Stephen Meyer, young-earth creationist and Discovery Institute macher, has published a pro-intelligent-design piece, “Jefferson’s Support for Intelligent Design,” in today’s Boston Globe. It’s largely an argument from authority, noting that Jefferson imputed the structure of the Universe to design:
“It is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion.’’
(I’d love to see that quote in context.) The authority argument is combined with the same tired old assertions about how natural selection could never have produced the “digital information” represented by the DNA code:
This discovery has made acute a longstanding scientific mystery that Darwin never addressed or solved: the mystery of how the very first life on earth arose. To date no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information in DNA needed to build the first living cell on earth. Yet modern scientists who argue for intelligent design do not do so merely because natural processes have failed to explain the origin of the information in cells. Instead, they argue for design because systems possessing these features invariably arise from intelligent causes.
DNA functions like a software program. We know 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 a strong scientific reason for concluding that the information in DNA also had an intelligent source.
Design is an inference from biological data, not a deduction from religious authority. Jefferson said just that, and based his political thinking on it. The evidence for what he presciently called “Nature’s God’’ is stronger than ever.
Is a 6,000-year-old Earth also an “inference from geological data”?
This God-of-the-gaps argument for DNA has been addressed by evolutionists many, many times. See, for example, Dawkins’s most recent books or Ken Miller’s Only a Theory.
It’s amazing, really, that a paper with the gravitas of the Globe would publish such a piece of tripe. First of all, the argument is wrong. Second, it’s not new. Surely someone at the Globe must recognize that the appearance of design does not demonstrate the occurrence of design. Then again, maybe not.
Note: I stand corrected–Stephen Meyer is not a young earth creationist. I was thinking of his Discovery Institute colleague Paul Nelson, whom I debated a while back. My apologies to Mr. Meyer for attributing to him a lunatic idea of his colleague.