Stephen Meyer, one of the founders of the intelligent design theory, spoke at a Socrates in the City lecture in New York on Thursday evening, explaining his newest book Darwin’s Doubt and the latest in scientific debates over the origin of life. The room was packed with New Yorkers in snappy evening wear, as well as the famous journalist Tom Wolfe, in his signature white suit.
Intelligent design (ID), counter to its popular portrayal, is not an idea from “insecure religious fundamentalists,” Meyer said, but the scientific theory that all the data in the universe points to “a mind not a material process.”
Meyer himself believes that mind is the Christian God, but he said as ID spread in the scientific community, scientists are developing different intelligent design–based theories. He said the purely materialistic view of the world, which has ruled the scientific community since the 19th century, is beginning to break apart.
“There’s a huge disparity between the public presentation of evolution [in the media] and what’s going on in the peer-reviewed scientific literature,” he said. Meyer noted that in the last few years there have been six new theories introduced in evolutionary biology.
“It’s a story that hasn’t been told,” he said. “There is a growing subterranean dissent from Darwinism.” The growing knowledge about the complex engineering of cells and circuitry in animals, Meyer said, is “what’s generating a lot of skepticism.”
As this subterranean dissent grows, he said it would be “imprudent for our side to be pushing intelligent design into textbooks.”
“We want our scientists working on the science instead of getting drawn into [court] cases like Dover where you have the absurdity of a judge deciding what is science,” said Meyer. “There are too many scientists doing science from this perspective to keep it out of schools. I’d prefer for it to happen organically.”
In the Dover case, a school board attempted to add intelligent design to its curriculum, and a judge ruled that was an unconstitutional establishment of religion in schools.
Meyer is director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, whose work WORLD covered recently.