Intro by Brad: Alex Berezow is the editor of Real Clear Science, a popular site that features both daily curated aggregation of news articles and a plethora of original science journalism. He’s also a friend and supporter of BioLogos (as well as a past blog author). We were happy to learn that he mentioned BioLogos during an appearance on Michael Medved’s talk radio show. Medved has generously allowed us to publish the audio clip featuring Berezow, as well as the Discovery Institute’s Stephen Meyer. The focus of the clip was Meyer’s new book Debating Darwin’s Doubt, a follow-up to his popular and controversial book Darwin’s Doubt (which was extensively reviewed on this site). Topics included irreducible complexity, extraterrestrial life, the origin of life, and whether science can be used to demonstrate God’s existence. Below is the audio clip, followed by some brief reflections by Berezow on the conversation.https://soundcloud.com/ioogos/02-medved-show-7-21-2015-h2-debate-evolution-vs-intelligent-design
Stephen Meyer is incredibly intelligent and personable. It was a delight to meet him in person and to engage in a friendly discussion on the Michael Medved Show.
Though Meyer’s “information challenge” to natural selection raises a valid point worthy of discussion, ultimately I think his argument fails for three major reasons.
First, as Dennis Venema has extensively and excellently discussed on BioLogos (see here and here), evolutionary biologists are beginning to unravel the mechanisms by which new information can arise. The relatively recent advent of whole-genome sequencing has allowed biologists to peer into the molecular mechanisms underpinning the creativity that results from evolution shaped by natural selection. Though it is certainly true that evolutionary biology is far from understanding how all novel genes evolve, it has definitively demonstrated that new information can and does arise from natural processes.
Second, I believe that demonstrating the existence of intelligent agency with the tools of science is impossible. If it was possible, then all biologists would be religious believers. Thus, I find myself in agreement with the philosopher Alvin Plantinga who (forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted him!) believes that though we might perceive design in nature, it is best to base neither our science nor our theology upon this perception. Someday, evolutionary biologists may indeed figure out how all novel information arose via natural selection. That would be bad news for people whose faith is at least partially predicated upon a belief in Intelligent Design (insofar as it involves miraculous divine intervention), not to mention that it would constitute yet another failed “god-of-the-gaps” argument.
Finally, I believe that Intelligent Design misses a larger theological point. There is a very real limit to human knowledge and logic. We have been warned by philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard against the temptation to learn of God primarily through objective fact: “If I am able to apprehend God objectively, I do not have faith.” Thus, any effort to demonstrate the existence of God primarily through scientific evidence is undermined from the start and doomed to fail.
In conclusion, as Deborah and Loren Haarsma wrote in their book Origins, I wholeheartedly agree that God’s Word and God’s World are never in conflict. Ultimately, that is why I fully embrace the truths we learn from both and find myself in concordance with the philosophy and theology of BioLogos.
The audio file above is published with permission from The Michael Medved Show.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blog/alex-berezow-and-stephen-meyer-talk-about-god-and-evolution-on-the-michael