Prominent intelligent design advocate responds to questions, criticism

Stephen Meyer, who wrote a book that claims to show scientific evidence for intelligent design, answers two of his academic critics during a debate Friday night in Chase Gymnasium.

Kelsey Osterman, Writer

A large crowd filled Chase Gymnasium Friday night to see author Stephen Meyer debate critics of his most recent book, “Signature in the Cell.”

In his book, Meyer, a well-known proponent of the intelligent design movement and the director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, gives scientific proof of intelligent design.

During the debate, Meyer took questions from Christian creationist critics Arthur Hunt, professor at University of Kentucky, and Stephen Matheson, associate professor of biology at Calvin College. Hunt and Matheson, who have criticized Meyer’s book on their respective blogs, presented disagreements with Meyer’s science and conclusions.

Meyer answered a couple of text message questions from the audience, as well. Members of the audience could participate in the live Twitter conversation regarding the event using the hashtag “siginthecell.”

Friday’s debate was not meant to be a savage brawl, according to host Craig Hazen, professor of Christian apologetics at Biola.

“Those of you who came here for blood sport, that’s really not what’s going to happen,” he said. “This is a matter of iron sharpening iron. We actually want the best ideas to win out.”

At the event, Meyer presented an overview of his book, outlining his belief that proof for intelligent design lies in the DNA of cells. Meyer calls this ‘the DNA enigma,’ positing that the origin of the information stored in DNA points to a designer.

“Information in whatever form we find it always comes from an intelligent source,” Meyer said. “Whenever we find information, and we trace it back to its ultimate source, we always come to a mind, not a material process.”

Meyer’s research led him to eliminate the other possible causes of cell complexity in favor of intelligent design.

The Christian apologetics department hosted Friday’s free event, along with two other events over the weekend. On Saturday morning, a group of experts discussed the evidence against Darwinism following a screening of Darwin’s Dilemma. A luncheon with leaders of the intelligent design movement followed the movie screening.

The film also played a part in Friday’s event, which began with a short preview of it. Each family in the audience was given a free copy of the DVD.

Glenn Matt, a graduate of the masters program in Christian apologetics at Biola, and his wife Beverly Matt said they appreciated Meyer’s presentation of intelligent design.

“It’s been amazing how he can take something of such complexity and make it simple enough to actually grasp the arguments and understand where he’s coming from,” Beverly said.

Glenn added that Meyer’s credentials bolster the Christian apologetic movement.

“I think it’s wonderful that we have scientists of his caliber in the intelligent design movement that can give credibility to a Christian worldview,” Glenn said. “This is a fantastic venue to have and resources to have to be able to confront people, confront ideas that are anti-Christian.”

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