Stephen C. Meyer

Director, Center for Science and Culture

Stephen C. Meyer received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. He has authored the New York Times best seller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2013), Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009), which was named a Book of the Year by the Times (of London) Literary Supplement in 2009, and now, The Return of the God Hypothesis (HarperOne, 2021).

In his first book on intelligent design, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009) Meyer examined the mystery of the origin of the first life. With Darwin’s Doubt, he has expanded the scope of the case for intelligent design to the whole sweep of life’s history. Meyer’s research addresses the deepest mystery surrounding the origin of life and the origin of animal life: the origin of biological information necessary to produce it.

Meyer graduated from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, in 1981 with a degree in physics and earth science. He later became a geophysicist with Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in Dallas, Texas. From 1981 to 1985, he worked for ARCO in digital signal processing and seismic survey interpretation. In 1986 as a Rotary International Scholar, he began his training in the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University, earning an M.Phil. in 1987 and a Ph.D. in 1991. His doctoral thesis was titled “Of Clues and Causes: A Methodological Interpretation of Origin-of-Life Research.”

He returned to Whitworth in the fall of 1990 to teach philosophy and the philosophy of science. He left a tenured position as a professor at Whitworth in 2002 to direct the Center for Science and Culture full time, which he had helped found with John West in 1996.

Prior to the publication of Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt, the writing for which Meyer was best known was an August 2004 review essay in the Smithsonian Institution-affiliated peer-reviewed biology journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. The article laid out the evidential case for intelligent design, presenting it as the best explanation for the origin of the biological information necessary to produce the new forms of animal life that arose abruptly during the Cambrian explosion.

Because the article was the first peer-reviewed publication arguing for intelligent design in a technical journal, it proved extremely controversial.  The journal’s editor, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg, was punished by his Smithsonian supervisors for allowing Meyer’s article into print. This led to the investigation of top Smithsonian personnel by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.  The controversy was widely covered in the media with articles or news stories appearing about it in The Wall Street Journal, Science, Nature, NPR, The O’Reilly Factor and the Washington Post. The federal investigation eventually concluded that Sternberg had been wrongly disciplined and intimidated.

Meyer’s many other publications include contributions to, and the editing of, the peer-reviewed volume Darwinism, Design and Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2004) and the innovative textbook Explore Evolution (Hill House Publishers, 2007).

Meyer has also published editorials in national newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The National Post (of Canada), The Daily Telegraph (of London) and The Los Angeles Times.  He has appeared on national television and radio programs such as The Jim Lehrer News Hour, NBC Nightly News, ABC Nightly News, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline, Fox News Live, Paula Zahn Now (CNN), Good Morning America 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.

In 2008, he appeared with Ben Stein in the theatrical-released documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  He has also been featured prominently in the science documentaries Icons of Evolution, The Case for a Creator, Darwin’s Dilemma and Unlocking The Mystery of Life, the latter which was shown on PBS and which Meyer co-wrote with producer Lad Allen.

Archives

Pt. 4: Stephen Meyer and Skeptic Michael Shermer

This ID the Future wraps up a lively four-part series between religious skeptic Michael Shermer and Return of the God Hypothesis author and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer. Here Meyer underscores the fact that every worldview must posit something as the prime reality, and he argues that positing mind (rather than matter) as the prime reality solves far more problems in science, and not just in origins science. What about the idea of a multiverse to explain the fine tuning of the laws and constants of physics? Meyer concedes that this is a solution of sorts, but it comes at a tremendous cost, which he explains. That’s just a taste of where Meyer and Shermer go in this final segment. Read More ›

Pt. 3: Stephen Meyer and Skeptic Michael Shermer

On this ID the Future, Return of the God Hypothesis author Stephen Meyer and skeptic Michael Shermer address the question of how a divine immaterial being could act in the material world to design and fashion things such as the first life. Meyer argues that while we don’t know precisely how an immaterial mind would do this or did do this, we have good evidence that minds can and do affect matter, as for instance in the evidence that our minds can affect our brains and, by extension, our bodies. Meyer and Shermer also discuss the idea of front-loaded intelligent design—that is, where God loaded into the moment of the Big Bang everything necessary for the emergence of stars, planets, Earth, Read More ›

Pt. 2: Stephen Meyer and Skeptic Michael Shermer

Today’s ID the Future continues a lively and cordial conversation between atheist Michael Shermer and Stephen Meyer, author of Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this segment of the four-part series, Shermer and Meyer discuss a fourth argument for theism, the moral law within. Then they discuss the similarities and differences between inferring design for something like the Rosetta Stone versus inferring intelligent design from the information in DNA or the fine tuning of the universe. The interview is reposted here by permission of Michael Shermer.

