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How Blind is the Watchmaker? Nature's Design and the Limits of Naturalistic Science

Neil Broom

InterVarsity Press, paperback edition, 224 pages, 2001

Item# B053
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with forward by William Dembski

What do you get when you mix law professor Phillip Johnson, chemist Charles Thaxton and biochemistry professor Micahel Behe?� You get Neil Broom from the University of Auckland in New Zealand who is just as comfortable talking about the philosophy of scientific materialism as he is theories on the origin-of-life, and evidence for design in biochemistry.� Those who found the concepts in Behe's Darwin's Black Box exciting, but a bit difficult to wade through will definitely want to read How Blind is the Watchmaker? by Neil Broom. First, there are a lot more illustrations in this book than Behe's.� Broom's interesting blend of diagrams, scanning electronic microscope pictures, cartons, and photos will keep even the scientific novice turning the pages.�

To make his case for design, Broom leads the reader through a layman's tour of nature's incredible machinery such as lilliputian molecular pumps, rotary engines and corkscrew propellers, molecular monkey bars of the cell's cytoskeleton.�� Broom then discusses Michael Polanyi's concept of hierarchical structures in living systems.� In Polanyi's concept there is information or design function in living systems that transcends the physical and chemical descriptions of the systems.� Broom presents several analogies, such as Morse code, to demonstrate this point.� He explains why simply understanding the chemical and physical bonds of DNA does not explain the higher functions (design) of living systems.

Broom spends several chapters reviewing origin-of-life arguments and principles of natural selection.� He demonstrates why there is no creative power in either.� Simply put: naturalism cannot create new information.

In his final chapters Broom turns to the amazing design of the humble bacterium and evidence from embryology. He conclude that claims by Darwinists to explain all of life is as absurd as imagining that the existence of any man-made machine can be accounted for without regard to its human inventor.

If you are looking for a good introduction to critiques of naturalism and evidence for design then this is the book for you. It's interesting to see that the scientific community in the Southern Hemisphere is keeping pace with the growing Intelligent Design movement to the North.� Of course many prominent ID proponents credit Australian medical doctor and scientist Michael Denton with sparking their interesting in the topic over twenty years ago with his classic book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

Neil Broom (Ph.D., Auckland) is an associate professor in the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.� Since 1975 he has been a research fellow of the Health Research Council of New Zealand involved in bioprosthetic heart valve development, joint tissue biomechanics and arthritis research, and spinal biomechanics.

From the Foreword:

In How Blind is the Watchmaker? Broom shows conclusively that intelligent design's opposition to Darwinism rests primarily on scientific grounds.� He also explores cultural, theological and philosophical implications of intelligent design, but he does so only because Darwinism is, on its own terms, an oversold and overreaching scientific theory.� Indeed, his scientific case against Darwinism is devastating.

-William A. Dembski, Baylor University

From the Jacket Cover:

Neil Broom provides a lively and informative demolition of reductionism that rules evolutionary biology.� I recommend the book as another significant contribution to the program of freeing science from the outdated dogmatism of materialism.

�-Phillip Johnson, author, Darwin on Trial

Some science popularizers aggressively push the notion that life is at root the result of blind chance. With admirable clarity and force, Neil Broom shows that is science fiction.

-Michael J. Behe, Lehigh University

This is a wonderful book.� Neil Broom plants the seeds of a richer conception of biology, one found beyond the unreasonable limits of materialistic reductionism-a new biology that, with some careful nurturing, should grow into a powerful new science of intelligent design.

-Paul Nelson, Senior Fellow, The Discovery Institute

Coming against popular ideas that 'science' can do all things, Broom makes strong logical and critical commentary on the reductionistic deflation in scientific materialism and shows how the world is much richer and more complex than scientific reductionism will permit.

-James E. Loder, Princeton Theological Seminary

Table of Contents:

A New Shape of "Divinity"
2. The Business of Science
3. What is Life?
4. Birth of Life: A Popular View
5. Serious Science & Life's Origin
6. Trade Secrets of Origins-of-Life Science
7. Games of Chance & the Evolution of Life
8. Neo-Darwinism: the Crown Jewel of Materialistic Science
9. Neo-Darwinism's Struggle to Survive
10. How Natural is Natural Selection?
11. Biology & Destiny
12. Beyond Naturalism
Appendix: Birth of an Idea

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