Stephen C. Meyer Philosopher of Science

Darwin’s Doubt

In the News

Scientific Paper Reaffirms New Genes Required for Cambrian Explosion

In 2018 we covered a paper in the journal Nature Communications which found that thousands of new genes would have been required to build the diverse animal body plans that appear abruptly in the Cambrian period. The notion that many genes would be required for the Cambrian explosion may seem unsurprising — what probably is surprising is that anyone would challenge the idea that the Cambrian animals required new genes!  Darwin’s Doubt If that’s how you feel, welcome to the debate over intelligent design and evolution. Stephen Meyer argued in his 2013 book Darwin’s Doubt that the Cambrian animals represented an explosion of new genetic information that outstripped the creative powers of the Darwinian mechanism. It wasn’t until then that

Repentant Biology Journal Offers a Weak Rebuttal to Its Own Pro-ID Fine-Tuning Paper

Following its editorial disclaimer that we discussed last week, the repentant Journal of Theoretical Biology has gone further in seeking atonement from Darwin enforcers. What was the journal’s sin? The editors published a pro-intelligent design article on biological fine-tuning. So now they have published a short letter critiquing the original article. The authors, who are all biologists at Georgia Tech, submitted a surprisingly weak response. It doesn’t take issue with the factual claims in the article but rather focuses on attacking the logic behind the design inference: What does this paper contribute to our understanding of theoretical biology? The primary claim of Thorvaldsen and Hössjer is that protein complexes, molecular motors, and biological networks are not random.

Bechly Series: No Ancestors for Cambrian Animals; Darwin’s Doubt Remains

This week, paleontologist Günter Bechly concluded his epic 14-part series at Evolution News on the Ediacaran organism Kimberella. The importance of the subject, heroically tackled by Dr. Bechly, more than justifies the length of the treatment. You can find the entire series here in order: “Was Kimberella a Precambrian Mollusk?” “Kimberella — A Checkered History” “Conflicting Views about Kimberella’s Ecology” “Kimberella — Conflicting Evidence from Taphonomy” “Kimberella — Interpreting the Fossils” “Kimberella — Four Phases of Interpretation” “Reconstructing Kimberella — The Disputed Anatomy in Detail” “Kimberella — Controversial Scratch Marks” “Kimberella — Traces and a

Was Kimberella a Precambrian Mollusk?

Editor’s note: We are delighted to present a new series of posts by paleontologist Günter Bechly on the Ediacaran organism Kimberella. If identified as an animal, it would “predate the Cambrian explosion of bilaterian animal phyla as a kind of ‘advance guard.’” The question is of interest for debates about evolution and arguments about intelligent design raised by Stephen Meyer, among others. Today, Dr. Bechly introduces his subject. In past articles for Evolution News, I have critically considered a number of alleged Ediacaran animals. We will now take a closer look at the famous fossil organism Kimberella, which is a typical member of the Ediacara-type biota (Muscente et al. 2019), especially from the White Sea assemblage (Gehling & Droser 2013, Droser et al.

In Carbon Isotope Excursions, Darwinists Lose Another Excuse for the Cambrian Explosion

Evolution News keeps a lookout for new excuses that pop up to explain away the very un-Darwinian sudden emergence of 17 or more animal body plans in the Cambrian explosion. Ever since Stephen Meyer published Darwin’s Doubt in 2014, we have seen a gamut of excuses pass by. One of the strangest was that it was caused by (or correlated with) one or more “carbon isotope excursions” or CIE (see here, here, and here). Presumably, the major CIE was also associated with more oxygenated ocean water, giving microbes the magic elixir of oxygen to drive them to become animals (see here and here). The dates of those carbon excursions, however, have been uncertain and hard to correlate at different sites around the world.  A new study

The Demise of the Artifact Hypothesis

In a recent series of Evolution News articles (Bechly 2018b, 2019, 2020a, 2020b, 2020c), to be continued soon, I have presented evidence and arguments that refute several alleged fossil animals from the Ediacaran period, which had been proposed as potential precursors of Cambrian animal phyla. Of course, the general absence of fossil bilaterian animals from the Ediacaran era is hardly a secret among paleontologists, but certainly an inconvenient truth, because it leaves the appearance of complex animal phyla during the Cambrian explosion disturbingly unexplained.  It also contradicts Darwinian expectations of a gradual development of complex body plans from the bottom up, starting with simple unicellular organisms and the subsequent stepwise

The Information Enigma

From June 16-30, we are holding an Intelligent Design YouTube Festival by highlighting 15 Center for Science & Culture YouTube videos that have received more than 100,000 views each. Here is the first installment. https://youtu.be/aA-FcnLsF1g How do you condense the message of two books totalling 1,100+ pages into a 21-minute video? That’s what we were trying to accomplish with “The Information Enigma,” which seeks to present the core message of Stephen Meyer’s bestselling books Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt. See if we succeeded!  If you’d like us to create more videos like this one, please consider becoming one of our “movie producers” by donating to our video production

