Theories of evolution, Darwinian and otherwise, fail to explain the development of animal life, and intelligent design explains it better, argues former geophysicist Stephen C. Meyer in his recently released New York Times best-selling book, Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design
"The best scientific evidence undermines Darwinism, and the more current form of Darwinism known as neo-darwinism," Meyer, a former oil industry geophysicist who holds a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge and directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash., said in a Tuesday interview with The Christian Post.
"The burden of proof that I proudly bear in the book is to show that the best scientific evidence now challenges the theory" of evolution, the author explained.
"You don't see the evidence of the long progression in the fossil record, which is the best historical evidence we have of what actually happened," he said. Instead, the fossil record shows a sudden burst of more complicated life in what scientists call the "Cambrian Explosion." The first part of the book focuses on this "mystery of the missing fossils."
Another gaping hole deepens the problem, Meyer added. He discussed "the engineering problem of how natural selection acting on random genetic variations and mutations could produce animals of this complexity in the time available." He cited new discoveries in genetics and developmental biology which show how the oft-touted system of natural selection "lacks the creative power long attributed to it."
With Darwin's theory allegedly fully sunk, the author turns to more recent theories of evolution, also finding them wanting as "they too lack the creative power, especially to generate the new biological information necessary to build these animals."
Finally, his book turns to intelligent design. "Whether you're looking at a hieroglyphic inscription, or a section of computer code, or drafting a book, or even information embedded in a radio signal, you always come to a mind, not a unguided material process," he argued. The complex information in DNA, and the explosion of this information in "the Cambrian event," prove to be "decisive indicators of intelligent design."
When challenged that intelligent design is somehow unscientific, Meyer pointed to the same argument Darwin himself used to defend his theory. The vera causa principle leads one to seek a cause "known to be sufficient to produce what you're trying to explain."
Intelligent design, like evolution, can be tested in multiple ways, the author said. Since "neither Darwin nor advocates of intelligent design can make trilobites reemerge in a laboratory," a scientist must follow the hypothesis with more explanatory power.
Theories also make predictions as to what scientists should find in future discoveries. Meyer said he laid out ten such predictions that intelligent design makes, as opposed to those Darwinism would suggest.
One prediction of Darwinism, the "junk DNA," he claims has already proven false. Proponents of evolution argued segments of DNA which do not code a specific protein are "leftovers of trial and error." Intelligent design theorists, on the other hand, expected most DNA to have a function. "The Encode project that was published last Fall," Meyer explained, "shows that the junk DNA isn't junk at all."
Both of the theories prove a bit more than scientific, the author added. Both Darwinism and intelligent design "are based on scientific evidence, they use the same type of method to cover their conclusions, and they both have larger metaphysical implications."
"To the Christian I would say that there's nothing to fear from the evidence of the natural world," Meyer said. He paraphrased Romans 1:20, "if we look at the natural world, we ought to see evidence of God's creative power and his wisdom."
The author also referred to a "wonderful metaphor" from the Late Middle Ages and the Reformation – the idea of the "two books," nature and scripture. "God had revealed himself through the book of scripture, what we call special revelation, but he had also revealed himself in nature."
"Sometimes we can get tripped up – we misinterpret scripture, we misinterpret the natural world," Meyer conceded. Nevertheless, he argued that, overall, "there can be no contradiction."
He noted that his book has received a great deal of criticism, but added that "the substance of the argument has not been addressed by these critics." Instead, he has found "sociologically interesting name calling, ad hominem attacks…a resort to potty talk." In response, the Discovery Institute ran a series of articles called "Debating Darwin's Doubt."