Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (Anglais) Relié – 23 juin 2009
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Revue de presse
“A decisive case based upon breathtaking and cutting-edge science.” (Dr. Philip S. Skell, member, National Academy of Sciences, and Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus at Pennsylvania State University)
“A fascinating exploration . . . Whether you believe intelligent design is true or false, Signature in the Cell is a must-read book.” (Dr. Scott Turner, professor, environmental and forest biology, State University of New York, and author of The Tinkerer’s Accomplice)
“A careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.” (Dr. Thomas Nagel, professor, New York University, in the Times Literary Supplement)
Présentation de l'éditeur
“Signature in the Cell is a defining work in the discussion of life’s origins and the question of whether life is a product of unthinking matter or of an intelligent mind. For those who disagree with ID, the powerful case Meyer presents cannot be ignored in any honest debate. For those who may be sympathetic to ID, on the fence, or merely curious, this book is an engaging, eye-opening, and often eye-popping read” — American Spectator
Named one of the top books of 2009 by the Times Literary Supplement (London), this controversial and compelling book from Dr. Stephen C. Meyer presents a convincing new case for intelligent design (ID), based on revolutionary discoveries in science and DNA. Along the way, Meyer argues that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as expounded in The Origin of Species did not, in fact, refute ID. If you enjoyed Francis Collins’s The Language of God, you’ll find much to ponder—about evolution, DNA, and intelligent design—in Signature in the Cell.
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L'auteur a une approche raisonnée de la question de l'origine de la vie. N'ayant jamais cru au hasard, ni à la nécessité, deux chemins trop faciles, je trouve très intéressante l'approche du dessein intelligent, même si cela ne nous dit pas encore si Dieu existe et qui Il est. Mais il apparaît que le monde a un sens.
Et la vie est belle!
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
If you have studied quantum mechanics, you will have run into the inescapable conclusion that nothing really exists an a determinate state unless it is observed by a conscious observer. Furthermore, you probably have run into Bell's theorem which concludes that locality is something of a myth and that there is no logical connection between the reality we live in every day and quantum reality upon which our material world is based. The theory of quantum mechanics frankly states that consciousness is (and probably was) a primordial property of the universe.
The theory of intelligent design is based upon SCIENCE, and not on theology. It stands upon infinitely firmer ground than the Multiverse which is modern cosmology's latest mathematical/theological attempt to explain the anthropomorphic nature of our world of matter. Read this book if you really want to begin the journey to a rational understanding of how Spirit might actually have a place to live after all!
P.S. I've read the one star reviews. It is obvious that none of these reviewers has actually read the book. Out of 429 reviews, only 58 gave it two stars or less, and their comments seemed to have nothing to do with the book's actual content.
My pet peeve is fanatics who attack ID out of ideological compulsion, rather than using the "think" cells hidden deep within their brains to evaluate and argue. That includes most of the reviewers who gave the book 1 or 2 stars so far. Meyer, we are told, is "lazy," a "creationist," "idiot," "fraud," and "liar" who hawks "error-prone" "snake-oil," "gobbledygook," "pseudo-science." We should read Richard Dawkins new Greatest Show on Earth instead (I did -- it isn't about the origin of life, you numbskulls). One "reviewer" blasts the book after reading four sentences, and gets 69 of 128 "helpful" votes. Another "reviews" the first few pages and calls Meyer a liar.
Hardly any negative reviews even try to point to any scientific errors. Two exceptions: reviews by A Miller and K. M. Sternberg are worth reading. Sternberg's is particularly eloquent. (Though having written a couple books on the historical Jesus, I tend to wonder about the objectivity, awareness, and / or good sense of someone who thinks there is no evidence for the life of Jesus!)
My second peeve is a growing dislike for the way Discovery Institute often packages its arguments. I visited DI a year ago when another ID book came out -- I won't name it, seeing no need to embarrass the author. His presentation essentially said, "Look at all the wonders of creation. How can evolution possibly explain all that?" When Q & A time came, I was the only one to ask any critical questions. "That sounds impressive, but why don't you engage the explanations evolutionary biologists offer for those features?" Like the talk, the book (he gave me a copy) simply ignored detailed arguments.
This book does much better. Meyer's critics to the contrary, he does offer detailed scientific and philosophical arguments. Signature is NOT mainly about evolution per se - it is about the origin of life. It is, therefore, not strictly parallel to Dawkins' books or arguments -- ID is in a sense broader than evolution as a theory, since it seeks to explain things that evolution does not.
My main beef is the book is too long. While many of Meyer's illustrations are interesting, he uses too many, and repeats himself too often. Meyer should chop out some of the remedial 7th Grade biology, cut some stories and the "I was in Akron when I thought A and in Baton Rouge when B occurred to me" stuff, and cut the book in half.
