Tag Archives: Phyla

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)

Reports on Stephen Meyer’s intelligent design lecture at Oklahoma University

Post with links is here on Evolution News.


Well, the news out of Oklahoma about Stephen Meyer’s intelligent design presentation at the University last night is quite encouraging. Over three hundred people reportedly turned out for the lecture and discussion following. For all the potty-mouthed bluster that local Darwin activists offered up ahead of time, almost everyone in attendance, whether for or against ID, was civil and respectful during the presentation and discussion last night.

The local daily paper, The Norman Transcript, has two stories today, one about the event last night and one about the screening of Darwin’s Dilemma this evening.

[…]Over at the OU IDEA Club’s website last night club president Josh Malone live-blogged his notes and thoughts about the event and gave a brief rundown of the Q&A session that followed. The photo here was sent in by him.

I’m pretty happy because I just received a free DVD of “Darwin’s Dilemma” in the mail from the Discovery Institute. I donate to DI to support scholars, like Stephen Meyer, in their research, speaking, and debating. Yesterday, I received a debate featuring William Lane Craig that he asked me to transcribe for his web site. (I transcribed a previous debate for him). There are lots of little ways a layman can help out the really smart guys and gals!


Peer-reviewed paper says there is no atheistic explanation for the Cambrian explosion

Story from the Discovery Institute.

A new peer-reviewed paper has been published that concludes that there is no material explanation for the massive amounts of information introduced during the Cambrian explosion, when all of the phyla came into being in the blink of an eye, geologically speaking, with no fossilized precursors.


Thus, elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists.

Once again, the progress of science brings light.

The DI post goes on to cite another passage from the paper:

Beginning some 555 million years ago the Earth’s biota changed in profound and fundamental ways, going from an essentially static system billions of years in existence to the one we find today, a dynamic and awesomely complex system whose origin seems to defy explanation. Part of the intrigue with the Cambrian explosion is that numerous animal phyla with very distinct body plans arrive on the scene in a geological blink of the eye, with little or no warning of what is to come in rocks that predate this interval of time. The abruptness of the transition between the ‘‘Precambrian’’ and the Cambrian was apparent right at the outset of our science with the publication of Murchison’s The Silurian System, a treatise that paradoxically set forth the research agenda for numerous paleontologists — in addition to serving as perennial fodder for creationists. The reasoning is simple — as explained on an intelligent-design t-shirt.

Fact: Forty phyla of complex animals suddenly appear in the fossil record, no forerunners, no transitional forms leading to them; ‘‘a major mystery,’’ a ‘‘challenge.’’ The Theory of Evolution – exploded again (idofcourse.com).

Although we would dispute the numbers, and aside from the last line, there is not much here that we would disagree with. Indeed, many of Darwin’s contemporaries shared these sentiments, and we assume — if Victorian fashion dictated — that they would have worn this same t-shirt with pride.

Here is the reference for the paper:

(Kevin J. Peterson, Michael R. Dietrich and Mark A. McPeek, “MicroRNAs and metazoan macroevolution: insights into canalization, complexity, and the Cambrian explosion,” BioEssays, Vol. 31 (7):736 – 747 (2009).)

I linked before to a bunch of easy-to-understand videos that explain the Cambrian explosion. That post has a link to another peer-reviewed research paper written by Stephen C. Meyer, on the Cambrian explosion.

Christian parents: be sure to encourage your children to do the best they can in science, and push them to go on to graduate school to earn their Ph.Ds. We really need to have people working on these problems who are not wedded to the pre-supposition of atheism. We need to have people who are open-minded and willing to go wherever the evidence leads.

Further study

One of my favorite resources on the origin of life is this interview from the University of California with former atheist and origin of life researcher Dean Kenyon. Kenyon, a professor of Biology at San Francisco State University, wrote the textbook on “chemical evolution”, which is the view that chemicals can arrange themselves in order to create the first living cell, without intervention.

This interview from the University of California with another origin of life researcher, Charles Thaxton, is also one of my favorites.

You’ll need Quicktime to see the videos, or buy the videos from ARN. (Kenyon, Thaxton) I have both of them – they rock!