Intelligent Design Icon Intelligent Design

Michael Denton Identifies TWO Intelligent Designs in the Universe

David Klinghoffer

Here is a wonderful new video lecture, “The Fitness of Nature for Mankind,” by Discovery Institute biologist Michael Denton. He gives a new expression to what he calls the “medieval synthesis” of knowledge about life, now enjoying a “Reconquista” thanks to modern science. In charming and lyrical yet rigorous fashion, Denton reviews the design evidence detailed in his books, including the most recent, The Miracle of the Cell:

“The whole world works together in the service of man,” as Francis Bacon wrote. Denton revives this ancient insight with modern rigor.

You may notice that Dr. Denton is wearing not one but two sweaters at once, one on top of the other. It’s not a bad, professorial sort of look. But I also take it as a deliberate gesture, a significant sign or metaphor: there are two layers or sides to the argument for intelligent design. One focuses on biology. It highlights the design of living things, their bodies, their organs, their minds and consciousness. The other focuses on physics and chemistry, the precise tuning of nature, its fitness for carbon-based living creatures specifically of our own design. This layer represents the remarkable, even absurdly precise preconditions of life. There could be no intelligent design to life without it.

As Denton points out, the design of physics and chemistry must have been in place already at the Big Bang. It is the very “ground of being.” It must reflect the planning of an intelligence that came before the first moments of our universe. To this design, Dr. Denton attaches the word “divine.” The design of physics and chemistry is necessarily divine. If it comes before all known physical existence, what else would it be? The contrast with the design in biology is noteworthy. Hypothetically, biological design might not be of a transcendent origin. But the design Denton discusses here must be transcendent. It seals the deal.