Summer 2010

Can DNA Prove the Existence of an Intelligent Designer?

signature in the cell: dna and the evidence for intelligent design

In the growing movement known as intelligent design, Stephen Meyer is an emerging figurehead. A young, Cambridge-educated philosopher of science, Meyer is director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute — intelligent design’s primary intellectual and scientific headquarters. He’s also author of Signature in the Cell, a provocative new book that offers the first comprehensive DNA-based argument for intelligent design.

On May 14, Meyer gave a lecture at an event hosted by Biola's Christian apologetics program in Chase Gymnasium, where he made his case that the origin of the information needed to create the first cell must have came from an intelligent designer. Biola Magazine sat down with Meyer while he was at Biola and asked him to elaborate on evolution, the scientific merit of the theory of intelligent design and the uncanny similarities between DNA and computer programming.

When it comes to evolution, what type of evolution do you agree with and what type do you deny?

Well, evolution can have several different meanings. It can mean change over time, or it can mean that all organisms share a common ancestor such that the history of life looks like the great branching tree that Darwin used to depict the history of life. Or it can mean that a purely undirected process — namely natural selection acting on random mutations — has produced all the change that has occurred over time. I think small-scale microevolution is certainly a real process. I’m skeptical about the second meaning of evolution — the idea of universal common descent, that all organisms share a common ancestry. I think the fossil record rather shows that the major groups of organisms originated separately from one another. But that’s not what the theory of intelligent design (ID for short) is mainly challenging. We’re challenging the third meaning of evolution, and that’s where we kind of go to the mat. We do not think that a purely undirected mechanism has produced every appearance of design that we see in nature or in biology. So I’m skeptical of that third meaning, sometimes called macroevolution, where we’re really talking about the mechanism of natural selection and mutation. My book, Signature in the Cell, is actually about an even prior question, which is the origin of the first life, sometimes explained by a theory called chemical evolution. That’s the main target of my own research. I’m showing that that doesn’t work at all. For example, I don’t think there’s any evolutionary account for how you get from molecules to cells.

How old do you think the universe is?

I tend to think it’s old. About 4.6 billion years. I tend to think humans are pretty recent, however.

Do you affirm the Big Bang?

I think the Big Bang is a good theory, and I think it actually has theistic implications. It establishes, along with the field equations of general relativity, that there was a singular beginning to the universe, in which both time and space begin.

One of the big unanswered questions you see in the theory of evolution concerns the origin of the information needed to build the first living thing. How do the Darwinists answer that question?

Many people don’t realize it, but Darwin did not solve, or even attempt to solve, the question of the origin of the first life. He was trying to explain how you got new forms of life from simpler forms. In the 19th century, this was a question very few scientists addressed. The standard theory in the 20th century was proposed by a Russian scientist named Alexander Oparin who envisioned a complex series of chemical reactions that gradually increased the complexity of the chemistry involved, eventually producing life as we know it. That was the standard theory, but it started to unravel in 1953 with the discovery of the structure of DNA and its information-bearing properties, and with everything we were learning about proteins and what I call the “information processing centers” in the cell, the way the proteins were processing the information on the DNA. Oparin tried to adjust his theory to account for these new discoveries, but by the mid-60s it was pretty much a spent force. Ever since, people have been trying to come up with something to replace it, and there really has been nothing that has been satisfactory. That’s one of the things the book does. It surveys the various attempts and shows that in each case, the theories have a common problem: They can’t explain the origin of the information in DNA and RNA. There are other problems as well, but that’s the main problem.

What would be your main argument for the evidence of intelligent design in the cell?

Well, the main argument is fairly straightforward. We now know that what runs the show in biology is what we call digital information or digital code. This was first discovered by [James] Watson and [Francis] Crick. In 1957, Crick had an insight which he called “The Sequence Hypothesis,” and it was the idea that along the spine of the DNA molecule there were four chemicals that functioned just like alphabetic characters in a written language or digital characters in a machine code. The DNA molecule is literally encoding information into alphabetic or digital form. And that’s a hugely significant discovery, because what we know from experience is that information always comes from an intelligence, whether we’re talking about hieroglyphic inscription or a paragraph in a book or a headline in a newspaper. If we trace information back to its source, we always come to a mind, not a material process. So the discovery that DNA codes information in a digital form points decisively back to a prior intelligence. That’s the main argument of the book.

signature in the cell: dna and the evidence for intelligent design

Your book talks a lot about information and you find parallels between a software program and our DNA. Do you think the ideas in your book about programming and programmers would even have been conceivable to readers trying to understand intelligent design a generation ago?

That’s a great question. I think the digital revolution in computing has made it much easier to understand what’s happening in biology. We know from experience that not only software but the information processing system and design strategies that software engineers use to process and store and utilize information are not only being used in digital computing but they’re being used in the cell. It’s the same basic design logic, but it’s executed with an 8.0, 9.0, 10.0 efficiency. It’s an elegance that far surpasses our own. It’s a new day in biology. It’s a digital revolution. We have digital nanotechnology running the show inside cells. It’s exquisitely executed and suggests a preeminent mind.

What is “specified complexity” and how does it play into your argument?

It just refers to strings of characters that need to be arranged in a very precise way in order to perform a function. If they are arranged in a precise way such that they perform a function, they are not just complex but specified in its complexity. The arrangement is specified to perform a function.

I’ve heard the argument that the likelihood of specific genetic instructions to build a protein falling into place would be like a bunch of Scrabble letters falling on a table and spelling out a few lines of Hamlet. But couldn’t you just say that the chances of winning the lottery are also very slim, but someone usually does get lucky? What if the universe forming was just the proverbial “lottery winning”?

But there are some lotteries where the odds of winning are so small that no one will win. And that’s the situation of trying to build new proteins or genes from random arrangements of the subunits of those molecules. The amount of information required is so vast that the odds of it ever happening by chance are miniscule. I make the calculations in the book. There’s a point at which chance hypotheses are no longer credible, and we’ve long since gone past that point when we’re talking about the origin of the information necessary for life.

Some have criticized ID as being primarily a negative enterprise, denying things but not really offering scientifically convincing alternative. In a recent Christianity Today article, Karl Giberson said that ID advocates should “stop trying to prove that Darwin caused the Holocaust or that evolution is ruining Western civilization. … Instead, roll up your sleeves and get to work on the big idea. Develop it to the point where it starts spinning off into new insights into nature so that we know more because of your work.” How do you respond to this?

Well, we are doing this. What Giberson isn’t doing is reading our work. In the back of Signature in the Cell I lay out the research program of ID and an appendix that develops 10 key predictions that the theory makes. There’s a new journal called BIO-Complexity that is investigating the heuristic fruitfulness of intelligent design. It’s testing the theory, looking at papers that generate predictions based on the theory, publishing papers that are developing new lines of research based on the theory.

To the point that it’s mainly a negative enterprise — that is completely incorrect. ID is proposing an alternative explanation of life. It’s not just criticizing Darwin or criticizing chemical evolution; it’s proposing a contrary explanation and in light of that explanation, developing a number of important hypotheses that can be tested in a laboratory.

Do you ever tire of having to defend the scientific legitimacy of ID?

The thing that is most frustrating is that people seem to feel comfortable making comments about our work without even knowing what it is. The characterizations or criticisms of ID often bear no resemblance to what is actually being done, said, researched or written. There have been any number of reviews of my book that were clearly written by people who hadn’t even read it. ID is an idea that some people think they can attack without impunity, because it is so disreputable.

John Walton, an Old Testament professor at Wheaton College, said this about ID in his recent book on Genesis: “Science is not capable of exploring a designer or his purposes. It could theoretically investigate design but has chosen not to by the parameters it has set for itself. … Therefore, while alleged irreducible complexities and mathematical equations and probabilities can serve as a critique for the reigning paradigm, empirical science would not be able to embrace Intelligent Design because science has placed an intelligent designer outside of its parameters as subject to neither empirical verification nor falsification.” Do you agree with this?

I think it’s strange that a biblical scholar would weigh in on the definition of science. His definition of science doesn’t work. Science often infers things that can’t be seen based on things that can be seen. Darwinism does that. In physics, we talk about quarks and all sorts of elementary particles. We don’t see those. They’re inferred by things we can see. I don’t think his concept of science comports with the experience of scientists. Direct verification is not a standard that separates science from any other discipline. It’s also a odd thing for a biblical scholar to say, because the biblical witness is that from the things that are made, St. Paul says, the attributes of God are clearly manifest, and one of his attributes is intelligence. So why should it be surprising that if we look at things carefully and reason about their origins, that we would come to the conclusion that a designing intelligence had indeed played a role in their origin?

It seems like the idea or inference of anything supernatural scares scientists away. Do you agree?

Well, all we are inferring is intelligence. Whether it is supernatural or natural is a matter for further deliberation. I don’t even like the term “supernatural.” I think the better philosophical distinction is between transcendent and immanent. Are we talking about an intelligence within the cosmos or an intelligence that is in some way beyond it? And that’s a theological distinction. I think it is possible to reason about that, and whether you call it a philosophical deliberation or not, it doesn’t really matter. All the theory of intelligent design is doing is establishing that intelligence was responsible for certain features of life. We recognize intelligence all the time, and we have scientific methods for it. If you’re an archaeologist and you’re looking at the Rosetta Stone, are you duty-bound to continue looking for naturalistic explanations even though you know full well that wind and erosion and everything else you can imagine is not capable of making those inscriptions? No, you’re not. You really ought to conclude the obvious, which is that a scribe was involved. There was an intelligence behind it.

But then, doesn’t the inquiry become one of history rather than science?

It’s historical science. That’s what my Ph.D. dissertation was about and it’s part of what I defend in the book. That’s what Darwin was doing. He was doing an historical science — attempting to infer the causes of an event in the remote past. There’s a scientific method by which you can do that which addresses questions of past causation. Sciences such as archeology, geology, paleontology, cosmology are concerned with those kinds of questions. Intelligent design is using the same sort of scientific methods that these sciences are using.

People are hung up on how to classify intelligent design. But how you classify a theory is not all that important. Whether it’s science, religion, philosophy, history — why can’t it be all four? I think Darwinian biology is certainly science, certainly history, and certainly has larger metaphysical and philosophical implications. Nature and the world do not present us with tidy categorical distinctions.

portrait of Stephen C. Meyer

Why do you think scientists are so adamant that the admission of a metaphysical, teleological explanation of the universe would undermine the practice of science? If such a thing could be shown to be provable, or even just probable, shouldn’t it excite the scientific mind? I think of a scientist as being in awe of the wonder of the world.

It’s a very astute question. The origin of modern science was spawned by scientists who had precisely this sort of awe. They were in the main Christians who believed that science was possible because nature was intelligible. It could be understood and comprehended by rational minds such as ourselves because it had been designed by a rational mind in the first place — that God had put into nature order and design and discernable pattern. That’s what made it possible to do the hard work of looking at things and then eventually discerning that there was a pattern. Kepler said that scientists have the high calling of “thinking God’s thoughts after him.” Design was part of the foundational assumption of modern science. Scientists assumed that nature was designed, and that’s why they could do science. Now roll the clock forward 300 years and you have scientists saying that if we allow a design hypothesis in any realm of science, even if we’re talking about something like the origin of the first life, that we are undermining the very foundation of science. In fact, we’re getting back to the very foundation of science and to that awe and wonder that was the inspiration for the whole enterprise.

