Stephen C. Meyer Philosopher of Science

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Breaking and archived news from Evolution.News related to Stephen Meyer and his work.

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.

Rapper MC Hammer Embraces Intelligent Design

I hope you had a good weekend. But I KNOW that rapper MC Hammer had a most interesting and intellectually stimulating one. You may wonder how I know that. It’s because he spent a good deal of it watching videos about intelligent design and evolution and exchanging tweets about ID with Discovery Institute philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, on one hand, and arch-Darwinist atheist biologist Jerry Coyne on the other. Hammer was more persuaded by Dr. Meyer than by Dr. Coyne. The latter, an emeritus professor at the University of Chicago, was not pleased and tweeted back insults, calling Hammer an “ignoramus.” (Coyne later apologized and took down the insulting tweet.) Hammer, with 3.2 million Twitter followers, was most taken, though, by our mathematician colleague David

Breakout Paper in Journal of Theoretical Biology Explicitly Supports Intelligent Design

As John West noted here last week, the Journal of Theoretical Biology has published an explicitly pro-intelligent design article, “Using statistical methods to model the fine-tuning of molecular machines and systems.” Let's take a closer look at the contents. The paper is math-heavy, discussing statistical models of making inferences, but it is also groundbreaking for this crucial reason: it considers and proposes intelligent design, by name, as a viable explanation for the origin of “fine-tuning” in biology. This is a major breakthrough for science, but also for freedom of speech. If the paper is any indication, appearing as it does in a prominent peer-reviewed journal, some of the suffocating constraints on ID advocacy may be coming off. The authors are Steinar Thorvaldsen,

Despite Darwinists’ Cancel Culture, Intelligent Design Has a Breakthrough in Biology Journal

In its September 21 issue, the Journal of Theoretical Biology published a major peer-reviewed article on fine-tuning in biology that favorably discusses intelligent design. The article explicitly cites work by Discovery Institute Fellows such as Stephen Meyer, Günter Bechly, Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe, and Robert J. Marks. The article is co-authored by Steinar Thorvaldsen and Ola Hössjer. Hössjer is a professor of mathematical statistics at Stockholm University who is favorable to intelligent design.  This is a big deal for the mainstreaming of ID.  The Journal of Theoretical Biology is a top peer-reviewed science journal. According to CiteScore, it is the 25th most cited journal in the area of general agriculture and biological sciences, and it is in the top 12

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

New Book by Biologist Michael Denton on Nature’s Miraculous “Primal Blueprint”

The cynicism of our time poisons everything, from academic life to media coverage to personal relationships. It instructs us to look at each other with suspicion or mockery, at the cosmos with indifference, at life itself with a shrug. Onto the scene steps biologist Michael Denton, no conventional religious believer, who nevertheless announces that the basis of life, the cells that populate our bodies and those of all other organisms, bear evidence of a “miracle.” Dr. Denton is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, a widely published biochemist who received his PhD at King’s College, London. His new book, The Miracle of the Cell, will be published on Monday, September 28. It is a lyrical exposition of what might otherwise seem like

Tour, Meyer on the Multiverse, and More

On a new episode of ID the Future, Rice University synthetic organic chemist and inventor James M. Tour continues his conversation with Stephen C. Meyer, director of the Center for Science & Culture. Download the podcast or listen to it here. In this third of three episodes featuring the two researchers, Tour draws from questions sent in by listeners to his own podcast. These include questions about the multiverse, quantum cosmology, the possibility — and theological implications — of life on other planets, the Big Bang, and what intelligent design thinking has to say about viruses and bacteria.  The episode is excerpted from an extended interview from Tour’s excellent new video series The Science & Faith Podcast: Follow the Evidence. There you will

