Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Michael Denton: Does water’s remarkable fitness for life point to design?


From Michael Denton, in Wonder of Water:

Whether the remarkable instances in which various properties of water work together to serve a vital end—such as the suite of properties involved in eroding rocks, or the suite of thermal properties involved in temperature regulation—are actually the result of design or not, there is no doubt that they convey a compelling impression of design. Every bit as remarkable, and also highly suggestive of design—perhaps even more so—are those instances where one vital property of water or set of properties is only useful because of another property or set of properties. We have seen many such instances in the previous chapters, and I have referred to them variously as a teleological sequence or teleological hierarchy.

As we saw, water’s fitness for the circulatory system is prior to and necessary to exploit water’s talents for temperature regulation and heat extraction in complex, warm-blooded organisms such as ourselves. Water’s provision of minerals for land-based life, via its suite of talents for eroding the rocks, is of use only because of water’s prior and unique ability to exist in three material states in ambient conditions on Earth—an ability that enables the hydrological cycle. Again, the high surface tension and cohesiveness of water involved in drawing water from the roots to the top of trees enables another suite of fitness for photosynthesis in leaves—including water’s evaporative cooling of the leaves, which protects them from overheating in the hot sun.

In such teleological sequences, water is both end and means, exhibiting a design that transcends anything in the realm of the artifact. This is like clothes delivering themselves by their own powers to the shopping mall; like gasoline delivering itself to the filling station. And in those
cases where water is involved in regulatory homeostatic loops (the classic case being silicate weathering), water is not just means and end but is the major means or agent regulating the end, like clothes that not only deliver themselves to the mall but also by their own powers adjust their rate of delivery depending on market demand! (Pp 182–83 )More.

Denton does not seem certain. Perhaps, in the end, it comes down to whether we think there can be objective evidence for anything.

For moderns, the information Denton provides would require a decision. But post-moderns say there are no facts and no evidence; there are only narratives. The strong impose their narratives on the weak. Even mathematics is just another oppressive narrative.

Science cannot actually survive the war on evidence, though jobs of some sort in something called science will.

See also: Eight minute vid for Michael Denton’s new Wonder of Water

Of course: Mathematics It’s perpetuates white privilege.


Nature, as defined today, cannot be all there is. Science demonstrates that.


Leave a Reply