Stephen Meyer and Skeptic Michael Shermer, Pt. 1

Today’s ID the Future spotlights the first part of a lively and cordial conversation between host and atheist Michael Shermer and Stephen Meyer, author of Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this first of the four-part series, the two touch on everything from Meyer’s three key lines of evidence for theism to a quick flyover of less well-known materialistic origins theories, including the oscillating universe model, panspermia as an explanation for the origin of the first life on earth, and Stephen Hawking’s idea of imaginary time. Meyer lumps many of these ideas under what he terms exotic naturalism and suggests that the atheists who defend these explanations are multiplying exotic Read More ›

Pat Flynn, Stephen Meyer, and the Return of the God Hypothesis, Pt. 2

On this ID the Future, Pat Flynn continues his conversation with bestselling author and philosopher of science Stephen C. Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. The focus is Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis, and here in the second and final part of their conversation, Flynn and Meyer discuss the beginning of the universe, the multiverse hypothesis, worldview bias, Bayesian probability calculus, methodological materialism, and specific scientific predictions that intelligent design thinking has motivated. This interview is presented here with permission of philosopher and YouTuber Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn and Stephen Meyer Talk Thomism and Intelligent Design

On today’s ID the Future, Return of the God Hypothesis author Stephen C. Meyer sits down with podcaster and philosopher Pat Flynn to discuss Meyer’s new book. Flynn notes that some contemporary followers of the great medieval Catholic philosopher Thomas Aquinas argue that the theory of intelligent design is incompatible with Thomism. In response Meyer, a philosopher of science and the director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, points out that some Thomists are fully on board with ID, and he offers reasons why he sees ID as fully compatible with Thomistic philosophy. Flynn and Meyer then move into a discussion of Meyer’s new book with a particular focus on the sections exploring the beginning of the universe Read More ›

Science and Faith: Stephen Meyer on the Marc Bernier Show

On today’s ID the Future, listen to host Marc Bernier ask Stephen Meyer perceptive and wide-ranging questions about everything from the possibility of extraterrestrials, to the role of intelligent design in medicine and education, to meaning and the reliability of the mind. The discussion also turns to Meyer’s bestselling new book, Return of the God Hypothesis, and the reconciliation of science and faith. At one point Bernier asks Meyer about the statement, “The heart cannot exalt what the mind rejects,” and in reply Meyer talks about his personal experience grappling with the relationship between science and faith, and tells about a warning he used to give college students in a class he taught. This interview originally appeared on The Marc Bernier Read More ›

Return of the God Hypothesis: Q&A with Stephen Meyer, Pt. 2

On today’s ID the Future Stephen Meyer continues fielding questions about his new book, Return of the God Hypothesis. The occasion was a live Zoom event for people who had pre-ordered the book. Daniel Reeves emceed, and here in the second part, Meyer rebuts the objection that intelligent design is an argument from ignorance. He also answers another objection, namely that our uniform experience with designing minds is that minds are embodied in material brains and yet Meyer seems to infer a non-embodied mind as the explanation for the design of life and the universe. Meyer also lists some prominent scientists who have either endorsed the book or championed key arguments in the book. Meyer is the Director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science Read More ›

Return of the God Hypothesis: Q&A with Stephen Meyer, Pt. 1

On today’s ID the Future Stephen C. Meyer fields questions about Return of the God Hypothesis*, his new bestselling book from HarperOne. The occasion was a live Zoom event for people who had pre-ordered the book. Daniel Reeves emceed, and in his introductory conversation with Meyer the two discuss a colorful tidbit about Meyer’s time at Cambridge University when he was working on his PhD. Turns out we may have Meyer’s wife to thank for him still possessing the ability to write such a probing book. In the Q&A Meyer summarizes the thesis of the book and then takes questions—everything from how evolutionists explain, or fail to explain, the pattern of stacked information in living things to what’s the object Read More ›

God Hypothesis Returns: Frank Turek and Stephen Meyer Report

Today’s ID the Future episode features excerpts from a lively conversation with Frank Turek as host and Stephen Meyer as guest. The focus: Meyer’s new USA Today bestseller, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries that Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe.* The two discuss the new book, and Meyer fields questions from the audience. The conversation originally appeared on Turek’s national radio show, CrossExamined, and the excerpts from that longer interview are used here with permission. (*As an Amazon Associate, Discovery Institute earns from qualifying purchases.)