There are many evangelical Christian scientists who disagree with you — even people familiar with genetics and DNA, such as Francis Collins. On what points do you agree with someone like Collins, and at what points do you disagree?

There are a number of points on which I agree with Collins. He says that he’s against intelligent design, but he actually makes arguments for intelligent design in The Language of God. He says intelligent design is the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the laws of physics and chemistry. He also argues that the moral sense of humans cannot be explained by undirected processes. Collins denounces ID as a “God of the gaps” argument or an argument from ignorance, but yet he’s making arguments for intelligent design based on physics. I think he sees theistic implications from the Big Bang, and I agree with that. Where we differ is that he wants to hold out for a materialistic explanation of the origin of life, and I think he thinks that Darwinian evolution is sufficient to account for new forms of life. One of the things I’ve been asking Collins to clarify, as a theistic evolutionist, is what he means by evolution. Which of those three meanings of evolution does he affirm? Change over time, common ancestry? I know he affirms those. But what about the third meaning? The idea that the evolutionary process is purely blind and unguided. I had a chance to ask him personally: Is the evolutionary process directed or undirected? He paused, and responded, “It could be directed.” If he says it is directed, he’s got a problem because he’s breaking with the dominant materialist view of the scientific establishment. If he says it’s undirected, then he’s going to lose his influence with the evangelical Christian church, which he’s desperately trying to influence. If he says that evolution is essentially undirected, that’s not consistent with the biblical view he espouses. Instead, it’s a form a deism in which nature is doing all the work and God is either absent or just watching from the mezzanine.

What is the most compelling argument that you’ve come across from your opponents? What do you think is the hardest thing to overcome from your position?

I think one of the strongest challenges to intelligent design has always been the observation of things in nature that are not going well or don’t look like they were intelligently designed. In the book I have a section on pathogens and virulents. There have been these horrific diseases in the history of life — like the plague. People ask me, “Do you really want to say the plague was intelligently designed by God?” And as Christian and a design theorist, of course I don’t want to say that. So there are then three options to respond to this, sometimes called the problem of natural evil. One option is that there really is no evil, natural or otherwise; it’s just that you’ve got random mutations producing things that we like and things that we don’t like. That was essentially the Darwinian view. He was going to let God off the hook by saying essentially that God had nothing to do with it. He didn’t want to make God responsible for evil, so he made God responsible for nothing at all. The other view is that it looks like you’ve got design, but it looks like you’ve got a good designer and a bad designer at the same time. A third view — which I think is more in line with a Christian view of design — is that the world is simply evidence of a good design gone bad.

What does ID have to do or prove to get more of the mainstream scientific community on board with it?

I think it needs to continue doing what it’s been doing, making the case and focusing on the evidence, and then challenging the rules of science that prevents scientists from considering ID as an explanation. I think this is the main impediment.

What do you hope for the future of the ID movement?

We’re trying to grow it. We want to see more scientists come in to it. And I think it is incumbent upon us to develop a robust research program of questions that flow from an ID perspective. If ID is correct, life ought to look different than if it were the result of random processes of mutation and selection. One of the key predictions that illustrates how it ought to look different is the prediction about junk DNA. We’ve been saying since the early ’90s that the non-protein-coding regions of the genome — which the Darwinists said to be junk — are not going to be shown to be junk. If ID is true, it makes no sense for a designing intelligence to design an information system in which 97 percent of it is doing nothing. We’ve predicted that yes, you ought to see some mutational decay and some errors over time, but the signal should not be dwarfed by the noise. What we’ve been seeing in the last 10 years is that that prediction has been substantially, overwhelmingly confirmed. That’s an example of how the ID perspective is anticipating discoveries in science, suggesting testable predictions, and I think that’s the future of ID.

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  • Danny Jones July 6, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    It doesn't take a genius or science to know that there is a God. There is one God, the Almighty God and he is the creator of everything. Science will never be able to comprehend the human body and its wonders.

  • Chris July 6, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    C'mon guy, you can't let go can you? Not even an argument that can be taken seriously. Still speculation made from a religious point of view. Clinging desperately to the wishful thinking that has kept god propped up in the corner for the last 500 years. Good luck with that... This will most assuredly convince all the other flock members that they were right all along. The world is full of 'scientists', and while I realize that this guy is an actual scientist, to 99.9% of the people reading this, it's all the convincing they need. Why do religious people struggle so hard to find proof of something they already 'know to be true'??? As soon as Jesus shows up on a peice of toast, they flock to the toaster with the gleeful cries of 'I just knew it!!'. There's your proof, Jesus on a cracker. C'mon people... We are alone! It's really not that bad though, consider this... Instead of getting a do-over, maybe we could all treat each other right the first time around...

  • Allen July 6, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    I did not have to read very far to find the first falsehood in this interview. Evolution is not an undirected process. Only mutation is an undirected process. Models of evolution are very directional, or they can be stabilizing. This fundamental misunderstanding of evolution means that Mr. Meyer is not qualified to write on this subject. Stephen, please learn about things before your write books about them, even if you are getting paid. It is a disservice to humanity to deliberately or ignorantly misinform people.

  • Mark Ferguson July 6, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    Ok folks, lets get real, Stephen Meyer is not capable of tweezing out anything in the genome that real experts cannot see. Armchair research is just that, kick back and see how to get around a problem without the intense experience, and that's how criminals get caught every day with thinking like that.
    Where's my proof? All the "miracles" that happen every day in the Western World, vs all the dying christians, muslims, and jewish, in the rest of the world that do not expect to see a miracle ever.
    It's called brainwashing, just like what the creation institute tries to do, just like every evangelist tries to do. ID is a last ditch effort to show what isn't in the bible without saying the bible is a crock and a ripoff text. You do anyway when you say intelligent design though...lamer
    that's logic, that's adding the facts together.

    Read your Ezekiel & the Hindu Mahabharata for where mankind got ideas of gods. Show how Yeshua didn't die in Kashmir with your logic. Show how god saves those who pray in Ethiopia just like he pours blessings upon the masses here in the States. Looser, your logic is plagued with egotistical garbage and the underlying drive to get rich off of dupes.

  • casey July 6, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    I think all of the science jibberish just needs to end, and quit trying to come up with ways to say the earth and humans were possibly created. We haven't ever change, as far as evolution goes. People need to not be so ignorant and realize we are god's creation.

  • Adam July 6, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    Chris is right, and i assure you that science daily "comprehends" the human body. It has had everything to do with why you are still alive and well today. Step away from Bronze Age mysticism and into reality. We are waiting eagerly for your arrival.

  • Randy July 6, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    Chris, you need to read up on science and study probabilities. If you did, you would see that we are not alone. "The fool says in his heart, "there is no God" - Psa 14:1

  • Matt July 6, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    To all the haters out there - read the book before hating lol

  • JDogg July 6, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Response to Danny Jones

    God doesn't exist. God "the almighty" created nothing.

  • Chalis July 6, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Ignorance seems to be bliss for the majority. ...

  • Chris T. July 6, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    Even if there was an intelligent designer (which I highly doubt, but ID is still valid as a theory), there is no reason to believe the designer (or designers) were anything like any of the "gods" conjured up by man -- the Christian version or otherwise. Let's imagine for a moment the ID movement found that "smoking gun" somewhere in our DNA coding -- undeniable evidence that there was an intelligent designer of life (though I'm hard pressed to imagine what form that evidence would take) -- even if intelligent design could somehow be proven, it still doesn't guarantee that a "god" did the deed. I'm half-joking, but it could have been aliens, right? (And even though there is no solid evidence aliens have visited us, there is good reason to believe alien life exists on other planets and could somehow have played a hand in our origin). Or, it could have been any other kind of intelligent creator that hasn't yet been dreamed up by humans, something entirely unknown to us. So, the "faithful" (read: people who don't require evidence in order to fully believe something, even to the point of waging wars) who look to ID as a potential scientific buttress for their belief system should abandon the idea, because proof of an intelligent designer is a far cry from proof of a particular specific deity -- or even a deity at all. The fact that Meyers says he's a Christian is pretty revealing (even damning) when it comes to his ability to parse empirical data and properly apply reason and logic, in my book.

    And yes, I will read his book. I'm ready to be convinced if his argument is sound, but this interview doesn't give me much hope. Again, I don't dismiss the idea of intelligent design as a remote possibility for how life came to be, but I am disappointed in people who employ its scientific branding towards justifying their own shoddy entrenched belief systems.

  • Chris T. July 6, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Also, I take issue with the idea that because something "looks coded" it was in fact truly intelligently designed. Meyer cites the Rosetta Stone as a case for something that we wouldn't try to explain away based on natural phenomena -- that we obviously see the handiwork of intelligent design there and call it as such. He also uses the analogy of computer programming. Well, the difference between those things and the DNA found in life is that we're talking about millions of years when it comes to how life evolved. Sure, only intelligent, purposeful design could create computers or Rosetta Stones on an accelerated timetable, but given millions of years it's possible that something that "looks" intelligently coded is really the result of life forms grinding out and competing for survival over eons. Rosetta Stones and computers were created by intelligent life forms for a purpose, but were borne out by physical processes that can be pointed to -- chisels carving rock, machines soldering computer chips. What physical processes -- other than those of evolution (and I mean the third definition Meyer uses) -- could have borne out something like DNA? Was there a "biological factory" somewhere, where life was forged? Just because our only examples of complex, coded things were created by humans in a relatively short period of time, it does not mean that the only yet unexplained example of something that appears coded -- life -- could not have arisen "randomly" given enough time and variation. Flip enough coins, or randomly generate binary code, and patterns will appear, but no one would argue there was an "intelligent force" behind them. Add to those random events a lot of time and the shaping forces of natural selection and random mutation and something that "looks" coded could well "accidentally" appear... and take on life of its own

  • Virgo47 July 6, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    The covers of this book are entirely too far apart. DNA is evidence of god/aliens/The Force if by "evidence" you mean no actual connection whatsoever. Even better evidence of an Intelligent Designer would be the actual Intelligent Designer, front and center. As long as that entity remains undetectable, then any other "evidence" is just a reason to sell books to silly people.

  • Darth Wader July 6, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    This is backwards science.
    As a philosopher of science Dr. Meyer should be keenly aware of the folly of starting with an assumption and finding data to support it.

    His main argument seems to be that there appears to be intelligence driving evolution because of the complexity of the systems.

    Nature however shows that complex systems emerge from simple rules. Emergence can be seen in the behavior of flocks of birds which seem to have a governing intelligence but don't. It can be seen in chemical reactions, and in many other natural systems.

    One of the wonders of nature is the emergence of complex systems from simple processes. Ascribing this to a supernatural power that there is absolutely no evidence for is dishonest and unethical.

