Recently, I’ve been reading Dr. Stephen C. Meyer’s excellent book, Darwin’s Doubt (Harper One, 2013). Towards the end of the book, I came across a paragraph that struck me as the best case I’ve ever seen for Intelligent Design, in 200 words or less.
“This book has presented four separate scientific critiques demonstrating the inadequacy of the neo-Darwinian mechanism, the mechanism that Dawkins assumes can produce the appearance of design without intelligent guidance. It has shown that the neo-Darwinian mechanism fails to account for the origin of genetic information because: (1) it has no means of efficiently searching combinatorial sequence space for functional genes and proteins and, consequently, (2) it requires unrealistically long waiting times to generate even a single new gene or protein. It has also shown that the mechanism cannot produce new body plans because: (3) early acting mutations, the only kind capable of generating large-scale changes, are also invariably deleterious, and (4) genetic mutations cannot, in any case, generate the epigenetic information necessary to build a body plan.” (pp. 410-411)
For the benefit of readers who may be unfamiliar with the concept of epigenetic information, Dr. Meyer provides a helpful, concise explanation in an earlier chapter:
“In addition to the information stored in individual genes and the information present in the integrated networks of genes and proteins in dGRNs [developmental gene regulatory networks – VJT], animal forms exemplify hierarchical arrangements or layers of information-rich molecules, systems, and structures. For example, developing embryos require epigenetic information in the form of specifically arranged (a) membrane targets and patterns, (b) cytoskeletal arrays, (c) ion channels, and (d) sugar molecules on the exterior of cells (the sugar code)… Much of this information resides in the structure of the maternal egg and is inherited directly from membrane to membrane independently of DNA…
“…This information at a higher structural level in the maternal egg helps to determine the function of both whole networks of genes and proteins (dGRNs) and individual molecules (gene products) at a lower level within a developing animal.” (pp. 364-365)
Finally, in his earlier book, Signature in the Cell, Dr. Meyer provides an in-depth treatment of the difficulties attending the modern scientific view that life arose via an unguided process. Here, the cardinal difficulty, in Meyer’s own words, is that “explaining the origin of life requires – first and foremost – explaining the origin of the information or digital code present in DNA and RNA.” Contemporary naturalistic theories, which rule out Intelligent Design, all “fail to account for the origin of the genetic information necessary to produce the first selfreplicating organism.” Once again, Dr. Meyer’s summary of his case is admirably succinct.
So, here are two questions for my readers.
First, a challenge: can anyone locate an even more succinct (but no less comprehensive) statement of the case for Intelligent Design in the literature?
And for skeptics of Intelligent Design: how would you attempt to rebut Dr. Meyer’s case, in 200 words or less?