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Darwin’s Defenders Deny Life’s Evident Design
Church Report ^ | October 23, 2009 | Stephen Myer, Ph.D.

Posted on 10/25/2009 10:42:54 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts

Following on the heels of his last bestseller, The God Delusion, Darwinian biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins has scored another publishing triumph. The No. 5 bestseller in the country, according to the New York Times, is Dawkins’s The Great Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. You might think his success would give him the courage to face critics of his ideas in open debate. But you would be wrong. As one of the architects of the theory of intelligent design, I have formally challenged Dawkins to debate our contrasting views of evolution before the public, but his representatives have responded in the negative, insisting that he does not debate “creationists.”

Never mind that intelligent design is not creationism. Why does Dr. Dawkins refuse to debate? Maybe because some of the strongest evidence of intelligent design in living beings comes from the study of life’s origin itself, posing in turn an enigma that neither Charles Darwin nor Richard Dawkins ever claimed to be able to solve.

We will celebrate this November the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. According to Darwin’s theory, the wholly undirected process of natural selection operating on random variations is fully capable of producing the intricate design-like structures in living systems. Thus Professor Dawkins insists that the appearance of design in organisms is an illusion.

In contrast, the theory of intelligent design holds that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an actual designing intelligence. In my new book Signature in the Cell, I examine a category of evidence for intelligent design that has been with us for over fifty years.

In 1953 when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery. The structure of DNA allows it to store information in the form of a four-character digital code. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotide bases store and transmit the assembly instructions--the information--for building the crucial protein molecules and machines the cell needs to survive.

Francis Crick later developed this idea with his famous "sequence hypothesis” according to which the chemical constituents in DNA function like letters in a written language or symbols in a computer code. The DNA molecule has the same property of “sequence specificity” that characterizes codes and language. As Bill Gates has noted, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we've ever created.”

After the early 1960s, further discoveries made clear that the digital information in DNA and RNA is only part of a complex information processing system—an advanced form of nanotechnology that both mirrors and exceeds our own in its complexity, design logic and information storage density.
Where did the digital information in the cell come from? Clearly, the informational features of the cell at least appear designed. And to date no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information needed to build the first living cell. There is simply too much information in the cell to be explained by chance alone. The information in DNA has also been shown to defy explanation by reference to the laws of chemistry. Saying otherwise would be like saying that a newspaper headline might arise as the result of the chemical attraction between ink and paper.

Yet, the scientists arguing for intelligent design do not do so merely because natural processes—chance, laws or the combination of the two—have failed to explain the origin of the information and information processing systems in cells. Instead, they argue for design because we know from experience that systems possessing these features invariably arise from intelligent causes. For example, the information in a newspaper ultimately came from a writer—from a mental, rather than a strictly material, cause. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler observed, "information habitually arises from conscious activity."

Of course, many continue to dismiss intelligent design as nothing but “religion masquerading as science”-- or “creationism,” as Dawkins puts it. But intelligent design is not based upon the Bible. Design is an inference from biological data.

Even so, the theory of intelligent design may provide support for theistic belief. That, of course, is not grounds for dismissing it. To say otherwise confuses the evidence for a theory and its possible implications. Many scientists initially rejected the Big Bang theory because it seemed to challenge the idea of an eternally self-existent universe and pointed to the need for a transcendent cause of matter, space and time. But scientists eventually accepted the theory despite such apparently unpleasant implications because the evidence strongly supported it.

Today a similar metaphysical prejudice confronts the theory of intelligent design. Nevertheless, it too must be evaluated solely on the basis of the evidence -- about which, one might add, a candid public debate is long overdue.


Stephen C. Meyer holds a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from Cambridge University. He directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle, Washington. His new book Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design has just been published by HarperOne.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: California; US: Washington; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: antiscienceevos; belongsinreligion; biology; catholic; christian; creation; darwin; dawkins; dna; evangelical; evolution; evoreligionexposed; genetics; godsgravesglyphs; intelligentdesign; judaism; notasciencetopic; originoflife; origins; propellerbeanie; protestant; science; templeofdarwin

1 posted on 10/25/2009 10:42:55 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; Fichori; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 10/25/2009 10:44:30 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

every crevo post adds another 10 days to a freepathon.


