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2013/06/meyers-hopeless-2.html . What never ceases to amaze me is that any sane people bother to listen to someone like Meyer, who isn’t a biologist, when he contradicts the consensus of actual biologists (including millions who are Christians), about the facts of biology. It’s as if a lawyer who contradicted physicists about nuclear reactions would be given the time of day.

        The upshot for us is that creationism – and especially the creationism of Meyer in his latest book – is simply part of the reality denial problem that is hurting Christianity, and our whole society, every day. This reality denial includes the movements of Gay conversion “therapy”, climate change denial, vaccine denial, and others. In all these cases, the evidence and the consensus of the experts in the relevant fields are ignored, the leaders of the movements make tons of money from books and speaking, the leaders have little to no actual expertise in the areas involved, the movements work through the same set of deceptive practices like quote-mining, and the members are disproportionally conservative Christians.

        Thus, as cranks like this get press, Christianity increasing looks more and more detached from reality, and less and less credible. St. Austine’s quote about this, from the 5th century, rings true today – to read it, just google Augustine, and “predictable eclipses”. If any of us hope to see Christianity stay relevant (and especially as a healthy part of our society), then these reality denial movements have to stop being the public face of Christianity. Promoting Meyer’s creationism hurts education in the United States, hurts our society, and hurts Christianity. Luckily, Christians more versed in actual biology have made an organization to help other Christians see how modern biology helps Christianity, at www.biologos.org.

        All the best-

        -Jon

        • You claim that Meyer’s work has been refuted “point by point,” “over and over again?”

          Yet the only example you give of this is a graduate student named Nick Matzke, who clearly seems personally offended by any challenge to the theory of Darwinian Evolution.

          On the contrary, Stephen Meyer’s “Darwin’s Doubt” has been praised by: (1) famed Harvard geneticist George Church, (2) Biologist Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig of Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Emeritus, Cologne, Germany, (3) Paleontologist Mark McMenamin of Mt. Holyoke College and author of The Emergence of Animals (Columbia University Press), (4) Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology Russell Carlson, who is also the director of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, at the University of Georgia, and (5) Biologist Scott Turner of the State University of New York.

          Word of caution: Trying to give an individual like Stephen Meyer the label of “crank” and “anti-science,” while brilliant scientists like those above find his work intriguing, game-changing, and comprehensive, tends to expose YOU as the amateur or pseudo scientist. Not vice versa.

        • Jon wrote: “hey are all refuted here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html – See more at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/08/20/an-intelligent-defense-of-intelligent-design-an-interview-with-stephen-meyer/#sthash.7bFWW4ZE.dpuf”

          Not (for the most part) very good refutations are they?

          I could probably do better.

        • Dear Jon,

          You don’t have to make us read a series of pratts. All you have to do to refute Stephen Meyer is to prove non-intelligent causes can produce the information bearing properties in DNA and RNA. The first living cell had to have a replication system and a metabolism. Can you prove a cell can function without any specified information?

        • What is so interesting is that you repeatedly point out that Meyer is not a biologist, yet the entire evolution concept was put forth by a person who had NO DEGREE IN SCIENCE AT ALL, Charles Darwin, a theologian at best. Once again the evolution hype is seen as hypocrisy, accusing ID of the exact same things you are guilty of, no academics.

    • Jon,

      What you’ve done is attempt to smear an idea without actually debating any of its merits. I won’t speculate as to your motives. You should try engaging with Meyer’s ideas like the origin of biological information and the semiotic properties of DNA. Your arguments are incredibly, incredibly weak.

      Thanks,
      Jacob

    • Nowhere in this response did you actually refute Dr. Meyer. All you did was belittle & name-call. Those are the tactics of a person who has lost the debate.

