Stephen C. Meyer Author, Philosopher, and Director of the Center for Science and Culture

Darwin’s Defenders Deny Life’s Evident Design

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 Greatest 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.

Read the rest of this article here.

Robert Deyes has just posted the next installment in his detailed overview of Signature in the Cell, this a review of chapter eight, over at Uncommon Descent

In the middle ages, Moses Maimonides debated heavily with Islamic philosophers over the Aristotlean interpretation of the universe. By looking at the stars and seeing their irregular pattern in the heavens, he concluded that only design could have generated the star arrangements he observed (1). In the process he ruled out necessity and the Epicurean ideology of chance. Centuries later Isaac Newton similarly opted for design as the best explanation for the origins of our solar system. Writing in his General Scholium for example Newton left us with no doubt over where his focus lay:

“This most beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being” (2).

Read it all here.

Recently, on the Michael Medved show, arch-Darwinist Richard Dawkins, author of The Greatest Show on Earth, was asked point-blank by Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman why he wouldn’t debate Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell. His response? Weak sauce:

I have never come across any kind of creationism, whether you call it intelligent design or not, which has a serious scientific case to put.

The objection to having debates with people like that is that it gives them a kind of respectability. If a real scientist goes onto a debating platform with a creationist, it gives them a respectability, which I do not think your people have earned.

Hm. Did Professor Dawkins have these same scruples when he went up against John Lennox in 2007?

No matter — Professor Dawkins made his position clear enough: address young earth creationism, then tell your audience that you’ve destroyed intelligent design… which of course, even Richard Dawkins admits, is not the same thing as young earth creationism.

Read the transcript of the entire exchange below — and note Bruce Chapman’s great line about Expelled:

Bruce Chapman: … Dr. Dawkins, this is Bruce Chapman from Discovery Institute calling. [Dawkins, muttering under his breath: “Right.”] I was frustrated with this conversation because most of the time I hear straw man arguments about intelligent design. Your new book apparently doesn’t really deal with intelligent design. But it seems to me, that in your previous book, you said that it’s a question of science, that it is a scientific argument — I congratulate you for that — But if it is, how about having a debate with Stephen Meyer, who is the author of another new book, Signature in the Cell, which deals with this question, and have this in a respectful, civilized, scholarly fashion where you look at the scientific arguments, pro and con?

Richard Dawkins: Now, when you say that I don’t deal with intelligent design, I do, because I deal with creationism and, of course, intelligent design is simply another name for creationism invented for political reasons.

Chapman: Well, if it’s another name for creationism, why did you distinguish between intelligent design and creationism very early in this program?

Dawkins: I don’t.

Medved: You did, earlier on, when we were talking about the Holocaust denier analogy, you said you applied that analogy to old earth creationists. Intelligent design advocates are not old earth creationists.

Dawkins: Sorry, um, I applied the history-deniers to young earth creationists.

Medved: I’m sorry, young earth creationists, yes, but you know intelligent design advocates are not young earth creationists.

Dawkins: I do, and that was precisely the distinction I was making. That’s why I said that I was not accusing intelligent design people of being history deniers, in that sense.

Medved: But you just said intelligent design is another name for creationism.

Dawkins: It is another name for creationism, but not young earth creationism.

Medved: Bruce Chapman?

Chapman: In that case, you’ve got an argument with your previous caller also, because that would be a theistic evolutionist proposition, which is also, by your definition, if it’s not Darwinian evolution, it’s creationism in some fashion. There isn’t any other kind of evolution, as far as you’re concerned.

Dawkins: Where do you guys think — do you think that God did it?

Chapman: I don’t know, I don’t think that the intelligent design people—

Dawkins: That’s what you say, you always pretend, you always pretend that an alien in outer space or something, but you know very well that what you mean is God.

Chapman: No, I think that was your line in Expelled. But I think that the thing that you really ought to consider, in all seriousness, is that by your own definition there is a scientific argument. Put that scientific argument to the test, not with somebody who’s a straw man that you bring up, but have somebody like Meyer, who has written a very scholarly book, to actually debate this topic with you…

Medved: All right, the proposal’s on the table, response from Professor Dawkins, thank you, Bruce.

Dawkins: I will have a discussion with somebody who has a genuinely different scientific point of view. I have never come across any kind of creationism, whether you call it intelligent design or not, which has a serious scientific case to put.

The objection to having debates with people like that is that it gives them a kind of respectability. If a real scientist goes onto a debating platform with a creationist, it gives them a respectability, which I do not think your people have earned.

For those interested in the history and philosophy of origins and in the present controversy over the “establishment” understanding, this is a helpful book. For those wishing to have a better understanding of DNA and a “simple cell,” this is an astonishing book. For those who wish to honestly consider what is the best explanation for the origin of specified complex information found in living things, this is an invaluable book. For those who have for whatever reason gravitated to the general proposition that design seems to make intuitive sense, this is an essential book so you can appreciate there is a scientific foundation for your belief. For those who disagree with intelligent design this is the crucial book you must have so as to understand your opponent’s best arguments.

That’s from a lengthy new review of Signature in the Cell by Ken Peterson of the Washington Policy Center, published by Spectrum Magazine. You can read it all here.

Robert Deyes continues his review and summarization of SITC at ARN’s The ID Report.

The distinction between historical and experimental science is one that extends back over the centuries and at its core seems easy to grasp. Whereas historical science has as its focus events that have defined the history both of our planet and larger cosmos, experimental science has its eye on the current operation of nature. 

The 19th century philosopher William Whewell coined the term ‘palaetiological sciences’ to describe those fields of science, such as geology and paleontology, that have a historical perspective (1). Whewell’s broad application of the term shone through in his two great works, his History of the Inductive Sciences and his Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1). Immanuel Kant used a similar distinction contrasting those sciences that describe “relationships and changes over time” with those that deal with the “empirical study and classification of objects…at present” (2).

Read the whole report here.

© Discovery | All Rights Reserved | For more info: | Contact