Signature in the Cell

Signature in the Cell

DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
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"Signature in the Cell is a defining work in the discussion of life's origins and the question of whether life is a product of unthinking matter or of an intelligent mind. For those who disagree with ID, the powerful case Meyer presents cannot be ignored in any honest debate. For those who may be sympathetic to ID, on the fence, or merely curious, this book is an engaging, eye-opening, and often eye-popping read" -- American Spectator

Named one of the top books of 2009 by the Times Literary Supplement (London), this controversial and compelling book from Dr. Stephen C. Meyer presents a convincing new case for intelligent design (ID), based on revolutionary discoveries in science and DNA. Along the way, Meyer argues that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as expounded in The Origin of Species did not, in fact, refute ID. If you enjoyed Francis Collins's The Language of God, you'll find much to ponder--about evolution, DNA, and intelligent design--in Signature in the Cell.

Publisher: New York :, HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2009].
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9780061472794
Branch Call Number: 113.8 Mey
Characteristics: viii, 611 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm.

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f
Fuckityfuckfuck
Jan 12, 2015

I'm not a Christian and I certainly don't believe in "creation science" which is often confused with intelligent design. I have spent my life studying science, and all of my degrees are in scientific and medical areas, but I've always been interested in spirituality. It's unfortunate that so many scientists are atheists. Perhaps they have no choice in the matter since they are generally wed to the very narrow perspectives of their scientific specialties. (Others, like Richard Dawkins, are wed to the industry of Atheism.) The Signature in the cell was the first book that I have read that explains in no uncertain terms why the genetic code would be impossible for nature to create by randomly combining primordial molecules. It is a technical book filled with technical facts and statistics that is so interesting that you forget that you are actually learning something. Although it doesn't talk about God or any form of religion or spiritual world, it is difficult to avoid the obvious conclusion that something outside of our material universe had something to do with the very first reproducing organism as well as multiple steps along the way to the evolution of the human species. (Myer himself does not draw any inferences about anything outside of the material universe. He simply draws the conclusion that an intelligent designer is the simplest, and for all practical purposes, the only explanation for the rise of life from a lifeless world.)

If you have studied quantum mechanics, you will have run into the inescapable conclusion that nothing really exists an a determinate state unless it is observed by a conscious observer. Furthermore, you probably have run into Bell's theorem which concludes that locality is something of a myth and that there is no logical connection between the reality we live in every day and quantum reality upon which our material world is based. The theory of quantum mechanics frankly states that consciousness is (and probably was) a primordial property of the universe.

The theory of intelligent design is based upon SCIENCE, and not on theology. It stands upon infinitely firmer ground than the Multiverse which is modern cosmology's latest mathematical/theological attempt to explain the anthropomorphic nature of our world of matter. Read this book if you really want to begin the journey to a rational understanding of how Spirit might actually have a place to live after all!

I've read the one star reviews. It is obvious that none of these reviewers has actually read the book. His comments seemed to have nothing to do with the book's actual content.

b
bradig
Apr 03, 2014

First off, hats-off to everyone who managed to get through these 500 pages (minus appendices, etc.) in the meager three-week loan period. You're more disciplined than I am! I only managed it after some fortuitous flight delays.

Getting through this felt like engaging in a snowball fight with Meyer. He spent forever compiling arguments (packing snowballs), and I found myself begging him to start THROWING some, already! As in: Hurry up and state your conclusions, man!

Once he started, I grew increasingly intrigued; I found myself truly swayed. THIS IS MORE THAN A "GOD IS THE ANSWER" BOOK. By the end, seeing the struggles he's faced, I found myself on HIS side of this fight, throwing snowballs in the same direction.

The writing is good, and it's worth sticking with him through the dry spells. I was certainly skeptical heading in, but the twists and turns of the final chapters validated all the painful technical overload up front.

Not for everyone, but if you have the stamina for a 500-page debate, it's for you.

c
cstadt
Jan 22, 2014

DNA is the carrier of vast amounts of complex specified information. Where did this information come from? To answer this question Meyer utilized the same method of scientific reasoning that Darwin used in The Origin of Species, and that is one of multiple competing hypotheses. You compare different possible causal explanations to try to explain a given effect or event in the remote past. You evaluate them to see which cause best explains the evidence and then you infer that cause which provides the best explanation. What constitutes the best explanation? According to Darwin it was the one that referred to a cause which is known from our uniform and repeated experience to produce the effect in question. And according to Darwin's scientific mentor, Charles Lyell, the famous geologist, we should be looking for causes now in operation. Now, an obvious cause of information-rich sequences is intelligence. That is not controversial. Computer programs are designed by programmers, and the similarity between DNA and computer software is uncanny, so certainly here we have a strong appearance of design. We know that intelligence has the causal power to produce information. But perhaps unguided material processes are actually a better explanation for the origin of information in living things. To answer this question Meyer devotes a lengthy part of the book to review the history of chemical evolution, the attempts to explain how life came from non-life, using only unguided material processes. These fall into the categories of chance, necessity, or some combination of the two. After his lengthy survey he concludes that none are satisfactory, and that even Richard Dawkins, "not known for rhetorical restraint in support of evolutionary orthodoxy, candidly admitted in 2008 that 'no one knows' how life arose in the first place" (p.333). Thus Meyer concludes that, using Darwin's own method, if you look at all the competing classes of causal explanations that have been proposed to explain the origin of information, that intelligent design is the best explanation. Neither chance, law-like necessity, nor the combination of the two have demonstrated the power to produce information. But intelligent agents have repeatedly done so. Now, this principle is conceded by scientists in other fields such as those in the SETI project, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. If they were to find information embedded in a radio signal coming from outer space, they would assume it was coming from an intelligence. In any other realm of experience (eg. archeology, forensics, cryptography) when we find the hallmarks of information we readily infer design.

d
dedwards
Dec 22, 2012

Same ol' Same ol'. Nothing new in this rehashing of the old argument "if it is complex or mathematically really improbable then it must be God (or intelligently designed as Meyer puts it.

n
naturalist
Dec 06, 2012

“Intelligent Design” (ID) is to evolutionary biology as alchemy is to chemistry
or,
"Intelligent Falling vs. Theory of Gravity"
For the crushing defeat of the creationist wedge strategy, watch
“Judgment Day : Intelligent Design on Trial” 2008
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. (400 F. Supp. 2d 707, Docket no. 4cv2688) ..... According to Wikipedia, Dembski is a theologian and philosopher -- not a scientist -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Dembski
“Intelligent design advocates ... have no research and no evidence, and have repeatedly shown themselves unwilling to formulate testable hypotheses; yet they complain about an imagined exclusion, even after having flunked the basics.” ... Challenging Science, Expelled Exposed, National Center for Science Education http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_C._Meyer#cite_note-33
and,
the author earns spot #276 in the Encyclopedia of American Loons
http://americanloons.blogspot.ca/2012/01/276-stephen-meyer.html
and, see the
“Wedge Strategy” article at RationalWiki
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Wedge_Strategy
and, from Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy
and,
“15 Years Ago, the Intelligent Design Movement’s ‘Wedge Document’ Was Exposed”
by Hemant Mehta, posted February 8, 2014, at patheos, Friendly Atheist blog
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/02/08/15-years-ago-the-intelligent-design-movements-wedge-document-was-exposed/

j
jbolta
Feb 19, 2012

Compelling and thorough.

Perhaps Neo-Darwinism's primordial soup now has a best before date.

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