A Hot Seller from Discovery Institute Press, New Book Offers Intelligent Design "In a Nutshell"

Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell is the new book from Discovery Institute Press. It was just published yesterday and it's already Amazon's #1 and #2 new releases in cosmology, respectively in its paperback and Kindle editions. On a new episode of ID the Future, host Rob Crowther interviews co-author Dr. Thomas Y. Lo. The genesis of the slim and accessible Nutshell book was at a Discovery Institute Summer Seminar. Lo talked with professors and students about the idea of a concise, easy-to-understand guide to evolution and design. Before long he was joined by four others, including two PhD biologists. The resulting book covers everything from cosmology and the origin of life to irreducibly complex biological marvels. Download the podcast or listen to it here. The

Louis Agassiz and the National Academy’s Secret

Editor’s note: Dr. Shedinger is a Professor of Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He is the author of a recent book critiquing Darwinian triumphalism, The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms. So entrenched is the Darwinian notion of organismal change over time that anyone questioning it will be quickly marginalized and condemned to a life outside the hallowed halls of true science. But the scientific establishment has a dirty little secret they desperately want to keep quiet.  Back in March, when the people of my college community were scattering to their homes in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, I headed to my college library to stock up on some reading material for the long weeks ahead. One of the books I checked out was Edward Lurie’s 1960 biography of

The Myth of Precambrian Sponges

Sponges are sessile marine invertebrates that are considered to be the most basal and most "primitive" branch of the multicellular animals (Metazoa). Therefore, evolutionists would expect to find such sponges as the earliest animals in the fossil record. Also, immunological evidence (Wilkinson 1984) and especially molecular clock data placed the origin of sponges long before the Cambrian and even before the Ediacaran era (Peterson et al. 2004, Sperling et al. 2007, Sperling et al. 2010, Erwin et al. 2011, Cunningham et al. 2017a). Consequently, the alleged discovery of sponge-like fossils from layers prior to the Cambrian explosion, which gave rise to all the more complex animal phyla, was welcomed by evolutionary biologists as clear confirmation of Darwin’s theory. When the

Stephen Meyer, Eric Metaxas: Gain and Loss and the Origin of Life

Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany “revolutionized U.S. science and innovation,” as Stanford University historian Petra Moser and others have pointed out. Hitler’s loss was our gain. Something not entirely dissimilar is the case in the history of the intelligent design movement and its own revolution. https://youtu.be/2epmJnZWu84 On his radio show today, Eric Metaxas talked with Darwin's Doubt author Stephen Meyer about the reissue of the expanded version of the Ur-text of intelligent design, a 35th anniversary edition of The Mystery of Life’s Origin. Dr. Meyer contributed a new chapter, as did James Tour, Brian Miller, and other scientists who have come to doubt purely materialist accounts of how the first life arose. Steve points out to Eric that “Some

New Video Course with Stephen Meyer on Design Science Offers Hope and Stimulation

At the beginning of the national shutdown, many of us declared grand ambitions for things we would do with our new spare time. Learn Russian! Take up a new musical instrument! Achieve the peaks of physical fitness! Likely these ambitions have had to be ratcheted back. As sports writer Jason Gay laments in the Wall Street Journal, “The goal posts have moved from write the next Great American Novel to put on pants by 3 p.m.” It’s time for some mind-expanding but more realistic objectives. Philosopher of science Stephen Meyer has a solution. It’s a brand new video course on the full range of the scientific evidence for intelligent design, from cosmology to biology, the origin of the stars to the origins of complex life, appropriate for a range of ages. See the trailer

New Cosmos Episodes: Only Part of the Story

The third season of Cosmos, with Neil deGrasse Tyson, released its third and fourth episodes Monday night on Fox and National Geographic. The season’s theme, “Possible Worlds,” must have seemed poignant to some viewers amidst a national shutdown as they thought about what kind of possible world we are all entering together. As noted here already, these episodes will slip in smoothly in public school science classrooms, someday when all the schools reopen. So how does the information on offer measure up? What about Biological Information? Episodes 3, “Lost City of Life,” quickly summarizes the origins of the Milky Way galaxy, the elements, and the Earth. Tyson takes us in his “ship of the imagination” to the deep sea on the early Earth. He offers the viewer a close

Remembering Our Friend Jon Buell, Intelligent Design’s “Matchmaker”

