Michael Denton’s Wonderful New Book

The Discovery Institute is once again promoting the latest book by Michael Denton, a Discovery Institute “Senior Fellow.” The first time we wrote about it was An Amazing New Discoveroid Book, where we said:

Here’s the book’s Amazon listing. The price is only $14.95 in paperback, and for that you get 166 pages. It’s published by the Discovery Institute — which means it’s essentially a vanity press book.

Today the Discoveroids are promoting it again. They just posted Michael Denton Explore the Miracle of Air and Sun. It’s very brief and it has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A classic episode of ID the Future [Ooooooooooooh! A Discoveroid podcast!] shines a light on Discovery Institute biochemist Michael Denton’s book, Children of Light: The Astonishing Properties of Sunlight that Make Us Possible. Denton explores the properties of sun and air. Download the podcast or listen to it here [link omitted].

Sounds like a great podcast! Then they say:

In Children of Light, Denton shows how sun and air are crucial parts of the larger story of our fine-tuned place in the cosmos.

Wowie — life on Earth needs sunlight and air — and we’ve got ’em! That didn’t happen by accident! It’s all because of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! And that’s what Denton’s book says. At the end of their brief post, the Discoveroids tell us:

Or as he puts it in the book, “Whatever the cause and whatever the ultimate explanation, nature appears to be fine-tuned to an astonishing degree for beings of our biology.”

Think about it. You need air, and you’ve got it. Only a Darwinist idiot would think that’s a happy coincidence. You’re not a Darwinist idiot, are you, dear reader? Then start believing in intelligent design, and send your money to the Discoveroids.

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13 responses to “Michael Denton’s Wonderful New Book

  1. “They just posted Michael Denton Explore the Miracle of Air and Sun.”

    Air and Fire? I bet volume 2 has the rest of the four elements, Earth and Water. Is it too early to preorder?

  2. Derek Freyberg

    The Intelligently Designed puddle theory strikes again.

  3. If the laws of nature are fine tuned for the existence of humanity, that means that there is no special intervention needed, no bypassing things like the second law of thermodynamics. That means that humanity is a natural consequence of the laws of nature.

  4. Dave Luckett

    TomS points out, admirably succinctly, the internal contradiction at the heart of “fine-tuning” arguments. If “intelligent design” of living things is your premise, you cannot admit such arguments. If the cosmos, or earth, is “fine-tuned” for life, then life need not be “designed”; it will simply occur naturally. Denton should be anathema to the DI; his book should be on their Index Librorum Prohibitorium; they should be moving heaven and earth to prevent its publication.

    Instead, what do we have? The DI torpedoing their own premise to march in lockstep with any argument, any approach, that might make headway, however illusory, against the never-to-be-sufficiently-reviled Darwinism, hiss boo.

    They have no chance of success. But the historian in me sees parallels with the rise of all exclusive religions. Differences in doctrine can be accommodated among the faithful until the religion reaches dominance. If that is ever achieved, the differences become glaring and incompatible, and shortly thereafter, intolerable.

    I suppose it would be amusing to watch the DI excoriating themselves or other creationists over this or other points of doctrine – but that would be to assume that they had risen to dominance. And that, in turn, would be to contemplate religious war.

    Therefore, let them march arm-in-arm together, forever.

  5. Moreover, if humanity is created, then any creator who is capable of fine tuning the laws of nature is surely up to the lesser task of suspending the laws when creating humanity.
    And a final conflict is with Young Earth Creationism. YEC depends on the laws of nature being massively different in the last few thousand years: the speed of light, rates of radioactive decay, the whole Omphalis

  6. Eddie Janssen

    If first you design a universe, a sun and an earth and after that you design life on earth you better design it in such a way that it is compatible with the features of that universe, sun and earth if (human) life is your primary goal.

    If first you design life and after that you design a universe, a sun and an earth you better design it in such a way that it is compatible with the features of that life if (human) life is your primary goal.

  7. An IDiot podcast shining light on Children of Ligth that shines light on sunlight. Sounds indispensable indeed. Still for some reason I suspect that we won’t meet much Enlightenment.

