What Is Life? | Stephen Meyer

What Is Life? | Stephen Meyer

On a new podcast episode of Great Minds with Michael Medved, Dr. Steve Meyer talks with Michael about the reasons that life’s origin does not seem amenable to materialist explanations, and why human technology falls so far short of being able to synthesize it. That’s one focus of a really interesting conversation.

Even if you don’t know how to define life, you know it when you see it. But how? Of course there is a rigorous scientific definition, specifying the characteristics that distinguish living from nonliving matter. And these lead to conundrums for any materialist understanding of evolution.

As Steve Meyer notes, evolution has two distinct branches. Biological evolution seeks to clarify how complex life arises from simpler antecedents. But chemical evolution considers an even more profound question, how living organisms arose in the first place from strictly chemical antecedents. Life from non-life – the mystery was too deep for Darwin to seriously consider, and science still lacks even a clue about it, if the willingness is absent to consider a hypothesis of design.

An Intelligent Mind

Stephen Meyer. Dr. Meyer is not only a friend, he is a Cambridge University-trained philosopher of science, the director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, and the author of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design and the New York Times bestseller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design.


Show Notes

  • 02:15 | The notoriously difficult question: “What is life?”
  • 03:25 | Protoplasm and a simplistic understanding of life
  • 04:28 | Recognizing life, Scott Turner, and purposive behavior
  • 05:00 | Does purposiveness imply consciousness
  • 06:50 | The origin of the cosmos and the origin of life
  • 07:30 | Do we think the earliest life forms are still with us?
  • 08:00 | Biological versus chemical evolutionary theory
  • 09:00 | A “warm little pond”, primordial soup, and Fantasia
  • 10:20 | Amino acids do not proteins make
  • 10:50 | Why can’t we create something alive?
  • 11:22 | Are we closer to being able to make life?
  • 12:00 | The intelligent system at the heart of all of life
  • 15:00 | Layers upon layers of complexity
  • 15:30 | Life versus inanimate matter, kinds of complexity
  • 17:40 | Science, prediction, explanation, and intelligent design
  • 18:30 | Evaluating explanations like Darwin did
  • 19:20 | The basis of the inference to design

Further Resources