    But then Dr. Meyer is a philosopher not a biologist, he's not even a scientist. This makes as much sense as Nietzsche writing a book criticizing astronomy. If you don't like a scientific theory thats fine, I don't like sting theory, but I am not about to distort it, mischaracterize it, and out and out lie about it.

    Choosy biologists choose Natural Selection. Check out "Project Steve"!

  • Keevan July 6, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    there's a fundemental flaw in everyone's thinking these days. On the one side of the coin are those who always say "nay", and on the other, those who always say "aye".
    Am i here by chance, or was there some ancient blueprint that got misadvertently dropped here on this little mudball floating in a suburb of a spiral galaxy? I do not know, I don't know whether or not i want to know, and somehow, I'm not too sure if I even care.
    Do I believe there is intelligent design? It's a posibility. Though, I am not too terribly convinced that there was a blueprint for humanity written eons ago, but like I said...it's a posibility.
    Do I believe in random molecules that just crammed together one day and said "hey, lets party!" and poof there was life? maybe.....but it seems like an aweful waste of material if we're just random bits of stuff grafted together over millenia by biological interferences.
    The point, ladies and gentlemen...
    always keep an open mind to everything in the universe, including this little mudball...
    a theory will always be just an educated guess that gets updated as time passes and our knowledge grows. anything is possible, just not too probable...

  • Mik Hamilton July 6, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    What if there is a fourth definition of evolution? What if you changed the word GOD to INFINITE INTELLIGENCE and what we see and think are different states of that one infinite eternal INTELLIGENCE. We are using words and ideas of the mind to comprehend what is beyond the human mind so analogies must be used. God (INFINITE INTELLIGENCE) in its original state is like an infinite ocean but unconscious of Itself: UNCONSCIOUS INFINITE CONSCIOUSNESS or NATURAL LIGHT. Included in the NATURAL LIGHT is NATURAL DARKNESS, the body of NATURAL LIGHT. (There can be no LIGHT without darkness, the INFINITE must contain the most finite. What if the original WORD of "God" was the urge to know itself coming as the question WHO AM I, a whim or surge of movement in the infinite Ocean of INFINITE INTELLIGENCE. The immediate answer is I AM GOD or I AM INFINITE INTELLIGENCE. The question being finite emerges from the most finite point in the infinite (UNNATURAL DARKNESS) the "creation point" and thus emerges as the most finite form of consciousness. It should immediately say I AM INFINITE CONSCIOUSNESS and experience that but now thinking has begun from the INFINITE MIND OF GOD (INFINITE INTELLIGENCE) and takes the most finite form to experience itself, stone. (There would of course have to be many forms before that gross body, subtle gasses, then gross gasses all based on the mental impression from the first impression, WHO AM I?. The fourth variant of evolution is an evolution of CONSCIOUSNESS which associates itself with higher and higher forms to gain greater and greater experiences leading from INFINITE UNCONSCIOUSNESS to INFINITE CONSCIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS in which state "God" realizes the the I AM GOD or I AM INFINITE CONSCIOUSNESS state. What if evolution is not an evolution of form but an evolution of consciousness going from the subtle gasses, the gross gasses, stone, metal, worm, fish, bird, animal to human in which consciousness is full and contains the consciousness of all previous forms because from the beginning it keeps the same mental and subtle bodies but changes only the gross body (life and death). Why does "God" not answer the original question (the big bang, the primal WORD, WHO AM I) when consciousness if full and infinite when taking the first most human form? There is a reason for that. It's because of all of the natural impressions stored in the mental body necessary for the advancement of consciousness in the sub-human forms. All of creation is Gods infinite imagination expanding endlessly and what we see as the universe is UNNATURAL LIGHT caused by FALSE THINKING (Imagination). Email me for more if you want. mik77@pacbell.net

  • Aaron July 6, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    why don't you write a book after you've actually proved something?

  • Keevan July 6, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    So.....Mik, what you are basically saying is that we are living in a hallucination created by a higher thinking being? lol, makes sense in a twisted sort of way...

  • Aaron McCoy July 6, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    While I respect the right of everyone to harbor and express their opinions regarding the soundness of evolutionary biology, I equate "intelligent design" with arguing that 2+2=5 because god made it so. Intelligent design theory would never withstand the rigors of science because it is predicated on an idea that can never be proven and provides no evidence further than the writings of scribes thousands of years ago. You can have whatever wacky idea about the origins of man or even the universe but please don't try to fly that flag in the arena of science. Take a lesson from Francis Collins (an absolute brilliant Christian scientist) and don't try to marry science and theology its is embarrassing.

  • Joey Paugh July 6, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    I am not a scientist, but I am a Christian, and I think the theory of ID is very relevant to the existence of "God". You need only read the first verse of the Bible Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God ( the Intelligent designer ) created the heavens (plural) and the earth. Now I believe the scientist have focused every theory relating to the earth and have completely excluded the heavens. They leave no room for the existence of other intelligent beings designed by the Creator that reside in the heavens(plural). They are stuck on the idea that we are alone in this vast creation. The Bible is relevant only to those who are earthbound and await the return of Jesus, who is God incarnate. Is it so impossible to believe that God also created other beings, that Christians refer to as Angels who assisted man in their development of science and technology? We only need to look at the pyramids of Egypt to know that ID played a role in their construction, and there are many, many other wonders of this world that could not been created with the technology that was available to the builders at the time of their construction. I have not read the book, but I certainly will. and perhaps all ye naysayers should read your Bibles!

  • Bart July 6, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    DNA doesn't at all point to a creator. Come now... You're educated in the philosophy of science and you can't even draw a parsimonious conclusion?

  • dmpc July 6, 2010 at 11:29 PM

    It's not too probable that there's a god. If there was, would his creations be running around killing each other? I highly doubt it.

    Give it a rest. We came into being spontaneously and we are continually evolving.

    It's time one of the right wing religinuts proved that god exists other than in a book.

    I think we also need to start teaching calculus in church.

  • Aki July 7, 2010 at 12:05 AM

    Why are so many offended at the idea of ID as an alternative explanation? Truth should be what we are all searching for. If evolutionary theory is correct, then worry not, the truth will prevail in the long-run! However, I for one would like to see more research on Intelligent Design. I think it is the responsibility of scientists, philosophers and historians alike to explore all possibilities and I would not so easily dismiss Dr. Meyer's book as nonsense without having first taken the time to open it up! He said in the interview above, "There have been any number of reviews of my book that were clearly written by people who hadn’t even read it." You lot are case in point!

    @Mark Ferguson - The only brainwashing going on here is by those who wish to silence alternative viewpoints rather than test them through disciplined research.

    I also think it's worth mentioning that the Bible is unquestionably the best-preserved literary work of all antiquity. For the New Testament alone, over 5,000 original ancient Greek manuscripts have been cataloged. That's significantly more than what we have to account for the works of historians like Josephus, Herodotus, Aristotle, Caesar, Tacitus and the entire Mahabharata. What, then is your basis for calling the Bible "a crock and a ripoff text"?

    According to Bible scholar F.F. Bruce, "In real terms, the New Testament is easily the best attested ancient writing in terms of the sheer number of documents, the time span between the events and the document, and the variety of documents available to sustain or contradict it. There is nothing in ancient manuscript evidence to match such textual availability and integrity." If your personal research has proven otherwise, I'd very much like to see it.

  • The Malkavian July 7, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    Does God exist? possible
    Does he create/maintain everything? possible also
    Does he care? possible

    But I think this blog does completely reveal one thing that is absolute.

    None of us have any idea where we came from, or where we're going as a universe.

    I stand by what I always have, whether God exists or not, sometimes its comforting to pretend someone's watching.

  • TK Jaros July 7, 2010 at 2:13 AM

    The Malkavian, is it not also true that sometimes it is comforting to pretend like someone's not watching?

  • Larry AkA Askm July 7, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    Before attacking anyone, please, attack the argument. I haven't read all the comments yet so I apologies for those who did take the argument seriously and spoke about it. But to me it seems that there is a huge question to be answered. If science is about knowing the truths of this world through testing and experience, then this seems to fall in that category.

    We all know that an intelligible message or information can only be made by a mind with intelligence. We know this through experience. The argument deals with information, NOT simply a patterns done by nature. This is a code. Random movement can surely make awesome structures, but not a message or information that is intelligent. Are we open minded? If there is information (not just a pattern) in DNA, then that implies (from experience) that there MUST be an intelligent source behind the code.

    So, the argument is this : 1. information can ONLY come from an intelligent source. 2. There is information in our DNA. 3. Therefore, the information in our DNA must have an intelligent source.

    People, the only way to break this argument is to disprove the premises 1 and 2. I don't think it can be done. The argument is sound. If it implies something greater than us, like a creator, than a person who TRULY is open minded will consider this to be at least something worth the time to look into. What will be the implications if God is real or if God is not. I think it is worth seeking it out. Are we really open minded? Before attacking any scientist or group of people, let's attack the argument. If you can!

    Aki, nice post.

  • mory July 7, 2010 at 5:14 AM

    Wow---This truly is the "great deception" button down your hatches people-- the Bride Groom cometh!

  • red July 7, 2010 at 6:40 AM

    To dmpc, I have grown tired of those who slam the Bible without having even the most basic understanding of it. Your statement "why do people kill each other" is as logical as saying God needs to answer to you because you are not happy. First, get a very basic understanding of what you are criticizing. You will be able to understand why human beings have fallen short of God rather quickly if you actually read the book you feel so comfortable blasting having never picked it up. You will begin to understand God's relationship to those who accept Him and how He interacts with them. The archeological and scientific evidence that has reinforced what the Bible states is overwhelming. Read a book by Josh McDowell - an expert on Christian Apologetics.

  • Wade Cothran July 7, 2010 at 6:46 AM

    It's funny how all of the posts supporting creationism are written in all caps with horrible punctuation, spelling and grammar.

    When did it become the atheist's job to hold the burden of proof? You idiots came up with the idea of Jesus and Mary and the talking snake. Prove it without quoting your ridiculous book.

    Here is a link to a story about a Texas woman who murdered her five children:
    http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/women/andrea_yates/

    Oh! And, here's one more link about genocide in Darfur.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_Darfur

    One more link to the children's cancer research fund website: Donate
    http://www.childrenscancer.org/

    Yep. There's a peaceful, loving omnipotent god out there. Look at him up there. Just plotting.

  • sprode July 7, 2010 at 6:53 AM

    Lol this is completely asinine.

    Intelligent design is a misnomer. It's really "Religious cop-outs for kids and imaginative adults."

    Go back to school, stop using God as an excuse for treating people poorly, and grow up.

