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Listen: Turner, Meyer, and Bernard’s Dangerous Idea

David Klinghoffer

J. Scott Turner

Scott Turner is the State University of New York biologist and author of Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something Alive and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It. It’s a book we’ve discussed here extensively. He was on the Janet Parshall radio show along with Stephen Meyer. Several things leapt out at me from the discussion. 

For one, Dr. Turner is gifted at turning novel phrases. He gives us “Bernard’s Dangerous Idea” — an answer to Daniel Dennett and the latter’s book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and referring to Claude Bernard (1813-1878) whose elucidation of the idea of homeostasis in organisms is central to Turner’s book. He says about homeostasis that, “It actually undermines virtually everything that we think about evolution today.”

This dangerous idea undermined Turner’s own faith in what he calls the “evolutionary catechism.” But fascinatingly — and this I didn’t know — it also brought Turner around to the theory of intelligent design. From the subtitle of his book, it’s clear he’s abandoned Darwinism. But that’s not the same as embracing ID.

He says in the interview that while he and Steve Meyer reached their conclusions by different routes, Turner now agrees: “Steve is spot on. There has to be some intelligent agency there that’s operating.” Not everyone likes the formulation that says ID is itself an evolutionary theory — just not a Darwinian one. But Turner seems to be on that page, as I am: “There is intelligence that underlies the evolutionary process. You cannot explain it without that.”

So we can now add Scott Turner to the list of pro-ID biologists. A very interesting and in-depth conversation; you can listen to it here.

Image: “Claude Bernard and his pupils,” by Léon Augustin Lhermitte, via Wikimedia Commons.