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Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe Hardcover – July 8, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0684845098 ISBN-10: 0684845091 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (July 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684845091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684845098
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Biolgist and medical researcher Denton argues that the laws of nature and the conditions on this planet exist for the inevitable origin of carbon-based life on Earth as well as the necessary emergence of the intelligent human animal (both events are assumed to be unique in this universe). In great detail, he examines the prerequisites and constituents required for the living cell: water, carbon, metals, oxygen, DNA, proteins, and solar radiation. Furthermore, Denton claims that a long chain of pervasive coincidences is supremely fit for the existence of life and our own species as the determined end of this evolving cosmos. Grounded in both teleology and biocentricity, his directed evolution is a combination of the anthropic principle and natural theology. Glaringly absent, however, is any serious consideration of the ramifications of evil, mutations, mass extinctions, contingency, and exobiology. Most scientists will reject Denton's commitment to purpose evolution as ill conceived and unconvincing. Recommeded only for larger science collections with a penchant for such novel works.?H. James Birx, Canisius Coll., Buffalo, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

So the reason i finished it is not the same reason as i bought it.
R. M. Williams
_Nature's Destiny_ is entertaining for those of us who have trouble believing there is an independent external reality.
David Baird
Denton's arguments deserve just as much exposure and examination as those of Davies, Hoyle and Dyson.
Jeffrey H. Harwell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Grimmy VINE VOICE on July 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It is a tragic demonstration of what Cremo, in "Forbidden Archeology," politely calls the "knowledge filter" of science, that evolutionists can take the time to read the 428 pages of this book and completely miss the whole point. To claim that Denton has been "converted" to evolutionism is either a serious misreading or deliberate misrepresentation. Perhaps the following, from the conclusion of "Nature's Destiny," will suffice to demonstrate:
"All the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition of traditional natural theology--that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as its fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facets of reality, from the size of galaxies to the thermal capacity of water, have their meaning and explanation in this central fact."(p. 389)
Can Denton's stance be any more clearer than this? Perhaps. He does say that "to get from a single cell to Homo Sapiens has taken about 4 billion years". Likewise, he seems to assume that evolution is responsible for the diversity and complexity of life, albeit directed by information built into the first cell, by whom or what he does not say. However, he offers little to support the notion that the origin of this first cell (and its wondrous DNA) was "in some way programmed into the laws of nature ... it has to be admitted that at present, despite an enormous effort, we still have no idea how this occurred ..."
He goes on to mention the various theories currently offered, unfortunately with a less critical eye than he should. Even the poor example of snowflakes as a highly ordered state analogous to the molecules of life is thrown a bone.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Discovery Reviewer on June 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this sequel to the seminal Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, molecular biologist Michael Denton provides various arguments that the laws of the universe appear to be designed to permit the existence of carbon-based life.

Denton initially explains how the four fundamental forces of physics and other parameters such as the expansion rate of the universe or the nuclear energy level in atoms must be precisely tuned to permit the existence of advanced life. While Denton acknowledges that many other authors have covered these themes, this lays the groundwork for some novel arguments Denton then makes.

Denton finds that the earth's atmosphere absorbs harmful radiation and is transparent to a narrow band of light radiation. This narrow band is optimized for the photochemistry of biological vision and the camera-type eyes in vertebrates. Moreover, the stable elements produced by supernova explosions, radiometric decay, and other processes are remarkably fit for the needs of carbon-based life.

None of this would matter if many forms of life were possible in our universe. But Denton's assessment of the periodic table finds that only Carbon fits the needs of life: it is capable of forming covalent bonds, and it forms appropriate organic compounds over the narrow range of temperatures where water, a solvent far superior to its closest rival, is liquid. Only silicon comes close to carbon in its utility for life, but it cannot form the same diversity of compounds as carbon.

Finally, Denton finds that complex organs such as the lobster's eye pose an insurmountable challenge to Neo-Darwinian evolution. The lobster's eye utilizes a precise array of reflectors which focus light on the retina. Evolution requires that all intermediate stages must be functional.
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Joshua V. Schneider VINE VOICE on November 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book could almost be seen as a sequel to Denton's first major critique of Darwinian Evolution, "Evolution a Theory in Crisis." In that book he devastates the Neo-Darwinian paradigm with evidence from various fields of biology, and concludes that life does appear to be designed. But then he does not follow the conclusion to a Designer, but remains a confirmed atheist (or agnostic). Apparently to resolve this peculiar stance of his, he writes the second volume, "Nature's Destiny". In it, he dives into a full-fledged purpose-driven (teleological) view of life and the universe. Or more accurately, what he proposes is a thoroughly deterministic view of life, based on the inherent physical and chemical constants in the laws of nature. While I by no means subscribe to his evolutionary conclusions regarding the evidence he propounds, I found the evidence and research he presented pointing to design to be fascinating.
What makes this book so peculiar is that the remarkable array of evidence he presents in the first 11 chapters is undeniably damaging to the Neo-Darwinian theories, a fact for which creationists and intelligent design advocates alike will applaud his book. Denton clearly shows how hundreds of discoveries in science have repeatedly bolstered rather than weakened the teleological view. Quite predictably, this evidence has made the evolutionists uncomfortable(see other reviews). Yet the conclusions that he draws from this evidence will undoubtedly spawn much more diverse reactions. He basically rejects the existence of God (and therefore cannot rightly be considered a true friend to creation or intelligent design), and retains evolution, albeit in a drastically altered form.
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