Stephen Meyer Responds to Research on Irreducible Complexity

Comments from Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture in response to Science magazine’s forthcoming article “Evolution of Hormone-Receptor Complexity by Molecular Exploitation” and regarding irreducible complexity, evolution and intelligent design.

The Bridgham et. al. study published in Science is trivial. ID theorists have long known that a few mutations can slightly alter an existing protein fold. What we question is whether mutation and selection are sufficient to search the enormous combinatorial space of possibilities necessary to finding fundamentally new protein folds and structures. This study does nothing to allay our skepticism on that score.

Contrary to what the authors assume receptor-hormone pairs do not constitute irreducibly complex systems. The receptor-hormone pair is only a small component of a signal transduction circuit that regulates other complex physiological processes. For such pairs to have any selective or functional advantage many other protein components have to be present, including the other components of a signal transduction circuit and the physiological processes that such circuits regulate. If this is the best that Michael Behe’s critics can do after ten years of trying to refute him, then neo-Darwinism is in deep trouble.

The really interesting thing about this paper is not the science it contains—its scientific results are trivial—but the sociological dynamics surrounding the publication of these papers. The AAAS has repeatedly insisted there is no scientific controversy about intelligent design. Now Science, the AAAS flagship journal, publishes two articles taking positions on a controversy that the AAAS says doesn’t exist. Will Science now allow Michael Behe to respond or will it only publish articles about the controversy which claim that ID is wrong? 

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Stephen C. Meyer

Director, Center for Science and Culture
Dr. Stephen C. Meyer received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the philosophy of science. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. He is author of the New York Times-bestseller Darwin’s Doubt (2013) as well as the book Signature in the Cell (2009) and Return of the God Hypothesis (2021). In 2004, Meyer ignited a firestorm of media and scientific controversy when a biology journal at the Smithsonian Institution published his peer-reviewed scientific article advancing intelligent design. Meyer has been featured on national television and radio programs, including The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CBS's Sunday Morning, NBC's Nightly News, ABC's World News, Good Morning America, Nightline, FOX News Live, and the Tavis Smiley show on PBS. He has also been featured in two New York Times front-page stories and has garnered attention in other top-national media.