Michael Denton has a new book out, The Miracle of Man: The Fine Tuning of Nature for Human Existence
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For years, leading scientists and science popularizers have insisted humans are nothing special in the cosmic scheme of things. In this important and provocative new book, renowned biologist Michael Denton argues otherwise. According to Denton, the cosmos is stunningly fit not just for cellular life, not just for carbon-based animal life, and not even just for air-breathing animals, but especially for bipedal, land-roving, technology-pursuing creatures of our general physiological design. In short, the cosmos is specifically fit for creatures like us. Drawing on discoveries from a myriad of scientific fields, Denton masterfully documents how contemporary science has revived humanity’s special place in nature. “The human person as revealed by modern science is no contingent assemblage of elements, an irrelevant afterthought of cosmic evolution,” Denton writes. “Rather, our destiny was inscribed in the light of stars and the properties of atoms since the beginning. Now we know that all nature sings the song of man. Our seeming exile from nature is over. We now know what the medieval scholars only believed, that the underlying rationality of nature is indeed ‘manifest in human flesh.’ And with this revelation the… delusion of humankind’s irrelevance on the cosmic stage has been revoked.”David Klinghoffer, “The Miracle of Man: New Book by Michael Denton” at Evolution News (May 10, 2022)
65 Replies to “Michael Denton’s new book: Nature is fine-tuned for human existence”
The conditions in the vast majority of the Universe we can observe are unremittingly hostile to life such as ours. The extrasolar planets we have been able to detect so far could not support life as we know it. Only on this one small planet are conditions favorable enough to allow life to flourish. Yet even here there have been cataclysmic events which have come close to destroying all life on Earth. For all we know, the next one could seal the deal.
On its face, this book sounds like just another extended version of Douglas Adams’s “puddle” analogy and its contention just as absurd.
A few years back when Lawrence Krauss demolished Stephen Meyer in a debate on ID, Krauss brought up a point that needs to be reiterated. The universe isn’t fine tuned for us, we are fined tuned for the universe by evolution….
Why are you crying like a baby and doing nothing to solve the problem ?
Yep ,it’s the best! Lawrence Krauss also demolished Jeffrey Epstein‘s critics.
CD, Krauss of a universe from a non existent hat? As to the attack on fine tuning simply look here https://uncommondescent.com/physics/globular-cluster-m55-as-illustrating-apparent-aging-of-our-galaxy-cosmos/ and note the chart of where we are. It is distractive to point to outer space as hostile to life while dodging how the framework of the cosmos makes it possible for life bearing planets such as Earth to be. KF
Exactly. The obvious candidate for designer. It all fits.
ID is Science+
ID is not against Evolution. It’s just how it happened that is under debate.
So far no one has presented any natural mechanism that can explain how it happened or how life originated. So far no one can explain why the universe is exactly why it is. No one can explain why Earth is so unique.
That is the interesting thing that is currently incontrovertible. All that is presented by modern science as explanations are logical fallacies.
Just ordered the Kindle version.
An apparent external context that manifestly supports and validates the nature of the observer (subject) is exactly what one would expect to find under idealism/mental reality theory.
Heading from Chapter 1.
Lawrence Henderson – The Firness of the Environment- 1913.
ID from a hundred + years ago.
“we are fined tuned for the universe by evolution”
Except evolution doesn’t tune anything.
There’s a long running experiment set up by Richard Lenski that shows how evolution fine tuned the organism (rather a population of organisms) to their niche environment.
“The earth isn’t fine tuned for life, life is fined tuned for the earth by random chance …. ”
I don’t think that works very well.
It is unfortunate, but you will likely be pilloried for referring to Lenski, et al.’s work on this blog….
1. that bacteria remain bacteria and adapt to new environment –ID prediction confirmed . Is Lenski ID promoter?
2. if scientists are forced to do experiments then this is the sign that they don’t know all the secrets of the intrinsic mechanism of a simple bacteria yet and also show that this advanced technology based on cyphers/codes it’s wrongly interpreted through a chemical framework and terminology (dna is translated to protein) when the real framework is the biosemiological ones.(cypher is decoded into function ).
Or maybe just pixelated. However, I think I can defend Prof. Lenski and his LTEE as an iconic demonstration of how variation and selection result in change even in the drastically simplified niche of the experiment. (Given chance 😉 )
…bacteria remain bacteria…
Bacteria have been around for over three billion years and are still around.