  3. William (Will) Fraser

    Hi Jonathan,
    A few suggestions. But first, I appreciate your faith as well as Mr Meyers faith.
    All religions believe in a creator, as you point out(although focussing on scripture).
    Hers some issues for thought;
    The Cambrian Explosion was 40 million years long. The term Cambrian explosion was coined by actual geologists, not Mr Meyers.(the PhD is in divinity isn’t it?). It first was described in observations of the Edicaran fauna in Cambrian rocks in Australia. Our knowledge of this proliferation of life forms
    from the bacteria and algae and algal mats(stromatolites) that precede that.
    and which in the case of the algae, acording to the evidence, existed for over a billion years prior to that. A billion years is a long time as is 40 million years.
    Not very abrupt then actually was the appearance of primitive worms and soft bodied life forms. Mr Meyers supernatural explqnation of these natural phenomena is laudable form a faith standpoint, and well, magical from a science standpoint. Magic in science fails to address the issue why and how.
    If a creator created these life forms, then who created the creator? Big problem.
    C. Faith and science inhabit different spheres. Meyers work has
    proved nothing. There is no research, no proof that is testable or repeatable.
    So, his concept is well, not science.
    D. One must ask, why does Meyer not mention that the Cambrian Explosion lasted 40 MY? Big omission don’t you think?
    E. Science is critical thinking. Did Darwin question his theory? You bet. All scientists question their work. Its still the best explanation of how life has changed on earth and the data is overwhelmingly in its support.
    F. Meyers explanation? A watchmaker made it all? Hmm? How is that tested or repeated?
    G. In my view(and the view ofd all univesrities, science organizations, the courts, and mainstream Christian denominations), ID is not science. More and more people support ID? THats instant non credibility if you were a scientist.
    You have no experiments, you have no publishable articles, you have no peer
    disaaproval , you have an argument of improbability and you have God filling gaps in knowledge along with a claim of design with no testable, proveable support..
    H. Science has changed our understanding of the world from flat earth, to heliocentrism, to rainbows being a magical event, to alchemy, to creationism, to intelligent design creationism.
    I. Nothing new here and science, which includes many many theists like you,
    has definitively rejected the magical design hypothesis. Its no different than all the other magic explanations.
    J. And unfortunately, Meyers, like all creationists cherry picks data that “supports” his books.
    K. But if anyonme really thinks they have some actual data or research, they should write it down, get it published in a scinece journal and collect their Nobel Prize.
    L. In the meantime, no wizardry . It does a disservice to mankind, it does a disservice to children who will be denied an understanding of science and the scientific method, and it does a disservice to religion by proposing unfortunately, the willingness to mislead and misinform in support of your faith.
    M. I didn’t get taught that in my denomination.
    N. Meyers claims have HUGE legal denominational and legal problems and have been soundly rejected since they first appeared as non scientific.
    O. And no, its not a conspiracy by science. Its just not science, as neither is YEC, OEC and all the other creationism variants. Attacking science with fraud is so not Christian.

    • He brilliantly addresses the issue of how long the Cambrian Explosion was likely to have lasted in the book.

      It is probably best to read the book in total, before giving any critiques.

    • LOL. Your response is the greatest example of filibustering that Dr. Meyer often refers to.

      Never attempting to actually refute a point with facts, research, any or peer reviewed article which successfully opposes any of the views he puts forward. Indeed, it appears that you may not even understand the arguments his book puts forward.

      Constantly stating ID is not science, all the while refusing to support your assertions with even one single supportable fact.

      Darwinian Evolution is clearly threatened by Meyer and this movement. As well they should be. You are right to admit that Darwin “questioned his own theory.” But what you pretend not to see is WHY he questioned it, and how Meyer’s research and understanding so easily exposes the theory of Darwinian Evolution as impossible, as an explanation for first life. And his advocacy of the idea that all life is overwhelmingly filled with evidence that it was intricately and brilliantly designed from the beginning, is truly undeniable at this point.

      Study the Altenberg 16. Even atheist scientists who don’t necessarily believe in ID, can see that Darwinian Evolution cannot, and has never been capable of explaining life origin. It’s clearly on its way out!

    • Well stated!

      It won’t convince a single creationist, but it needs to be stated again and again.

      ID isn’t science, because it presents no refutable/provable hypothesis.

      It is an evidence-free attempt to make an end-run around the United States constitutional separation of church and state by erroneously introducing faith into science teaching.

    • Mr. Fraser: I believe Dr. Meyer earned his PhD. in Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge and has a work background as a geophysicist. Not Divinity.

    • All the complaints you have are either wrong or addressed. You should read the book you look foolish to those who have. You’re blindly defending……..something,?

    • MIles V. Schmidt

      At least Mr. Fraser, unlike “Jon”, responds civilly to Meyers even if he is wrong in his basic assumptions and premises. For example, Error #1: ID theorists are not (and they will tell you so) “creationists” if understood as new earth Bible believers. Error #2: ID does not posit a “God” as the designer. Rather ID merely points out by inference from scientific facts and data that someone (or something) must have designed the enormously complex systems we find in biological matter. I could go on but my points are clear.