3 posted on 10/25/2009 10:44:49 AM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Thanks for the ping!


4 posted on 10/25/2009 10:45:30 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: GodGunsGuts

How did reproduction evolve? By extinction after extinction until some microbes got it right? Not likely.


5 posted on 10/25/2009 10:47:51 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: All; metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; Fichori; ...
--ALSO--

If you or anyone you know in the LA area (Southern California), you might want to check out the following:

Los Angeles Premiere of Intelligent Design Film Moves to USC on Oct. 25th at 7pm

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/10/los_angeles_premiere_of_intell.html

6 posted on 10/25/2009 10:54:55 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Dakins is pissed as a Kid God did not give him Ice-cream when he asked for it but the Heathen Child Molester on the corner did!


7 posted on 10/25/2009 11:01:32 AM PDT by Cheetahcat (Zero the Wright kind of Racist! We are in a state of War with Democrats)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Stephen C. Meyer disingenuously asserts “intelligent design is not creationism.” Of course it is. He’s asserting that God’s intelligence created life. What intelligence does Dr. Mayer think created life? Laptop computers?


8 posted on 10/25/2009 12:26:57 PM PDT by december12
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To: GodGunsGuts; Agamemnon
Agamemnon linked to this earlier and I found this paragraph particularly on point:

“Darwinian Dissonance?
Paul A. Dernavich
Simply put, the language used by many of today's prominent Darwin defenders, at least as it appears in the popular press, is inherently self-defeating, as if they had a collective case of cognitive dissonance. They routinely describe non-human processes as if they were actual people. No sooner do they finish arguing that the universe could not possibly have an Intelligent Designer, that they proceed to comment on how the universe is so seemingly intelligently designed. No sooner do they discredit evidence for a grand, cosmic plan, that they reveal their anticipation towards what the next phase of it will be. Let me give you examples.”

The entire piece (not too long) is a good read.

I chose this part because I think it illustrates that all of us believe and recognize many things are intelligently designed, our computers, our blender, our this or that.
But the question I've asked and not received a real answer to is, How do we decide when we look at a even a simple object whether an intelligent agent designed it or not?

9 posted on 10/25/2009 12:40:13 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: december12

ID scienctists say that ID can’t answer that question, unless of course they were to discover the designer. If you asked Meyer who the designer is, he would tell you the God of the Bible, but he would do so for religious reasons. Of course, there are plenty of IDers who would tell you that the designer is a different god, or even entertain that the designers may be ETs. But all of these are outside the scope of the limits ID has placed on itself. Very simply, ID looks for design in nature, and does not go any further than science can take it. And while I find a lot of tremendously useful research (especially as it relates to origins) coming out of the ID science movement, their unwillingness to specify the designer is one of the main reasons I don’t consider myself an IDer.


10 posted on 10/25/2009 12:40:42 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: december12
Stephen C. Meyer disingenuously asserts “intelligent design is not creationism.” Of course it is. He’s asserting that God’s intelligence created life. What intelligence does Dr. Mayer think created life? Laptop computers?

He's not being disingenuous at all. Yes, Meyer's personal belief is that the "Intelligent Designer" is God. That's no secret. However, creationism is only one subset of ID. There are other "intelligent design" theories. Crick, of DNA fame, comes to mind. He proposed "panspermia", in which aliens are the "intelligent designer" who created life and seeded the earth with it. Meyer is trying to give evolutionists every reason to be willing to debate him on the facts by making the identity of the creator irrelevant. Meyers would not have to invoke God and Dawkins would not have to invoke his atheism. Just debate the facts regarding the appearance of design in life.
11 posted on 10/25/2009 12:49:29 PM PDT by armydoc
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To: GodGunsGuts

Evolution, The Hopeful Monster Theory: Put all the parts of a Swiss watch into a dryer and tumble on low until they assemble themselves into a ticking watch.


12 posted on 10/25/2009 1:40:23 PM PDT by RoadTest ( But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do)
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To: GodGunsGuts

ID is certainly a theory worth evaluating. In my view,
Darwin’s theory is backed by pure speculation: There isn’t
enough data to place it in realm of scientific fact.


