Last night, American Freedom Alliance’s Literary Café hosted a dinner at the home of Robert and Leslie Hamilton with author Stephen Meyer, followed by a discussion of his book, “Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design”.
Stephen Meyer has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the Philosophy of Science. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. His book was named one of the top books of 2009 by the Times Literary Supplement (London).
Meyer began by explaining he had always been interested in the intersection of science and philosophy. Many of the early philosophers were scientists. He believes our world view is influenced by how science is interpreted.
Meyer spoke of the study of DNA causing many scientists to consider Intelligent Design. He mentioned Dean H. Kenyon, Professor Emeritus of Biology at San Francisco State University, who had believed in biochemical evolution but, after studying DNA, now believed in Intelligent Design.
The study of DNA has revealed that the center core of the DNA molecule contains coding more sophisticated than any computer programmer could design. DNA stores information in digital form. Bill Gates said DNA is like a software program but much more complex. Where does a software program originate? It’s source is an intelligent mind. Where does the DNA coding come from?
Meyer explained that when he went to England to study the origins of life, he was given Darwin’s, “On the Origin if Species by Means of Natural Selection”. He became interested in Darwin’s forensic form of investigation of the past. Unlike present scientific research where you can examine and test a subject and repeat the outcome, studying the past requires one to compare what happened then to causes now known. Darwin used “multiple competing hypothesis” to explain his theory of evolution. Darwin admitted there was the appearance of design but that it was simply the product of natural selection.
Meyer wanted to explain ID (Intelligent Design) using the same forensic methods Darwin used. Darwin never explained where first life came from. Even present day Darwinist, Richard Dawkins admits no one knows where or how life began.
Opponents of ID argue that ID is not testable, therefore, not “science”. Meyer used the same method Darwin used so if ID is not science, neither is Darwin’s theory.
When the DNA double helix structure was discovered by James Watson and Frances Crick in 1953 until about ten years ago, scientists believed a small section of the long strand contained all the information to build protein and the rest was just junk DNA.
In the early 2000’s scientists discovered the coded information contained in the core of the DNA molecule. We now know there was no “junk” DNA. There is nested coding and auto-correct features in DNA, not likely to be the result of accident. This has opened the discussion for many of the secular scientists to the existence of ID.
Meyers was asked what ID explains. He replied that it provides a causal explanation of the origin of life. The only cause of functional information is the mind. DNA contains digital, coded information that must have originated from somewhere….an intelligence.
Dawkins argues if there is ID, who designed the designer? But that question begs counter questions, who designed the evolver? Where did matter and energy come from?
Stephen Hawking’s Ph.D. thesis was on Black Holes. He applied the dynamics of Black Holes to the origin of the universe. He thought all the universe would have been compacted into the smallest sphere. If true, where would matter have come from?
Meyer was asked why there is such intense resistance to ID? What are so many scientists and most politicians afraid of? It’s such an emotionally intense issue.
Meyer told us about an article he wrote called, “Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington” that was the first peer-reviewed article explicitly advancing the theory of intelligent design published in a mainstream scientific periodical (housed at the Smithsonian Institution in DC). After the article was published, the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History erupted in internal controversy, which was soon discovered by the scientific press. The Smithsonian was angry and embarrassed by the editor, Richard Sternberg (an evolutionary biologist with two Ph.D.’s), who published the article. He lost his office, his access to scientific samples and was transferred to a hostile supervisor. This, because he published a peer-reviewed article.
Meyers said ID gives a sense of human purpose. He said if you take Darwin and Dawkins theories to their conclusions, there is no purpose to life. You can’t have a purpose driven life if life has no purpose.
Meyers was asked how ID gets the attention it deserves. The problem is access. The media is not going to report on ID objectively. But there is a network around the world of scientists trying to get the word out. He said between 30% and 40% of English scientists were sympathetic to ID. He said molecular biology is in crisis. It has hit a wall, there is nowhere to go. ID best explains life.
Meyers was then asked if the political climate didn’t have something to do with the resistance to ID. Judeo-Christian philosophy says God loves man and wants him to be free. The Left wants central planning and control over man’s activities.
Meyers believed that was possible but ultimately truth surfaces. People don’t go to a museum and think wind and erosion caused the Rosetta Stone. You either believe life originated from random material causes or a mind.
Meyers believes that the acceptance of God or Intelligent Design would lead to more fruitful and productive scientific endeavors.