new paper from Michael Denton

I was pleased to come across this very recent paper [here] from one-time New Zealander (I don’t know where he’s based now) Michael Denton, an agnostic (as I understand) biochemist/geneticist whose 1998 book ‘Nature’s Destiny’ was very influential, along with Michael Behe’s ‘Darwin’s Black Box’ and Paul Davies’ ‘The Fifth Miracle’ in leading me to study molecular biology; I read them in 2006 in the midst of a time of quite intense religious, philosophical, and scientific exploration and am grateful to God for the book selection on offer in my local library at that time.

The contents of the paper are largely familiar from Denton’s book, with some updates regarding recent findings in extremophile microbes. His thinking occupies a very interesting place between considerations of the fine-tuning of fundamental physical laws (which is very popular in academic theist circles) and less academically popular but nevertheless well-known modern design arguments in biology; working in this ‘gap’, Denton considers the shape of biochemistry as it relates to animal physiology and the constraints on it from deeper chemical/physical laws. I’d like to see it formally integrated with other teleological considerations in biology such as those arising from trends of evolutionary convergence – perhaps one day I’ll get on to that.

A particularly striking quote which I am likely to use at a later stage:

At the very same time that Nietzsche famously proclaimed, “Nihilism stands at the door”, new discoveries in organic chemistry and biochemistry, unrecognized at the time, were providing the first hint that life on earth might after all be the result of design and not the accident of deep time and chance that was increasingly assumed.

Nietzsche – might have benefited from considering the fitness of the environment for life!



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