22:54:06

Director's Introduction

The Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design, Dr Alastair Noble, introduces the Intelligent Design debate in this 4 minute video clip.

Dr Alastair Noble's introduction to ID

© Centre for Intelligent Design

How the Scientific Consensus can hinder Science

How the Scientific Consensus can hinder Science

This article seeks to discuss "Scientific consensus" as it is understood today and how, in the past, scientific consensus has had to undergo seismic shifts. Read more

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Dismissing Intelligent Design as 'Creationism' is the easy way of avoiding having to deal with the empirical evidence for design. Read more

Was there a cause of the universe?

Was there a cause of the universe?

Cosmologists tell us that we now know a fair amount of detail about the conditions of the universe from the first split second, 13.7 billion years ago. Read more

The Fine Tuned Universe

The Fine Tuned Universe

The words ‘fine tuning of the universe’ have been around for quite a while and are greeted with bafflement, scepticism and wonder; in about equal proportions. What on earth (or in the universe) does it mean? Theoretical physicist Paul Davies calls it the ‘Goldilocks Enigma’.1 Is it real... Read more

University finds brain's complexity beyond belief

University finds brain's complexity beyond belief

RESEARCHERS  have found that a single human brain has more molecular-scale switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on the entire planet! Read more

Conference tickets now on sale

A day conference in Cambridge with world class speakers has been arranged for Saturday November 12th 2016. 

Tickets are now on sale.  Book now to avoid disappointment!

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Doubly designed?

Metamorphosis: the beauty and design of butterflies

Watch this 4' 22" video clip to explore the world of butterflies which, in the words of the commentary, are shown to be doubly designed!

Metamorphosis: The Beauty & Design of Butterflies

Academic Freedom

See the menu item ACADEMIC FREEDOM. To quote from the lead in to the page: ".... However, there is another key issue raised by ID.  It is the freedom of academics and science educators to explore and discuss the issues associated with ID.  The exploration of ID within science should not be dismissed as something it is not – a disguised religious position."

Press Release

The Centre for Intelligent Design on September 27th 2011 issued a press release and additional material relating to the call by Prof Richard Dawkins, Sir David Attenborough and others for a legal  ban on Creationism and Intelligent Design in Britain's schools. Click here for the Press Release page.

Meyer vs Fox on Premier Radio:

Is Intelligence allowed in Biological Science?

Don’t miss a most revealing debate on Premier Radio between Stephen Meyer, a leading proponent of Intelligent Design who directs the Centre for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, and Keith Fox, Professor of Biochemistry at Southampton University, who also chairs the UK Christians in Science network.

This programme was broadcast when Dr Meyer was in London recently for the Inaugural Lecture of the Centre for Intelligent Design, UK. That event focused on Dr Meyer’s recent book ‘Signature in the Cell’ – a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year - which claims to show that the DNA code is the product of intelligent mind, not naturalistic processes. Prof Fox disagrees strongly with ID, arguing instead that, given time, scientists should be able to work out a naturalistic explanation. The core of this debate is not just how life could have originated, but whether intelligent mind as a cause is allowed as an explanation in science. Click here to find the broadcast.

London Spectator hails Denton's Evolution:Still a Theory in Crisis as a "Best Book" of 2016

"A truly great book.....Fascinatingly clear.....Destroys the Darwinian position," according to distinguished literary critic A. N. Wilson.








Why the fossils from the Cambrian era rock the foundations of Darwinism
With just under two months to go to the much anticipated release of Dr Steve Meyer's new book on the Cambrian explosion (Darwin's Doubt: The explosive origin of animal life and the case for intelligent design), some people may be wondering what the 'Cambrian Explosion' is all about. All is explained in this new article by Andrew Halloway.

Charles Darwin was baffled as to why the fossil record contradicted the predictions of his theory.

In his classic book ‘On the Origin of Species’, Darwin wrote that if evolution were true “it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited… the world swarmed with living creatures”. Yet he admitted that the rocks below the Cambrian layers were almost devoid of fossils.

Instead, in the Cambrian strata, “species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks” – without any evidence of earlier ancestral organisms. Darwin frankly acknowledged that this lack of ancestral forms was “a valid argument” against his theory1. But he hoped that future research would discover the missing evidence.

Explosive evidence

Almost 150 years later, ‘Darwin’s dilemma’ has only got worse – much worse. It is now known that 40 major animal groups (phyla) appear out of nowhere in the Cambrian strata; that’s 50–80 per cent of the animal phyla that have ever existed. This dramatic flurry of creation is called the Cambrian Explosion.