    • Will,

      You don’t even get the initial details right about Meyer or his book. First, the Cambrian length is oft debated in the literature and Meyer explains that with citations in the book. Second, he worked as a geophysicist before obtaining his PhD from Cambridge in the Philosophy of Science. He is quite able to make these claims. But I understand you wanting to go right after his credibility.

      Your other points are various ad hominems and misunderstandings about what ID actually is. I recommend evolutionnews.com or ID the Future podcast and of course “Signature in the Cell” before you display further ignorance in the future.

      Thanks,

    • Hi William,

      I think it is obvious you haven’t read any of Stephen Meyers books. I could write more on but this is one quote of yours worth discussing:

      “F. Meyers explanation? A watchmaker made it all? Hmm? How is that tested or repeated?”

      Design should be tested by comparing it against the powers of chance. By knowing what random forces can or can’t do we can detect design.

    • You asked, “Who made God?”. That is a classic category error. Something that is eternal & infinite is not made. By definition, it has no beginning & no end. You can propose that the universe is eternal & infinite, but in doing so you would be contradicting all of the scientific evidence that points to the universe having a beginning and therefore, not eternal.

  4. Jonathan-

    Thanks for responding to my comment. You were clear that you will present views that practically all the experts in the relevant fields (including millions of Christian experts) point out are false, and that you will support views that many will consider dumb.

    Based on your promise that you will not present only one side of the debates, and will not ignore a perspective simply because you don’t agree with it or because it is unpopular, I look forward to your articles about the intelligent defense of Christian geocentrism, intelligent falling, and so on. http://www.crownofchrist.net/geocentrism.html

    Mods, please delete the comment that this replaces. Thanks.

    • Jon,

      I’m having a hard time following your concern with this article. Why, for example, would the author present an argument defending intelligent falling? We have no reason to think that falling presents encoded, protein producing instructions. If you would like to talk about the fine tuning of gravity and other physical constants which make life on this planet, in this universe possible that would be interesting. But intelligent falling, as if to debunk a strongly presented argument against ID, not so much.

      Thanks,
      Jacob

  5. SM presented Signature in the Cell as straight-forward compelling case – and is one of my favorite books. Darwin’s Doubt, however, was not as straight-forward. While good points were made, the book was on the edge of boring. More importantly, many references used in the book were incomplete with some in error.

    Essentially, the intelligent design movement seems to have evolved into just another version of biological evolution but carries the same baggage as all the other theories of evolution – no one knows how live began or evolved.

    On the positive side, the intelligent design movement has been very effective in undermining any known natural mechanism for evolution.

    Biological evolution exists as a philosophical fact, not as a scientific fact.

    No unchallenged physical evidence holds credible weight against the origins of life as recorded in the Genesis account of creation.

    Overtime Darwin has been proven to be wrong, as SM points out, sadly, like Darwin, the current intelligent design movement seems to be missing the elephant in the room, too.

    • Richard,

      I wanted to agree with you but I’m not sure what you mean by ID missing the “elephant in the room”. Also, is there an example from the book of his references being wrong?

      Many thanks,
      Jacob

  6. A very good interview. Excellent questions and excellent answers.

    Why does the Intelligent Design hypothesis continue to gain traction with many many Americans in spite of Darwinist anger and angst? Just re-read Merritt’s article and you’ll find out.

    Sorry evolutionists, Intelligent Design is here to stay.

  7. The scriptures teach us that in the last days there will be strong delusion causing people to believe a lie. This prophesy is fulfilled in Darwins false creation story. It is a strong delusion in that it has been swallowed by so many Christians who should know better. Those of us Christians that have had any training in physics and biology should know that simple adaptation has never and cannot engineer entirely new forms of life. Bacteria and fruit flies have been bred intensly and selectively for years and nothing has ever changed. In fact if anything it has reinforced the reversion to wild type principle. This is why antibiotics are given in cycles with so that resistant bacteria to one antibiotic will have a chance to die off before that antibiotic is reused on a patient. This is also true of feral animals that return to an ancestral wilder form after several generations. The domesticated highly mutated “breeds” can’t compete in the wild with the genetically healthy wild animals. Living things may adapt, but they will always closely maintain the genetic status quo.These are realities we can observe and measure. Nature maintains a harsh environment for mutants and neo-darwinism depends on them solely to engineer all living things past and present. That represents over a million species that currently each with its genome of thousands, if not millions of genetic instructions encoded on them.

