Leading Advocate of Intelligent Design Challenges Criticism of Science Exam in Britain
Update: An earlier version of this release mistakenly attributed a quote from lecturer James Williams to the Daily Telegraph to Archbishop Rowan Williams, also cited in the article as critical of intelligent design.
SEATTLE--Earlier this week, The Daily Telegraph reported attacks on the inclusion of intelligent design in a British science exam, provoking a sharp response from the intelligent design research community, led by Stephen C. Meyer, a Cambridge University-trained philosopher of science whose just-released book Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne) is already drawing praise from leading U.K. scientists.
Lecturer James Williams of Sussex University complained to The Telegraph, "This gives an unwarranted high profile to creationism and intelligent design as ideas of equal status with tested scientific theories."
"Mr. Williams apparently knows very little about the scientific case for intelligent design," said Dr. Meyer, who also directs the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in the United States. "The exam board should be commended, not attacked, for exposing students to competing ideas about the origin and development of life."
Williams made his remarks in the context of a controversy in Britain around a science test given last month to thousands of teenagers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. One question asked students to compare Darwinian evolutionary theories with Lamarckian evolutionary theory, the theory of intelligent design and Biblical creationism.
"Unlike creationism, intelligent design is an inference from scientific evidence, not a deduction from religious authority," countered Meyer. "Intelligent design proposes that certain features of the universe and life are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection."
Meyer argues in his new book that compelling scientific evidence for intelligent design exists in the digital code stored in the DNA molecule.
"DNA functions like a software program," he explains. "We know from experience that software comes from programmers. Information--whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book or encoded in a radio signal--always arises from an intelligent source. So the discovery of digital code in DNA provides evidence that the information in DNA also had an intelligent source."
Scientists who have endorsed Meyer's book include one of the U.K's top geneticists, Dr. Norman C. Nevin, O.B.E., Emeritus Professor in Medical Genetics, Queen's University, Belfast, who has praised Signature in the Cell as "a landmark in the intelligent design debate."