Even in Darwin’s time geologists knew that the oldest fossils appeared abruptly in what were beginning to be called the Cambrian rocks, with empty rock layers below.

So why is the Cambrian Explosion the equivalent of putting dynamite under the theory of evolution?

Neo-Darwinian evolution postulates that species give rise to other species in small, gradual steps over huge swathes of time. The more different two organisms are, the more evolutionary steps and the more time is required to connect them.

The problem with the Cambrian Explosion (around 540 million years ago according to radiometric dating) is that a huge range of creatures appear in a very short period – around ten million years – with no gradual evolutionary steps visible before them. Ten million years is a blink of an eye in geological time, and far too short for even the most ardent evolutionist to believe that 40 major phyla could develop.

Darwin proposed that the ancestor fossils once existed, but had eroded away. It is true that in most places there are no rocks between the Cambrian and Precambrian layers, so Darwin’s suggestion seemed credible. However, the test would be to find the places in the world where the vital rocks did still exist, and see what fossils they held.

Growing problem

After 150 years of searching, what is the result? Some other Precambrian rocks have been found, some with a few fossils in them. But it’s not good news for Darwin. The strange fossils bear no relation to those of the Cambrian, and so cannot be their precursors.

Some argued that perhaps the evolutionary ancestors of the Cambrian creatures hadn’t been preserved for some reason. But then palaeontologists found fossils as tiny as those of bacteria and microscopic animals in the Precambrian layers. This suggested that the conditions for fossilisation were ideal before the Cambrian, so any animals that existed could and should have been fossilised.

To make things worse for Darwin, as more fossils have been discovered, the Cambrian Explosion has just got bigger! Besides the famous trilobites and brachiopods, fossil hunters have found echinoderms and even some vertebrates. In fact, they have found fossils from all the major animal phyla (groups) alive today! This suggests that all the main branches of the entire evolutionary tree of animals originated before the Cambrian era, yet they are absent from the fossil record.

And a new problem emerged. Above the Cambrian strata, the fossils are as different from the Cambrian creatures as the Cambrian organisms are from each other – again with hardly any evidence of change in-between.

All this more than strains evolutionary theory to the limit. It is difficult enough to find supporting evidence for gradual evolution, so incredibly rapid evolution in a very short space of geological time like the Cambrian is even harder to believe.

The Cambrian strata show that most of the major phyla of animal we know today just appeared – fully formed.

Leading palaeontologist Prof Charles Marshall laments: “While the fossil record of the well-skeletonised animal phyla is pretty good, we have virtually no fossils that are unambiguously assignable to the most basal stem groups of these phyla, those first branches that lie between the last common ancestor of all bilaterians and the last common ancestor of the living representatives of each of the phyla….their absence is striking. Where are they?”2

Of course, if anyone suggests that this inconvenient evidence is proof that evolution didn’t happen, evolutionists froth at the mouth. But the fact is that the Cambrian Explosion makes a mockery of the slow, gradual process of minute changes on which the whole theory is based.

Do Hox genes solve the dilemma?

There have been attempts to explain the Explosion, of course, but none very convincing.

One idea is that the genes controlling development, most notably Hox genes, explain how new body plans evolved in sudden leaps. If change takes place at such a fundamental stage of development, then new body plans can emerge – or so the theory goes.

However, changing a body plan is a huge step. How would a half-way house, intermediate form survive to pass on such a change? For example, consider the difference between an exo-skeleton (external) and an internal skeleton (the chordates). An organism with a skeleton half-in and half-out is not only difficult to imagine but far more likely to be eradicated by natural selection than preserved.

Not only that, but new body plans require huge amounts of highly complex and specified information (CSI) encrypted in non-protein coding DNA, and CSI is an indicator of design – not random variation.

All the research so far indicates that Hox genes alone are insufficient to create new body plans, but even if they could produce such radical changes, there’s still a problem. Mutations to body plans are not tolerated in the development of animals. Body plan mutants are known as ‘embryonic lethals’ because they usually die before birth.

But if an organism with some sort of intermediate body plan change is born, its chances of survival are severely limited. A half-evolved body is almost certain to be a hindrance rather than an advantage. Large-scale changes that are only half-way to something else are likely to be crippling. Even if it stays alive long enough to reach adulthood, it may be unable to reproduce or attract a mate to propagate such a change. Changes would have to be pretty much right first time in order to work well.

For example, long-running fruit fly experiments produced the famous Antennapedia mutant, which had legs where its antennae should be. In the wild, natural selection would soon eliminate such mutants.

Do the eyes have it?

