Science & Faith
9/15/15 at 07:53 PM 4 Comments

Darwin’s Doubt and Intelligent Design: New Resources

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In 2013 Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design became a national bestseller, provoking a debate that has engaged reputable opponents. Now a sequel book is available: Debating Darwin’s Doubt: A Scientific Controversy that Can No Longer Be Denied:

Leading scholars in the intelligent design community respond to critiques of Meyer’s book and show that the core challenge posed by Meyer remains unanswered: Where did the influx of information essential to the creation of new body plans come from? In addition to ten chapters by Stephen Meyer, Debating Darwin’s Doubt also includes contributions from biologists Richard Sternberg, Douglas Axe, and Ann Gauger; philosopher of biology Paul Nelson; mathematicians William Dembski and David Berlinski; and Center for Science and Culture research coordinator Casey Luskin. In forty-four chapters, these contributing authors explore topics such as orphan genes, cladistics, small shelly fossils, protein evolution, the length of the Cambrian explosion, the God-of-the-Gaps objection to intelligent design, and criticisms raised by proponents of theistic evolution. Anyone who wants to understand the cutting-edge of current scientific debates over modern Darwinian theory needs to read this book.

In an interdisciplinary course I teach for M.A. students, I use Darwin's Doubt as one of the required books. In class we have opportunity to responded to the book's critics in ways that are well represented in the sequel book above and in the podcasts below.

Here are some podcast about Debating Darwin’s Doubt:

  • On this episode of ID the Future Casey Luskin unpacks the book’s responses to critic Nick Matzke, exploring the classification of organisms, cladistics and the origin of arthropods.
  • On this episode of ID the Future Casey Luskin responds to a common criticism of the book Darwin’s Doubt related to its stated length of the Cambrian explosion, and also looks at small shelly fossils and what they can lend to our understanding of the Cambrian explosion.
  • On this episode of ID the Future Casey Luskin unpacks the book’s responses to biologist Donald Prothero, contrasting Prothero’s arguments on the length of the Cambrian explosion and rates of evolution with points Erwin and Valentine (who do not support ID) presented in their well-respected book, The Cambrian Explosion.
  • On this episode of ID the Future Casey Luskin outlines the book’s responses to BioLogos, exploring several key disagreements between ID proponents and theistic evolutionists over detection of design in nature and methodological naturalism.
  •  On this episode of ID the Future Casey Luskin reviews the book’s responses to Charles Marshall’s review in the journal Science, exploring developmental gene regulatory networks and the origin of new biological information.

Meyer's original book Darwin's Doubt and its "debate" sequel contain a negative argument against the unguided material origin of the major kinds of life as well as a positive argument for intelligent design. A visually stunning way to engage both the negative and positive arguments is now available:

Illustra Media's new documentary, Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth.

  • In this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin interviews Dr. Richard Sternberg, evolutionary biologist and CSC Senior Fellow, whose discussion of whale origins is featured in Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth. Sternberg critiques whale evolution, noting that the timespan is too short for the bodyplan modifications needed to transition from a land mammal to a whale.
  • On this second episode Casey Luskin continues his conversation with Dr. Richard Sternberg about whale origins.

Sternberg critiques conventional accounts of whale evolution, noting that both natural selection and neutral drift cannot explain the transition between a land mammal and a fully aquatic whale. Standard evolutionary models would either require very large breeding population sizes (greater than that of any species of mammals) or a waiting period four or more times longer than the given 8-9 million years.

Paul Nelson Will Host Atlanta Premiere of Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth

On October 5 ... is the Greater Atlanta premiere of the new documentary Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of Earth! The screening will be followed by discussion with one of the film's featured scientists, Discovery Institute philosopher of biology Paul Nelson. This is a special chance to explore fascinating evidences for design with an expert.

Earlier Illustra Media produced Darwin's Dilemma, which explores the mystery of the Cambrian explosion: the geologically sudden appearance of dozens of major complex animals without any trace of gradual transitional steps (in contrast to what Darwin predicted). Where did the information come from to build all these life forms? This is a good introduction or companion to Meyer's book Darwin's Doubt.

Stay current on the debate over Darwinism and intelligent design at ENV.

Curious about how a Christian might integrate biblical and scientific information about earth's history (e.g., a Cambrian explosion 530-520 million years ago)? See my essay book review: “Collins and Dembski offer their views of theodicy and God’s creative plan,” Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith, 62 (September 2010): 111-114.

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