The first-person auto-biographical is overworked. No one thinks you're neutral, Stephen -- so just argue! Don't pretend your conversion to ID was purely scientific -- reasonable people understand that people act under a mixture of motives, and the unreasonable ones are not worth arguing with. Dawkins, Behe, Stephen Hawking, and Darwin for that matter write serious arguments without losing ordinary readers; models that Meyer could profitably shoot for.
But the issue here is the origin of life, and when Meyer finally gets to it, he argues it well, I think. The central chapters seem to cover most of the main issues well. He discusses different solutions, and explains fairly clearly why they do not work, and why some sort of design seems preferable. It is interesting that none of Meyer's critics here dispute those arguments. (Again, Miller and Sternberg come closest, but do not really engage his most important points.) I wish, however, that Meyer had expanded those central chapters, and discussed in more detail leading rival contemporary hypotheses.
Many of his secondary arguments work, too. I suppose one can't complain if a philosopher of science writes a lot about the philosophy of science, and I suppose those arguments are made necessary by attempts to marginalize ID proponents through the sheer power of wordplay. Pardon the self-indulgence, but as I wrote in Truth Behind the New Atheism, in response to Dawkins' attempts to marginalize ID proponents: "David Bohm once defended science as 'openness to evidence.' The best scientist -- or theologian -- is not someone who shouts 'heresy!' when he hears strange views, but one who listens carefully and responds with reason and evidence. When it comes to ultimate questions, 'openness to evidence' is the definition that counts."
The scientific evidence is what matters, and I would have liked to have seen more detail on that. Still, all in all, a strong ID perspective on the origin of life.
Stephen Meyer not only explains with clarity why what the evolutionists believe is simply not possible or even remotely possible, but gives creditable proof of design, intent and purpose in the architecture of cells. The hostility towards Meyer in exposing the inherent flaws in the theory of evolution take a tone of religious zealotry. The false superiority, arrogance and condescension of the vast majority scientist and academics make this work (and others like it) necessary.
This work begins with the concept of what is the best explanation possible for the origin of life based on "historical scientific reasoning". To answer this question Meyer reviews many origin of life theories, specifically relating to DNA and RNA. He dissects each of these theories, the end result for nearly all of these ideas is that they are based on certain amounts of specified information existing as a premise for the subsequent parts of the theory to function, in other words they do not explain or solve the problem of where biological information comes from, but simply displace the problem, I will not bore you with the details of the competing theories. Meyer goes on to give a very detailed (and extremely interesting) probability analysis regarding the possibility for even one functioning protein to come into existence simply by chance at 10/164, to put that number in some kind of perspective, there are only 10/65 atoms in the known universe. Meyer further explains how at least two hundred different kinds of proteins are necessary for the simplest cell to exist, which would then put the probability of one cell existing by chance at 10/41,000, this is an order of magnitude more than the probabilistic resources of the entire universe. He then quotes recent work by James Brook and Gordon Shaw regarding geological and geochemical evidence for the prebiotic atmospheric conditions being friendly or not, for the production of amino acids and other essential building blocks of life. Their work is conclusive, there is no evidence in metamorphosed Precambrian sedimentary rocks that such conditions as envisioned by evolutionist ever existed. This puts the probability for evolutionary theory providing a credible explanation regarding the origin of life at exactly zero. (my words, not his)
He continues on the theme of what provides for the best explanation possible for the origin of life which begins his argument in favor of intelligent design. His discussion develops on what does the evidence suggest? Below is a sample;
"Intelligence is the only known cause of complex functionally integrated information processing system. It follows once again, that intelligent design stands as the best- most causally adequate- explanation for this feature of the cell, just as it stands as the best explanation for the origin of the information present in DNA itself".
Meyer then concludes his work with a discussion of the "implications" regarding the theory of Intelligent Design, which does after all get to the real problem secularists have with any compromise regarding ID as a scientifically relevant concept. One thing that is particularly well illustrated in the final chapters is that any argument against ID as a legitimate scientific concept apply with equal (perhaps more so) weight against the theory of evolution.
Lastly I would to thank Mr. Meyer for the elevated tone and substance of his latest work, this book contains no vitriol, condescendence, arrogance or anything remotely unpleasant. It does contain well reasoned arguments for his points of view with extensive documentation in the notes and Bibliography. Meyer has taken no cheap shots at the scientists who do not happen to share his point of view, this in marked contrast to the screeds presented to the public as legitimate scientific discussion by the evolutionists. While I at times enjoy returning the fire of evolutionary zealots with a nuclear weapon, Meyer has chosen his words with the upmost care and demonstrated a particular graciousness to those who will not and perhaps cannot reciprocate this courtesy, this in my mind demonstrates the confidence and pure scientific ability bought to this study. I give the highest endorsement possible to the purchase of this worthy publication.
