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January 2010 Archives

January 11, 2010

Intelligent Design, Front-Loading, and Theistic Evolution

Over at Evolution News & Views, Dr. Jay Richards is weighing in with his thoughts on Signature In The Cell, in response to the beginning of a series of thoughtful reviews and discussion of the book over on Scott McKnight's Jesus Creed blog at Beliefnet.

Richards responds in part:

I'm familiar with McGrath and Conway Morris's views, and think they have some merit; but I don't think they offer an alternative that Meyer fails to address. Smoothing for inconsistencies in their proposals, their idea is basically that God hard-wired or "front-loaded" everything "in the beginning" as it were to give rise to complex life somewhere, while allowing for a lot of "freedom" and variation within the cosmos. (So they're not hard determinists.)

January 15, 2010

Stephen Meyer Responds to Fletcher in Times Literary Supplement

Signature in the Cell continues to stir up debate and attract attention as Thomas Nagel's selection of SITC as one of the Books of the Year brought on an interesting series of letters, where Nagel was attacked (he responded, and he was attacked again) by a Darwinist who told people forgo reading SITC and instead just read Wikipedia.

This week, author Stephen Meyer himself responds in a letter, with a shortened version published yesterday. (Nagel himself responded with a letter that is published on the same page by TLS.) Below is Meyer'e letter in its entirety.

To the Editor

The Times Literary Supplement

Natural Selection and the Origin of Biological Information

I've been honored by the recent attention my book Signature in the Cell has received in your letters section following Thomas Nagel's selection of it as one of your books of the year for 2009.

Unfortunately, the letters from Stephen Fletcher criticizing Professor Nagel for his choice give no evidence of Dr. Fletcher having read the book or any evidence of his comprehending the severity of the central problem facing chemical evolutionary theories of life's origin.

In Signature in the Cell, I show that, in the era of modern molecular genetics, explaining the origin of the first life requires--first and foremost--explaining the origin of the information or digital code present in DNA and RNA. I also show that various theories of undirected chemical evolution--including theories of pre-biological natural selection--fail to explain the origin of the information necessary to produce the first self-replicating organism.

Yet, in his letters to the TLS (2 and 16 December), Stephen Fletcher rebukes Nagel (and by implication my book) for failing to acknowledge that "natural selection is a chemical as well as a biological process." Fletcher further asserts that this process accounts for the origin of DNA and (presumably) the genetic information it contains.

Not only does my book address this very proposal at length, but it also demonstrates why theories of pre-biotic natural selection involving self-replicating RNA catalysts--the version of the idea that Fletcher affirms--fail to account for the origin of genetic information.

Indeed, either Dr. Fletcher is bluffing or he is himself ignorant of the many problems that this proposal faces.

Continue reading "Stephen Meyer Responds to Fletcher in Times Literary Supplement" »

January 20, 2010

Listen in as Stephen Meyer Debates Peter Atkins on the U.K.'s Premier Radio

Premier Radio UK aired a debate recorded earlier this week between Signature in the Cell author Stephen Meyer and noted Oxford University chemist and "new atheist" Peter Atkins. The debate is part of the kick off of promotion for Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which arrives in the UK on DVD this month.

Both Atkins and Meyer are accomplished scholars with very different viewpoints. The at times testy back and forth between them is as entertaining as it is enlightening.

Click here to listen to the debate, which is about an hour long.

About January 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Stephen C. Meyer's News page in January 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2009 is the previous archive.

March 2010 is the next archive.

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