Tag Archives: Claude Shannon

Theologian R.C. Sproul interviews Stephen C. Meyer

Five clips featuring one my of all round favorite Christian scholars – in the top 3 for sure.

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Dr. Meyer’s Ph.D is in the philosophy of science, obtained from Cambridge University.

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R.C. Sproul interviews Stephen Meyer on Signature in the Cell

Video clips below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

By the way, Apologetics Junkie posted video of the McDowell-Corbett debate! Part 1 and part 2.

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Times Literary Supplement features Signature in the Cell on list of best books

The book was one of the best books of 2009 according to the Times Literary Supplement. (H/T Uncommon Descent via Apologetics 315)

Excerpt:

Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell: DNA and the evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins) is a detailed account of the problem of how life came into existence from lifeless matter – something that had to happen before the process of biological evolution could begin. The controversy over Intelligent Design has so far focused mainly on whether the evolution of life since its beginnings can be explained entirely by natural selection and other non-purposive causes. Meyer takes up the prior question of how the immensely complex and exquisitely functional chemical structure of DNA, which cannot be explained by natural selection because it makes natural selection possible, could have originated without an intentional cause. He examines the history and present state of research on non-purposive chemical explanations of the origin of life, and argues that the available evidence offers no prospect of a credible naturalistic alternative to the hypothesis of an intentional cause. Meyer is a Christian, but atheists, and theists who believe God never intervenes in the natural world, will be instructed by his careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.

Get Meyer’s book. This is the best thing that got published this year. Buy it!

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Stephen C. Meyer defines and defends intelligent design in CNN editorial

THIS IS HUGE. Maybe this CNN editorial will cause people to stop describing intelligent design as “the idea that life so complex that God had to create it”.

Story here at CNN.com.

His first argument is the Cambrian explosion:

We are told that a consensus of scientists supporting the theory means that Darwinian evolution is no longer subject to debate. But does it ever happen that a seemingly broad consensus of scientific expertise turns out to be wrong, generated by an ideologically motivated stampeding of opinion?

[…]Contrary to Darwinian orthodoxy, the fossil record actually challenges the idea that all organisms have evolved from a single common ancestor. Why? Fossil studies reveal “a biological big bang” near the beginning of the Cambrian period (520 million years ago) when many major, separate groups of organisms or “phyla” (including most animal body plans) emerged suddenly without clear precursors.

Fossil finds repeatedly have confirmed a pattern of explosive appearance and prolonged stability in living forms, not the gradual “branching-tree” pattern implied by Darwin’s common ancestry thesis.

And his second argument is the biological information in DNA:

Consider the implications, for example, of one of modern biology’s most important discoveries. In 1953 when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery. The structure of DNA allows it to store information in the form of a four-character digital code, similar to a computer code.

This discovery highlights a scientific mystery that Darwin never addressed: how did the first life on earth arise? To date no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the information needed to build the first living cell.

Instead, the digital code and information processing systems that run the show in living cells point decisively toward prior intelligent design. Indeed, we know from our repeated experience — the basis of all scientific reasoning — that systems possessing these features always arise from an intelligent source — from minds, not material processes.

DNA functions like a software program. We know that software comes from programmers. Information — whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, or encoded in a radio signal — always arises from a designing intelligence. So the discovery of digital code in DNA provides a strong scientific reason for concluding that the information in DNA also had an intelligent source.

You can see Stephen Meyer debate against a famous, qualified Darwinist here. That post also has links to other debates on intelligent design from the Cato Institute and PBS. And don’t forget that Stephen Meyer is debating Michael Shermer on November 30th, 2009 in Beverly Hills.

Ideas for Christmas gifts

If you guys are looking for Christmas gift ideas, I recommend Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” for advanced students. For beginners, get the new intelligent design DVD “Darwin’s Dilemma” and the “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” DVD. The former covers the Cambrian explosion, and the latter covers the argument from DNA. If you still have money left over for more gifts, then get “The Privileged Planet” DVD, which compares the requirements for complex life forms and the requirements for scientific discovery. These can all be bought at Amazon.com.

By the way, just for fun, why don’t you guys print off this article, and then go to some of your atheist family and friends and ask them what intelligent design is. Compare what they think intelligent design is with what it actually is, according to Stephen Meyer. If you want, write it up and leave it as a comment to this post.

UPDATE: Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel names Signature in the Cell one his two 2009 Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement. This will be in a separate post shortly. (H/T Apologetics 315)

William Dembski discusses new peer-reviewed paper on intelligent design

The paper talks about how to measure the amount of information required by evolutionary algorithms in order for them to work. The paper describes accounting processes for measuring where information is put into evolutionary algorithms, so that it becomes clear how much information is needed up front. The paper shows that the information present in evolutionary algorithms does not emerge as a result of evolutionary algorithms – the “active information” has to be put into the process at different points for the process to work.

The paper:

“Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success,” published in IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans.

The MP3 file for Part 1 is here.

Part 1 Topics:

  • about the IEEE, the publisher of the paper Dembski and Marks
  • the search problem and evolutionary algorithms
  • the concept of “active information”
  • blind search versus targeted searches
  • No Free Lunch theorems
  • Conservation of information
  • Responding to an objection: is Darwinism analogous to the search problem?
  • does evolution have mathematical underpinnings?

The MP3 file for Part 2 is here.

Part 2 Topics:

  • fitness functions and fitness landscape
  • constraints as information
  • does the paper support intelligent design?
  • how have critics responded to this paper?

You can read the entire paper for free here.