The Letter Nature Wouldn’t Print

Posted by Chris Parker
May 24 2005

By: Staff & Stephen C. Meyer
Discovery Institute
May 23, 2005

Nature magazine has refused to print a letter from Dr. Stephen Meyer, Director of Discovery’s Center for Science & Culture, after his interview for an article the magazine printed about the growing number of university students taking interest in researching the theory of intelligent design. For more on the article and the responses click here to see our (Discovery Institute’s) blog post on Evolution News & Views.

May 6, 2005

Geoff Brumfiel’s article on the theory of intelligent design (ID) [Nature, “Who has designs on your students’ minds,” April 28th, 2005] repeatedly mischaracterizes the contemporary design hypothesis as an argument from ignorance, as if the ID argument were based solely on the fact that “some biological systems are too complex. . .to be explained by natural selection alone.”,1 Yet, as I explained in our interview, design theorists argue for intelligent design not only because natural selection and other materialistic mechanisms seem incapable of explaining, for example, the origin of digital information and complex machines in cells, but also because we know from experience that systems possessing such features do invariably arise from intelligent causes. 2, 3 As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler observed, “information habitually arises from conscious activity.” 4 Thus, what we know about the present cause and effect structure of the world suggests intelligent design as an obvious explanation for the information necessary to build living systems.

Similarly, whenever we encounter irreducibly complex systems and we know how such systems arose, invariably intelligence played a role. For this reason, the presence of irreducibly complex systems in cells also constitutes a powerful positive indicator of intelligent design.

Contrary to Brumfiels’ report, the inference to design in biology is not based upon ignorance or religion, but instead upon standard uniformitarian methods of reasoning and biological evidence. Cells contain miniature machines, complex circuits and sophisticated information processing systems‹exquisite nanotechnology that in any other realm of experience would immediately, and properly, trigger recognition of prior intelligent activity.

Yours sincerely,
Stephen C. Meyer, Ph.D.
Director and Senior Fellow
Center for Science & Culture
Discovery Institute

Stephen C. Meyer, Ph.D. (History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University), Associate Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth College, Senior Research Fellow at the Discovery Institute (Seattle), Director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.
Formerly a geo-physicist with the Atlantic Richfield Company, Professor Meyer completed a Ph.D. dissertation on origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences. He has contributed to several scholarly books and anthologies, including The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia, Darwinism: Science or Philosophy, Of Pandas and People: The Central Question in Biological Origins, The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer, Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design, and Facets of Faith and Science: Interpreting God’s Action in the World.
In addition to his technical articles on design, Prof. Meyer has written many editorial features in newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, and the Chicago Tribune. He has also appeared on national TV and radio programs such as Technopolitics, CNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, and National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation.

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