Signature in the Cell, "A Landmark Assault on Scientific Naturalism"
Want to know more about the Amazon.com bestselling book that made the Times Literary Supplement's Top Books of 2009? Robert Deyes has a review of Stephen Meyer's Signature in the Cell below:
New Intelligent Design Book A Landmark Assault On Scientific Naturalism
In his recent book Signature In The Cell, Meyer presents a fresh outlook on one of the most compelling facets of the Intelligent Design case -- that of biological information in DNA. Meyer provides a lucid and personal account of his own experiences as a scientist and philosopher revealing to the reader the watershed events that led to his move towards the intelligent design alternative.
Meyer's historical overview of the key events that shaped origin-of-life biology is extremely readable and well illustrated. Both the style and the content of his discourse keep the reader focused on the ID thread of reasoning that he gradually develops throughout his book.
Meyer does a marvelous job in conveying the personal tensions that so characterized the DNA story. His extensive coverage of 'turning point' historical moments reveals an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. Like few other scientific discoveries, that of the structure of DNA brought fundamental changes to our understanding of the chemistry of life since life itself could no longer be considered to be a mere product of matter and energy. As Meyer elaborates, information in the form of a DNA code had emerged as the critical player in defining the hereditary makeup of nature.
Meyer fleshes out a cohesive argument for intelligent design garnering support from an extensive body of molecular evidence and expert commentaries. His review of the `chicken and egg' paradox, as relates to the integral interdependencies of molecular systems such as transcription and translation, highlights once more why it is that evolutionary `pie in the sky' assumptions are powerless to explain the origins of critical life processes. Meyer then goes on to boldly entertain the idea that intelligent design presents us with the only causally adequate explanation for the origin of biological information and spends much of the remainder of his book tying together substantial evidence in support of his position.
Following in the footsteps of fellow ID advocate William Dembski, Meyer has done us all a great service by showing how the chance assembly of a 150 amino-acid protein pales in front of the available probabilistic resources of our universe. In other words, we are stopped dead in our tracks by a probabilistic impasse of the highest order before we have even begun assessing the geological plausibility of competing origin of life scenarios.
The scientific method commits us to finding the best explanation for the phenomena we observe. Drawing from the opinions of NIH biologist Peter Mora, Meyer shows us how the chance hypothesis -- that purports to explain how life arose without recourse to design or necessity -- has been found wanting particularly in light of the ever-growing picture of the complexity of the cell. A debate-clincher in Meyer's expose comes from his comprehensive summarization of the bellyaches associated with chemist Stanley Miller's controversial spark discharge apparatus.
In Signature In The Cell Meyer builds on Dembski's cornerstone case and uses a seemingly non-ending supply of illustrations to firm up his own supportive arguments. One can only imagine how Darwin might have felt coming back to find intelligent design legitimized through his own Vera Causa criterion. My hunch is that he would have applauded the current state of debate.
Robert Deyes has been reviewing the book chapter-by-chapter, publishing a review of Meyer's rebuttal of the chance hypothesis on Friday. Visit The ID Update for more.