Dr. Michael Denton’s new book The Miracle of the Cell (2020), is a real treat. His approach to the design inference is different from that of other prominent ID researchers’, which makes his writings quite refreshing. I recommend reading the book along with watching some of the fine videos featuring Denton because his awe of nature and the enthusiasm with which he communicates his findings are not fully conveyed through the written word.
The Miracle blew me away, almost like a religious experience. I have researched and written about ID for 15 years but as a former victim of 30 years of intense materialist propaganda, I still habitually think in ways that originate in that worldview. Denton shows that an intelligent designer already had living things in mind when creating the universe with all its differing elements. Because I had always viewed matter as some random cosmic product, which the designer eventually used for building living things, this came as a revelation to me.
Denton made me realize that life is not put together from elements that came into existence via cosmic randomness, but that the elements of the periodic table were carefully produced with life as end goal in the mind of the designer.
I came to think of this analogy: Building an object from random Lego bricks compared to building an object for which a specific set of Legos were produced.
My children, when they were young, had a huge bag of Legos from which they could build all sorts of things, using pieces that were not actually produced to serve as roof on a house, wheels on a truck, hatches on a tank, furniture in the garden etc.
On the other hand sometimes they got, as a birthday gift, a set of Legos specifically meant to be assembled into a ship, a motorcycle, a castle, or a caterpillar. In this case, unlike building Lego structures from randomly available pieces, they had individual pieces that were made to serve specific purposes in the overall construction. Denton makes this latter analogy in his book, arguing that hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, iron, copper, zinc etc, were most likely created specifically to serve as building materials for life.
Denton reveals the extreme specificity of the elements, how the properties—the configuration of electrons—of every single element is clearly tuned to fit the properties of the other elements such that no substitutions seem possible. The chemical characteristics of each element play together in a symphony of awesome fine tuning.
If the elements were not designed specifically to accommodate life, we should be able to detect spots where improvement could be done or where one element could be substituted for another. According to Denton, this seems not to be the case.
Although modern cosmology portrays events that led to the creation of matter as undirected, The Miracle of the Cell (2020) makes it clear that this is not what evidence suggests. The designer of life was also the designer of the variety of elements constituting what we call matter. The chemical workings of the cell reveal that matter is a Lego set with designated pieces predestined to be assembled to what we call life.
Note: Karsten Pultz is our Danish correspondent.