By Design: Science and the Search for God

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At the heart of By Design are two inter-related movements. One is the science and religion dialogue, which stretches from the laboratories of Nobelists to inner sancta of the Vatican. This dialogue attempts to build bridges between two worlds formerly thought to be implacably hostile and incompatible. The other is the intelligent design movement, which by reviving a natural theology of design in nature has challenged the Darwinian strongholds in science and public education. Larry Witham introduces some of the most colorful characters in these movements, and summarizes the scientific developments that have made this dramatic new dialogue possible.

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About the Author:

Larry Witham's reports on science and religion have appeared in "Scientific American," "Nature," and "Christian Century," and he is the author of five books, including "Where Darwin Meets the Bible" (Oxford). He and his wife and son live in Maryland.

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In a follow-up to his recent Where Darwin Meets the Bible, Washington Times reporter Witham surveys the ongoing dialogue between scientists and theologians about the relationship between science and religion. Drawing on interviews with key partners in the conversation, Witham provides a helpful guide to the major issues in this dialogue. While the controversy between creationists and evolutionary biologists has occupied a great deal of the public's attention, Witham points out that scientists and theologians have been dealing with other matters just as weighty and as provocative. He covers topics ranging from the anthropic principle (which argues that the universe's design implies that human life is its intended goal) and genetic engineering to astronomy and intelligent design. In the discussion of intelligent design, for example, Witham talks to one of its major proponents, Michael Behe. Behe is a religious scientist who accepts the workings of evolution as they apply to animals and plants, but who believes that the complexities of human molecular design (the way that blood clots, for instance) can be explained only by the work of an intelligent designer. Through his conversations with a wide-ranging group of scientists and theologians, including John Polkinghorne, Kenneth Miller, Allen Sandage, George Ellis and Paul Davies, Witham adeptly charts the course of the science and religion dialogue as the participants continue to search for common ground.
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