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In The Beginning and Other Essays on Intelligent DesignGranville Sewell
Discovery Institute Press, softback, 147 pp., 2010
In this wide-ranging collection of essays on origins, mathematician Granville Sewell looks at the big bang, the fine-tuning of the laws of physics, and the evolution of life. He concludes that while there is much in the history of life that seems to suggest natural causes, there is nothing to support Charles Darwin's idea that natural selection of random mutations can explain major evolutionary advances ("easily the dumbest idea ever taken seriously by science," he calls it). Sewell explains why evolution is a fundamentally different and much more difficult problem than others solved by science, and why increasing numbers of scientists are now recognizing what has long been obvious to the layman, that there is no explanation possible without design. This book summarizes many of the traditional arguments for intelligent design, but presents some powerful new arguments as well.
Granville Sewell is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas El Paso. He completed his PhD in Mathematics at Purdue University and has worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Purdue University, the University of Texas Center for High Performance Computing (Austin), and Texas A&M University. He also spent one semester teaching at Universidad Nacional de Tucuman in Argentina on a Fullbright Scholarship. Dr. Sewell has written three books on numerical analysis, and is the author of a widely-used finite element computer program.
As the debate over intelligent design grows increasingly heated, with critics engaging in vicious polemics, it is refreshing to find a discussion of the topic that is calm, thoughtful, and far-ranging, with no sense of having to advance an agenda or decimate the opposition. In this regard, Granville Sewell's In the Beginning succeeds brilliantly.
-- William A. Dembski, author of The Design Inference and The End of Christianity
Sewell provides delightful and wide-ranging commentary on the origins debate and intelligent design.
-- Cornelius G. Hunter, author of Science's Blind Spot
Interview with Granville Sewell:
Q. The Darwin debate is usually fought in terms set by biology, chemistry and paleontology. What's special or unique about a mathematician's view on intelligent design that might make his opinion of equal or greater interest compared to a biologist's?
Q. Mathematician David Berlinski, among others, has written about a current of distaste among mathematicians for Darwinian evolutionary theory. Do you find that as well?
Q. You express some doubt that "even under the right conditions, the influx of stellar energy into a planet could cause atoms to rearrange themselves into nuclear power plants and spaceships and computers." This, you say, ought to be "considered an open question" at least by scientists and the public alike. Why isn't it?
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