[ Home | Essays | Nightmares | Praise | Testimonies | Wisdom]

By Design or by Chance? by freelance writer Denyse O'Leary
Review by E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D. Zoology

Let me share some thoughts about this excellent book by Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary. I must confess I was a bit skeptical at first reading a book about science written by a journalist. My fears were unfounded. Indeed her journalistic skills made the book hard to put down. I am more accustomed to esoteric scientific ramblings requiring a large measure of self-discipline to finish. Perhaps her lack of science background motivated her to present a broader view well steeped in history. From the outset she gave abundant evidence of intelligent design, not only from biology, but also from physics mathematics and chemistry. She traced the history of these ideas in a way I had not previously seen.

Two arguments she presented seem especially convincing to me, even though I had heard them earlier. Perhaps the strongest argument for intelligent design is from a branch of mathematics dealing with complex information. Now that we have a more complete understanding of biological DNA it is inescapably seen as a complex language...a written language that demands an Author. I have long seen this as strong evidence for a Creator-God. She does not, and only sees it as evidence of intelligent design and feels future research will sort it out and perhaps provide more meaning.

The second argument for intelligent design are the many structures seen at the cellular level that are “irreducibly complex” such as the flagellum found in many bacteria that must be fully complete to be function. Such structures could NOT develop over time in small steps. In fact O'Leary makes a good case that if science had known more about the complexities of living cells in Darwin’s time the naturalistic evolution would not have been widely accepted.

For me the strongest part of the book was the way she presented modern evolution as more than dogma, but as a religion accepted by faith. I have long seen it as such. She also feels teaching such dogma as fact in our government schools not only numbs minds, but constitutes teaching a government religion. I strongly agree.

She does NOT accept the first 6 chapters of Genesis as literal and is quite honest about this. As a Christian, I feel much of our faith rests on this part of the Bible, but admit there are scientific problems regarding a young earth.

On a related matter she seemed to have no answer for the obvious pain and suffering in out fallen world today. This issue is clearly addressed in the Bible and demands acceptance of the original sin and fall of man found in Genesis 3. Part of the punishment was death and a curse on all of Creation: To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." (Gen 3:17-19, NIV)

This is confirmed again in the New Testament: We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Rom 8:22, NIV) This curse will only be removed with the establishment of “A new heaven and a new earth” described by John in Revelations 21. At that time I expect to see things as they were in the Original sin-free Creation as described by Isaiah: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isa 11:6-9, NIV)

This is an excellent book and I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in the ongoing evolution-intelligent design debate. Lets be informed about the issues.

By Design or by Chance? by freelance writer Denyse O'Leary
Review by Stan Robertson, Ph.D. Physics

Anyone who finds the title to be of interest is very likely to favor only one of the three points of view presented in this book. Given the nature of the subject, it is then likely to be perceived as unbalanced and mostly against their point of view. In fact, however, it is a well balanced and generally fair treatment of all. It is well written, with many sidebars of interest. This book is in four parts:

1 Was the universe created or was it always here?
2. What about life? Did it start by design or by chance?
3. In the beginning, there was....creationism!
4. Design...the picture is coming In.

Let me say at the outset, that I have my own biases. I have a genuine interest in the possibilities for Intelligent Design theory, which I consider to be a research agenda. I also have a genuine antipathy for the "young earth" variety of creationism and also for the orthodox religion of atheistic Darwinism.

With respect to the first, as a physicist, I am constrained by our understanding of nuclear rate processes. We know how to build H-bombs, understand how stars work, and we routinely engineer nuclear isotopes for medical and other purposes. These nuclear processes provide accurate clocks that tell us the ages of earth's strata and fossils. The earth is old and life changed over time, progressing in fits and starts from small and simple to large and
complex. These are hard, cold facts. With respect to Darwinism, the question for me is not
whether changes of life forms over time have occurred; it is whether Darwinism is the best
explanation for them. As noted by Ms. O'Leary, Darwinism is the creation story of atheism. It is a framework of history that is both a unifying idea and very possibly superfluous, whereas life is biochemistry with its origins lost in time.