What Lenski showed …
Bacteria supposedly needed to evolve into every biological organism on earth in order to survive and reproduce. The entire evolutionary enterprise collapses on that point alone.
FH at 10
Richard Lenski? Conclusion before examination? Lenski only “discovered” something he chooses to ignore because the answer must always be evolution. Bacteria have the built-in ability to swap genetic material through horizontal gene transfer. Where did they get that ability? Certainly not from evolution since it was pre-existing.
That experiment is showing us the severe limits of evolutionary processes. No new proteins. No new protein complexes.
Total nonsense. Neither you nor Krauss has a scientific explanation for our existence.
Blocked again! Kairosfocus thinks it’s not a problem. Someone who is vigilant against censorship and prevention of some views being heard chooses to bow down to the site’s security software because it’s too hard to figure out what’s going on.
JVL- you don’t have anything to say. You are just dishonest and ignorant of science and biology.
What I don’t understand is how you are able to post comments to say you are blocked. In the past UD has been very effective at banning ID skeptics even up to the pint of disappearing all comments and blocking IP addresses. Is it that you are being blocked from a thread? The software here is WordPress which gives different permissions to people with different status. Barry Arrington has all the superpowers but may have delegated “Author” or “Editor” status to others. If you find your problems all relate to threads opened by the same author, there is your problem.
I am a big advocate of the Teaching Company and their Great Courses. They recently were almost giving away courses at about 50 cents a lecture. So I bought a bunch. One was titled
I was listening to the second lecture where he shows how the elements were formed. At the end he said how fine tuned our universe is for life and how this bothers people.
I almost flipped out as these lecturers are usually very cautious in what they say. When I look at the transcript, I will copy the exact words and post them here.
😆 i was serious about that Logic 101 course.
FH: Dawinism is true: Here is the prove Lenski bacteria.
LCD: Bacteria turn into bacteria don’t prove darwinism but ID.
FH: Bacteria have been around over 3 billion years.
LCD: 🙂 Exactly my point, then why you bring evidence of ID (stasis and adaptation of bacteria ) as evidence for darwinism( that claim that bacteria turn in different eukaryotes and in the end into FH itself over time )?
FH: You,you …are crazy.
LCD: OK. 🙂
Silver AsiaticMay 11, 2022 at 9:50 am
Who ever supposed this. There is another domain of life, the Achaea, and there was an event, symbiogenesis, that resulted from an archaeon engulfing a bacterium which set Eukaryotes off on their journey.
How well does this argument work with anyone not vehemently and ideologically opposed to evolutionary theory?
Bothers people? What people? How is this botheredness manifesting itself?
Anyway, back to Richard Lenski and his LTEE.
I note there have been some savage attacks on innocent strawmen before we’ve begun to establish how the experiment is run and what it has shown so far. Twelve pure breeding strains if Escherichia coli were chosen to seed flasks of nutrient kept at 37°C which are then randomly sampled and used to seed new flasks of nutrient and the cycle being repeated indefinitely (so far for thirty years). In such a sparse and stable environment, one might expect stasis due to purifying selection or if you are convinced by John Sandford’s genetic entropy, extinction. As the environments are identical, you might not expect the strains to diverge genetically. Samples are also kept frozen and recorded and with cheap DNA sequencing, any mutations can be observed and logged, comparisons made across strains.
Clear so far?
For people who are open to it, it works very well.
I was very surprised when I saw that.
Fred Hickson: What I don’t understand is how you are able to post comments to say you are blocked.
I get blocked from particular posts/threads. It doesn’t mean I can’t post to other threads. The block always comes from a WordPress extension called WordFence. And I have posted excerpts from WordFence’s website implying that they do enable blocking particular commenters.
In the end, Barry Arrington never comments on my complaints to confirm or deny that there is any kind of censorship. He’s completely allowed to censor people if he wants; it’s his site and he can do what he pleases. But I do think it would be honourable to admit any kind of exclusions being supported. If it is.
The thing that really bothers me is Kairosfocus who has lived through political and social times of suppression and censorship but doesn’t seem to be interested in the slightest at seeing if there is some problem with the website settings.
Whatever the issue that affects your commenting, the issue that nobody who has any admin responsibility cares is unfortunate. It is suspicious you appear to be the only one having this issue; if it were just a glitch we’d expect it to affect commenters randomly.
I have no idea what the wordfence plugin is supposed to do anyway. I’d never heard of it till glancing at their website just now and their blurb is unintelligible technobabble.