  • Philip R Tully July 7, 2010 at 6:56 AM

    Belief in an almighty presence is a crutch for weak minded people. Religion was invented by the ruling few to keep the vast unclean masses at bay. No sane person would put up with the horrors that poor and indigent people endured throughout the centuries without an outlandish belief in a "heaven"

  • Garrett G July 7, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    I am an atheist. I have seen in some of these messages refering to Christians to put God down and treat people right. Why is it that people who do not believe in God seem to take strides in trying to care about others more. Is it just because of the realization that we are finite? If we are finite then who cares in the long run? And would it not be the case that if we treat everyone harder, the more evolution will take its course. For example, if we just stigmatize fat people to a degree that they either do not breed or commit suicide than no more fat people, which will let the healthier people thrive. Immediately, this is going to be take by the vast of everyone as a slippery slope to race. But, i am not going there, for variations amongst species is good. Honestly, breeding between races is probability better than same races just having sex continuously. Isn't the evidence in how attractive Holly Berry enough?

  • C.T. July 7, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    @Chris T. After reading your posts, I have to say, if your alien theory is correct, then your comment that a "DNA factory" exists is plausible. Check out the Sumerian texts, then head on over to the Mayan and Egyptian stuff, along with cave drawings from ancient times, and let's not discount the centuries of documented UFO activity.

    I'm not going to get in a debate over what is true or false and so on, but the entire human existence currently can't explain what happened and the origins of man; and every last person who claims a position claims a religion. Yes, science as religion when it comes to stuff that can't be proven with proper research, replication and observation.

    One also might note the recent (and not so recent) news about DNA, viruses, science, computers and programming. With all they are doing, they still must start with at least one sample of original DNA before they can modify, replicate or splice anything.

    In short, anyone who believes in any theory that can not be proven believes in his or her religion of their own making. And that is the best thing about living in America. We all are free to your own opinion, even if its wrong or stupid. (paraphrased from Preston Tucker)

    Chris T., I appreciate your well thought out post.

  • nemo July 7, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    Nice to see all the angry, ignorant, insecure atheist religious nuts out in full force.

  • Michael J Fitch July 7, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Allen... reading comprehension is a wonderful thing...try it sometime.

    " Well, evolution can have several different meanings. It can mean change over time, or it can mean that all organisms share a common ancestor such that the history of life looks like the great branching tree that Darwin used to depict the history of life. Or it can mean that a purely undirected process — namely natural selection acting on random mutations — has produced all the change that has occurred over time."

    NEO-DARWINIAN THEORY...LUCK=CHANCE=NATURAL SELECTION ACTING ON RANDOM MUTATION"... .Sound like a directed process to me. ROTFLMAO!! :-)

  • SCS12 July 7, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    If you are truly open minded, then the website at the link below has some excellent scholarly papers regarding evidence for the existence of God, etc.

    www.reasonablefaith.org

  • Carp July 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    I would here propposing some answeres from questions by responders:

    1)Why do religious people struggle so hard to find proof of something they already 'know to be true'???
    Answer: It is not for the Christians, it is for the people who were fooled by Darwinian evolution.

    2)Evolution is not an undirected process. Only mutation is an undirected process
    Answer: If you admit that mutation is undirected process, never mind your selection, if nothing good enough could came up.

    3)Sure, only intelligent, purposeful design could create computers or Rosetta Stones on an accelerated timetable, but given millions of years it's possible that something that "looks" intelligently coded is really the result of life forms grinding out and competing for survival over eons
    Answer:The idea of millions of years is definitely not enough for a single functional protein to come up by undirected mutation. Thousands of functional proteins are needed to maintain life.

    My last advice: Read the book, and place your comments succinctly.

  • Thomas July 7, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    Many--not all, and I honestly didn't read every comment thoroughly--responding to this (both for and against) have problems in the arguments they presented because somehow, they end up "backing it up" with completely unrelated topics that have nothing to do with the book. Just had to put that out there. I cannot argue anything as I haven't read it for myself, but I do think it just might be an "interesting read."

    Aki and Larry, thanks.

  • Steven Rego July 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Even when so many of you accuse Meyer of speaking with a religious bias, yet so many of you do the very same thing (except from your belief system)... a double standard. Anyway I disagree... I think Meyer does a good job of being objective considering he has a religious affiliation at all. Intelligence is obvious.

  • E-Mac O.H.I.O. July 7, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Im not Religous, but I am INTELLIGENT! I do believe in the Spirtitual, Emotional, Mental, And Physical aspects and manifestations of LIFE; as much as I do FIRE, WATER, EARTH, and AIR!...And if you"re an INTELLIGENT person who has ever CREATED anything, you should be familiar with exactly how NECESSARY intelligence is in that process.

  • shawn s. July 7, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Atheist always feel uncomfortable even angry when the word God or Jesus is mentioned. Funny how something that is so "false" eats at you so much. If someone said santa clause was real would it bother you? No! Why? Because you know it’s not true. However, God/Jesus makes you upset due to a calling in your heart that you wont listen to. I love every atheist and will pray for everyone here that made a neg. commit about God. "He is real!" And he (God / Jesus) loves atheists as much as he loves anyone. You just don’t know it.

  • Beth July 7, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    I think it is funny how people say "there is no God", then go into the theology about who God is and what he should be in order for them to believe in him. ID and Theology are two separate issues which need to be addressed separately. You cannot argue that there is no God because people are starving, dying, murdering, etc... While those are important issues to address, they do nothing to help your argument. In fact, they only serve to show your anger towards God, which might be the key to why you reject the idea that he exists.

  • Dave July 7, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    By seeing these posts, I can tell nobody has actually read his book. The debate is not about evolution, it is about, "Where did the information required by the first cells come from?" Functional, complex information only comes intellgent sources. No naturalistic model has shown otherwise.

  • Jeff Snipes July 7, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Allen,

    Evolution is, and has been known to be a blind undirected process since Darwin first put forth the idea of descent with modification centuries ago. There is no thought, goal, or plan of any kind behind it. Hence the description of it being "undirected."


    Chris T.,

    I agree with your statement about how the intelligence in question probably isn't a superimposed god of some kind. As for the following:

    "Well, the difference between those things and the DNA found in life is that we're talking about millions of years when it comes to how life evolved."

    In the context of SigCell, Meyer isn't referring to evolution as a whole, he is highlighting the difficulty needed to get the first functional genome needed to bootstrap evolution in the first place. Under these circumstances, you would be very hard pressed to find a way for nature on its own to construct enough code for a functional replicating cell; such is the minimum for evolutionary processes to even begin any trial and error process.


    Darth Vader,

    "Nature however shows that complex systems emerge from simple rules. Emergence can be seen in the behavior of flocks of birds which seem to have a governing intelligence but don't."

    You don't actually believe there is a reasonable comparison that can be drawn from flight patterns in birds and genetic code do you???

    "It can be seen in chemical reactions, and in many other natural systems. One of the wonders of nature is the emergence of complex systems from simple processes."

    If there is some form of front-loading involved, I would have to agree. Under those circumstances we would expect to see some emergent order.


    Aaron McCoy,

    Could you perhaps show by example how the following of yours statement applies to ID?

    "I equate "intelligent design" with arguing that 2+2=5 because god made it so."


    On a side note, what's with all the theological arguments from the problem of evil? Someone killed their kids, therefore we came about by contingency and necessity? Where's the science in that?

  • sheroniak July 7, 2010 at 2:00 PM


    Why does the answer to everything have to be god. . Just by this article you dont' even have to read the book based on his flawed conception of what information is.
    Keep this in mind also. Science has no agenda: it's just a process to find imperical truth.
    His quest is to find God and when this hypothesis doesn't pan out for him he will try to find god another way. "oops I was wrong about the god information in dna..I must conceed there is no god." haha hell no he will not admit that. There is a god in his mind and nothing will change that.

    And wat if we did find god... what then. He would not be the loving one in your bibles and books.

  • E-Mac O.H.I.O. July 7, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    IM WITH U STEVE MEYER!...Im not Religous, but I am INTELLIGENT! I do believe in the Spirtitual, Emotional, Mental, And Physical aspects and manifestations of LIFE (even though only 1 can be seen); as much as I do FIRE, WATER, EARTH, and AIR!...And if you"re an INTELLIGENT person who has ever CREATED anything, you should be familiar with exactly how NECESSARY intelligence is in that process.
    I belive INTELLIGENCE, in its rawest form, to be pure ENERGY reacting with itself subatomically creating particles that react to create ATOMIC FORMATION, REACTIONS, & PRINCILPLES, thereby creating and giving form to the MOLECULAR formation, reactions,& principles that CREATE ALL PROPERTIES AND LAWS OF MATTER!!!..(and Ive never known of a law that existed without REASON & PURPOSE from some intelligent source)... ALL of our Technolgical, Spirtitual, Emotional, Mental, And Physical EVOLUTION & GROWTH came from us STUDYING and UNDERSTANDING the Laws, Properties, and INTELLIGENCE WITHIN the NATURAL DESIGN!!! That's where ALL of our so-CALLED INTELLIGENCE comes from; The STUDY of things WE DID NOT CREATE. Correct me if im wrong but I THOUGHT THATS WHAT SCIENCE WAS; The STUDYING OF SOMETHING TO FIND THE INTELLIGENCE (or pattern of ORDER) WITHIN IT!!!... But hey, If I had not been blessed with the INTELLIGENCE it takes to conceive GOD, I might not BELIEVE in HIM either...;-)...And to me, One of BIGGEST STUNTERS of our OVERALL EVOLUTIONAL GROWTH are people that WRITE OFF what THEY CANNOT SEE or UNDERSTAND as NonExistant, because they're are so far out of tune with TRUE INTELLIGENCE that they CANT EVEN RECOGNIZE IT,...EVERYWHERE THEY LOOK, and Try to live thier lives VOID OF IT!..:-(sad ...INTELLIGENCE ONLY RECOGNIZES ITSELF AND UNTIL WERE ALL FAMILIAR WITH IT, THIS EVOLUTION THING WILL CONTINUE TO BE A LONG,DRAWN OUT, UGLY, & BEAUTIFUL PROCESS!!!!THE ONLY DISCOVERY EVER MADE BY MANKIND IS THE FINDING AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE "INTELLIGENT CODE" THAT ALREADY LIES WITHIN EVERYTHING!!!(especially living things) And it seems that most of the people commenting couldn't even understand the order of the bricks their home is made with; let alone, the BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE & EXISTANCE...They kinda make me feel as if we need to be Studying "THE ORGIN OF IGNORANCE" ~E-MAC~
    P.S. ...and sum of those viruses and diseases, so many of u all curse GOD for, DISPLAY MORE INTELLIGENCE IN THE MECHANISMS OF THEIR LIFECYCLES THAN MANY HUMANS EVER DO!...I know....DA TRUTH HURTS A LIL BIT....Atleast til you GROW UP & GET REAL WITH "THE INTELLIGENCE WITHIN YOURSELF" BO$$ UP YALL I'm OUT!!!!!!!

  • Dave July 7, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    sheroniak, what is his flawed conception of information?

  • Ryan July 7, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Allen, it seems I didn't have to read very far in the comments to find the first falsehood. You claim Evolution is not undirected and accuse Meyer of being ignorant for claiming it is so. I believe what you meant to say - if I can dare to assume you understand the distinction - is that Evolution is not *random*, by which you must, presumably, mean that natural selection in particular is not random. So what you mean to argue (or *should* mean to argue), is that natural selection is *deterministic*, but that is not the same as directed, nor can the description be applied to Evolution in any general sense.