Part One frames the questions of design vs. chance, reviews our current understanding of a universe that had a beginning in time, and introduces major points of the three following parts on Darwinism, Creationism and Intelligent Design. For the reader unfamiliar with the astronomy and cosmology presented here by Ms. O'Leary, be assured that her statements are accurate. In Part One, O'Leary opines that the discovery (mostly within about the past fifty years) that the universe had an apparent beginning in time about fourteen billion years ago has stimulated the public to think anew about our origins. In an infinitely old universe there would be time enough for everything to evolve, but perhaps not in just the age of the earth. (It has always baffled me how one could look out at stars merrily burning their fuel and believe that they could be infinitely old!) After many years of teaching astronomy classes, I must say that my experience has been that the public is blissfully unaware of the evidence favoring a finite age of the universe, and when brought to attention it is more likely to generate hostility than to be embraced. The reason for this is that astronomers describe a creation without a creator. As O'Leary has written, to avoid leaving the impression that there is anything special about our universe they imagine infinite numbers of universes. Ours, but one of many with perhaps wildly differing physical laws, just chances to be suitable for us. When I first realized that this many universes view was taken seriously, I remember thinking "God help the atheists to find a better fairy tale!" A central tenet of an acceptable scientific hypothesis is that it be testable. I don't see how we could possibly know of the existence of other universes short of a divine revelation. ( Perhaps only atheists get them?)

It is also a cold, hard fact that the physics of our universe is finely tuned in ways that allow us to exist now. Moreover, we could not have existed in the earliest times of our universe before the very chemical elements of which we are made were cooked up in early generations of stars. But the poetic realization that we are made of stardust has not,
in my opinion, been well received. Part One ends with a brief chapter on the best arguments for design. One argument is that Darwinists' clinging to chance explanations of everything leaves it no predictive power. It merely offers an ad hoc explanation for any observation. The other major argument is that we observe things in both the physical and biological realms that are too complex to have occurred via long chains of fortuitous happenstance. The weakness of this complexity argument, however, is that what may seem too complex for one person merely reflects a lack of wit to another. (I encounter this almost daily in my own quixotic war against black holes. Most astronomers merely say, "What else could they be?" and give up without thinking. For the record, Einstein hated the idea of black holes.)

Part Two is primarily a history of Darwinism and its skirmishes, both early and lately with religions. I suspect that most readers will already be fairly well informed on this subject, nevertheless, this section is well written and well worth reading. The scientific critiques of Darwinian theory table on pages 98 and 99 are points generally well taken. One thing that stands out is the humorless hostility of Darwinists for any alternative point of view. They have been very successful at enforcing the proposition that anything besides Darwinism is (1) NOT science and (2) IS creationist religion. I have always found it to be particularly amusing, that they argue so passionately that life is a meaningless series of accidents.

Part Three concerns Creationism. Anyone familiar with Dr. Smith will be familiar with the views discussed here. As with Darwinism, much of the material of this section deals with history of the creationist movement. If it was not previously clear, this is a book about beliefs, and not a book intended to settle the arguments.

Part Four discusses Intelligent Design (ID). The gist of ID is that there exist irreducibly complex systems. These are systems with many parts and all must be present for the system to function at all. An analogue might be an automobile lacking only a coil wire. Further, such systems by their mere existence provide evidence of design. The most important advocates of ID claim their strongest support in the molecular machinery of cells; in DNA, RNA and proteins. The fact of design would tell us nothing of the designer, though most religious person attribute the designs of life to God. But in principle, the designer could be some absent-minded cosmic inventor with no affection for us. ID conceivably could even occur as a result of some principle of self organization (as opposed to random chance) operating in a godless universe. Many of the founders of the ID movement have no quarrel with evolution, but merely contend that Darwinism does not adequately account for it or for the origin of life itself.

There are several reasons for looking for design in cellular machinery. First is the fact that DNA is incredibly information rich, so much so that it is difficult to imagine it being written in random small steps within the age of the earth. Second, the element of irreducibility may be present in ways that Darwinism cannot explain. As an example, consider vision. An organ with little light sensitivity might, by detecting a shadow, warn of a predator's presence and provide a survival advantage to a creature. One can then imagine it being improved in small increments over time to become the sharp eye of a hawk. But this traditional Darwinian tale is mere nonsense if there are no biochemical pathways at the cellular level that lead to the sharp eyed hawk. At the level of physiology, it is difficult to imagine anything that could not be improved in small increments until, after many generations, organisms became exquisitely adapted to their environments. But at the level of the cells, it may not have been possible for them to develop incrementally. (This is an open question in which there is conflicting evidence and opinion; e.g., see discussions of mitochondria as interlopers in cells.) ID is a research agenda that will require some time to develop. It is incumbent upon ID researchers to produce convincing examples of irreducible complexity. But if they do then the face of modern science will change, as will public opinion.

