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Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design
Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design
Stephen C. Meyer
HarperOne, 2010
624 pp., $19.99

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Robert Bishop and Robert O’Connor


Doubting the Signature

Stephen Meyer’s case for intelligent design.

All Christians affirm design because the entire universe is the creative work of God. However, believers differ over how to discern design, as well as the appropriate characterization of that design, whether primarily engineering or artistic. Intelligent design (ID) advocates adopt an engineering picture of design, a perspective playing a crucial role in their argument that design is empirically detectable in specific biological phenomena.

In his recent books, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (SC), and Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (DD), Stephen C. Meyer, director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute of Seattle, articulates the case for design in its mature form. Although SC focuses on the origin of life and DD on the Cambrian explosion, Meyer's argument for ID takes the same form in both books and largely focuses on the intricacies of cells and DNA. Therefore, our attention largely will be on SC.[1] Of course the origin of life is an area of scientific research that presents a tremendous challenge to science. Meyer's response is to offer intelligent design as providing the best explanation for the extraordinary complexity and functionality embedded in DNA.

Meyer presents what he describes as "a rigorous case for intelligent design as an inference to the best explanation." He insists that an appeal to intelligent agency provides a better explanation for the exceedingly complex, albeit functionally specific structure of DNA and the nucleus of the cell. He has long championed this more modest, somewhat chastened line of reasoning, favoring ID for its explanatory excellence. Meyer compellingly articulates the probabilistic case for intelligent design: although material processes could explain these biological phenomena, and we may yet come up with just such an account, at present, the better account is provided by appeal to ...

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