    It should be clear to us that a Real Engineer, not a zero IQ natural selection must be behind all these.

    How Jesus did all this is way beyond man’s feeble godless, human enterprise called, “science”!

    But, as Christians we must acknowledge that we cannot truely believe in Jesus unless we see past the “oppositions of science” and confess that Jesus engineered the universe, all of creation and our own bodies!

    If anything the human genome is winding down by inbreeding due to racism and prejudice holding captive all sorts of genetic errors and passing them on. The human genome has gotten us this far and may only need to work for another generation or a few more perhaps and It’s job will be done when the end comes. “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Mt. 24)

  8. This hogwash is internally inconsistent:
    “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins—one that challenges strictly materialistic views of evolution.”

    Um, so are you saying you have immaterial *evidence*? How does that work?

    You either have evidence and it’s scientific and materialistic, or you have no evidence and so it’s faith.

    No scientist is going to accept “intelligent design” without proof.

    • But arlocrescent, Darwinism by natural selection and random mutation from a common ancestor has been definitively proven in the lad I take it? Come on now! ID in a nutshell is that our everyday experience shows us that the kind of information in DNA (digital, function producing, decodable, sequence based) requires intelligence for conception. ID is an inference to the best explanation. Natural explanations for information origin have failed and continue to fail. What Darwinists need to show is an intelligence-less mechanism in nature that can be observed producing the kind of information found in DNA. No known mechanisms have the causal power to do so. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider intelligence as having played a role in the origin of at the very least, the first life.

  9. I see an awful lot of spouting in response to this interview. Such behavior is typical of those who seek to shout down an idea that represents a danger to the world as they want it to be seen. It is not a scientific response at all. I am currently about halfway through Darwin’s Doubt (I don’t read fast, and I don’t have a lot of time in big chunks to devote to reading secular books). So far, it is clearly written, quite engaging, and uses logic that is clearly enough stated to be alarming to those who want to see Intelligent Design disappear from the face of the universe. The problem there is that Intelligent Design is indelibly stamped upon the face of the universe to such an extent that the honest researcher cannot avoid it.

  10. Less a response to this specific interview than a general question: Why do ID proponents reject the theory of evolution? To me (an atheist), the two concepts sound entirely consistent. Why do those who believe there was an intelligent designer not believe that evolution was the intelligent design?

  11. Jacob – My observation concerning intelligent falling and geocentrism was not because I saw merit in either position, but rather that Jonathan’s statement in defense of his promotion of creationism applies to them as well. He said that he “will not ignore a perspective simply because I don’t agree with it or because it is unpopular. “, and so I’m waiting for his articles on those – they are certainly unpopular (I don’t know if he agrees with them or not). His statement also suggests that he may promote other denialisms, like climate change denial, vaccine denial, and modern medicine denial.

    Your specific pseudo science phrases like “encoded, protein producing instructions”, “semiotic” or “fine tuned” aren’t relevant, as those other denialisms also have their own nice – sounding phrases. Also – I did provide refutation of his points (no need to reinvent the wheel when these old canards have been refuted years ago).

    Opine7, I’m sorry that you don’t understand math. There are literally millions of biologists forming the consensus that Stephen Meyer fails to understand. You listed 5 individuals. So that’s around 5 /5 million = 0.0001%. That percentage – 0.0001%, simply isn’t relevant. In fact, out of millions of real humans, some will believe all kinds of crazy things, like alien abductions or whatever. The fact that you repeated the names on the list from Stephen Meyer’s webpage provides a use flag to help identify pseudoscience like creationism – and that is lists of scientist in support. Pseudo science uses such lists, while real science generally uses lists of endorsing organizations, not individuals. Because – as shown above – lists of individuals means nothing. Another example is the creationist “dissent from darwinism” list.

    That also provides a nice segue to address the couple people who spoke against the Talkorigins database, with no support given. Those people are invited to see the organizations that endorse the talkorigins site, here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/awards/

    Like geocentrism, it will probably take several more decades for creationism to be fully recognized by most Christians as the falsehood it is. But, I’m confident that also like geocentrism, Christianity will adapt to existing without it, and will become a more modern faith in the process.

    Jon

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