The triumphal Darwinian Centennial in 1959 seemed once and for all to end the argument between science and religion that had been raging since Thomas Huxley took up the cause of evolution in the Victorian era. As far as science was concerned, God was dead—case closed. But in the past two decades, as prize winning science writer Larry Witham shows in By Design, the case has been reopened. Advances in science suggest that the materialist “laws” may be incapable of comprehending the subtleties of evolution. Independent scientists and those involved with organizations such as the New Discovery Institute are now using the cutting edge tools of physics, biochemistry, genetics, information theory, and neuroscience to reconsider whether “intentional” fine-tuning was required for life to be possible.
At the heart of By Design are two interrelated 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. After reading By Design we understand how what was once a battleground between God and science is now becoming a meeting ground.