Dr. Stephen Meyer on the Return of the God Hypothesis

You Can be a Full Christian and a Real Scientist at the Same Time

Last year Eric Metaxas interviewed Dr. Stephen C. Meyer about the content of his then forthcoming book, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries Revealing the Mind Behind the Universe.

Meyer, who is a New York Times bestselling author and Director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, shared with Metaxas about advances in information theory. These discoveries point to a designing intelligence as the most probable explanation for what scientists are now observing at the cellular level.

Their conversation, which was part of the “Socrates in the City” series, was a tour de force of Meyer’s work, including his own contributions to the intelligent design (ID) movement. Meyer also shared the personal side of his intellectual journey, which took him from being a geophysicist to a scholar in the philosophy and history of science to one of the world’s leading authorities on ID.

Metaxas’s humor, combined with Meyer’s gift of making complex concepts accessible to non-specialists, made this exchange the most enjoyable discussion about ID that I have ever watched. But more than just being enjoyable, their conversation is useful at a time when all ID discoveries are routinely dismissed as “pseudoscience.” The Wikipedia page for ID labels the theory as “a specific pseudoscientific form of creationism,” and reminds us that “The U.S. National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have termed it pseudoscience.” Even Stephen Meyer, whose commitment to rigorous scientific methodology is unwavering, does not escape this charge: the Wikipedia page about Meyer claims he advocates pseudoscience via his commitment to ID.

Watch the entire discussion and decide for yourself if Stephen Meyer is really only a fake scientist:

Much of the content of their conversation forms the topic for a book Meyer published earlier this year, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this book, Meyer shows that theism is the best explanation for discoveries (some quite recent) in cosmology, physics, and biology.

Terrell Clemmons reviewed Meyer’s book in the latest edition of Salvo. In her review, “The Evidence Strikes Back,” Clemmons pointed out that the remarkable achievement of this book is not only that it is a masterpiece of science, but also of philosophy, as Meyer evaluates competing philosophical and metaphysical worldviews that are alterantives to ID.

"Although The Return of the God Hypothesis is very much a book of science, especially physics and cosmology, it is equally about the philosophy of science—how to reason about the evidence. Whereas most of mainstream science limits itself to positing only naturalistic causes as explanations for the evidence it uncovers, thus imposing, de facto (and often unstated), a presupposition of philosophical materialism, Meyer lifts that limitation and evaluates competing metaphysical worldviews, especially materialism versus theism, to assess how well each one can account for this new evidence."

Meyer's ability to evaluate competing claims gets to the heart of why I personally find his approach so refreshing, given my background with the fideistic wing of young earth creationism (YEC). There is a recurring idea within much of YEC that because everyone has biases and assumptions that they bring to the evaluation of scientific evidence, it is impossible to objectively adjudicate between competing claims. Consequently, we must simply choose which approach to the evidence fits with our assumptions. (I have discussed this theory HERE).

An alternative approach is offered by Stephen Meyer. From hearing him talk to Metaxas, it is clear that Meyer does have a spiritual background that is integral to his entire career, yet that doesn't preclude him from using objectivity (well-ordered thinking, rationality, logic) to compare and contrast different interpretative frameworks in order to assess which explanation of the evidence is the best. Meyer shows that you can be a full Christian and a full scientist at the same time.

is the author of Gratitude in Life's Trenches: How to Experience the Good Life Even When Everything Is Going Wrong (Ancient Faith 2020) and writes for a variety of publications. He has a Master's in history from King’s College, London, and is currently working on a Master’s in Library Science through the University of Oklahoma. He is editorial assistant for the Fellowship of St. James and a frequent contributor to Salvo and Touchstone magazines. He operates a blog at www.robinmarkphillips.com.

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