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our friend Jon Buell on March 14, 2020. Discovery Institute honors his memory and wishes for much comfort for his family, especially his wife Linda Buell. If others have been hailed as the “father of intelligent design” (Michael Behe) or the “godfather” (Phillip Johnson), then Jon Buell was the “matchmaker.” Without Jon, would the modern ID movement have got off the ground as it did with the 1984 publication of The Mystery of Life’s Origin? It’s hard to see how. He brought together the trio of scientists who wrote the book — Walter Bradley, Charles Thaxton, and Roger Olsen. They in turn profoundly influenced Stephen Meyer, Michael Denton, William Dembski, Michael Behe, Paul Nelson, and others who would

ID Literature and the Great Evolutionary Firewall

Peer-reviewed literature is supposed to be the gold standard in any given scientific field, though it both lets through junk science at times, and at others, excludes solid science, whether for ideological or other reasons. The gatekeepers are only human, prone to bias or wish fulfillment. The humans who police the gatekeepers are also prone to hallucinate. See a couple of posts on that subject from earlier this week, here and here.  These provisos having been stated, there is of course value in this literature. That’s why Evolution News spends so much time analyzing it. We haven’t talked about this in a while, but the body of peer-reviewed articles supporting intelligent design is impressive. You can find an extensive discussion of it here. Remember, this is just the

BioLogos and the Search for Truth

The BioLogos Foundation’s president, Deborah Haarsma, issued a statement recently that merits comment. BioLogos is the organization known for seeking to draw Evangelical Christians to the theory of unguided Darwinian evolution. Now Haarsma has announced on the group’s behalf an institutional desire to clean house. Truth Matters In “Truth-Seeking in Science,” she wishes to leave no uncertainty about one thing: BioLogos wants to find out the truth and communicate it to others. Dr. Haarsma writes, “We are committed to seeking out the truths in both of these revelations ,” “I want to flesh out what truth-seeking looks like in science,” “how we are implementing truth-seeking,” “Part of truth-seeking…is a healthy willingness to change your viewpoint,” “A

In Just Eight Minutes, New Video Punctures Evolution’s Circular “Homology” Argument

The biology textbook my daughter uses in high school, Miller and Levine’s Biology, is in wide use. It’s the one from Pearson with the parrot on the cover. On page 468, it employs a circular argument beloved by evolutionists: the argument from homology. The same argument features in many different textbooks. And it is regularly cited by biologists in scolding the public about their Darwin doubts. “Long Story Short” Here is a really brief, cute, and effective new video from Discovery Institute that addresses and deftly punctures this argument. Just eight minutes long! https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=lk1gDk1wGhQ It’s part of a freshly launched occasional series, “Long Story Short,” that compresses key points in the debate between Darwinism and

Dallas Conference Will Unveil Intelligent Design’s Original Edition

We are just a couple of weeks out from the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, Saturday, January 25 in Denton, TX. Until today, though, we have withheld one important piece of information about the event: it will be the launch of a wonderful new book from Discovery Institute Press. Actually, it’s an updated, expanded edition of a classic: The Mystery of Life’s Origin: The Continuing Controversy, the 1984 Ur-text or original edition of the modern theory of intelligent design, now with new supplementary essays by scholars extending the work. This is very exciting for us because the three co-authors, biochemist Charles Thaxton, materials scientist Walter Bradley, and geochemist Roger Olsen, will all be on hand for a panel discussion. To Spark a Debate The new edition

#1 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Informed by Discovery Authors, Yale’s David Gelernter Rejects Darwinism

Editor’s note: The staff of Evolution News wish you a Happy New Year! We are counting down our top ten stories of 2019. If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment now to contribute to our work in bringing you news and analysis about evolution, intelligent design, and more every day of the year. There is no other voice, no other source of information, like ours. Thank you for your friendship and your support! The following article was originally published here on October 21, 2019. This is important. Yale University computer scientist David Gelernter is a polymath, a brilliant writer, artist, and thinker. Famed both for his specific scientific expertise, and for his cultural, political, and historical reflections, he’s also now a confessed Darwin skeptic.

#3 of Our Top Stories of 2019: PragerU Video on Evolution = Stephen Meyer at Yankee Stadium x 20

Editor’s note: The staff of Evolution News wish you a Happy New Year! We are counting down our top ten stories of 2019. If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment now to contribute to our work in bringing you news and analysis about evolution, intelligent design, and more every day of the year. There is no other voice, no other source of information, like ours. Thank you for your friendship and your support! The following article was originally published here on October 24, 2019. Picture this: philosopher of science Stephen Meyer discussing reasons for skepticism about evolution with enough new friends to fill Yankee Stadium. Now multiply that by 20. As the delighted staff over at PragerU point out, in just the few days since it was released, Dr. Meyer’s PragerU

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