A recent edition of Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Unbelievable’ show featured a discussion between Stephen Meyer, Director of the Centre for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle and a proponent of Intelligent Design, and Keith Fox, Professor of Biochemistry at Southampton University and Chair of Christians in Science and a disbeliever in Intelligent Design.
It was a rather frustrating experience to listen to this discussion. The main problem was Stephen Meyer. Although not overtly aggressive, he seemed only interested in what he himself had to say. He constantly interrupted the other person, and his attitude seemed to be: “There is nothing that you can say that will make any difference. I have made up my mind. I have all the answers. Now please be quiet and listen to me.”
This is not to say that the two protagonists disagreed about everything. Far from it. At some points it seemed that they were in fundamental agreement: Fox wanted to argue that, to the believer, everything reflects the mind of the Creator, whereas Meyer was happy with that, and just wanted to add that some thing in particular (in this case, the origin of life) points to a personal Creator.
Meyer’s key point was that all our experience tells us that the kind of information we find in the genetic code can only come from Mind. Fox regards this as a ‘science-stopper’ since it invokes some kind of supernatural intervention which by its very nature could not be subject to scientific enquiry. (Fox was more sympahetic to the idea of ‘cosmic fine-tuning’ as providing convincing, if not conclusive, evidence for God).
For Fox, everything is designed by God, and follows the physical laws that God has built into the cosmos. If only Meyer had done a little less talking, and a little more listening, he might have thought to have responded to this by asking the simple question: “What about miracles, then?”
Meyer thinks that Intelligent Design in general, and the nature of the genetic code in particular, have evidential, apologetic, value. If a person investigates these things dispassionately, he will be inevitably led to the conclusion that a personal God exists. Fox thinks that the opposite is the case: the movement is not from scientific evidence to belief in God, but that, given faith in God, the believer will see God’s handiwork everywhere.
So, apart from being irritated by Meyer’s general approach, whom did I most agree with? Both, and neither! Maybe both gentlemen need to go back to Paul’s teaching in Romans 1:19-20:-
What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.