Does Empirical Science Explain the Origin of Life?

Photo by Amanda Leutenberg

Photo by Amanda Leutenberg

We have made remarkable strides in our scientific knowledge over the centuries. We have dispelled many myths and clarified how the natural world works. We have gained an amazing grasp on the material reality of the world, as vast and intricate as it is.

We have so much knowledge about how the natural world works, in contrast to the speculations of the past, that we are tempted to jump to some conclusions that are still beyond our reach.

We can see all the way back to the beginning of space time. We know with detail the constants of the laws of physics that have operated from that very beginning. We now know the physics behind many of the phenomenon that people once attributed to gods or God. Many bright people conclude, therefore, with self-righteous confidence that the natural world is all that is.

Is that really all there is? Continue reading

The Irreducible Complexity of the Universe

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I recently read the book, Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen C. Meyer, a Cambridge University Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science. The book uses Darwin’s acknowledgment that the Cambrian Explosion was a significant problem to his evolutionary theory of the origin of life as a springboard to explore in detail that problem which Meyer aptly names “Darwin’s doubt”.

I have summarized the first ten chapters of the book on a different Blog, Perspective, starting with a summary of the first four chapters of the book. If you want to read a summary description of the detail that Meyer explores without buying the book, though I strongly suggest buying the book if your are interested.

In this blog, I want to provide an overarching description of the basis for Intelligent Design, which is ultimately the theory that Meyer espouses. For Meyer, the key basis for Intelligent Design is 1) the argument from biological or genetic information and 2) the argument from physics or cosmology. Both arguments can be summed up in the statement that we live in a universe of irreducible complexity that could not have happened by chance or unguided “natural law”.

Meyer focuses on the biological argument, observing that, to build the complex biological machines that we see, there is a need for prior information, and any discussion of that complexity begs the question: where did that information necessary to build the protein parts out of which the complex structures are made come from in the first place? What cause is capable of generating that information? Meyer argues that we can use the same scientific method that Darwin used to infer that the cause had to be conscious mind or intelligence.
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