During a recent visit to London, Dr. Stephen Meyer was invited to debate Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK about issues raised in Meyer’s 2009 book Signature in the Cell. In the book, chosen as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, Meyer builds a compelling case for intelligent design by revealing how the digital code in DNA points powerfully to a designing intelligence behind the origin of life.
Fox, the man chosen to debate with Meyer, is professor of biochemistry at the University of Southampton, England. He holds a PhD in Pharmacology from Cambridge, and his research on DNA focuses on the molecules, oligonucleotides, and proteins that bind to DNA in sequence-specific patterns. Fox is also chairman of Christians in Science, a UK-based society open to all who are concerned with the relationship between science and Christian faith.
In a lively yet respectful discussion moderated by host Justin Brierly, Meyer explains the argument of Signature in the Cell: “The enigma is where did the information [in DNA] come from? What I do is examine the progressive attempts that have been made to solve that mystery over almost 80 years and show why each one has failed and why each one has come to the same essential problem… How do you get those building blocks to arrange themselves into the information-rich codes that are necessary to produce living systems?”
Fox, who believes in God as creator but opposes intelligent design, calls ID theory a “science stopper” because it invokes a designer. Fox finds Meyer’s arguments difficult to swallow because they are not based on purely naturalistic or materialistic processes. Says Meyer: “Naturalistic explanations to this point have not been able to account for the origin of information…yet we know of another causal entity which is capable of producing information, that is intelligence.”
Fox acknowledges what philosopher Thomas Nagel calls the “fiendishly difficult problem” of the origin of life, but he seems to think that, given time, we’ll sort it all out. “We don’t, as scientists, have a cast-iron view of how life emerged. There’s some very good ideas…we have a number of clues. In ten years time, we might have others.”
Listen to the full debate!