Signature in the Cell

Welcome to the ASA book discussion of Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer, published in the summer of 2009. This is a major work by Meyer, covering his extensive journey to solve what he calls the “DNA enigma” by which he means the origin of the DNA information that is ubiquitous in life. It is a comprehensive manifesto of his view of the scientific argument for intelligent design based on information that resides in all living cells.
The intent of this blog is not to review the book. An essay book review will be published in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. Rather, it is intended to be a source of thoughtful dialog and analysis of the various issues raised in the book. Meyer lays out a well-organized set of ideas that address why he believes the design argument is the best inference to explain the origin of life, why his critics are not correct, why ID is science, and other related topics. In Appendix A, he articulates a dozen predictions that he believes intelligent design, as a scientific endeavor, provides. Over the ensuing months, this blog intends to consider these and other topics in the book in a thoughtful way to present them for discussion.
These posts do not reflect an ASA position but my own thoughts and questions, designed to stimulate discussion and deeper understanding of these key topics. I have encouraged Steve Meyer to personally comment and respond as often as he can.

6 comments to Signature in the Cell

  • James Patterson

    I have read the book, and was impressed by the information. I do think the author could have written the book more succinctly, it’s a bit wordy. But that is by no means critiquing the content. This book, along with several others, including Behe’s “Edge of Evolution” present some serious challenges to the TE model.

    Another big one is a recent volume of ANYAS – v1178, 2009. The lead article is by James Shapiro…titled “Revisiting the Central Dogma in the 21st Century”. I am going to start a new post about that one…it’s really good.

  • Allan Harvey

    I look forward to the essay review in PSCF.

    In the meantime, there is a thoughtful review (leaning negative but gracious in tone) at the BioLogos site from Christian biology Prof. Darrel Falk:

  • Mervin Bitikofer

    Just finished reading this & would love to carry on discussion.  Am I a day late & dollar short?  I notice these posts are months old.
    I did post my own review of the book on my own web site in case anyone wants to read of some of my impressions.
    I thought it was at the Biologos site that I read one reaction in which Meyer’s assertion that no new (or greater quantity) of specified information has ever been created in an [isolated] system.  Yet the reviewer I read insisted that this information conservation ‘principle’ is broken every time our cells develop new antibodies to some newly evolved germ.  Now I can’t find reference to the question, but I was curious if that is a serious challenge to Meyer and how it might be answered.

  • Randy Isaac

    Yes, Merv, that’s precisely my point in these posts. Maybe it’s clearer in some of the comments. There simply is no “conservation principle” for information. As I stated in one of my comments, one can even show that a system has a tendency to increase information. It is only one of the fatal errors of Meyer’s argument. Go ahead and take your time to read all the posts and the comments. Time won’t expire on these so go ahead and ask your questions

  • Mervin Bitikofer

    Thanks, Randy.  I guess I’m still learning how to navigate this forum and only saw these few early posts.  Your link took me to the mother-load.  Yikes!  The fire-hose is back.  It will take me more than I can do tonight to catch up on all of that; but I do see right away that the antibody question is one featured topic.
    Right now my attention is also pulled towards another book of Dembski’s I just finished, and I may try to start a separate topic thread about that.  (Unless one is already started and I just haven’t clicked to the right place to see it.)

  • David Wallace

    Randy wrote:

    “As I stated in one of my comments, one can even show that a system has a tendency to increase information.”

    Of course. A running system tends to increase entropy and thus Shannon information increases as they are proportional.

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