Stephen Meyer founded and heads the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute. He has a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in England and is the author of three books that are essential reading in the scientific debate about evolution. The first, Signature in the Cell, examines the role of DNA and the cellular-level evidence for intelligent design. The second, Darwin’s Doubt, shows how the explosive origin of animal life makes a case for intelligent design that even Charles Darwin would have trouble opposing. Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe, was due out on March 30.
What is the God hypothesis? It’s the idea that God exists and theism as a worldview explains some of the key evidence concerning biological and cosmological origins. I’m proposing that hypothesis to explain some of the key discoveries of modern science — the origin and fine-tuning of the universe, the origin of life, and new forms of life on this planet.
Why do you use the word return to describe the God hypothesis? It’s a return because the scientific revolution began roughly in 1300 from a Christian foundation, as more and more scientists thought about nature in Biblical terms. One of the key ideas was that systematic investigation could reveal and help us understand nature. Since we are made in the image of a rational Creator, we could understand the rationality, design, and lawful order God built into nature. Theism provided a framework for doing science, and scientists discovered evidence supporting that framework.
Science moved away from that foundation? During the 19th century that framework dramatically shifted as more and more scientists began to commit themselves to a strictly materialistic approach to science. They became convinced they could explain the origins of the solar system, life, and human beings by reference to purely unguided processes. By the end of the 19th century, the materialistic — or naturalistic — worldview was dominant in Western science. Return of the God Hypothesis is the story of how three great scientific discoveries since the beginning of the 20th century — in physics, biology, and cosmology — have brought back a strong evidential basis for theistic belief.