    Of course, it's a pointless argument, since ID proponents already acknowledge the deterministic nature of natural selection as one half of the Darwinian mechanism. Nonetheless, it is often pointed out that the *full* mechanism - natural selection operating *on* random mutation - is a stochastic process, as it relies on the initial presence of a *random* mutation before natural selection can take place. Recognizing this, it can be observed that each individual evolutionary event is, in a sense, actually random because it requires a random event (mutation) to take place before anything can happen.

    There is also a sense in which we can carry this observation further. We might say that the evolutionary process is *fully* random from a forward looking perspective, because not only is any given mutation itself random, but what environment or selective pressures it will occur in is also unpredictable and could change at any given time by way of any number of variables (ecological, meteorological, predatory, etc.) that could change unpredictably.

    As you may be aware, It is a disservice to humanity to deliberately or ignorantly misinform people about another person's views on any given matter. You might want to inform yourself on relevant matters before making exclamations about who is and is not qualified to write on this subject. Additionally, you might want to try actually reading Meyer's book or becoming familiar with his arguments - rather than seeking a way to excuse yourself from having to put forth the effort to do so - before mindlessly criticizing its author and accusing him of ignorance.

  • Dave July 7, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    "You contain a trillion copies of a large, textual document written in a highly accurate, digital code, each copy as voluminous as a substantial book. I'm talking, of course, of the DNA in your cells." - Richard Dawkins

    One question - where did the first "digital code" (RNA, DNA, or other) come from?

  • Louis C July 7, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Amen Shawn S. Amen.

  • Ryan July 7, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    @Sheroniak, your claim that science has no agenda is sufficiently idealistic and ahistorical as to be absurd. ---------- @Jeff Snipes, you said, "On a side note, what's with all the theological arguments from the problem of evil? Someone killed their kids, therefore we came about by contingency and necessity? Where's the science in that?" You speak the truth. It's a trend I've noticed in debates between ID proponents and Darwinists. Lacking any convincing Darwinian pathways to answer scientific questions about development posed by ID, the Darwinist regularly turns from scientific argumentation to philosophical and theological argumentation, and as regards both they seem woefully uninformed.

  • E-Mac O.H.I.O. July 7, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    I feel you BETH an SHAWN S.!!!!

  • Richard Ball July 7, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Standard, non-ID science is ID's best friend. The gap between non-life and life has gone from an inch in the 19th cc. to a billion miles in the 21st cc. The intelligence packed-into the simplest life-form has gone from a thimble-full to Grand Canyon- full. All the movement in the past 60 years has been towards intelligence, complexity and design.

    Just keep gathering the evidence -- and then follow it to its logical conclusions.

    There is a Designer. There is a Creator. Life is the result of direct divine agency and not merely an intelligently designed, morally-infused process. Where there is information, there is a mind. Where there is information-infused life, there is a Creator-God.

  • Scott July 7, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    The theory of Darwinian evolution (from my understanding of it) should be

    Start with a small simple program, introduce copying errors, deletions (N.S.), duplications, etc.. etc...and by this process one should be able to turn a 1MB program into Windows 7 or write a novel or produce skyscraper blueprints

    Why is it the best the theory can come up with is "Methinks its like a weasel" and this even with the targeted phrase pre-programed,

    And yet "seemingly" intelligent men can believe this theory.

  • Ryan July 7, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    @Scott, It really does boggle the mind, doesn't it? I remember several years ago watching some show in which a couple of Darwinian philosophers and biologists were talking about how computer programs duplicating Darwinian mechanisms proved the sufficiency of random mutation and natural selection to produce the complexity of life. I was in my mid-teens at the time and mostly uninitiated to the debate. However, even then, it was immediately obvious to me that appeals to computer programs in support of Darwinian evolution was something of a non-starter, since any such efforts required, well, effort ... specifically of the intelligent kind. One needed to first have a working computer and then a working program, both products of intelligent design, before one could even *claim* to be testing the creative power of an undirected process. Of course, if your undirected process is being conducted by the application of various intelligent and purposeful functions, then you're not really duplicating an undirected process taking place in an environment that is supposed to be devoid of any intelligence or guidance. And when you program the evolutionary target into the program and then sift through random changes to save those most suitable to achieving the target, you're hardly portraying a process that is claimed to be absent any teleological endgame. Richard Dawkins' attempt at a programmatical proof was one of the worst offenders. This is not surprising considering the poor grasp of logic he seems to display nearly every time he opens his mouth, which I guess also serves to explain the nature and character of his legions of adoring fans.

  • Paul July 8, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    Question: Where does the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy) fit into the competing theories, ID and/or chemical origins of life? Accordingly, the universe is supposed to have started very orderly, decreasing in order (and in intelligence?) as time goes by. Strangely, information seems to be increasing. At least within our human knowledge/experience, we are getting richer… how does one reconcile that with the classic physics definition and our understanding of entropy? Humans are evidently quite complex entities. Does that imply that there was something more complex before, since the law of entropy suggests that we are a 'fallout' of something more 'orderly'. Evolution seems to be evolving as well, to greater complexity, not less, or so it would seem. The entropy model clarifies that order 'can be deceptive'… one can effectively decrease entropy (tend to greater order) by drawing from outside the 'closed system' that we are observing. This however implies that we can mistake order and disorder (perhaps there is an answer hidden away here as to why there is the appearance of 'good and evil' in our world, for instance, and of other things that seem contradictory). We just can't fathom and don't see the 'big picture' of it all. Hence, if there were indeed an intelligent Designer behind our perceptions of reality, who are we to judge the goodness or badness of things/ eg suffering etc, and conclude that a good designer made a mistake and hence the ID theory can't be correct, since the designer must be fallible. We just don't understand what the Designer's objectives are and his/her/its way about it; we just aren't evolved and complex enough yet.
    I personally tend to believe that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is an incorrect interpretation of some greater truth/law and that it has misled us considerably in our scientific enquiries.

  • Paul July 8, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    @Scott; What do Jesus and Mary have to do with the article and the points being made by Mr. Meyer? Nothing! Your comments are obviously mindless, spiteful and desperate . The evidence for the ID theory that Stephen has presented, is hardly deniable. Perhaps you didn't read his book yet? I did. It's very convincing. The arguments don't pre-suppose you to be a religious fundamentalist nor an atheist. Unfortunately religious fundamentalists want to claim a potential victory here and the atheists, perhaps defeat; that may be the fallout arising from this work, a separate issue and battle. The theory could have been conceived by anyone… the data and evidence don't require any religious predisposition. One needs to keep and open and objective mind on the material and arguments presented. Getting personal doesn't win you points in this debate. The ID theory obviously has hit a sensitive spot in challenging your hardened beliefs, conclusions about reality etc ., hence incited your angry response, as well as those of many others. If you try to approach the points made by Meyer in support of ID, with an open, intelligent mind, you will see real sense in it all. Try to keep religious discrimination out of the picture for now… that's all coming out from our 'human condition'. The case work for ID is very thorough, academic and scientific.
    @Beth: Totally agree to keep ID and theology apart. We need to take one step at a time. The Case for ID needs to be debated for now… but it certainly appears to be an extremely impressive and jaw wrenching case, for the moment at least.

  • Brian Chaffin July 8, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    So, how bout that world cup?

  • Ryan July 8, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    @Paul, What Scott are you directing your comments to? I agree with your points but you don't seem to be applying them to the right person.

  • Skails July 8, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    DNA itself has designed every creature to ever exist on Earth. It intelligently learns to adapt to changing circumstances, and has increased in complexity in order to ensure its survival in one form or another. Human intelligence is a creation of DNA.
    Can DNA prove the existence of an intelligent designer? It is the designer.
    We human beings on Earth currently lack the perspective and scope to identify the origins of DNA. I think it would help if we saw that life involves many planetary and universal factors that aren't just DNA based.

  • TK Jaros July 8, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    @Paul and @Beth

    "Totally agree to keep ID and theology apart"

    Certainly it is true that ID has religious implications. Perhaps it might be better to say that ID and theology are distinct? It would seem awkward to say that theology, the study of God, is separated from ID, God's craftsmanship, wouldn't it?

  • Ryan July 8, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    @TK Jaros ... ID isn't *necessarily* a study of God's craftsmanship. ID is the study and detection of design in nature, period. Of course, I believe the designer *is* God, but ID theory and Theology *are* two actually separate things. If the designing intelligence happened to be aliens, ID as a theory would not find itself diminished. Of course, if terrestrial biology requires a designer to account for functional/specified complexity, there's not the least reason to think extraterrestrial biology wouldn't require the same, opening the door to infinite regress without the availability of the theological and philosophical arguments that remove that necessity in the case of God. Since aliens would find themselves within a universe that had a beginning and a product of it, it could hardly be argued that their existence is necessary or eternal rather than contingent and temporal.

  • Ryan July 8, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    @Skails ... I'm not sure I totally understand your point. You seem to be assigning will and intelligence to DNA as the designer of life, not needing a designer external to DNA. This would be like assigning the intelligence responsible for the information in the Encyclopedia Britannica to the Encyclopedia itself rather than its authors, thinking that it is somehow keeping track of the shifting state of knowledge in society and authoring its own revisions to follow suit.

  • Michael July 8, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    "we know from experience is that information always comes from an intelligence"

    Yes, and it always comes from HUMANS. And it always comes from MATERIAL BEINGS. Information is always created by "SINNERS", or BIPEDS, or MAMMALS. Interesting that Meyers would choose the one vague category that could also include a supernatural being. It's begging the question: assuming something other than a human is capable of producing information (CSI) is not a fact in evidence. It is an unsupported supposition. FAILURE OF LOGIC.

    "Why do you think scientists are so adamant that the admission of a metaphysical, teleological explanation of the universe would undermine the practice of science? "

    Substitute the word MEDICINE for the word SCIENCE. Why don't doctors ever say that disease is caused by sin, therefore exorcism or faith healing are the best prescription? Because that's not what science or medicine are about. Even if confronted with a miracle, we must still attempt to develop useful materialistic models that are predictive and explanatory because miracles are non-reproducible, non-predictable, and therefore not very useful for scientific understanding.

    I am astounded that these kinds of bad arguments are proffered in the name of apologetics. The interviewer and interviewee would both have failed my class on philosophy of science. Cambridge appears to have lowered their standards for Meyer.

  • Dave July 8, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    @Michael - wrong. Meyer's only conclusion is that information comes from an intelligent source (which you admit). He does not suppose the nature of this source.