13 posted on 10/25/2009 2:22:31 PM PDT by upcountryhorseman (An old fashioned conservative)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Watched a Richard Dawkins YouTube with my son the other day. How does this guy persuade anyone?


14 posted on 10/25/2009 2:47:59 PM PDT by rae4palin
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To: GodGunsGuts

“And while I find a lot of tremendously useful research (especially as it relates to origins) coming out of the ID science movement, their unwillingness to specify the designer is one of the main reasons I don’t consider myself an IDer.”

And of course because they would fall about laughing when you tell them that the world c. 6,000 years old.


15 posted on 10/25/2009 3:35:40 PM PDT by Natufian
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To: GodGunsGuts
to be a materialist, naturalist, secular humanist one has to believe that

1)nothing produces everything
2)non-life produces life
3)randomness produces anthropic fine tuning
4)chaos produces information
5)non-consciousness produces consciousness
6)non-reason produces reason
7)atoms, ions, and molecules produces free will

16 posted on 10/25/2009 3:47:28 PM PDT by mjp (pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, independence, limited government, capitalism})
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To: GodGunsGuts

Intelligent design and Global Warming <= two peas in a pod.


17 posted on 10/25/2009 6:56:39 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon (Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: Jeff Gordon

That’s strange. The IDers routinely expose the global warming scam on their websites. Indeed, if I’m not mistaken, virtually all the the global warming alarmists masquerading as scientists are Temple of Darwin fanatics.


18 posted on 10/25/2009 7:16:56 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
Never mind that intelligent design is not creationism.

Well, it is and it isn't.

Likewise it is and it isn't evolution also.

In fact, it is and it isn't just about everything.

As is often said of uselessly vacuous scientific claims, "it isn't even wrong."

On absolutely every point that might lead to a testable implication (or prohibition) Intelligent Design is relentlessly (even, one might say, designedly) noncommittal. IDers refuse to posit any claim about when design events occur[ed], where they occur[ed], or how they occur[ed].

ID consists entirely of "inferring" the putative existence of "design". However it has so far come up with only two bases for this inference: the existence of specified complexity, and/or the existence of irreducible complexity.

However the mathematical model of specified complexity has never been rigorously applied to even one real world case, and SC is so poorly and problematically defined, that it most probably never can be so applied.

The case for irreducible complexity is no better. Irreducibly complex systems do exist, but the basis for inferring ID therefrom depends on the claim that it is IMPOSSIBLE for IC systems to be formed by gradual, stepwise change, or indeed by any naturalistic process. This claim is at best unproven, and at worst demonstrably false.

Thus, at least so far, Intelligent Design is worse than merely wrong. It is vacuously beneath the level of being wrong. It is completely and utterly useless.

19 posted on 10/25/2009 10:27:10 PM PDT by Stultis (Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia; Democrats always opposed waterboarding as torture)
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To: GodGunsGuts
That’s strange. The IDers routinely expose the global warming scam on their websites. Indeed, if I’m not mistaken, virtually all the the global warming alarmists masquerading as scientists are Temple of Darwin fanatics.

Hasn't been my experience.

For instance the "Skeptic" group I used to belong to (The North Texas Skeptics) was, way back in the early 1990's, debunking global warming as energetically as creationism and "psychics".

20 posted on 10/25/2009 10:40:21 PM PDT by Stultis (Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia; Democrats always opposed waterboarding as torture)
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To: Stultis
However the mathematical model of specified complexity has never been rigorously applied to even one real world case,

And from what I understand, it hasn't been published as a mathematical theory, either.

21 posted on 10/25/2009 10:43:43 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: GodGunsGuts
That’s strange.

Not really. The Global Warming faithful think they have science on their side just as the ID faithful think they have science of their side. The Global Warming faithful are more sophisticated in their sophistry; however, sophisticated sophistry is still sophistry.

22 posted on 10/26/2009 2:54:12 AM PDT by Jeff Gordon (Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: rae4palin

My husband and I were watching a Richard Dawkins video and my two year old said “I don’t like that guy daddy”. Out of the mouths of babes.


23 posted on 10/26/2009 7:27:10 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3 (Best thing about Cash for Clunkers is that 90% of the Obama bumper stickers are now off the road.)
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