Has Craig Venter Produced Artificial Life?

“Artificial life, the stuff of dreams and nightmares, has arrived.” So proclaimed The Economist on May 20th, after a team of scientists headed by J. Craig Venter [2] announced that it had replaced the natural DNA in a bacterial cell with DNA they had artificially synthesized. According to University of Pennsylvania philosopher and bioethicist Arthur Caplan, “Venter and his colleagues have shown that the material world can be manipulated to produce what we recognize as life. In doing so they bring to an end a debate about the nature of life that has lasted thousands of years. Their achievement undermines a fundamental belief about the nature of life that is likely to prove as momentous to our view of ourselves Read More ›

Gotcha! Checking Stephen Meyer’s Spelling and Other Weighty Criticisms of Signature in the Cell

While my chapter in Signature of Controversy responding to Stephen Matheson’s review of Signature in the Cell deals with a variety of issues, I’d like to boil it down to two or three which I feel are the most important topics. Why are they the most important? Because it’s on these topics that Matheson engages in the most name-calling, and where Matheson also happens to be the most wrong. (Is there a reason why evolutionists so often increase the ad hominem attacks when their case is weak?) With that, here’s a condensed and abridged version of my response to Matheson: What would you get if you crossed a snarky pro-evolution blog like Panda’s Thumb with a passionate defender of theistic Read More ›

Biola to Broadcast Signature in the Cell Event Live on Friday

Even if you can’t make it to the free Signature in the Cell event in Southern California this Friday, you’re in luck. Biola University will be broadcasting the event with Stephen Meyer live for a fee. According to the website: The broadcast fee helps subsidize the cost of the event, and the cost of producing and hosting the video broadcast. It is intendend primarily for large groups and we hope you choose to view it in a group to foster discussion about this topic. Discussion groups, interested friends, churches, families and individuals are encouraged to participate in the broadcast on Friday at 7pm PDT. Go here for system requirements (a computer with high-speed internet) and ordering information.

Interview With Author of New Paper on the Limits of the Darwinian Mechanism

Pretty much everyone agrees that natural selection acting on random genetic mutations can explain some things. The really interesting question is, how much can it explain? Since Darwin’s mechanism seems intuitively plausible, we’re often tempted just to trust our intuitions rather than to look at the hard data. And yet the data increasingly show that, whatever its intuitive attractions, the powers of selection and mutation are surprisingly limited. In many cases, new biological functions require several mutations. And everyone agrees that natural selection doesn’t have foresight. But it’s widely assumed that if each of the individual mutations leading to new functions are themselves adaptive, then natural selection can traverse the pathway. Again, this makes intuitive sense. But what about the Read More ›

Darwin’s Dilemma Heads to LA This Weekend With ID Scientists, Experts

The last time Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record was scheduled for a screening in the Los Angeles area, it sparked a couple (still ongoing) lawsuits. This time, the film is showing at Biola University, with scientific experts from the film speaking on a panel afterwards, including Paul Nelson, Richard Sternberg, Douglas Axe, and Stephen Meyer. This notable group will then discuss the details of what is “one of the most difficult and dynamic counterexamples to Darwinian evolution that the fossil record has ever revealed” — a show worth catching in its own right. According to the Biola website, the event runs from 9 am – 12 pm this Saturday at Mayers Auditorium, Biola University, and will Read More ›