  • Michael July 8, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    My distaste is with the subcategory he has chosen. It can be more accurately said that all information derives from HUMAN intelligence. Attributing a NON-HUMAN intelligence is as much of a supposition as attributing NON-INTELLIGENCE. We have never observed non-intelligent sources of information, but we have also never seen NON-HUMAN generated information either. The more correct proposition in this line is that DNA was invented by HUMANS. Since this is absurd, we can dispense with Meyer's logical argument altogether. In short, it is no more valid to suppose a NON-HUMAN cause of information than it is to suppose a NON-INTELLIGENT (ie natural) cause. Furthermore, there are no recognized tests for non-human intelligence at the code-making level. There are conditions of prior experience and intentionality that we can not satisfy with our current knowledge. All of this ignores the evidence put forward at the Dover School Trial that intelligent design is merely the latest species of creationism; a legal ploy to subvert Constitutional protections about government interference in religious matters.

  • Dave July 8, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    There are no adequate models showing how the information in DNA could have originated from unguided, natural processes. That, in combination with the "intelligent source" fact we agree on, is a strong enough argument to present an alternative theory (ID).

  • Darth Wader July 8, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    DNA is not a computer program. It doesn't work like a computer program. You cannot treat DNA in the same regards as a computer program. I don't have enough time, energy or space on here to explain how it does and doesn't work, but the relating it to a 1mb program turning into win7 is a strawman argument. The processes of evolution by natural selection are very will understood. There are volumes of supporting evidence, and not a shred evidence that refutes it . If you disagree with it because of a personal conviction or religious reason well thats fine, but you might as well support a geocentric universe. There is no serious scientific refutation of evolution period. If you choose to turn a blind eye to the the mountains of data thats fine, but to make it seem that your convictions are based on anything more than a blatant and willing misunderstanding of the theory and blind faith a bronze age cult is very dishonest. If you are interested in the FACTS supporting evolution read "The Greatest Show on Earth" it was actually written by a biologist instead of a philosopher.

  • Ryan July 8, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    @Michael ... It's clear you haven't even bothered to peruse the literature actually written by ID proponents, since they regularly address the objections you put forward as arguments that you seem to think they're too dumb to have thought of. I find your logic to be highly illogical. Is it true that we only have experience with *human* intelligence producing information? Sure it is. Does that have any logical implications? Sure it does. Since we see some degree of intelligence throughout the rest of the animal kingdom - something that, at least in some creatures, surpasses instinct - but we do not see those creatures producing specified information, it is logical to assume that the creation of such information could not be created by an intelligence significantly inferior to that held by humans. It does not logically imply, however, that there is some *logical* problem in the idea that non-human intelligence that is equal to or superior to human intelligence, if it exists, could produce specified information. This fact was well known to Francis Crick, who saw no logical problem in his theory of Directed Panspermia, whereby the complex information seen in biology led him to posit the existence of a superior alien intellect that had seeded this earth with life. He was, after all, an atheist. Further, you may have heard of the S.E.T.I. program, which stands for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Its members would dispute your claim that their search for alien intelligence is non-scientific and logically flawed. And it just so happens that they seek signs of said intelligence using the same principles that are used to determine the presence of human intelligence at work, namely, the presence of specified complexity / information. The very notion that evidence can't reasonably lead someone to posit the existence of something heretofore unseen and not experienced is contra science and is an assertion you might want to take up with physicists. And if you do not argue it about subatomic particles, why argue it about larger things? What's good for the goose is good for the gander, as they say. And if logic cannot eliminate the possibility of attributing creative intellect to some unseen, contingent, material being, who for the very reason his existence is posited (the existence of specified complexity in the contingent biological entities known as humans) is subject to the problem of infinite regress, then logic cannot eliminate the possibility of attributing creative intellect to some unseen, necessary, immaterial being, who by reason of his nature is not subject to the problem of infinite regress.

  • Ryan July 8, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    @Michael, (continued).... As for the Dover trial, I suspect you have not bothered to read any of the court transcripts for yourself and have no idea why the judge is being referred to by some as an "activist judge", a charge he actually tried to preempt in the body of his judicial opinion because its nature as such was so clear. But frankly, the issues surrounding the trial are too numerous to get into here, and the problems with the so-called evidence to which you refer too profound. But what do expect from someone like Ken Miller, who can't decide what his argument against ID is in the first place? He argues it's not science because it's not experimentally testable or falsifiable, then he turns around and claims ID is to be rejected because it has been experimentally tested and found false. It's amazing how much you can say when you've mastered talking out of both sides of your mouth.

  • Dave July 8, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Darth, this thread (and Meyer's book) has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Darwin had nothing to say about how the first living cell originated. In fact, many people who support the theory of ID believe in natural selection. How did the "digital code", as Dawkins describes it, get compiled into the first cell?

  • Jeff Snipes July 8, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    "All of this ignores the evidence put forward at the Dover School Trial that intelligent design is merely the latest species of creationism; a legal ploy to subvert Constitutional protections about government interference in religious matters."

    Michael, would you care to demonstrate the validity of this case as final precedent? You wouldn't by any chance happen to be referring to the early drafts from "Of Pandas and People" would you? I'm told from a good friend that these drafts were not only central to that cases outcome, but that Jones completely misinterpreted there content. Maybe someone here would beg to differ?

    "DNA is not a computer program. It doesn't work like a computer program."

    Well Vader, you're half right.

    "You cannot treat DNA in the same regards as a computer program."

    Do you seriously have the bravery and the inanity to challenge decades of research in the field of bioinformatics?

    "There is no serious scientific refutation of evolution period."

    Have you heard of the research done by Ralph Seelke? Or the failure of HIV to produce heavy quantities of new biochemical characteristics despite the fact that it mutates thousands of times faster than eukaryotic living systems?

    "If you are interested in the FACTS supporting evolution read "The Greatest Show on Earth" it was actually written by a biologist instead of a philosopher [of science]." [correction mine]

    I think the book failed at it's intended goal. It spent almost no time whatsoever on the objection ID has brought forth with regards to the power of evolutionary processes - evolution at the cellular level. He did give his own flawed interpretation of the Lenski experiment, that's it.

  • Darth Wader July 8, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    OK well biology isn't my specialty (compound eyes made of chitin, eww no thank you) so I won't post any more after this. Well first Mr. Snipes, Its Wader, Vader was an angry guy who wore a helmet and cape. Darth Wader is a happy dude who wears flip-flops (I am the most mellow of Sith lords). Anywho PZ Meyers (also a biologist) has a piece on DNA vs computer programing. Also I am aware that Meyer (the non scientist) is a philosopher is a philosopher of science. Lets say that that Karl Popper wrote an book refuting the big bang. Karl Popper is not a physicist or astronomer and while he may be far more knowledgeable about the subject than the the average person, it wouldn't be honest for him to write from a supposed position of authority on the subject. Dave I am well area that Darwin didn't delve into the realm of abiogensis, Darwin couldn't even understand what prevented traits from being diluted, Mendel did. Just because Darwin didn't work on a particular problem (though he did write that he believed that the beginning of life would be solved) or have every detail correct doesn't invalidate his theory or diminish the importance of his work. Like Behe's work "Darwin's Black Box"(irreducible complexity Meyer's central idea can be very easily summarized. "DNA is too complex and also organized to have come from any random source and a intelligence must be responsible" however this is fallacious. Look at the rings of Saturn (sorry but astronomy is where I feel more comfortable) you see a microcosm of the ordered complexity seen in DNA but it is simply ordinary matter following physical laws. /I don't respect faith, I see it as a rejection of rationalism, and I don't respect religion because I see it as a rejection of physical reality. I do however respect people who do hold these values (believe it or not my best friend is a devout Catholic) and can argue them with respect and levelness. My final thought is why not simply untie your faith from science. Perhaps there is a creator deity and chooses to leave no fingerprints. Maybe homage could best be paid by seeking to understand the wonders of "creation" but without looking for evidence of a creator. Attaching faith to the gaps of human knowledge will put science and faith in eternal conflict because the stated goal of science is to remove gaps from knowledge. And one thing I think we can agree on is "FTW to the newage stuff on here!" Peace out yo.

  • Ryan July 8, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    @Darth Wader ... You really should actually read Signature in the Cell before making the sort of comments you do here. You recommend "The Greatest Show on Earth" because it was written by a biologist, however, Dawkins is neither a biochemist nor a molecular biologist, and I think you would find, as I have, that people in those fields consider him to be no more than a layman when it comes to the issues under discussion here. What is more, I don't believe that Dawkins has devoted a significant portion of his academic career to origin of life studies. Conversely, Meyers' Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science was earned for a dissertation on the history of origin of life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences. You don't seem to get this is precisely Meyer's area of expertise. Regarding the complexity of DNA, you compare it to the rings of Saturn and say that we "see a microcosm of the ordered complexity seen in DNA but it is simply ordinary matter following physical laws." This type of argument is symptomatic of virtually every person I see criticizing Meyer and his book, and it seems to keep coming down to the fact that they obviously haven't *read* the book. You offer matter obeying physical laws as an explanation for complexity as though it is a possibility that has been foolishly overlooked. And yet, Meyers has a section of his book devoted to explaining and demonstrating precisely why this is not a viable explanation for the specified complexity of DNA. It's amazing how willing and eager people are to offer their two cents on Meyers knowledge and the value of Signature in the Cell without ever cracking it open and giving it a read. It strongly suggests an underlying psychological or social motive rather than a scientific or intellectual one.

  • Dave July 9, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    Right, the rings of Saturn show "ordered complexity", but that is vastly different than DNA. The bases in a DNA molecule are sequenced precisely to provide LIFE. Even if natural processes could explain the structure of DNA they cannot explain the specified sequencing. This is the difference between digital "code" and digital jibberish.

  • Edson July 9, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    Allen, evolution is said to be an undirected process because there is not a visible *intelligence* guiding it towards a result, as if previewing what modifications would arise in the future. Nature just preserves what comes about by chance. ID have serious philosophical implications. That's why the criticisms, as seen in the comments below, concern supposed flaws in the arguments and anti-religious reasons, instead of looking closer to see where the evidence is leading. Why don't you guys just stop feeling comfortable with the dominant atheistic guardians' view and, at least, AT LEAST, read the book to give an opinion without being ignorant?

  • Edson July 9, 2010 at 7:19 AM

    Allen, evolution is said to be an undirected process because there is not a visible *intelligence* guiding it towards a result, as if previewing what modifications would arise in the future. Nature just preserves what comes about by chance. ID have serious philosophical implications. That's why the criticisms, as seen in the comments below, concern supposed flaws in the arguments and anti-religious reasons, instead of looking closer to see where the evidence is leading. Why don't you guys just stop feeling comfortable with the dominant atheistic guardians' view and, at least, AT LEAST, read the book to give an opinion without being ignorant?

