Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Dennis Prager interviews Stephen C. Meyer about intelligent design

This episode of the Dennis Prager show is actually from the day that “Darwin’s Doubt” came out. Darwin’s Doubt is the new book on the sudden origin of animal body plans in the fossil record. Dennis had previously interviewed Dr. Meyer about his first book “Signature in the Cell“, which was about the origin of life. I listen to the Dennis Prager show every day, if work permits. It’s the only radio show I listen to regularly.

The MP3 file is here. (32 minutes)

Summary:

  • What did Darwin have a doubt about? What is the Cambrian explosion?
  • The mystery of the missing precursor fossil record for the Cambrian animals
  • The mystery of the origin of all of the new body plans that appeared in the Cambrian explosion
  • The problem of building a new animal is basically the problem of adding new code
  • Mutations generally don’t improve the quality of code but intelligent agents do improve it
  • Do paleontologists acknowledge these problems? What is their solution to these problems?
  • A new book by non-ID paleontologists Douglas and Valentine admits the two problems
  • They argue that no known mechanism exists to explain the origin of these animal forms
  • What has the reaction to Darwin’s Doubt been from paleontologists?
  • Stephen J. Gould’s punctuated equilibrium theory: the fossil record shows stasis and jumps
  • But Gould’s theory did not propose a mechanism adequate to explain the stasis and jumps
  • Caller Bob: what good is partial function? Why would an organism keep half-an-eye around?
  • Meyer: exquisite organs in the Cambrian animals also come into being suddenly
  • Is the book understandable by lay people? Could Dennis Prager understand it?
  • Critiques of naturalistic attempts to explain the sudden origin of the Cambrian animal forms
  • The Cambrian explosion is an explosion of information: where did it come from?
  • Illustrating probabilities with combination locks: the product rule
  • The search for the combination to the lock is bounded by the time available
  • There is not unlimited time to generate this new biological information
  • Prager: how can science conclude that a non-material explanation is the best explanation?
  • Meyer: Darwin used the method of “inference to the best explanation” in his theory
  • the book uses the same method of investigation that Darwin used
  • the best explanation for the explosion of new information is an intelligent agent
  • we are already familiar with intelligent causes creating information – we do it all the time
  • information can be speech, writing, coding, etc., which human intelligence does all the time
  • Prager: is the method of inferring an intelligent cause for this Cambrian data “creationism”?
  • Meyer: ID is based on scientific evidence
  • Meyer: Creationism is an interpretation or deduction from religious authority
  • Meyer: ID is agnostic on the age of the Earth, Creationism requires a young Earth
  • Caller Marty: life could have been brought here on asteroids
  • Meyer: we don’t have evidence to assess whether an alien intelligence was responsible
  • Meyer: the theistic explanation is better because of the cosmology and fine-tuning arguments

It’s very important for Christians to broaden out philosophical and historical arguments with scientific evidence. Most of the people reading this post are familiar with the Big Bang cosmology and the fine-tuning arguments. But the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion are two more areas that we all need to be aware of as much as we can. It probably wouldn’t hurt to be familiar with the galactic and stellar habitability arguments made by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, too. That’s a good half-dozen scientific arguments, which is 6 more than any atheist you meet is likely to have. Why go about unarmed when the scientific data is right there waiting for you? Fill your hands.

Note: if you think that these books might be too difficult for you, then by all means pick up these three intelligent design DVDs for about $18. That will cover the origin of life, the Cambrian explosion and both habitability arguments. You can get a good look at the Big Bang and fine-tuning arguments in this lecture by Dr. William Lane Craig delivered at the University of Colorado (Boulder). If you want to see those two arguments presented in a debate, then get Dr. Craig’s debate with atheist Christopher Hitchens on DVD for $11. Everybody reading this post should own those DVDs so you can show them to other people and change minds.

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  1. […] Dennis Prager interviews Stephen C. Meyer about intelligent design | Wintery Knight […]

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