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Origins of Life Revisited

Original Article

The letter against intelligent design [in reference to “Ultimate Questions,” Summer 2006] signed by 49 U.Va. science faculty is revealing: not only do they oppose ID due to a false characterization of the theory, but they repeat false claims that there are no pro-ID, peer-reviewed science publications.

The faculty wrongly define ID as saying, “The less we know, the greater is the support for supernatural explanations.” In reality, ID limits its claims to what can be learned from the empirical data. ID therefore only appeals to intelligent causes and does not try to address unscientific religious questions about whether the designing intelligence was supernatural. ID is also not an “argument from ignorance.” Rather, design is inferred based upon what we know about the powers of intelligent causes, and detecting in nature informational patterns known to only come from intelligence. As microbiologist Scott Minnich and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer observe, “In all irreducibly complex systems in which the cause of the system is known by experience or observation, intelligent design or engineering played a role in the origin of the system.”

Finally, the letter asserts “no peer-reviewed scientific studies in support of ID have ever been published in any major scientific journal.” In 2004, Meyer published a peer-reviewed paper in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington arguing that intelligent design best explains the rapid “explosion” of biological information in the Cambrian period.

Casey Luskin

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.