Another idea is that the atmosphere cleared for the first time, and sunlight shone in the seas. Suddenly those creatures that developed eyesight were at a fantastic advantage, and eyes popped up all over the place. This drove a massive increase in predation – the trigger for the Cambrian Explosion. Mutations that gave better defence or attack capabilities were at a premium, and evolution was forced into overdrive. It’s called the Light Switch Theory, devised by biologist Prof Andrew Parker.

One problem. You’d expect the first eyes to be very primitive, later evolving into sophisticated eyes. Unfortunately for evolutionists, the first eyes that appear in the Cambrian layers are very sophisticated. They belonged to trilobites, and trilobites appear first in the Early Cambrian rocks, not the later ones. Trilobite eyes are incredibly complex – more complex than some in existence today. The advantage their compound eyes gave them might explain why trilobites were so successful, but their eyes don’t fit with an evolutionary progression from simple to complex.

Secondly, if there was this huge increase in evolutionary activity in the Cambrian period, you’d expect the Cambrian rocks to be loaded with transitional fossils. Instead, there are very few fossils that could be viewed as showing changes from one creature into another.

Evolutionists are having to revert to Darwin’s idea that the missing links are simply missing – just as they are for the vast majority of the fossil record. They refuse to contemplate that the links might have never existed. Evolutionary palaeontologist James Valentine writes: “Many of the branches, large as well as small, are cryptogenetic [lacking ancestors]. Some of these gaps are surely caused by the incompleteness of the fossil record…”3

Bad science

In addition, evolutionary assumptions about Precambrian fossils have led some scientists into bad science. For example, Chuaria, a single celled alga, was originally wrongly thought to be a shelly invertebrate because Charles Doolittle Walcott was looking for Precambrian ancestors of Cambrian creatures.

The famous Ediacaran fauna, weird organisms found at Ediacara in Australia and other places around the world, were once seized upon as the answer to Darwin’s dilemma. But after further discoveries of these strange fossils, evolutionists are not so sure. They have struggled to imagine evolutionary relationships among these organisms. So different are they to anything before or since that one palaeontologist proposed that they should be classified as a completely separate kingdom, and it’s not even certain whether they were animals or plants or some kind of intermediate.

Evolutionary palaeontologist Peter Ward admits: “Later study cast doubt on the affinity between these ancient remains preserved in sandstones and living creatures of today; the great German palaeontologist A. Seilacher, of Tübingen University, has even gone so far as to suggest that the Ediacaran fauna has no relationship whatsoever with any currently living creatures. In this view, the Ediacaran fauna was completely annihilated before the start of the Cambrian fauna.”4

In fact, so desperate are evolutionists to find the missing progenitors of the Cambrian fossils that even inorganic objects have been mistaken for fossils. For example, Eozoon Canadense turned out not to be a fossil but a metamorphic rock.

In contrast, an ID model might predict a sudden injection of genetic information into biological systems at various stages in the fossil record, especially at the beginning of major phases like the creation of plants or animals. The Cambrian evidence is entirely consistent with this view of history.

References

1. Fifth edition (1869), Chapter IX, ‘On the Imperfection of the Geological Record’, pp. 378-381.

2. ‘Explaining the Cambrian “Explosion” of Animals’, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 34, pp. 362-3 (2006)

3. ‘On the Origin of Phyla’, University of Chicago Press (2004), p. 35.

4. ‘On Methuselah’s Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions’, W. H. Freeman (1992), p. 36

Acknowledgement: Originally published in The Delusion of Evolution by A. Halloway et al, New Life Publishing, 5th edition (2012), available at amazon.co.uk


 

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Prof Mike Behe UK Tour

Prof Mike Behe, Professor of Chemistry at Lehigh University, USA, toured the UK in November 2010.  He is author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. For one week he gave lectures and was a speaker at a day conference in Oxford. Click here for a report on the tour.

Full details of the tour and the day conference can be found at the associated website www.darwinordesign.org.uk.

Premier Radio interview

Mike Behe is adamant that the latest science proves Intelligent Design to be true. He recently spoke to Premier Radio presenter Justin Brierley, who will be hosting the London leg of the Darwin or Design tour on Monday November 22nd. Justin began by asking Behe how it feels to be labelled a "maverick" by the majority of the scientific community.

Hear Prof Mike Behe

Press comment

GUARDIAN - UK Centre for Intelligent Design claims it will focus on science, not religion



NATURE - Blogs - New intelligent design centre launches in Britain - September 24, 2010

Dr Noble says. "I would stress that we’re not targeting schools."