Supposedly, the Next Big Thing in the Intelligent Design creationism movement is Stephen Meyer’s new book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Meyer is wandering about the country, peddling absurd op-eds and flogging his book in bad talks. Here’s a good summary of one of his presentations in Seattle:
To sum up, Meyer’s argument is as follows:
(1) According to Bill Gates, DNA is like a computer program.
(2) Because I am unfamiliar with the field known as genetic programming, every computer program I’ve ever heard of has had a developer.
(3) Charles Darwin once used the principle of Inference To The Best Explanation.
(4) Even though Darwin was a wicked, wicked man, I’m going to use that same principle to refute him. It will be, you know, irony.
(5) I say that intelligent design is the best explanation for the computer-program-like-ness of DNA.
(6) Therefore, by Darwin’s own reasoning, intelligent design must be true.
(7) Please buy my book.
I’ve read excerpts of this book. I’ve seen reviews and summaries of its argument. I’ve seen the freaking title. I know what is in this book — “ooooh, it’s so complex, it must have been…DESIGNED!!11!” — and I know that Stephen Meyer lies and makes up pseudoscientific babble, so I have very poor expectations of this book: I anticipate bad biology and even worse information theory, and a mangled pretense of science by a contemptible poseur. I do have a review copy on the way, though, and I will read it from beginning to end, taking notes and snorting in derisive laughter all the way, and I will take David Klinghoffer’s ridiculous challenge to make a serious response. I won’t win, though: my review will be too long for him, and unless there’s some magic ju-ju that will completely reverse my opinion of ID creationism hidden in the text (which, strangely, none of the favorable reviews have bothered to highlight), it will most likely not be the kind of positive cheerleading for creationism that Klinghoffer favors.