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By Design or By Chance? The Growing Controversy on the Origins of Life in the Universe Paperback – May 19, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Augsburg Books; 2004 edition (May 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806651776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806651774
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,079,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"... clear, evenhanded, and entertaining. A must for anyone who wants to get up to speed on this history-making controversy." -- Jonathan Wells, PhD, Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute

"...a magnificent introduction to the people and issues involved in the greatest intellectual controversy of our time." -- Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial

"...for those who are not specialists in the field, ...an outstanding introduction to ID for lay readers." -- Timothy G. Standish, PhD, Geoscience Research Institute

About the Author

Denyse O'Leary is a journalist who writes on topics related to science, religion, and faith. She is the author of several titles including Faith and Science: Why Science Needs Faith in the Twenty—First Century. The faith and science columnist for ChristianWeek, O'Leary has also contributed articles for Christianity Today, Faith Today, and Christian Times.

More About the Author

I am a Toronto-based journalist, author, and blogger. I first became interested in these issues becaue materialist, mechanist interpretations of the universe and life do not make any sense. There must be design behind it all.

Customer Reviews

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I was quite disappointed to find that I've been lied to, yet again.
Reverend Aaron
The author leaves us in no doubt that, for her, the evidence she presents supports the idea that there is some designing purpose behind the universe.
Dr. H. A. Jones
That's what makes this such an interesting read and a very important book.
Shawna Lynne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Gail Turner on June 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
The question in the title of the book is an important one well worth a serious philosophical and theological analysis in light of modern science. Unfortunately, the reader will have to look elsewhere for that discussion. Ms. O'Leary's book is a rehash of Intelligent Design (ID) propaganda which promotes shoddy science, shallow theology and incompetent journalistic research.
The basic problematic of the book begins in the preface where Ms. O'Leary states: "I began to see clearly that Darwinism is a theory of evolution that explicitly denies design in biology in order to leave God out to of the picture." Although, in the body of the text, she does make some effort to discriminate between the scientific theory of evolution and a philosophy which she, following the ID lead, calls Darwinism, this is so muted that the average reader must be forgiven if they equate the diatribes against Darwinism as an attack on the science of evolution.
The first example of shoddy science shows up in the introduction where a side-bar defines the Big Bang as an explosion. The next page labels a highly improbable event as "impossible" even though it is part of probability that improbable, even highly improbable events can happen. There is the usual ID/creationist confusion of the theory of evolution with theories about the origin of life leading to inappropriate commentary on the Urey-Miller experiments. There is the usual ID/creationist quote-mining of Gould's defence of Punctuated Equilibrium and misrepresentation of what that thesis entails. And this merely scratches the surface.
A shallow theology also runs right through the book. It begins by equating evolution with chance, chance with nature and nature with athiesm.
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By JD on December 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives you all the arguments, from all sides, on creation. Where science has been on this subject and where they are going. It is very thought provoking. If you are the kind of person who wants to make up your own mind about creation, this book has a detailed accounting of each argument, giving you the opportunity to choose for yourself what you believe.
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24 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. Aubrey on January 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
I received this as a gift due to my interest in intelligent design as a response to the theoretical shortcomings of Darwinism. But I'm not looking at ID to confirm religious or philosophical beliefs. Unfortunately, the author spends most of her time dealing with those issues.

She does touch on whether ID is science and the evidentiary and theoretical problems with natural selection as the be-all and end-all explanation of life. But those subjects are not treated in any kind of depth. I was disappointed she didn't explore the mathematical models making it highly improbable that natural selection (chance) can explain the complexity of many life forms, particularly at the molecular level.

I'm a layman but I'm inclined to believe that ID does have scientific implications and that the scientific establishment is overly defensive. It will not do to dismiss all ID proponents as closet creationists.

Bottom line: I didn't come out of it more confident of my grasp of of the subject matter than I did going in.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Jones on September 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
By Design or by Chance by Denyse O'Leary, Augsburg Books, Minneapolis, MN, 2004, 352 ff.

The author of this book, who describes herself as a journalist working in Toronto, Canada, says she set out on this project with no particular religious viewpoint to present. However, it's very difficult to present this subject objectively. O'Leary admits to being a Christian, so belief in a Creator Designing God is almost a given. Atheists, which I suspect would include a majority of scientists and philosophers, would begin from an assumption of the non-existence of a designing, creating deity and would interpret the data accordingly and in a different way to the author.

The author leaves us in no doubt that, for her, the evidence she presents supports the idea that there is some designing purpose behind the universe. Although the interpretation of the facts is therefore strongly biased, there is still much interesting information here. The book is well written and makes a highly readable case for ID through the agency of the God of western religion. The clarity of presentation is helped by good typographic design with highlighted Boxes and Tables dispersed throughout the text.

O'Leary argues that an eternal universe would dispense with the need for a Creator God, and that without God there would be no basis for morality - though neither conclusion follows from the premise! This does not have to be the God of Christianity, though clearly to create such a structure as the universe would require god-like qualities. The book espouses the cause of so-called `young earth creationism' as advocated by evangelical Christians in North America, of whom O'Leary is apparently one.
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45 of 73 people found the following review helpful By The Professor on December 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
I estimate that about 3 to 4 books about the creation-evolution controversy are published each week. Many are by non-scientists in favor of creationism of some type, and most repeat the same information. Many are not worth reading. This is a very different book on this topic.This book does not argue for one side, as most books on this topic do, but objectively discusses all sides of the controversy. For this reason all sides of the controversy, from young earth to old earth creationists, to theistic evolutionists to Intelligent Design theorists, to atheist evolutionists, will find this book very useful. It is written by an award winning journalist and has much new material of interest to all sides of this never ending controversy. In many ways it is an update of Ron Numbers classic book titled The Creationists. Numbers focused on the history from 1920 to about 1980 and this book covers 1980 to date, although some background before 1980 is covered. It covers the science issues but much of the focus is on the history and non science area. As such, it stands alone in the field and has no competition. If you want a book that covers the whole controversy, this book is for you. If you want a book that defends one side or the other side I would look elsewhere.
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