Paul A. Nelson, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh
Bachelor of Arts – Philosophy, Minor in Evolutionary Biology
University of Chicago (1998)
Ph.D. – Philosophy
Biola University, California
Adjunct Professor – Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion
Fellow – Center for Science and Culture
International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design
Complexity Metric for the Cambrian Explosion
“…Scientists wedded to a purely materialistic explanation will instinctively deny the very possibility of top-down intelligent causation. Yet we regularly employ precisely this mode of explanation, especially when we encounter the kinds of patterns and features that we see in the fossil record. Indeed, we see in the fossil record several distinctive features or hallmarks of designed systems, including: (1) a quantum or discontinuous increase in specified complexity or information; (2) a top-down pattern of innovation in which large-scale morphological disparity arises before small-scale diversity; (3) the persistence of structural (or “morphological”) disparities between separate organizational systems; and (4) the discrete or simultaneous emergence of functionally integrated material parts within novel organizational body plans.
“When we encounter objects that manifest any of these several features and we know how they arose, we invariably find that a purposeful agent or intelligent designer played a causal role in their origin. Thus, when we encounter all these same features in the fossil record, we may infer—based upon established cause-and-effect relationships and uniformitarian principles—that the same kind of cause operated in the history of life.
“In other words, intelligent design constitutes the best, most causally adequate, explanation of the specific features of the Cambrian explosion, and the features of this explosion in turn attest to the activity and power of a purposeful intelligence.”
* Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson, and Paul Chien, the “Conclusion” as excerpted from “The Cambrian Explosion: Biology’s Big Bang,” Darwinism, Design and Public Education, December 1, 2003.