Reform It Altogether — More on the Naturalistic Parabola

Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a series by Dr. Nelson, “Trapped in the Naturalistic Parabola.” On Saturday, September 12, I presented a webinar about design triangulation, a method of functional analysis in biology (or in complex systems generally) with great promise for helping intelligent design, as a scientific enterprise, to climb free of what I’ve called the hopeless grip of the “naturalistic parabola.” The pdf of that webinar is available here. Been A Long Time Coming Some background. Recently, a doctoral student whom I came to know via email, and then at the Discovery Institute Summer Seminar, told me that she had read a large unpublished manuscript with the transcripts of an ID research meeting, held at Calvin College nearly twenty years

Tour to Meyer: Make Your Best Case for the Theory of Intelligent Design

On a new episode of ID the Future, Rice University chemist James Tour and Discovery Institute philosopher of science Stephen Meyer continue their conversation about the origin of life and intelligent design. They assess an exchange about the former between physicists Brian Miller and Jeremy England, and Tour notes his hesitance about ID. Professor Tour asks Dr. Meyer to make his best case for the theory of intelligent design. Download the podcast or listen to it here. The episode is excerpted from a longer interview Dr. Tour conducted with Dr. Meyer as part of his excellent new video series, The Science & Faith Podcast: Follow the

Tour, Meyer: Some Very Hard Problems Facing Origin-of-Life Research

On a new episode of ID the Future,  James Tour and Stephen Meyer begin a discussion of the hard problems facing researchers trying to discover how the first life could have come about naturalistically. Meyer is director of the Center for Science & Culture; Tour is a world-renowned chemist at Rice University with over 700 research publications and multiple major awards, recognized by Thomson Reuters in 2014 as among “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.” Download the podcast or listen to it here. Though Professor Tour doesn’t sign on to ID theory, he says he’s sympathetic to the idea, and certainly not impressed by any naturalistic explanations for the origin of life. In today’s episode he and Tour explore problems ranging from the extreme

“Poor Design”? Human Versus Biological Invention

According to a common refrain from ID critics, the theory of intelligent design is defeated by observations of “poor design” in our own biology. Smart humans could have done it much better, we are told, so this points to bungling evolution over the work of a purposeful designer outside nature. Does this challenge hold water?  Well, let’s say you compare the most ingenious technological inventions — from Silicon Valley, for example — with the inventions inscribed in carbon, not silicon, in “simple cells.” On a classic episode of ID the Future, molecular biologist Douglas Axe and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer discussed the question, weighing Silicon Valley against “Carbon Valley.” Guess which one beats the other for inspired design? Download the

Why Intelligent Design Had to Be the First to Face the Guillotine

Proponents of intelligent design had explored cancel culture long before the phrase became well known. From Richard Sternberg to Stephen Meyer to Douglas Axe to Günter Bechly to (deep breath) Scott Minnich to Eric Hedin to David Coppedge and many others — before shouting down, policing, and punishing disfavored ideas were recognized by many as a rising curse in academic life, ID scientists knew it all too well. How did we get here? The Paradox of Free Speech Tony Woodlief has an insightful article in the Wall Street Journal. As he argues, the origins of speech bullying are laden with paradox. Citing the political scientist Willmoore Kendall, who taught William F. Buckley at Yale, he says that an excessive insistence on academic freedom in past decades contained the seeds of that

On the Swamidass Hypothesis — The Cheese Stands Alone

Joshua Swamidass wonders why I reviewed The Genealogical Adam and Eve (GAE) unfavorably. Other ID advocates, he notes, such as Sean McDowell or Walter Bradley, liked the book. And scientists not explicitly affiliated with ID, such as the UK botanist and geneticist Richard Buggs, or Rice University synthetic chemist James Tour, also liked it. Indeed, they did. Buggs said that Swamidass might be nominated for a Templeton Prize. Tour put him on the list for a Nobel Peace Prize. With respect to GAE’s main thesis, however, these reviewers were diplomatically neutral or politely non-committal. Read their comments, at the links above, and you’ll see what I mean. What they did not do — what no one, to my knowledge, has done yet — is agree that the GAE scenario is true, in the everyday