O'Leary makes a good case that ID is neither creationism nor theology of any kind, though Darwinists try to portray it as both. Its roots are deeply empirical - look at the evidence and then see what it implies. ID will be good for science by forcing Darwinists out of their arrogance and into debates on the evidence (and perhaps out of their pitiful embrace of even social Darwinism, which they defend rather than admit that anything is beyond the scope of their theory).

Finally, O'Leary's book has offended persons of all science and religious persuasions, drawing fire from all directions. It would probably have been more widely accepted as the evenhanded treatment that I perceive it to be had she not included her Afterword. In it, she admitted being a post-Darwinian and called Darwinism the PC of science, demanding loyalty to dubious propositions as a demonstration of faith in the system. I have enjoyed this book; couldn't put it down, but it reinforces my prejudices. I have often jokingly told Dr. Smith that I find both creationist and Darwinian theories to be preposterous. I do not see ID as being preposterous. It is merely unproven at this point.

By Design or by Chance? by freelance writer Denyse O'Leary
Review by Doctor Bob Stockburger

PREFACE. Author describes self as freelance journalist from Toronto who had no desire to enter a controversy however now sees Darwinism as a theory of evolution that denies design when universe screams design; however she states the reader must judge for himself. the general stated goal/topic is the effort (and resistance to the effort) to reorganize science (all) around the theory of design. COMMENT The author fairly describes her stance and makes no pretense at being balanced which is fair considering who publishes and who reads her books. I suspect the reader already has an opinion which this book will likely reinforce.

INTRODUCTION. This topic is described as THE issue of our time and Darwin is linked to Marx (Communism) and Freud (sex). The evidence of science according to author does not support a meaningless atheistic universe but does support one busting with design. Has the Universe existed forever or did it begin with the big bang as it obviously takes more time to microwave a meal than create the universe? The basic assumptions of modernism are false and do we really live in a "casino universe". The author will describe the conflict between those who think ID belongs in biology and cosmology and those who don't. COMMENT I don't accept the idea that modern science believes in a "casino" universe and is meaningless and Godless though this book is not about my opinions. If this were a book discussion group I would ask the following questions:
1. For what audience is this book intended?
2. Do we expect it to be completely balanced?
3. Is the author repeating opinions of others or presenting original data or ideas?
4. If not intended to meet strict scientific accuracy does the interesting journalistic
style ensure it will be read by the intended audience?

CHAPTER ONE, Part One: A description of the steady-state and big-bang models. Astronomy is a science as is theoretical physics. Cosmology seems to add metaphysics and is a wider and more heterogeneous field. A discussion of religion and faith ensues.

CHAPTER TWO: The arguments for chance. Begins with quotes from Poe and one about Elvis. It seems that chance will fare poorly in this chapter. A description of parallel universes and Gambler's Follies if followed with a box question"Why do scientists leave God out of the picture?"Ends with faith or reason. either/or

CHAPTER THREE: Arguments for design. Arranging a tornado in a junkyard into a Boeing 747 is not likely by chance some design would be necessary. The flagellum is discussed as a favorite topic .NOTE there are more than one type of flagellum and the proto structures have been around for awhile. I was surprised at this misinformation.

CHAPTER FOUR, Part Two: Moving to the main ideas of book a discussion of WHY chance or ID matters. By this point Darwinism is distinguished from evolution and seems to be vile and evil. Modernists are mentioned as they are all Darwinists. The human genome is mentioned as proof of ID.

CHAPTER FIVE: Is painful for a biologist to read. Just recall the rhetoric about Devil Darwin and his irreligious life. An analogy of a swayback horse and fine stallion is erroneous and the Cambrian explosion is again recalled (it was only an explosion of fossil formation). C S Lewis is mentioned last.

CHAPTER SIX: The Coelacanth proves something. Mainstream religions are slammed as Darwinism is accommodated meaning the denomination must be worthless if not as strict as others feel it should be.

CHAPTER SEVEN: What REALLY happened at the Scopes trial? FYI my biology class 9th grade repeated the debate in 1967 and the CREATIONISTS won the debate. I did not agree with their vote, but did respect their line of thought and gave all A's. They loved it. It is not necessary to rewrite history and everyone knows about the ACLU and outcome. It was a sideshow. If three time presidential candidate Bryan had not been so pompous the fundamental side would not have seemed so silly. BTW the pro-life demonstrators, Bryan, and the Colorado college religious showoff are fulfilling their own agenda that does not help the advance of Christianity.