Why? Bacteria have been around for over three billion years. I’ll concede that the evidence left by those early microbes doesn’t allow us to know details of their precise metabolism though there are clues (banded iron formations, frinstance).
FH; “In such a sparse and stable environment, one might expect stasis“
One column of evolution theory is change by accidental mutation, and stable environments are of no consequence relative to accident.
Your stab in the dark accidentally nicked Darwin’s spinal column.
These scientists make up nonsense to explain it.
In Lenski’s experiment e coli were in “flasks of nutrient kept at 37°C”.
“As the environments are identical, you might not expect the strains to diverge genetically.”
“In such a sparse and stable environment, one might expect stasis.”
So, in a sparse and stable lab environment, one might expect stasis and no genetic divergence.
And also …
“Bacteria have been around over 3 billion years.”
In fact, strains of bacteria have show stasis for hundreds of millions of years – not in a lab setting with temperatures set at 37 degrees. But rather in every part of the earth. Every environmental condition.
In a sparse and stable environment, one might expect stasis. And we find stasis in every environmental fluctuation and in trillions of diverse niches.
That is the untestable story, anyway. Eukaryotes are much more than an archaeon with an undigested bacterium. Eats all of the others. Saves this one for later. But wait! Now they are partners!
@ Silver Asiatic
But there wasn’t stasis in Lenski’s flasks, poor, stable and sparse as that environment is.
May I suggest people but Denton’s new book and discuss it.
It’s extremely interesting. For example, I already bought the book on clocks.
Re: The Puddle Analogy
Water in puddle state went exclusively and mindlessly to whatever would naturally hold it.
Does that describe human beings too?
It describes gravity.
“It describes gravity.”
Quite. It certainly doesn’t describe humanity.
Someone made a container for us, to grow in, to put it rudely. 😉
What absurd niches will anti ID people enter into?
From Denton’s book
Like puddles anti ID people find nonsense to seep into. They have to. They have nothing else. We already have examples on this thread as the usual suspects have weighed in with inanity.
I’ve always said the most interesting question is why they behave in such a manor?
Those who make the puddle argument full well know it is known water fills a puddle by mechanical necessity. If there is a super law forcing our cosmos to sit where it is, that would be super fine tuned.
I’m looking forward to Denton’s book – it’s advertised as his best so far.
The full text of the book that inspired his work on ID (Fitness of the Environment by Henderson) is available:
Actually that book is a good refutation of the puddle argument (which was invented by a comic novelist – but I guess that’s ok and you don’t need to be a scientist after all).
I want to get Denton’s book on Water also.
There is a wealth of important ID reading to keep up with.
Anti-IDism is driven by fear. People see the irrefutable logic of ID. They walk right up to it. In some cases, they even affirm it (as JVL does with his SETI claim). But then they back away, or run away.
That’s driven by fear.
So is the hostility and ridicule and hatred of ID. They want to kill it.
Darwin did, for sure.
For those of us that take science seriously, “anti-IDism” isn’t driven by fear, but rather frustration in having to waste time dealing with yet one more “explanatory worldview” that offers the moon and delivers nothing. It is slickly packaged, dumbed-down, re-treaded teleology for the masses…..
“frustration in having to waste time”
So you are here because you are frustrated that someone has a different opinion? You are admitting you are here for personal reasons, and not actually interested in what an ID blog has to present? There’s lots of good stuff on UD, if you care to open your mind.
Chuckdarwin at 47,
ID is about nothing, and it’s a waste of time? Design, intelligent design, makes more sense than a driverless car careening down the road. It can only crash, but an intelligence has been in control.
As far as wasting time, each person chooses what to do with his time, passively or actively.
Earth to chuckdarwin- Intelligent Design offers the only scientific explanation for our existence. Without Intelligent Design all you have to try to explain our existence is sheer dumb luck. And that is the antithesis of science.
Explain to me precisely what the “scientific explanation” provided by ID for our existence comprises…
chuckdarwin- for starters: The genetic code involves a coded information processing system in which mRNA codons REPRESENT amino acids. And the ribosome is a genetic compiler, complete with error detection. There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce coded information processing systems. There isn’t even any way to test the claim that nature can produce coded information processing systems. Christopher Hitchens said that we can dismiss such claims.