Andrew Sullivan, Meet Richard Sternberg

There’s an outcry on behalf of journalist Andrew Sullivan today over how he was canceled by New York Magazine, where he had a writing perch. His offense was publishing an excerpt from Charles Murray’s controversial book The Bell Curve — 25 years ago in The New Republic. I may not be sympathetic to the argument about race and genetics in Murray’s book, but I am sympathetic to Sullivan and the way he is still being punished for his editorial decision.  Bullied by the Smithsonian It reminds me of my own point of entry into the intelligent design debate, in 2004, writing about biologist Richard Sternberg’s own canceling at the Smithsonian for publishing a peer-reviewed biology journal article by philosopher of science Stephen Meyer. Sternberg was a researcher and editor with

Tour, Meyer: The Mystery of Life Itself

In the context of the COVID pandemic, saving lives is the order of the day. But I was struck this week by a formulation by the UK’s Lord Sumption. He discussed the priority of saving lives while at the same time not neglecting the importance of preserving "life itself," all the things that make human lives worth living. I suggest that you read his remarks. They are a little bit off-topic here, but not entirely. That’s because Rice University chemist James Tour has just released a fascinating, scientifically substantive, but also quite personal podcast conversation with our Discovery Institute colleague Stephen Meyer. They speak about many things including their shared Christian faith, and about the mystery of life’s origin. They both contributed to the recently updated

Stephen Meyer and James Tour: Tonight, a Wide-Ranging and Personal Conversation

I’ve seen Rice University chemist James Tour and Discovery Institute philosopher of science Stephen Meyer on the same stage, but never before in a personal interaction. Tonight they’ll meet in a podcast discussion hosted by Dr. Tour, covering the origin of life — and more. It promises to be a surprisingly personal interaction, as you’ll see from this sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvbK-ujiWPM Does life's origin reflect the activity of a mind, or do blind, purely physical processes alone serve as a fully satisfactory explanation? Watch and found out. You can find the podcast here at 5 pm Pacific time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5tUDJ23Kms Dr. Meyer and Dr. Tour are, among other distinctions, contributors to the recent expanded version of a classic

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

A Bayesian Approach to Intelligent Design

I have recently been interested in the field of epistemology, which is the branch of philosophy that deals with how we reliably form beliefs, or how we acquire knowledge. In particular, I have been interested in how we can quantify the strength of a particular piece of evidence, and how a cumulative case, involving many different lines of evidence, may be modeled mathematically. I have come to think of evidence in Bayesian terms and this has in turn impacted the way I think about the biological arguments for intelligent design. What is Bayes’ Theorem? Named for the 18th-century English Presbyterian minister Thomas Bayes, Bayes’ Theorem is a mathematical tool for modelling our evaluation of evidences to appropriately apportion the confidence in our conclusions to

Awesome Recovery for Atheist Lawrence Krauss

Congrats to the PR team of Chutzpah, Cheek, and Insolence who scored big with the work they appear to have done for atheist Lawrence Krauss. The cosmologist has now emerged, earlier than anticipated, from under a major #MeToo cloud that resulted in his forced departure from his university and temporary disappearance from a role as a public figure. He “retired” from Arizona State in May of last year. Time flies. Here he is today in the Wall Street Journal decrying, “The Ideological Corruption of Science.” Fascinating. According to the thesaurus, some antonyms of “corruption” include decency, goodness, honesty, honor, and purity. That’s right, Lawrence Krauss of all people is now lecturing us about the importance of…decency, goodness, honesty, honor, and purity. This

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

From Evidence of Cosmology and Physics, Meyer's New Book Points to a Personal God