CHAPTER NINE: Dawkins vs Gould both write for the public more than science and have refused to debate creationists. They reason that even engaging in dialog creates some concept of legitimacy to Creationism.

CHAPTER 10, Part Three: Initial sentence from famous Charles Spurgeon (I assume the Baptist preacher in London who would draw audiences of 6,000 on Sunday) in 1883 that if God's word be true then evolution is a lie (the footnote points to an interview in 2003..an admirable life span).
A general history of the development of Creationism which has been the ultimate result of the conflict of the church (bible) with findings of science since the Renaissance. Poor Galileo.

An accommodation was reached until 19th century when fact after scientific fact was revealed.The biologic principle of evolution and the concept of geologic time created a line in the sand between literal genesis account(s) and science. Pages 122-123 are from Genesis.
What is a creationist is defined and this author comes out in favor of young earth creation and rejection of scientific Christians who accept evolution.

CHAPTER 11: Describes the divide between science and creationism. The list on page 134 is fairly accurate regarding science views(sadly) and the author leaves out a list of what creationists think of science (mainly Darwinism)..generally Godless or something close. Then follows bird-dinosaur and the American Scientific affiliation. A split within the creationist movement is touched on last. Also it is not wise to make over 50k yearly as that increases the rate of agnosticism.

CHAPTER 12: Creationism is growing as per the time-line on pages 156-157 and the internet has helped creationists to communicate. I witnessed Norbert hold his tongue as a graduate student as he formed networks outside of the department with other like minded people but mail was time consuming and expensive. Maintaining contact and sharing ideas has helped the creationist movement. Page 160 gives a list of creationist organizations.

CHAPTER 13, Part Four: Intelligent Design - - why the controversy? Taking Dembski out of context the second paragraph states that Design is NOT CREATIONISM. He also goes on to explain that the ideas are compatible with each other. The general idea is readily grasped by any reader however taken to the following double talk aperiodic and unspecified complexity, periodic and specified order, irreducible complexity Also phrases that are to the tune of...if you are a ----evolutionist then you believe ----, and if you are ID advocate you believe--------,All of these statements are arguable. Behe and Dembski are not saying evolution did occur nor Noah's flood explains the geology we see today. Christian evolutionists are" Just Theistic Naturalists" I think this is a put down.

CHAPTER 14: Is ID good science or even science at all? Darwinism is a faith belief whereas ID is scientific ?

CHAPTER 15: Is ID good theology? It seems that ID is compatible with many beliefs and most theologies It is NOT compatible with a Godless universe.

CHAPTER 16: Of concern to everyone...The future of ID. Place a wedge of doubt in evolution. Keep the idea out there. Mere involvement in the debate implies some legitimacy to ID. It may be a bitter pill for a young earth advocate to espouse lukewarm causes in order to advance the cause of Creationism...Why not be up front with the agenda instead of stealth creationism. This tactic is working.

OVERALL COMMENTS: This book should be read by creationists who wish to generally be familiar with the position he is advocating. Evolutionists will not read this book nor will scientists. If one wishes to convince any scientist of any scientific point being wrong this is not to be used as there are so many misleading oversimplifications it would mark one quickly as one of the generalizations on page 134. It may be best to stick to theological points if that is your strong suit. The reason science totally rejects the Dembski theories is that the convoluted math and vocabulary complexity to the point of absurdity don't hold up to scrutiny to anyone who can cut through to what the real meat of his argument is. There is design ..just say it. The hostile reception from science will never stop unless the reasoning meets standards . If ID were true as Dembski describes why are advocates only concentrating on evolution? The sciences are not fooled as to the agenda. So, I leave this text with a smile as it does help some Christians to resolve their strict faith and science with a belief system that works for them. The debate should not be taken to the point that a Creationist loses his/her faith...that would be too harmful. I would hope the rhetoric would not include insults that belittle other people's belief. A Creationist does not enjoy being labeled and being made fun of and a Christian evolutionist resent being labeled Godless. Over the last decades creationism was repeatedly kept out of public schools however the new ID twist brings up the same issues "watered down" but the idea is discussed and maybe more people will be stimulated to think and even read the Bible.