A lot of the one star book reviews seem to be attacking Dr. Meyers, and not the topic of his book. Please let us get something out of the way up front. "Signature of the Cell" is not about Stephen Meyer, the Discovery Institute or God for that matter. It is about an argument, and a lot of the negative (and positive, let's be honest) reviews seem to overlook this fact. There is a lot of spin on both sides of the Intelligent Design debate. One side often states that Judge Jones III was appointed by George W Bush, while another side makes certain we know that Judge Jones III was previously a former Head of a Liquor Control Board. Please let us approach this topic with reason and give our honest-if biased-opinions.
In "Signature in the Cell", Dr. Meyers walks us through what information is and the different ways information is defined, created and discovered. He also goes into great detail on probability theory and the history of scientific reasoning. He then lays out the history of origins of life research including a fascinating exposition of the discovery of the DNA double helix, and the surprise of specified information that lies within. Dr. Meyers argues why the current OOL theories fail to explain how the first cell could have arisen by chance alone due to the insufficient probabilistic resources (temporal as well as physical) of the universe. He further argues why self organization/bio-chemical predestination models do not provide an adequate explanation for the origin of life. He also explains why the RNA world and other current models fail to explain the OOL, or what Dr Meyers calls the "DNA enigma"
The DNA Enigma is that which researchers have not been able to uncover. That is, the origin of specified information or digital code in every living cell. The information in the DNA molecule is not only complex, but has specified complexity. All of the current OOL models Dr. Meyer critiques contain what he terms the "displacement problem" That is they push back the source of the information or assume that the information simply occured or merely ignore the source, and put it on the back burner. In the book Dr. Meyers explains why evolutionary computer simulations and that why trying to manufacture "life in the lab" are actually very good examples of ID and are ideal cases for design theory.
Dr. Meyer does not make an appeal from ignorance or a "God of the Gaps" argument, but makes a positive case for design in OOL. Dr. Meyer appeals to the same historical branch of science that Darwin employed, and argues that if ID theory is arbitrarily deemed unscientific then Darwin's theory would fail to be classified as scientific on the same reasoning.
For those that say that "ID is not science", please read chapter 18 of the book-"But is it Science?" Following are the headings for the reasons Dr. Meyers regards ID as science, specifically historically scientific..
Reason 1: The case for ID is based on Empirical Evidence.
Reason 2: Advocates of ID use Established Scientific Methods.
Reason 3: ID is a Testable Theory.
Reason 4: The Case for ID Exemplifies Historical Scientific Reasoning.
Reason 5: ID Addresses a Specific Question in Evolutionary Biology (OOL).
Reason 6: ID Is Supported by Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature.
(You'll have to read the book for the details.)
"Signature in the Cell" is not "Creationist Tripe", but a 600 page argument. Dr. Meyers does not necessarily argue for a God as the intelligent agent behind the OOL, but that an intelligent agent is the most likely cause of the specified information in the double helix and information processing systems of the cell. Dr. Meyers argument is not that "It is way too complicated to understand
so therefore God did it" but an appeal to what we know about how information is created and that information comes from minds, or agents. As some like to say and I'm paraphrasing several ID opponents here.."Let's not kid ourselves, we all know who Dr. Meyers means when he says an intelligent agent, he means God" Well maybe, or if your ontology will allow, probably, but both Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick believe in, or are at least sympathetic to an intelligent agent as the cause of life on earth. They just believe that the intelligent agent was or could have been extra-terrestrial. The panspermia theory too has it's problems, and ultimately pushes back the OOL or "DNA Enigma" to an earlier time and certainly from what we know of the universe, one is stopped by the previously mentioned wall of probabilistic resources.
In the epilouge Dr. Meyers opens the door to some of the latest discoveries of the hierarchical nature of DNA information storage. Quite interesting really, Super folders, folders within folders in optimized locations for efficient retrieval. He also touches briefly on what used to thought of as "Junk DNA" or non protein coding regions of the DNA molecule. What was once considered to be only leftovers and redundancies from transcriptions can now be shown to work as a sort of operating system. It will be interesting to see what comes from the ongoing research..
Dr. Meyer concludes the book in Appendix B with solid critique of multiverse theories and in chapter 17 provides a very powerful answer(rebuttal) to the ubiquitous "Who designed the designer?" question (challenge).
There IS an answer to the DNA Enigma, and Dr Meyer's positive argument is that life on earth was caused ~3-4 billion years ago by an intelligent agent, most likely God. Perhaps he is correct.