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In American Spectator, Bethell Interviews Stephen Meyer

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Our friend Tom Bethell has a nice piece in the Spectator where he reports on Steve Meyer's recent talk at the University Club in Washington, DC, and chats with Meyer about the intellectual and scholarly ferment that's bubbling to the surface in biology, centered on doubts about Darwinism. It's not only intelligent-design advocates who are in on the action but others with no ties to ID, or evident sympathies for it, who are breaking free of evolutionary orthodoxy.

As Meyer (Signature in the Cell) points out, they are in a scientific tradition extending back to Newton and Boyle:

"Leading U.S. biologists, including evolutionary biologists, are saying we need a new theory of evolution," Meyer said. Many increasingly criticize Darwinism, even if they don't accept design. One is the cell biologist James Shapiro of the University of Chicago. His new book is Evolution: A View From the 21st Century. He's "looking for a new evolutionary theory." David Depew (Iowa) and Bruce Weber (Cal State) recently wrote in Biological Theory that Darwinism "can no longer serve as a general framework for evolutionary theory." Such criticisms have mounted in the technical literature.

At the same time, most draw the line at accepting intelligent design. They insist it is "not science," maybe a "science stopper." Science, they believe, can operate only by invoking material causes. But as Meyer has written, scientists earlier felt no such constraint. Newton argued that the arrangements of the planets and the stability of their orbits could only have arisen as the result of "an intelligent and powerful Being." Robert Boyle, the 17th century chemist, invoked the activity of a "most intelligent and designing agent."