By Design or by Chance? by freelance writer Denyse O'Leary
Review by Fritz Ward, Jr. Ph.D. UC-Riverside

I have no wish to cover the same ground as other reviewers. Dr. Robertson and Dr. Smith have provided an excellent synopsis of the book in their reviews. In brief, the book describes how design inferences are slowly undermining the naturalist assumptions of modern science. O'Leary is very careful to delineate most of the positions in this debate, but she ultimately finds naturalist proponents like Richard Dawkins to be just as religiously motivated as young earth creationists. The hatred, intimidation, and resort to the courts used by Darwinists to defend their dominant position in academe is not the result of "science" per se, but rather represents an attack from one religious position on another. However, as O'Leary notes, scientific advances in other fields, notably physics, are rapidly undermining naturalism. Flaws in the received story of evolution, particularly with regard to the origin of life, will ultimately cause a re-evaluation of Darwinism.

I think O'Leary's unique contribution to this debate is to place the whole argument of design v. naturalism in the broader context of the history of science. Popular understanding of science often presumes that "scientists" have some sort of monopoly on the search for truth in the physical world. In fact, this understanding is flawed and no historian of the last 40 years would accept such a definition. In reality, scientists operate within the bounds of a set of assumptions. These assumptions cannot be proven but they do guide research and offer explanations of some (but by no means all) phenomena that scientists observe. These assumptions are known as "paradigms" and when enough "contradictions" or anomalies develop (i.e.., phenomena the paradigm cannot explain) a "scientific revolution" takes place and the older paradigm is replaced by a newer one. This process was delineated in Thomas Kuhn's seminal book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions published in 1962. O'Leary's contention is that Darwinism is an older paradigm which is in the process of being replaced as evidence accumulates against it.

In order to fully appreciate O'Leary's case, it is important to understand that by "Darwinism" she does not mean evolution. As she correctly notes, Darwin himself was reticent to use the term. Evolution implied directionality to many of Darwin's contemporaries (as indeed it does today to many advocates of "evolution" who don't know any better. Still others assume evolution merely means "change" within a species, a fact which few advocates of design would deny.) The key to Darwinism, however, is the claim that evolution operates solely by chance or "natural selection" and that all life arose from non-life without any guidance or design from outside. As such, Darwinism is at least as much an ideology as it is a scientific theory. Unlike other 19th century ideologies that claimed to be scientific, notably Marxism and Freudianism, Darwinism is still dominant in academe and continues to garner world wide respect.

Increasingly, however, Darwinism is on the defensive and rather than respond to critics in scientific terms it has tried to use legal maneuvers to shut them out of the debate. Michael Behe has demonstrated that cells are irreducibly complex and cannot evolve from simpler forms. Mathematician William Dembski has demonstrated the extreme unlikelyhood of evolution purely by chance by following the work of D.S. Ulam. Of course these and other writers are ignored, but other problems remain. Biologists have yet to credibly demonstrate how life can arise from non-life and the more that is learned about the subject, the less likely progress seems. Darwinism is, in short, a paradigm awaiting a shift.

But one can fairly ask, "How will such a shift come about?" Advocates of older paradigms are rarely "converted" to the new ones. And since a paradigm is by definition the "structure" which informs scientific inquiry, there is no "scientific" means of judging between competing visions. O'Leary to her credit is open about this. She notes that design theorists and followers of naturalism simply have no common ground for dialogue. The only relevant scientific question then is which will better promote further research. Darwinists are quick to claim that design is a "science stopper." But the reality, as O'Leary shows, is that design simply redirects research: from life origins to information theory and understanding the "programming" that the "designer" gave to life. Already the latter field is more productive than the former, and this bodes well for the future of the design revolution.

What O'Leary does not reveal, however, is that potential for new scientific research is not the only criteria for a paradigm change. Were it so, Darwinism would likely have already collapsed. The fact of the matter is that science, like religion and philosophy is also subject to cultural influence. To be blunt, politics and world views had at least as much to do with the triumph of Darwinism (despite its flaws which were well known even in the 19th century) as its success as a scientific theory. (For more on this topic, see Gertrude Himmelfarb's Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, 1996. Himmelfarb is the pre-eminent Victorian England historian and her work delineates the precise cultural influences that elevated Darwinism to its present status.) Similarly, politics still have much to do with maintaining Darwinism. Powerful groups as diverse as "The People for the American Way" and the ACLU have a strong interest in maintaining a secular society, as do individuals who feel threatened by the political influence of organized Christianity. On the other hand, a variety of cultural trends favor design. These range from the rise of traditional value voters on the one hand, and new age theorists on the other, both of whom reject naturalism out of hand. It remains to be seen precisely what form of design will replace Darwinism. It is by no means clear, as O'Leary correctly notes, that design will take a Christian form.