  • Ryan July 9, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    @Edson .... You've got it exactly right. In a sense, ID is a call for intellectual honesty, and that's part of what makes criticism of ID as intellectually dishonest so ironic. ID says, essentially, "Let's look at the evidence we have and allow that evidence to guide our inference to the best explanation for that evidence." It says, "Go where the evidence leads." Conversely, Darwinian scientists seek to champion a definition of science that excludes an avenue of explanation right from the start. Some here would try to argue that it seeks to deny the supernatural as an explanation, but it actually seeks to deny intelligence as an explanation, since as I've addressed in previous comments here, that intelligence need not be supernatural. However, if intelligence is allowed, then further philosophical reasoning and scientific discovery might necessarily imply a supernatural source of intelligence, and that is *philosophically* - not scientifically - unacceptable to the scientific atheist crowd. That is the very same reason the Big Bang Theory took so long to gain purchase ... it was because of the theistic philosophical implications of it, and I think Fred Hoyle, among others, acknowledged this motive explicitly. And if the source of the intelligence was supernatural, what of it? If that is the truth, what is the value of methodologically excluding the possibility of that discovery? The idea that it is, by its very nature, a "science-stopper" is absurd. It was the methodological assumption that was responsible for the very existence of the modern observational sciences in the first place. It really is amusing to see the atheistic crowd in a mad dash to refute this book while evidently believing that *reading* the book is not a logical part of the process of refuting it. I mean, really, every single argument that has been raised against Meyer and the book in these comments is actually addressed in detail in the book itself. These comments might just as easily be refuted by posting nothing more than page references where the detailed rebuttal is to be found.

  • TK Jaros July 9, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    @Ryan,
    If ID implies the Ultimate Designer, I'm still confused why we should separate ID from theology.

    Is it wrong for me to believe that ID and the teleological argument are very closely related? And if the teleological argument is under the category of theology, why shouldn't ID?

    Perhaps some more clarification from your perspective could help my understanding.

    Thanks,
    TK

  • Michael July 9, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    @Ryan
    I have read some bargain-bin copies of Black Box and Icons. I found them uninteresting. God of the Gaps thinking of the worst kind. Panspermia does not answer the question of life's origins, it merely changes the arena from Earth to the distant Beyond. Name-dropping Crick, as though he had some special insight on this problem, is pointless. I couldn't care less about his opinions, only evidence.

    Your assertions on SETI are a good test. How would we know if a signal was coming from aliens? Would we test it's information content? By what measure? Shannon entropy? Renyi? Kolmogorov? None of these, in fact. We would know a signal because of it's artificiality, by its inability to be produced by natural sources. Is there anything artificial about living things? Have we found, as was proposed by Wells, a series of prime numbers encoded in base pairs in our DNA? We know where living things come from: other living things.

    You would assert that ID is not a re-branding of creationism. How, then are intelligently designed organisms "produced"? What agency is involved in transferring the abstract, immaterial "information" into the material being? Is it a physical process, governed by natural laws? How is the chain of causality interfered with to make possible intervention? Even if we ARE talking about aliens, what beam did they use? If we propose a supernatural being, we are talking about no less than a miraculous intervention, a material creation. This is necessitated for the intelligent design to be manifest. Therefore, "intelligent design" is, in fact, "intelligent design and miraculous creation".

    I hear a lot of protesting about religious motives, but I have researched the sources of funding for the Discovery Institute. Dominionists Ahmanson and McLelland, and at least 2/3rd of the other donor institutions have explicitly religious missions. Their work is sub-par, and there has been no new name added to their roster in the last 5 years. They have more philosophers, theologians, and lawyers than scientists. So far as I can tell, they have only two published biologists in the entire group. Hardly a research powerhouse.

  • Paul Johnson July 9, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    I think Richard Dawkins said it best when he quipped, "So the way to explain complexity of the universe is to postulate an initial being even more complex than what you seek to explain in the first place?"

    I can't imagine any serious scientists respecting this guy. Being funded by the Discovery Institute is already one mark against him being taken seriously as a scientist. [And sorry, a "philosopher of science" like Meyer's degree does not have the same scientific credentials as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in science itself.]

  • Ryan July 9, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    @TK Jaros ... Hi TK. Technically, ID doesn't *necessarily* imply an / the Ultimate Designer. It simply implies a designer, period. Now, ID and the Teleological Argument are related in the sense that both imply purposive intelligence. The reason that the Teleological Argument is often thought of as theological is because it implies an intelligence that transcends and is external to the universe itself, which then fits very well with the concept of God, obviously. On the other hand, ID theory only implies an intelligence that is external to terrestrial biology. ID theory, on its own, does not necessitate that this intelligence is also external to the universe. If ID theory can allow for an entirely "natural" designer that exists within the natural universe, then it can hardly be classified as theological in nature. This is why you are highly unlikely to find a real ID proponent arguing for God's existence based purely on the application of ID to biology, even if that proponent happens to believe in God. They regularly point out that ID theory is not sufficient to get you to the conclusion of God. They will generally tell you that an argument for God's existence could *start* with the evidence of ID in biology but would then need to extend to the Teleological (fine-tuning) Argument and Cosmological Argument for ID on a universal scale, which then suggests the intelligent designer is exterior to the universe. Take care, Ryan.

  • Andy July 10, 2010 at 3:56 AM

    Well I dunno about all these sceptics. I'm not highly educated but I think if you had to place three diagrams next to one another of a Boeing 747 and its workings, a computer and its workings and the human ear and its workings, and if you had to place those three diagrams in front of a 7-year old child with no "programming" or "brainwashing" and ask the child if he thinks somebody designed all three or only one or two, even the child will tell you someone designed all three.

    Doesn't really take a rocket scientist to work that one out.

    But it takes a great, great deal of blind faith to believe the design in the human ear is accidental, in my opinion.

    But I'm no rocket scientist.

  • LAL July 10, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    You have a choice. You must either believe in eternal material or eternal intelligence. Watching those who believe in eternal material try to explain away the universe, life, laws, reason, logic, information etc. is amusing sometimes but mostly sad and pathetic. Was Jefferson incorrect in saying that we are endowed by our Creator with certain rights? The materialist must say there are no such endowed rights, only the "rights" given to us by those in power, which are no rights at all. There is a reason why the political left is so dangerous to free people-most of them are Darwinian materialists.

  • Ryan July 10, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    @LAL ... I'm glad you pointed that out. If it is, in fact, *not* a self-evident truth that the Creator has endowed all men (and women) with certain inalienable rights, then it is not a self-evident truth that all men (and women) *have* inalienable rights. And what is today found not to be self-evident could tomorrow be found not to be inalienable. If human rights are determined only by human leaders, then human rights can easily be curtailed by same. And, in fact, there remains no absolute truth to affirm that humans have any rights whatsoever.

  • Ryan July 10, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    @Paul Johnson ... Richard Dawkins rarely says anything *best*, but he often seems willing to say almost *anything*. A rebuttal of Dawkins' argument could easily span pages in order to magnify and multiply examples of its silliness, but I can probably give a relatively quick overview of the problems here over the next few posts. The problem with complexity, specifically *specified* complexity, is the improbability of it arising by a random process. We don't speak of the probability that I will succeed in setting a coin on a table with the heads side facing up if that is what I intentionally set out to do. Assuming I can see clearly and have reasonable control of my motor functions, I *will* succeed. This is not an activity that finds itself subject to the realm of probabilities. We would, however, speak of the probability of the coin landing heads up if I flipped it through the air onto the table. When looking at the complexity of biological life on earth in its most basic form and asking the probability of it arising by some random process, we find that the probabilistic resources of the entire universe would be exhausted *long* before a single protein of modest length would have even a 50% chance of developing at random. The odds against a random emergence of biological complexity is, from a probabilistic perspective, prohibitive. However, if biological complexity is not the result of random processes but intelligent and purposeful activity, then it doesn't belong to the realm of probability at all. The complexity is no longer improbable but certain.
    But recognizing this we must then ask exactly what random process is supposed to be responsible for the emergence of God such that his emergence is improbable? This is one of the many places where Dawkins' argument falls apart. Dawkins argues against a big, improbable, contingent, biological being in the sky, subject to the same issue of improbable complexity that would face the biological beings on earth, who, according to him, have come about by random processes. But again, if biological complexity or complexity in the universe did not come about by chance, then they are not, by reason of their complexity, improbable. No improbable universe, no improbable God. What we have, we have because we must, not because we might. (continued…)

  • Ryan July 10, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    (…continued) Of course, allowing for a moment, for the sake of argument, that the universe *is* improbable, if we then affirm nonetheless that it both exists and has no prior cause, then we suddenly see that any attempt to argue against God's existence by reason of his assumed improbability or some need for infinite regress gets us exactly nowhere. As I've already said in these comments, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and if Dawkins assumes that an improbable event is in need of an explanation beyond, "It is improbable and it happened," we might wonder why Dawkins, allowed access only to contingent forces, does not stop to demand an explanation for how life improbably arose on earth or how the Darwinian mechanism, kicking into gear once presented with reproducing organisms, managed to so easily clear its probabilistic hurdles time and time and time again without access to the probabilistic resources that would be required by any other process to achieve significantly more modest results.
    When it comes to the matter of whether a complex universe requires a complex God, we must once again ask what the goose is eating. Dawkins claims that a complex universe would need a more complex God by way of explanation. And yet, Dawkins is prepared to affirm that complex biological life arose from more simple biological life, that simple biological life arose from more simple non-biological materials, and that non-biological materials arose from simply nothing at all. Dawkins seeks to disprove God as the explanation for a complex universe by reason of a need for greater complexity to precede lesser complexity, but he then seeks to replace God with a process that assumes great complexity arose from the greatest of simplicity. (continued…)

  • Ryan July 10, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    (…continued) It should here be noted that theologians have been arguing for many centuries that God is not complex, but simple, lacking composition of multiple parts, and that his existence is not contingent, but necessary. Lacking a beginning, he requires no cause. Lacking contingency, he is not improbable. Should the eternal existence of God seem troubling to the scientific atheist, they need only remind themselves that, prior to the Big Bang Theory in the 20th century, the universe itself was believed by scientists to have existed eternally.
    But there is a further point to be made here, and David Berlinski addresses it quite succinctly in "The Devil's Delusion," which I'll try to summarize here. He begins by saying, "What a man rejects as distasteful must always be measured against what he is prepared eagerly to swallow. What Richard Dawkins *is* prepared to swallow is the Landscape and the Anthropic Principle." As Berlinski goes on to point out, an appeal to the Landscape as an explanation for the universe and its fine-tuning does not "answer the question what caused the Landscape to exist. How could it? And if nothing caused the Landscape, it does not answer the question why it should be there at all."
    In seeking to avoid a scientifically unobservable God as an explanation for the universe, Dawkins appeals to the Landscape, which is itself "scientifically unobservable and devoid of any connection to experience," requiring *infinite* universes with changing natural laws and physical parameters rather than just *one* God. Instead of shovelling the problem back to an unobservable God he shovels it back to an unobservable Landscape. (continued…)

  • Ryan July 10, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    (…continued) Berlinski continues by pointing out that Dawkins tried to address this point, "but with markedly insufficient success." Dawkins tries to claim that the difference between the explanations of God and of the Landscape "is one of statistical improbability." But Dawkins then goes on to say, "The multiverse, for all that it is extravagant, is simple," because each of its constituent universes "is simple in its fundamental laws."
    But as Berlinski observes, "If this is true for each of those constituent universes, then it is true for our universe as well. And if our universe is simple in its fundamental laws, what on earth is the relevance of Dawkins' argument?
    Simple things, simple explanations, simple laws, a simple God.
    Bon appétit."
    So, when faced with Dawkins' argument, it seems to me that the gander need only say, "I'll have whatever he's having."