There is ONE and ONLY one known cause for producing coded information processing systems and that is via intelligent agency volition. So, using our KNOWLEDGE of cause-and-effect relationships, in accordance with Newton’s 4 rules of scientific reasoning, we infer the genetic code is intelligently designed. Science 101
Flail away. It’s expected.
Banned again! This time from: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/casey-luskin-asks-can-claims-about-punctuated-equilibrium-accommodate-the-scientific-data/
This is just comical now. WordFence seems to get at me just about when I’m making strong points against some of the stalwart ID supporters that post to this site. Kairosfocus tells me over and over again it’s just some weird side-effect of the security software installed. But he is not going to question the site admins to find out a) if something can be done about it or b) if it’s targeted against certain commenters.
I can tell you, obviously, it’s thread based otherwise I wouldn’t be able to move to another thread to comment. So, it’s not a site-wide glitch or problem. That argues for some kind of parameter being set or reset for a particular thread. Maybe by the thread author, maybe by the site admin.
I know no one actually cares but I think it matters. This site cannot proclaim any kind of objective or unbiased presentation if there is a suggestion that some commenters are being restricted on an individual basis.
If I’m wrong then someone should be able to present the settings and logs showing that I’m wrong. The site admins have that data. This issue can be ‘solved’. Let’s see what happens.
You aren’t making any points, though. There is a challenge that can be up to $10,000,000. All someone needs to do is step up and demonstrate that a coded information processing system, like the genetic code, can arise without intelligent agency volition. They even allow an intelligent agency to set the initial conditions. Then physics and chemistry take over.
OR they can just discover one that already exists and go from there. Many have tried. All have failed.
I don’t remember any strong point made by you except that you cry like a girl . Are you the single child of your parents?
OK. So I ordered the book. Looking forward to reading it this summer out on the porch.
I just ordered it myself.
#1 New Release in Anatomy
That’s good to see.
JVL, the settings are obviously strict given highly polarised context; I have commented at WP sites where commenters can embed vids etc. That UD is far stricter says something about the toxic atmosphere its moderators have to deal with. I have no reason to believe they are censorship based. I have been hit many times, I just shrug. I only comment about it as you have made a mini campaign off implying censorship and support of same; I have no reason to believe there is somehow a special JVL setting for UD’s filter. I suggest, trigger words chosen, frequency of comments on the same thread, etc. . UD bans, for cause of abusive, trollish, disruptive behaviour. Obviously there is a difference between falling off the 12 step wagon every now and then and habitual abusiveness. On vulgarity, I point to the broken window theory. KF
PS, why should admins waste time and disclose targetting information to hostile potential attackers? Yes, I know a lot of people find it hard to think in those terms, I struggle with pics that family want to splash in even funeral programmes. (And, I am now up to five.)
PPS, apart from no comments I am unaware of author generated comment control settings.
F.N: just for record, I have put up an OP that shows the new post dialogue box. KF
So far I am through 5 lectures on Life in our Universe#24. If one wants a blow by blow speculation on how the universe and Earth evolved this is the conventional wisdom.
It sounds like I am disparaging the course. Not in the least.
He makes the point that the Earth is fine tuned for life though he doesn’t use that term. He did use it for the universe. After one chapter of Denton, they are consistent.
The second chapter of Denton’s book is about water, the most amazing molecule in the universe.
This chapter takes the fine tuning of Earth much further than what I read before. The focus of ID has been on cosmology and biology. This expands terrestrial fine tuning which has been a minor aspect of ID.
This chapter alone is worth the time/price of the book.
The third chapter is about oxygen and how it is necessary (biologically and chemically) for complex life.
As oxygen increased in the atmosphere, life forms got bigger and more complex. An atmosphere such as Earth with 15-30% oxygen is necessary for complex life. Currently 21%.
Because oxygen is necessary for complex life, and must be constantly replenished by something like photosynthesis, it is a possible sign of complex life on exoplanets.
The Denton book is one interesting fact after the other from hundreds of sources. For example,
Just got my copy delivered. No spoilers, Jerry. 😉
Denton is describing a 4 dimensional jigsaw puzzle.
One dimension is cosmology and the characteristics of elements and basic molecules and planet formation in addition to the four forces and cosmological constants.
The second dimension is bio complexity.
The third dimension is terrestrial characteristics or the unique characteristics of Earth and our solar system. This has been covered before in several places but Denton expands on it in ways I have not seen before.
The fourth dimension is time as dimensions two and three develop over time to form the amazing now. Of course since this has a long way to go, it is not clear what time will do with the other three dimensions.