Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology
Reveal Purpose in the Universe
by Michael Denton, The Free Press, 1998,
454 pages, $27.50 hardback

Those of you who have followed our work for the past 30 years or who know something of the evolution/creation controversy will recognize the name of Michael Denton. Dr. Denton is the senior research fellow in human molecular genetics at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His Ph.D. is in developmental biology from King's College in London. He is the author of a book titled Evolution: A Theory in Crisis which we have reviewed some years ago in this journal (September/October, 1993, page 18).

Denton begins this book by looking at life and how it can exist on this planet. The first part of his book has eleven chapters which deal with the structure of the earth astronomically, the nature of water, the nature of light, the periodic chart, and how the elements support life, the structure of carbons, the chemistry of gases that support life, the nature of DNA, biochemical operators, the design of the cell, and the nature of man.

The second part of the book is titled Evolution and discusses the design features that lead to the diversity of life in our planetary home. There is also a useful appendix which discusses the constituents of life and their design.

This is not a creationist work, in spite of the attempt of skeptics to lump it with denominational creationism. Denton is a well educated, thinking scientist and his arguments are good. Religious skeptics will dismiss Denton as a theistic evolutionist, but scientifically trained readers will recognize this book as an extention of the work of Dyson, Hoyle, Ross, Davies, and Behe. A one sentence summary of the conclusion of the book would be "The laws of nature are tuned to reach an endpoint in man." Denton does not maintain we are the only endpoint, but the design of the laws is his thesis.

This is a useful book. It is written for scientifically literate people which includes many high school and college students. It would be a great gift to a college graduate who majored in the sciences. We recommend it for that type of reader. It will be useful to general readers who want explanations of the uniqueness of things like water, carbon, light, DNA, cells, etc., but probably not as a complete work arguing for the existence of God.

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