You know, Meyer, as in Signature in the Cell (though you can alsoread his paper in The Nature of Nature ).
Christian Darwinism is called Christians in Science over there, but the schtick is the same, like this from “Simon”, who cutes himself out as a four-year-old boy with an eye patch:
Meyer’s lecture was truly awful. I was sat next to a pro vice chancellor of a Russell group university (I’m not supposed to divulge who else was at the event) who left pretty much as soon as the lecture was over saying he didn’t have time for this drivel. To be fair I was expecting something much better from so senior an ID person and was disappointed. He started with a brief overview of natural selection followed by a more detailed (but stumbly) description of the cellular transcription/translation machinery. He then showed all the usual calculations of why a functional protein sequence can’t have evolved by chance, followed by a really confused attempt to explain how the information content cannot have evolved by necessity (ie physical laws). This was the worst bit of his lecture by a long way – something about bonds between base-pairs in DNA not being able to self assemble. He really did not spend enough time explaining his reasoning on this point and sort of jumped quickly to his conclusion (he was running late at this point) by saying since the cellular machinery was so complex, it must have been intelligent design.
Fair enough. Whether design is the best explanation for a given mechanism or not, origins biology is never going to be a lab coat’s Yay-hoo for Jay-hoo.
The impression one comes away with is: The vast mediocrity of the British “Science Faith community.” One senses it’ll be a long time before these people break any new ground anywhere, except awards for stuff like “I turned to the Big Noise Around Here, and he said he couldn’t see anything in it either, which strengthens my ignorance.”
Meanwhile, a contact helpfully offers some thoughts, hoping to make it easier to understand the nature of the problem the ID theorists address:
“As the arrangement [information] of a printed page is extraneous [irreducible] to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence [information] in a DNA molecule extraneous [irreducible] to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. ” -Michael Polanyi
“Informational macromolecules [DNA, RNA] can code genetic messages and therefore can carry information[precisely] because the sequence of bases or residues is affected very little, if at all, by [self-organizing] physico-chemical factors.”–Hubert Yockey
Nice try that, but major theorists’ issues sail right through the God Gap in the average Christian Darwinist’s head, landing in a pile of sandals somewhere.
UD author David Tyler responds to the extent possible, for example here:
GrumpyBob wrote: “I genuinely think that a current lack of understanding of life’s origins doesn’t mean we will not uncover more likely mechanisms in the future. I certainly don’t think one should respond to a difficult scientific problem by throwing one’s hands up in the air, giving up and proclaiming that a Designer did it.”
This seriously underplays the state of research. You should read Koonin closely on this. The reason he has developed the argument he has is not because of ignorance, but he is responding to the force of evidence. He is also pursuing an “inference to the best explanation” approach although sees the evidence differently to Meyer. Regarding throwing up one’s hands in the air and resorting to a “God did it” proclamation – see my previous comment.
By the way, Koonin is so flummoxed by the origins problem that he is willing to accept multiple universes as a solution. But then Koonin is too honest a thinker to argue, Darwin’s God dunnit somehow!
Update: One local notable didn’t attend, for reasons he is happy to share.