  • Bowie July 11, 2010 at 7:41 AM

    Atheists usually react to Christendom and its manmade creeds rather than to the Scriptures themselves. In fact, most Christians believe the manmade creeds instead of the Scriptures. In one of his letters, Darwin referred to hell and the idea of eternal torment for unbelievers as a
    "damnable doctrine." He was correct. Hell, or Hel, is the Norse goddess of the underworld. She is the mistranslation of one Hebrew word, sheol, and three Greek words, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus, none of which carry the meaning of endless torment. The Scriptures claim to be the word of the Creator in the original Hebrew and Greek. Once you know this, then the next question becomes translation. The translation most faithful to the original is the Concordant Literal, concordant.org. You must have this translation to evaluate the validity of what claims to be the word of God. Atheists and Christians alike should know that God created evil (Isaiah 45:7), is "operating all in accord with the counsel of His will," "wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth" (I Timothy 2:4), and "is the Saviour of ALL MANKIND especially of believers" (I Timothy 4:10). Thus believers today have a special place, not an exclusive one in the purpose of God. I understand why many run from the damnable manmade doctrines of Christendom (You must believe in a mysterious trinity of co-equal "persons" by an act of free will or suffer eternally in hell). The Scriptures reveal a Supreme Spirit of Light and Love Who, at the end of the eons ( a word covered by mistranslation in the King James and others), will reconcile all humanity to Himself through the blood of Christ. See atruergod.com for more.

  • Bowie July 11, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    I forgot to include a verse for God "operating all in accord with the counsel of His will." It's Ephesians 1:11.
    An enormous body of evidence for the validity of the Genesis account of origins is overlooked throughout academia and "scientific" circles. Greek art does not portray myth, but rather the history of the human race from the standpoint of the way of Kain (Cain). Greek sculpture and vase art boasts of pushing Noah (the Greek Nereus, the "Wet One") out of the picture and exalting man as the measure of all things. The labors of Herakles (Nimrod of Genesis) on the temple of Zeus at Olympia chronicle and celebrate the triumph of the way of Kain after the Flood, culminating in Herakles getting back to the ancient serpent-entwined apple tree in the garden for another bite of the forbidden apple (Greeks called it the garden of the Hesperides ). By the way, Genesis doesn't say what kind of tree it was. It's from the Greek tradition we get the idea Eve ate an apple. In Plato's Euthydemus, Sokrates referred to the "gods" as his "lords and ancestors." The Greek first couple, Zeus and Hera, are Adam and Eve. Their two sons, Hephaistos and Ares, are Kain and Seth. The idea that the Greeks spent 15 years building the Parthenon to express their myths is absurd. The Parthenon Sculptures tell us who they were, what they believed, and where they came from. Their story and characters match the Genesis account in convincing detail, but from the opposite perspective - the idea that the serpent enlightened, rather than deluded, the first couple in paradise. It's the serpent's side of Eden. See The Parthenon Code: Mankind's History in Marble and Noah in Ancient Greek Art on amazon or at solvinglight.com

  • Ryan July 11, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    @Bowie ... The structure of Isaiah 45:7 makes it quite clear that by "evil" it is referring to *physical* "evil"; calamity, physical disturbance, etc. It is *not* referring to *moral* evil. The verse says that God is "forming the light and creating darkness, making peace and creating evil." Just as darkness is the converse of light, the "evil" being spoken of is the converse of peace. God can make peace for the righteous and obedient, but he can also cause calamity and disturbance (a lack of peace) for the wicked and disobedient. This verse cannot be used to argue that God created *moral* evil.

  • Dave July 11, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    "And I suppose it's possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the um, at the detail... details of our chemistry molecular biology you might find a signature of some sort of designer." - Richard Dawkins

  • Scott July 12, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    @ Darth Wader said "relating it to a 1mb program turning into win7 is a strawman argument. The processes of evolution by natural selection are very will understood. There are volumes of supporting evidence, and not a shred evidence that refutes it "...............

    Typical atheist response of assertions without the data to back it up..........The fact remains if the theory of evolution is actually KNOWN. it can be demonstrated via PC simulations.........so either the theory is not known or the theory is invalid, otherwise the valid theory of natural selection acting on random mutations could produce a upward spiral of specified complex information in many different applications.....THEISTS PREDICTION....ENCODE will single handily dismantle Darwinian evolution WITHOUT the help of creationists.........Read the article "A Third Way" by James A. Shapiro http://www.bostonreview.net/BR22.1/shapiro.html ..... ENCODE has assessed only 1% of the genome function and the preliminary results are devastating to Darwinian evolution. ....there is evidence of up to 12 OVERLAPPING CODES that regulate a myriad of processes....The Epigenetic Code is but just one underlying code that regulates functions .......and GUESS WHERE all of the overlapping codes are located???... IN "JUNK DNA"... LOL.....SO not only do the atheists have to explain how random copying errors and deletion can create JUST ONE CODE.....now atheists have to explain how the process of "removal of bad copying errors" can produce multiple overlapping codes and still keep ALL CODES coherent from every sequence it is read at......the end is near for Darwinian (naturalistic) evolution thanks to ENCODE

  • Lucidity 1 August 3, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    I am so glad I didn't go to Biola. Somehow I ended up on the Biola Alumni mailing list. The more I peruse the Biola broadcasts, the more I realize that Biola is as about as valid an institution of education as Jerry Falwell's Liberty university.

    One cannot invoke magic or superstition when studying science!! Science is the study of the natural world, using the Scientific Method. Elves, leprechauns, angels and god are not permitted in a scientific theory. If you truly want to study science, please enroll in a valid University. The true nature of the Universe is far more grand and awe-inspiring than any view offered by organized religion.

  • Kuhnel August 5, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    @Lucidity 1: Hmmm...a scientist that places strict boundaries on what is permitted or not permitted in a scientific theory? And I thought being open-minded to outcome and unbiased to any potential result of any experimentational process was at the very core of a scientific study?
    And I am very proud that I chose to go to (and graduated from) Biola.

  • Brad October 6, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Better than believing in stuff that says life came out of some kind of a "prebiotic" soup and that stuff in RNA/DNA organized itself "spontaneously" over "billions of years" and presto, here we are.

    Atheists and materialists are trying to wrap garbage in words like "natural selection", "adaptation", "variation" and what-have-you.

    Either produce something in the lab (other than stupid amino acids or some "cell" that frankly is copied over from another living cell using super computers) that moves, walks, thinks, craps and enjoys or STFU.


  • Brad October 6, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Evolution is not science. it's a religion. Atheists and materialists subscribe to that religion. They try to piggyback on real science like physics and chemistry and pollute the real concepts with their trash.

    Every crap changes over time a little bit. Heck, I don't look the same I was 10 years ago. But to extrapolate that unashamedly and unethically to explain away the entire life on this planet including intelligence and consciousness is f'ing ridiculous!

  • Nancy Madore January 17, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Great article. Very interesting. I love reading about this topic and have studied it for years (I find evolution fascinating too). One thing that has disturbed me recently though is the anger you encounter when you try to discuss alternative science strategies outside of evolution. I don't remember people being this intolerant of other ideas before.

  • Rosario Lupis September 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Atheists and evolutionists get "very" angry when faced with the possibility that they will actually be held accountable by someone far greater and more intelligent then themselves. In addition, they hate that there may be equal or greater appreciation by this intelligence for the simple minded and genius alike.

    Faith and science do align! Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the "evidence" of things not seen.

    But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV)

    The world around us is getting increasingly complex, and it is because it is drifting farther and farther from God. Look around at the world of nature, and you can see the simplicity of God's design everywhere. He builds the year around four seasons that repeat themselves and never fail. Yet that simple pattern of four seasons contains within it all the possible variations of weather. Look at a flower and see how simple the pattern of its makeup is and yet what an infinite variety God produces in a field of flowers. You can see this everywhere. God basically is simple. When religion becomes complex, it is a sign that it is departing from Christ.

  • Robert Busto December 12, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Just look at nature, it is too magnificent, even the beast in the forest knows that there is a supremacy to life.

  • Justin December 12, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    I'm a neutral contender in this. I've read the book and he makes great sense throughout. After reading all your comments I've noticed that by comparison you nonbelievers are much meaner & condisending in your remarks against believers of God when you should be speaking on ID which is NOT religion. The Dr's theory is sound, but ignorance reigned in the comments, by both believers & non believers, but y'all non believers were inherently meaner and more closed minded. Intelligent Design IS reality! Your asinine opinions are NOT!

  • Joe February 10, 2014 at 2:03 AM

    This appeal to authority atheists use is so utterly laughable, it makes me wonder if they can even reason logically at all?
    Soooooo....The atheists who entered the fields of Origins all say there is no Designer? Is that suppose to carry any weight? What if all the people that entered the field of Landscape design believed that plants could talk?..could we use that as proof?

    Theist dont enter fields they feel they already have the answers to. It the atheists who are interested in origins. Studies show science scholarships are divided, with Theists going into Medicine. 80% and atheists overwhelmingly choosing Origin science. Big shocker. I guess Doctors are just stupid. Ever think we just dont care about an answer we already have? Gods design is obvious to all humans but the weirdos who no one would let watch their cat..let alone accept their magical worldview that chance designed the 4 chamber heart with its electrical, pressure, and transportation system. That, my friends...is lunacy

  • Neal Garrett March 9, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    I think camouflaging is very strong evidence of intelligent design. I believe DNA is coded with such dynamics that it includes the ability to manipulate itself in order to adapt to the changes in its environment. Evolutionists nay it's ingenious resilience to pure chance. I think with so many examples of effective camouflaging, any sound mind would come to the conclusion that there exists clear and indisputable intention .

    I often compare camouflaging to a painting game on a timer. In this game, you must effectively create a painting so that it can be hidden frequently and effectively in the art studio. Since the life of the species depends on the effectiveness of this task, we'll add a time element and a dire sense of urgency. Place a large plastic bag over your head and seal it with a rubber band around your neck. If you don't effectively paint a design using the correct lines, thickness, shading, and colors before you run out of air, your species dies.

    The thing that evolutionists conveniently exclude from the "given enough time, chance will create" concept is the factor of urgency. The entire purpose of camouflaging is to reduce the probability of being detected for the purpose of either to prevent it from being eaten, or to increase the likelihood that it will capture something to eat. With the added element of urgency, the chances that any species would survive in its environment goes from extremely unlikely to indisputably impossible. Now factor in the number of species that have effectively implemented the indisputably impossible feat and the answer is abundantly obvious. Intelligence is involved.

  • Andre June 2, 2014 at 3:30 AM

    Actually, this theory is plausible both from a scientific and theological persepctive. God is the intelligent designer, the "chemical engineer" of all life. Our mispersception of God as a physical form is what confuses us. God is all pervasive, omnipresent. Gods intelligence exists in all matter and in different forms. We have only just begun to understand the concept of ID, give Meyer a chance to explore the theory further.

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