One of my favorite things about the holiday season is having more time to read than I do usually. I mean, read actual books. There’s an inviting coziness about this time of year, perfect for shutting the computer down, putting the accursed iPhone away, and retreating to the beauty of printed pages. It’s a golden opportunity to make intellectual discoveries, afforded to us more by books than any other way.
It’s for this reason that books make the perfect gifts. No doubt you’ve done all your Christmas shopping by now… Or have you? Whether the answer is yes or no, let me recommend that you add to your own enjoyment of the season, and that of your friends and family, with books. You know, coded information represented in a linear, alphabetic form, one of the hallmarks of intelligent design.
The Place to Turn
The scientists and scholars associated with Discovery Institute are the place to turn. Human Nature, by mathematician and philosopher David Berlinski, is the newest from Discovery Institute Press. Berlinski, along with Stephen Meyer, author of Darwin’s Doubt and Signature in the Cell, is the polymath and incomparable, hilarious character who, among other accomplishments, persuaded Yale’s David Gelernter to abandon Darwinism.
About Berlinski’s latest, Gelernter says, “If I were assembling a list of essential modern books for undergraduates at my college or any college, this book would be number one.” Whoa. And did you see Berlinski’s hour-long conversation with Ben Shapiro about Human Nature? Don’t miss that.
Another recent DI Press title, Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose, by the great Brazilian chemist Marcos Eberlin, a wonderful character himself, won praise from not one, not two, but three Nobel Prize-winning scientists. Gerhard Ertl (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2007) says of the book, “Despite the immense increase of knowledge during the past few centuries, there still exist important aspects of nature for which our scientific understanding reaches its limits. Eberlin describes in a concise manner a large number of such phenomena, ranging from life to astrophysics.”
The major ID book of the past year is Michael Behe’s Darwin Devolves (HarperOne). Behe “has been keeping committed Darwinists awake nights for years,” as Tom Gilson observes. Do you doubt that? Take a look at the extensive “Criticism & Response” page at the book’s website for a reflection of the sleepless nights Professor Behe has given to evolutionary scientists, sweating to crack the problem of how to give the mild-mannered Lehigh University biochemist a convincing rebuttal. Do any of his critics succeed? I would say no, but judge for yourself.
Darwin Devolves was 2019 Science Book of the Year, as recognized by World Magazine, while Foresight made the short list for the same honor.
Why This Debate Matters
Of course, as Darwinists and ID proponents equally realize, the reason this debate commands everyone’s attention is because it touches on the ultimate question human beings can ask: Does the universe reveal a cosmic purpose at work in nature, or…only blind churning as materialists argue? To evade a direct confrontation with the question, some religious believers take refuge in “private definitions” of Darwinian evolution, or other stratagems. Other theists dare to admit that the evolution debate has extremely important consequences.
Readers who love C.S. Lewis will know he thought clearly and critically about Darwinian theory. Or rather, they would know that if it weren’t for the fact that some influential theists have confused and obscured their own and other people’s thinking. John West edited the book The Magician’s Twin to explore and recover Lewis’s intellectual and spiritual legacy on this subject. Tom Bethell says, “This outstanding book will be of interest not just to C.S. Lewis readers but to anyone following the latest controversies surrounding intelligent design, reason, and the mysterious history of human life.” Indeed.
Also for fans of Lewis, an updated classic by Michael Aeschliman, reissued this year by Discovery Institute Press, The Restoration of Man: C.S. Lewis and the Continuing Case Against Scientism, was commended by no less than Russell Kirk as “One of the most perceptive books on C. S. Lewis” and “A succinct, strong book, worthy of Lewis himself.”
Disinformation about the relationship between faith and science is the target of science historian Michael Keas in his book Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. Keas, say historian Jeffrey Burton Russell at U.C. Santa Barbara, “does a splendid job dispelling viral myths and common errors.” Yes, he does.
A new contributor to Evolution News, Professor Robert Shedinger, has a new book out, The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms: Darwinian Biology’s Grand Narrative of Triumph and the Subversion of Religion, that I want to recommend. Shedinger is someone whose writing I’ve just recently got know and I enjoy and admire it greatly.
Audiobooks, and a Children’s Treasure
Rounding out the list are a couple of outstanding audiobooks, Michael Denton’s Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis, and Tom Bethell’s Darwin’s House of Cards. And finally a treasure by a beloved author with no relationship to Discovery Institute — yet who wrote perhaps the easiest and most charming book about the ideas behind intelligent design debate ever published. I’m talking about William Steig. His children’s book Yellow & Pink is a marvelous parable. For years it was mysteriously kept out of print, but no longer.
These are just a few gift ideas for your consideration. There are many, many more at the Discovery Institute Store! Wishing you a Merry Christmas.