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The Scientist Who Shouldn’t Exist — New Book by Matti Leisola, Jonathan Witt 

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Matti Leisola

Matti Leisola isn’t supposed to exist. According to the standard patter from evolutionists, there is no controversy about evolution in the scientific community, nor any need for serious consideration of the theory of intelligent design. That’s because no legitimate scientist doubts modern evolutionary theory; and even if there may be a handful of such doubters in the U.S., there certainly are none to speak of in enlightened Western Europe.

A new book by and about distinguished Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola authoritiatively brushes aside these Darwinist talking points. The book is Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design, co-written with Discovery Institute’s Jonathan Witt, a Senior Fellow with the Center for Science & Culture.

Dr. Leisola is the former dean of Chemistry and Material Sciences at Helsinki University of Technology, and the author of 140 peer-reviewed science publications on enzymes and rare sugars. Among other distinctions, he is a winner of the Latsis Prize of the ETH Zürich.

While arguing, from vast experience, against modern evolutionary theory and for intelligent design, the book is also a memoir. The back cover nicely summarizes the narrative thread:

What happens when an up-and-coming European bioscientist flips from Darwin disciple to Darwin defector? Sparks fly….Heretic is the story of Leisola’s adventures making waves — and many friends and enemies — at major research labs and universities across Europe.

Leisola’s deep knowledge of biology is evident throughout the book, but fellow scientists may find Chapter 10 particularly valuable. There, Leisola unpacks what he has learned about evolution and design from his work on engineering enzymes and microbes.

Dr. Witt worked with Dr. Leisola to make the book readily accessible to a broad audience. A gifted science writer and explainer, Witt is the author previously of A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature, Intelligent Design Uncensored, and three documentaries that have appeared on PBS, including The Privileged Planet.

From the introduction, describing how Leisola started down the path to scientific heresy:

As a young student, I used to laugh at those who, as I thought, placed God in the gaps of our scientific knowledge. This God-of-the-gaps criticism is often leveled against Christians and other religious believers, against all those who insist there is clear evidence of design in nature. To my way of thinking, such people lacked the patience and level-headedness that I possessed. It was so clear to me: Instead of plugging away to discover the natural mechanism for this or that mystery about the natural world, these pro-design people threw up their hands and used the God-did-it explanation as a cover for ignorance.

This criticism of intelligent design proponents struck me as reasonable, so I didn’t listen to their arguments. But eventually I came to realize that this criticism cuts both ways, since a functional atheist also can reach for pat explanations in the face of mystery. It’s just that for him, the pat explanation will never be God. That is, you do not need God in your explanatory toolkit in order to short-circuit careful scientific investigation and reasoning. I realized that I myself had been all too willing to stuff vague materialistic explanations into the gaps of our scientific knowledge….

Also, their argument for entertaining only material explanations in the sciences just assumes that everything we find in nature has a purely material cause. But what if that assumption is wrong? What if there are features of the natural world — the laws and constants of nature itself, for instance — that really are the work of a creative intelligence?

Scientists are supposed to investigate mysteries with an open mind, not assume an explanation from the outset. I came to see that the best approach is to evaluate which explanation among the live options is more logical and fits the facts better.

The book has already garnered impressive endorsements from other scientists. One is from Dr. Erick J. Vandamme, Emeritus Professor of Bioscience Engineering, Centre for Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology, Ghent University, Belgium. Another is by Zombie Science author and biologist Jonathan Wells.

More on those later. Here we’ll only quote an especially colorful passage from German geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönning’s endorsement. Heretic, he writes, is “the exciting story of almost the entire spectrum of aberrant motives, absurd fears, and unreasonable reactions to intelligent design (ID) by evolutionary scientists, clergymen, and church institutions alike.”

Heretic is also a story of fellow Darwin doubters discovered, and new supporters for ID won, in the most unexpected places. But for that you will have to read the book. Get it now at Amazon in paperback or Kindle.