Book Review: Darwin’s Doubt

Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, author of Darwin’s Doubt, is a former geophysicist and college professor. His Ph.D. in the philosophy of science is from the prestigious Cambridge University. The prominent Times Literary Supplement named his previous book Signature in the Cell “Book of the Year” in 2009. This current book, Darwin’s Doubt, was a New York Times best seller. Currently, he is the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.[1] Any open-minded reader can see and understand the clarity and thoroughness of Dr. Meyer’s research that leads to the inevitable conclusion that Darwinian evolution is in a fatal crisis.

            Darwin’s Doubt is named after what Charles Darwin himself admitted to be the weakest points of his argument for evolution by natural selection and the common descent of life: the fossil record. While modern evolutionists will tout the fossil record as one of their greatest strengths, even Darwin knew that his whole theory was shakily founded when it came to the evidence of the fossil record. One event in particular hidden down deep in the strata of the Earth’s crust holds the evidence of a sudden appearance of new an unique animal body plans. We call this event the Cambrian Explosion.

            During the Cambrian Explosion, we see a sudden appearance of fossilized animals not seen in previous layers. By Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms, we should see the gradual changes from a common ancestor, changing step by step up to other, more complex creatures. This gradual diversification was visualized as Darwin’s tree of life, a common illustration even in modern biology textbooks; however, this tree of life is being pulled up by its roots. Instead of finding that gradual increase in complexity, we go from small, soft-bodied organisms to a sudden burst of assortment. From the small Morella to the armored trilobite with its incredible compound eyes, to many others that represent most of the modern phyla. Could random mutation and natural selection account for such sudden change? Dr. Meyer doesn’t think so.

            Unbeknownst to Darwin, living organisms are built and run using blueprints found in a complex molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA for short. Many evolutionists rejoiced at the news, drafting the mutation of that molecule into their theory with gusto; yet, as Dr. Meyer argues, the amount of DNA required to build new structures and new animal forms is not something that can be done step by step over long periods of time. Like the uploading of a new application or operating system in a computer or smart phone, gaining new abilities like those found in the Cambrian strata require a large, organized input of brand new information. This information is clearly a bane for naturalistic evolution.

            As is logically seen in computer codes and other forms of written language, meaning is inevitably destroyed when put through a series of random changes. Evolutionists assume that the small, successive changes will help climb “Mount Improbable,” but they don’t realize that those small steps can go backwards down the mountain twice as fast as they go up. If the whole code is not suddenly inputted into the organismal DNA, then no new animal or new organ is ever feasibly going to appear. No current natural mechanism can explain the sudden appearance of this new upload of information in these unique Cambrian organisms.

            To explain where such information could have come from, one must know where these information rich molecules come from too. DNA, RNA, and proteins are all complex in size and shape, as well as specific in their organizational patterns. Where could they have come from? This line of questioning leads us into one of the biggest conundrums evolutionists will ever face: which came first? In true chicken and egg fashion, we see that DNA, RNA and proteins are all joined in indispensible interconnectivity. DNA is duplicated by complex protein machines. Similar proteins produce copies of that DNA into RNA, which in turn leaves the cell’s nucleus to code for the formation of the proteins. DNA needs both RNA and proteins to survive and reproduce. RNA needs DNA and proteins to do the same. Proteins need DNA, RNA and other functional proteins to come about. Which came first? If all are so vitally indispensible to the others, then no step-by-step process can be used to explain their origin. We only see such interdependence within engineered systems, drawing us to a conclusion of intelligent design.

            Dr. Stephen Meyer does a terrific job summarizing the case against Neo-Darwinism and naturalistic explanations for the sudden appearance of new Cambrian animals. His case-by-case rebuttal of the leading modern hypotheses is thorough and convincing. Meyer shows readers why he is a leading voice in the Intelligent Design debate with his thought provoking case against the evolutionary paradigm’s history of the Cambrian Explosion.

            Very little could be added to Dr. Meyer’s book. Not only did he invest significant effort in the rebuttals of a wide range of evolutionary hypotheses, but turned each on its head and pointed back to the core evidence. Richard Dawkins’ Mount Improbable no longer has a gradual slope at its back, but rather sheer cliffs on all sides. The conclusion of Intelligent Design is not only logical, but Meyer’s arguments make it seem inescapable.

            Darwin’s Doubt is an incredible book for any open to hearing evidence against the dogmatic theory of evolution. It does not take a trained scientist to comprehend Dr. Meyer’s entire book either. An interested layman—even a high school student—could sink their teeth into this text and come away with a significant case for Intelligent Design.


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