This is my tentative critique of the review series by RJS at the blog Jesus Creed. I hope to supplement this with additional quotes, links and comments in the near future.
1. She is wrong in her attacks on Meyer’s science. She asserts:
On the question of the origin of the first cell, Meyer has not carried out a thorough search evaluating the evidence – he has presented a cursory search and he has not done justice to the current state of knowledge and understanding.
RJS does not provide a single specific example of what she thinks Meyer has left out, or how he has “not done justice” to the current state of knowledge. On the contrary, she has admitted that scientists currently have no idea how life began despite centuries of exploring this idea. Her attacks on Meyer’s presentation of the relevant science are always general and vague and she does not give any specific example of a specific scientific claim that Meyer is wrong about.
2. She repeatedly accuses Meyer of using ridicule (in his discussion of Henry Quastler on pages 277-279), but an honest and fair reading of Meyer shows that this is clearly false. He uses calm and reasoned arguments to show how Quastler suffers from the “displacement” problem.
3. She focuses on certain illustrations that Meyer uses, but misrepresents how these fit into Meyer’s overall argument. She cites Meyer’s lock example (pp 349-351), but fails to disclose that this is merely an introductory illustration that leads into a detailed discussion of Dembski’s alternative methodology for detecting design. It was not intended by Meyer to be a complete argument in itself and is not even used to introduce Meyer’s own argument.
4. She misunderstands what constitutes an “argument from ignorance,” and unfairly accuses Meyer of this, despite his clear explanation of why his argument is not an argument from ignorance. To her credit, she corrected her error in one place, but she has never corrected her error in many other places in her series and other previous posts.
5. She dismisses Meyer’s argument by claiming that the timing of the design may have been at an earlier time, but she doesn’t seem to realize that she is actually confirming one of Meyer’s key points: that scientists who claim to solve the problem of the origin of information often merely “displace” the timing of what needs to be explained, rather than explain it.
6. She claims that Meyer’s “best explanation” argument fails. However, Meyer’s argument is that intelligent design is the “inference to the best explanation,” and RJS does not even bother to suggest any other explanation, let alone provide a reason why such explanation is better. She seems to suggest that Meyer’s explanation should be rejected on the basis of a personal hope that a non-design explanation may be found in the future.
7. By spending 9 posts on Meyer’s book she gives the false impression of doing a thorough review, but her “review” consists of highly selective discussions of limited topics and focusing on certain elements of the book that she found interesting. She ignores huge sections that go to the core of Meyer’s argument and could provide a foundation for healthy civil discussion on the relevant issues.
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