Readers have been asking when Stephen Meyer's next book, Return of the God Hypothesis, will be available. Good news! We now have a firm publication date of March 30, 2021. Now, the hardcover edition of the book can be pre-ordered again on Amazon. Thank you for your patience. Order your copy now. Here's what you have to look forward to. Beginning in the late 19th century, many intellectuals began to insist that scientific knowledge conflicts with traditional theistic belief — that science and belief in God are “at war.” Dr. Meyer, the philosopher of science and New York Times-bestselling author, challenges this view by examining three scientific discoveries with decidedly theistic implications. Meyer demonstrates how discoveries in cosmology and physics coupled with those

Mistakes Our Critics Make: Information Theory

In previous articles, I demonstrated how substantial quantities of biological information cannot emerge through any natural process (see here and here), and I described how such information unambiguously points to intelligent design. Now, in posts today through Friday, I will address the mistakes typically made by critics who challenge these claims (see here, here, here, and here). Nearly always, the errors fall into three categories: Misapplying information theory. Misinterpreting research related to protein rarity.   Misunderstanding the creative potential of evolutionary processes.  The Nature of Biological Information Skeptics of information-based design arguments typically misunderstand the nature of biological information (see here and here). For

Stephen Meyer Unmasks the Coding of Human DNA

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 video #13. https://youtu.be/qxhuxg3WRfg It's another episode of “Science Uprising,” this one presenting Steve Meyer’s information argument in a succinct but powerful form. Notice the footage from the Center’s home town of Seattle — and the natural tie-in to the software industry. 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

Journey Inside the Cell

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 video #11. https://youtu.be/1fiJupfbSpg It is “Journey Inside the Cell,” narrated by Stephen Meyer. This was the first molecular animation we commissioned, and it became our first really big hit on YouTube, drawing over 650,000 views thus far. The video was originally created in 2009, so it wasn’t made in HD. But we have an HD version in the works — so stay tuned! 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

Stephen Meyer Shatters the Myth of the Multiverse

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 video #10. https://youtu.be/WR51OrawqIg It is an episode of our “Science Uprising” YouTube series that explores the evidence of fine-tuning in our universe. In addition to Steve Meyer, this special episode includes physicists Frank Tipler and Bijan Nemati. 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

Stephen Meyer: God and the Origin of the Universe

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 video #7. https://youtu.be/7pk9oDrpf6k It is another lecture by Stephen Meyer on cosmology and intelligent design, delivered to an audience of nearly 1,000 people at the 2019 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith. 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

Signature in the Cell: Stephen Meyer Faces His Critics

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 video #6. In addition to producing documentaries and animations, we also post lectures by our scientists and scholars. This is one of the best: Dr. Stephen Meyer speaking to a large live audience about his book Signature in the Cell. https://youtu.be/eW6egHV6jAw 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

Save the Washington Monument. But How?

At dinner recently I said to my kids that I’m glad they’ve seen the Washington Monument in person because I’m not sure it will still be there in a year. This was following nights of rioting when news helicopters showed fires in the capital obscuring the structure. My oldest son scoffed. “They’re not talking about taking down the Washington Monument!” “Not yet,” I said.  Nobody would have predicted all the changes we’ve witnessed in 2020, what seems to be evidence of national demoralization. Freedom of assembly and of worship canceled overnight across swaths of the country, with hardly a protest? Revolutionary unrest in the cities? Statues and other monuments defaced or torn down? Serious discussion of abolishing the police? What will come

The Information Enigma: A Closer Look

The first video in our Intelligent Design YouTube Festival, “The Information Enigma,” consolidates the research and writing of Stephen Meyer and Douglas Axe into a 21-minute video. The presentation demonstrates how the information present in life points unambiguously to intelligent design. This topic is central to intelligent design arguments and the ID research program. Here I will flesh out in greater detail the concept of biological information, and I will explain why significant quantities of it cannot be generated through natural processes.  A Primer on Information A pioneer in the field of information theory was Claude Shannon⁠ who connected the concept of information to the reduction in uncertainty and to probability. As an example, knowing the five-digit ZIP

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

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