The Design of Life is a book whose time has come, and a book for the times in which we live. Two historical factors make it so.
We live in a time when scientific knowledge is exploding. Entire new disciplines (like molecular biochemistry and genomics) have arisen in our lifetimes, and major paradigm shifts have occurred in other disciplines (cosmology, geology, physics, to name a few). The resulting knowledge has ramifications for our understanding of life on Earth, and particularly its origins.
The other historical factor of note is this… Scientific understanding has progressed only as presently-held theories have been open to critique. That is, truly objective scientists welcome evidence contrary to a particular theory, since it leads to refining or discarding, to pursuing more promising lines of research. Today, despite a wealth of new, contrary evidence from a variety of disciplines, this basic scientific principle is ignored by many biologists. At stake in biology today are both academic freedom and scientific progress.
It is into this tense but exciting situation that Dembski and Wells speak with clarity, depth, and authority. In The Design of Life they do what defenders of neo-Darwinism have shown themselves unwilling to do—they interact with the evidence. In pulling together the latest information from a variety of relevant disciplines (genetics, genomics, origin-of-life research, paleontology, anatomy, morphology, embryology, molecular biology, and biochemistry), these articulate proponents of intelligent design theory have given us a thorough and balanced understanding of the complex issues surrounding the origins and diversity of life on Earth. Their argument engages the breadth and the best of what neo-Darwinism has to offer, and meets—indeed, overwhelms—each materialist objection in turn. For anyone interested in discovering the truth about the history of life, I cannot think of a better place to start than this book.
(To read the rest of my review, go here.)