Stephen C. Meyer Philosopher of Science
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Research and Analysis

Stephen C. Meyer

Stephen C. Meyer received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. He has authored the New York Times best seller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2013), Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009), which was named a Book of the Year by the Times (of London) Literary Supplement in 2009, and now, The Return of the God Hypothesis (HarperOne, 2021).

In his first book on intelligent designSignature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009) Meyer examined the mystery of the origin of the first life. With Darwin’s Doubt, he has expanded the scope of the case for intelligent design to the whole sweep of life’s history. Meyer’s research addresses the deepest mystery surrounding the origin of life and the origin of animal life: the origin of biological information necessary to produce it.

Meyer graduated from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, in 1981 with a degree in physics and earth science. He later became a geophysicist with Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in Dallas, Texas. From 1981 to 1985, he worked for ARCO in digital signal processing and seismic survey interpretation. In 1986 as a Rotary International Scholar, he began his training in the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University, earning an M.Phil. in 1987 and a Ph.D. in 1991. His doctoral thesis was titled “Of Clues and Causes: A Methodological Interpretation of Origin-of-Life Research.”

He left a tenured position as professor at Whitworth in 2002 to serve full time in directing the Center for Science & Culture, which he helped found with John West in 1996.

Prior to the publication of Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt, the writing for which Meyer was best known was an August 2004 review essay in the Smithsonian Institution-affiliated peer-reviewed biology journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. The article laid out the evidential case for intelligent design, presenting it as the best explanation for the origin of the biological information necessary to produce the new forms of animal life that arose abruptly during the Cambrian explosion.

Because the article was the first peer-reviewed publication arguing for intelligent design in a technical journal, it proved extremely controversial.  The journal’s editor, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg, was punished by his Smithsonian supervisors for allowing Meyer’s article into print. This led to the investigation of top Smithsonian personnel by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.  The controversy was widely covered in the media with articles or news stories appearing about it in The Wall Street JournalScienceNature, NPR, The O’Reilly Factor and the Washington Post. The federal investigation eventually concluded that Sternberg had been wrongly disciplined and intimidated.

Meyer’s many other publications include contributions to, and the editing of, the peer-reviewed volume Darwinism, Design and Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2004), the innovative textbook Explore Evolution (Hill House Publishers, 2007), and the sweeping anthology, Theistic Evolution (Crossway, 2017).

Meyer has also published editorials in national newspapers such as The Wall Street JournalUSA TodayThe National Post (of Canada)The Daily Telegraph (of London) and The Los Angeles Times.  He has appeared on national television and radio programs such as The Jim Lehrer News HourNBC Nightly NewsABC Nightly NewsCBS Sunday MorningNightline, Fox News LivePaula Zahn Now (CNN), Good Morning America and the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS.  He has also been featured in two New York Times front-page stories and has garnered attention in other top national media.

In 2008, he appeared with Ben Stein in the theatrical-released documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  He has also been featured prominently in the science documentaries Icons of EvolutionThe Case for a Creator, Darwin’s Dilemma and Unlocking The Mystery of Life, the latter of which was shown on PBS and which Meyer co-wrote with producer Lad Allen.

Close-up shot of microscope
Close-up shot of microscope with metal lens at laboratory.

Yes, Intelligent Design Is Detectable by Science

Biologists have long recognized that many organized structures in living organisms — the elegant form and protective covering of the coiled nautilus; the interdependent parts of the vertebrate eye; the interlocking bones, muscles, and feathers of a bird wing — “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Read More ›
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micro RNA (let7; pink) bound to mRNA (lin-41; cyan). miRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules important for gene regulation and implicated in cancer, obesity and heart disease.
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Can the Origin of the Genetic Code Be Explained by Direct RNA Templating?

Stephen C. Meyer and Paul Nelson take on the DRT model. In their critical review of the research they explain how the sequencing problem has not been solved, even partially. Read More ›
Gansos en la laguna

Sauce for the Goose

Judge Jones, in his Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion expressed an entrenched view common not only among members of the media and scientific establishment. But why isn’t the theory of intelligent design scientific? On what basis do critics of the theory make that claim? And is it justified? Read More ›
Photo by Dawid Zawiła
clear glass ball on beach during sunset

A Scientific History and Philosophical Defense of the Theory of Intelligent Design

What is this theory of intelligent design, and where did it come from? And why does it arouse such passion and inspire such apparently determined efforts to suppress it? Read More ›
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cross spider on a web with dew drops
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The Scientific Status of Intelligent Design

Underlying Darwin's repudiation of creationist legitimacy lay an entirely different conception of science than had prevailed among earlier naturalists. Darwin's attacks on his creationist and idealist opponents in part expressed and in part established an emerging positivistic "episteme" in which the mere mention of unverifiable "acts of Divine will" or "the plan of creation" would increasingly serve to disqualify theories from consideration as science qua science. Read More ›
fossil trilobite imprint in the sediment
fossil trilobite imprint in the sediment.
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The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories

On August 4th, 2004 an extensive review essay by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, Director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture appeared in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (volume 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239). Dr. Meyer argues that no current materialistic theory of evolution can account for the origin of the information necessary to build novel animal forms. Read More ›
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Anomalocaris, life form of the Cambrian period (3d science illustration)
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The Cambrian Explosion

Both Charles Darwin himself and contemporary neo-Darwinists such as Francisco Ayala, Richard Dawkins, and Richard Lewontin acknowledge that biological organisms appear to have been designed by an intelligence. Yet classical Darwinists and contemporary Darwinists alike have argued that what Francisco Ayala calls the “obvious design” of living things is only apparent. As Ayala, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has explained: “The functional design of organisms and their features would therefore seem to argue for the existence of a designer. It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the directive organization of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process, natural selection, without any need to resort to a Creator Read More ›

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close up of teacher hand while teaching in classroom
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Teaching the Origins Controversy

One can hardly imagine a more contentious issue in the American culture wars than the debate over how biological origins should be taught in the public schools. Read More ›
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Change over time Retro alarm clocks stack time concept
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The Meanings of Evolution

Not all senses of evolution have the same epistemological standing. We can assert confidently that evolution “has occurred” but we may be more uncertain about how it occurred. Read More ›