    “Only a Darwinist idiot would think that’s a happy coincidence.”
    Well, I’m rather an darwinist idiot than an IDiot from Seattle, but no, I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Something with sufficient and/or necessary conditions.

    @DaveL and TomS: the more sensible apologists (like Richard Swinburne) will rather convincingly argue that you present a false dilemma. Causality and teleology do not necesserily exclude each other. Their god is both the ultimate cause (of for instance fine-tuning) and the ultimate purpose (he did so with the goal of creating/designing/constructing/whatever sentient beings like we humans in mind). This has all kinds of other problems, but the one pointed out by you it is not.
    However according to IDiots and other creationists – the apologists we all love the most – this is a dilemma indeed. That’s because they reject naturalism. The infamous Wedge Document makes this mercilessly clear, which is one, albeit not the most important reason IDiots don’t like to talk about it anymore. But of course only when it suits them, so that they can replace it with “goddiddid” as their theology prescribes.

  8. @FrankB
    Of course, an omnipotent and omniscient agent can do anything.
    I am not denying that.
    What I am pointing out is inconsistency in the arguments for X and against Y. To point out a flaw in an argument for X does not make an argument against X. It just leaves X without warrant.
    It is like, in a way, to point out that nobody as any idea what a supernatural design might be doesn’t mean that there is no supernatural design. If you write an essay proposing evolution cannot account for the Unnecessary Superfluity of life, and I complain that you haven’t shown that there is such a feature of life, I haven’t shown how evolution can account for US.

  9. Dave Luckett

    An assertion that a Creator – oops, sorry, a designer – used miraculous or supernatural means, when natural means are sufficient, is to accuse that designer of poor design of the natural means, hence of fallibility, hence of failure of the omnipotence required for miraculous means in the first place. To assert that the natural means are NOT sufficient, is to impose limitations on such a designer, viz. an inability to design sufficient natural means, yet at the same time to credit supernatural powers. This is also internally inconsistent.

  10. @TomS: Swinburne will maintain, for the reasons I gave, that the inconsistency/flaw you pointed out is not an inconsistency/flaw. I’d rather not defend your argument against him. I don’t like losing and prefer some much better and more general arguments. But that’s just me.

    @DaveL: That’s the Problem of Evil (in the form of imperfections) you’re now talking about. That was not what I was addressing; I reacted to the implied incompatibility of causality and teleology.
    It’s not the place and time right now to discuss how Swinburne tackles the PoE. So I’ll only point out that that inconsistency, which allegedly goes back to Epicurus, by most philosophers not necessarily is seen as one anymore. That includes atheist philosophers. These days they prefer an inductive approach, arguing that the cumulative evidence regarding suffering and imperfection makes a creator-designer-god far more improbable than atheism. For an extensive discussion I refer to the site of Stanford University, the article called Problem of Evil.
    So the same conclusion holds. It’s an inconsistency in creationism, but not necessarily in all variations of monotheism. Moreover hindu-creationists will simply laugh at you.

  11. @Dave Luckett
    What I have to say, I don’t want to be misunderstood as criticism of what you said.
    A creationist could reply that you haven’t shown that there is no design.
    And I reply that Dave has shown that your arguments are flawed. He hasn’t gone into details about how they are flawed, but somehow if one accepts both arguments, one for fine tuning and one for intelligent design, one ends up contradicting oneself. One ought to clean up one or the other. (BTW, maybe both arguments are flawed. It isn’t up to Dave to decide which one, or what are the flaws.)

  12. Michael Fugate

    Meyer is using Swinburne’s inductive argument. Swinburne’s ideas pre-date Christianity and they will no doubt post-date it as well. The dualism of an eternal essence coupled to a mortal body is as old as the hills. If it works for humans, then it must work for all living things; this is where Christianity goes off the rails.

  13. 166 pages of miracles replacing the scientific method for $14.95? Assuming a couple of miraculous god interventions explained per page, that is still less than a nickel per supernatural poofing. A bargain. Think of all the critical thinking skills this book will develop.