Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe

Michael Denton, Author
Michael Denton, Author Free Press $27.5 (448p) ISBN 978-0-684-84509-8
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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New England biologist Denton continues the assault on Darwinian science, especially the theories of evolution and natural selection, that he began in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Here, Denton takes a page out of the work of 19th-century natural theologians like William Paley and 19th-century anti-Darwinian scientists like Robert Chambers to contend that, far from being random and without direction, the laws of nature operate by design. Moreover, says Denton, the design of the laws of the universe inevitably lead to one conclusion: ""The entire process of biological evolution from the origin of life to the emergence of man was somehow directed from the beginning."" Denton marshals a dizzying array of scientific evidence to bolster his conclusions. First, he examines the evidence from physics and chemistry for the inevitability that the development of a universe like ours would have the evolution of life as its goal. He discusses gravity, the nuclear energy levels of certain atoms, water, light, carbon, uranium and more as elements whose existence is perfectly orchestrated to usher human life onto the universe's stage. Denton then discusses evolutionary biology, arguing that the biocentric nature of the universe undermines the Darwinian principles of contingent natural selection. Denton's arguments are weakened by their circular nature (he assumes design in nature and proceeds to make pieces fit his argument whether they do so easily or not), but his prose is engaging and his insights are accessible to readers who lack a deep scientific background. In the growing debate over Darwin's theories, Denton's voice remains one of the most notable and compelling. (July)
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