If O'Leary's book has a flaw, it is that she does not give full consideration to all the forms a post Darwinist paradigm in biology could take. She writes extensively about creationism, particularly the young earth variety championed by Henry Morris and Dr. Smith, but she correctly notes science will not go in this direction. The most obvious reason is that the young earth position is simply untenable. The claim that earth is no more than 10,000 years old, and probably less, is contradicted by the dendrochronology record alone, which goes back over 13,000 years. Evidence from the red shift in light as it travels through the universe points to an age of 15-20 billion years. It is true that young earth scientists can "explain" this phenomena as merely the "appearance" of age, but this claim undermines all knowledge: after all, a skeptic could conceivably claim that the Bible has only the "appearance" of divine origin. Once you allow for claims of appearance you allow someone to dismiss any evidence on a priori grounds and science, for better or for worse, is not going to long accept a priori arguments in the face of evidence. Indeed, the main argument against Darwinism is that it a priori accepts natural selection even when the evidence (the human eye, the structure of information in DNA, or the flagellum of common bacteria) points elsewhere.

But if the new paradigm will not be young earth creationism, what form will it be? O'Leary seems to think it will look a lot like the work of Dembski, Behe, Patrick Glynn and Philip Johnson. I'm not so convinced. All of these gentlemen have undermined Darwinism, but none have really provided an overarching paradigm of biology (or math for that matter) that will move research forward. Although they are critics of Darwinism, they are still operating within that paradigm. I think O'Leary overlooks two other alternatives which receive only brief mention in her book. The first is old earth creationism as championed by astrophysicist Hugh Ross. Ross is a Christian apologist, make no mistake about it. His website is entitled Reasons to Believe and can be found at the following: http://www.reasons.org/index.shtml

Ross argues persuasively for an old earth and creation following the day age theory. His work is quite convincing and has the added benefit of being in accord with the majority of Christian views throughout history. Shocking though it may be to some modern Protestants, virtually none of the early Christians accepted a young earth or the idea that the days described in the creation account were literal 24 hour days. The third century theologian Origen pointed noted that it is hard to have a 24 hour day prior to the creation of the sun. Moreover, as Mortimer J. Adler has pointed out, Augustine's account of creation is entirely compatible with natural history as it is now taught. These major church fathers were hardly alone in their views. Indeed, in my own personal research, I have never run across an advocate of a young earth prior to arise of Protestantism. It is only after the first early Protestant movements of the 14th century (Wycliff and Huss) that you see people start to read the Genesis account as literal. If Ross is correct, science and Christianity will be harmonized again in a way design theorists do not even bother to attempt.

But Ross' approach is hardly the only alternative to design among post-Darwinists. One should also consider Kenneth Miller's views as expressed in his book Finding Darwin's God. Miller gets brief mention in O'Leary's text, primarily a note on just how inadequate his critique of Behe is. And indeed, on the surface Miller is a harsh critic of all forms of design and creationism. But O'Leary fails to note that Miller proposes his own vision of God who actively intervenes in creation, perhaps even influencing the direction evolution. (If Miller is correct, one could even argue that evolution is by appearance only.) Miller notes that naturalism breaks down at the subatomic level. Here hard physical laws seem to vanish and quantum mechanics at best merely describes a world radically different from the one we experience. It is also here, Miller suggests, that God moves, directing evolution in particular, and creation generally. Such an explanation resolves many of the problems of Darwinism and has the additional benefit that it combines observations of physics with biology. How one would "test" such an argument is another matter. But O'Leary's suggestion that Christian evolutionists have not offered any credible alternative to materialism is simply wrong in this instance.

In the final analysis, O'Leary has done an excellent job of explaining in layman's terms the growing dissatisfaction with naturalism in general and Darwinism in particular. She presents the arguments of Darwinists, Creationists and Design theorists quite fairly, and is willing to consider arguments that undermine design, notably the multiple universe theory that string theorists like Michio Kaku hope to soon test. She has presented a credible case that design offers a serious alternative to Darwinism and that the latter is an ideology, even a religion, which is increasingly turning to the courts to protect itself from the intellectual threat design poses. Anyone seeking a good introduction to the controversy should buy this book.