Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe


While others search the skies for extraterrestrial life, Michael Denton has examined the recent discoveries in all the sciences to ask -- Could life elsewhere be substantially different from life on Earth?

Drawing on a staggering knowledge of physics, biochemistry, geology, and evolution, Denton builds a step-by-step argument for human inevitability. Life requires water, DNA, and protein; it can only flourish in an Earth-like environment. Building on these claims -- which, until...

See more details below
Paperback (Original)
$26.65 price
(Save 11%)$29.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $5.62   
  • New (5) from $21.04   
  • Used (6) from $5.62   
Sending request ...


While others search the skies for extraterrestrial life, Michael Denton has examined the recent discoveries in all the sciences to ask -- Could life elsewhere be substantially different from life on Earth?

Drawing on a staggering knowledge of physics, biochemistry, geology, and evolution, Denton builds a step-by-step argument for human inevitability. Life requires water, DNA, and protein; it can only flourish in an Earth-like environment. Building on these claims -- which, until recently, were impossible to defend -- Denton dares to address the boldest question of all: Is a homo sapien-like creature the only possible highly intelligent being in the universe?

Copernicus correctly argued that the Earth is not at the center of the universe. But thanks to Denton, we now know that mankind may in fact be central to the laws of nature.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New England biologist Denton continues the assault on Darwinian science, especially the theories of evolution and natural selection, that he began in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Here, Denton takes a page out of the work of 19th-century natural theologians like William Paley and 19th-century anti-Darwinian scientists like Robert Chambers to contend that, far from being random and without direction, the laws of nature operate by design. Moreover, says Denton, the design of the laws of the universe inevitably lead to one conclusion: "The entire process of biological evolution from the origin of life to the emergence of man was somehow directed from the beginning." Denton marshals a dizzying array of scientific evidence to bolster his conclusions. First, he examines the evidence from physics and chemistry for the inevitability that the development of a universe like ours would have the evolution of life as its goal. He discusses gravity, the nuclear energy levels of certain atoms, water, light, carbon, uranium and more as elements whose existence is perfectly orchestrated to usher human life onto the universe's stage. Denton then discusses evolutionary biology, arguing that the biocentric nature of the universe undermines the Darwinian principles of contingent natural selection. Denton's arguments are weakened by their circular nature (he assumes design in nature and proceeds to make pieces fit his argument whether they do so easily or not), but his prose is engaging and his insights are accessible to readers who lack a deep scientific background. In the growing debate over Darwin's theories, Denton's voice remains one of the most notable and compelling. (July)
Library Journal
Biolgist and medical researcher Denton argues that the laws of nature and the conditions on this planet exist for the inevitable origin of carbon-based life on Earth as well as the necessary emergence of the intelligent human animal (both events are assumed to be unique in this universe). In great detail, he examines the prerequisites and constituents required for the living cell: water, carbon, metals, oxygen, DNA, proteins, and solar radiation. Furthermore, Denton claims that a long chain of pervasive coincidences is supremely fit for the existence of life and our own species as the determined end of this evolving cosmos. Grounded in both teleology and biocentricity, his directed evolution is a combination of the anthropic principle and natural theology. Glaringly absent, however, is any serious consideration of the ramifications of evil, mutations, mass extinctions, contingency, and exobiology. Most scientists will reject Denton's commitment to purpose evolution as ill conceived and unconvincing. Recommeded only for larger science collections with a penchant for such novel works.--H. James Birx, Canisius Coll., Buffalo, NY
Kirkus Reviews
The author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (not reviewed) again confronts the notion that the presence of humankind is a random event in a random universe, asserting that "the cosmos is uniquely fit for the specific type of life that exists on Earth." Denton, a New Zealandþbased researcher in genetics and eye disease, begins with the discoveries of 20th-century physics and cosmology that support what the first modern scientists, such as Kepler and Newton, desperately longed for: evidence of design in nature. Without it, there could be no assurance of humankind's unique place in the universe. One such discovery has to do with the delicate balance between the relatively weak force of gravity and the strong nuclear force. If gravity were stronger the universe would be smaller, since it would have expanded less quickly. The mass of stars would also be smaller and their life spans much shorterþlife, therefore, would not have time enough to develop. On the other hand, if gravity were weaker, stars would not form at all. Denton cites a number of eminent physicists to support his views, but what he really wants is to take the argument to biology, which as a field still holds the Darwinian view that "life and man are fundamentally contingent phenomena." Denton is no creationist but argues that carbon-based life could never have formed without Earth's precise biology: No other liquid but water has the available permeability, thermal properties, and viscosity; the sun could not be further away or closer; and the distribution of various elements neatly corresponds to an environment most amenable to life in this or presumably any other corner of the universe. Denton israther pedantic, driving the same point home again and again. And yet he makes a thorough and fascinating case, one that will no doubt anger those holding to the orthodoxies laid down by Darwin. (50 b&w illustrations, 15 b&w photos, not seen)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743237628
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2002
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,529,108
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 19, 2012

    Another good ID book ...

    ...and there are many of them too. Look, Intelligent Design theorists make good points. If your brain makes the synapse, you'll understand that life is far too complicated for evolution to be as simple as Neo-Dawrinian explanations. And for you die-hard Darwinists who write negative reviews without even learning for yourself, understand that Intelligent Design does not necessarily have to deal with God and religion. The intelligence could come from nature too like a mechanism within the cell that learns and reacts. I just get tired of people seeing a book on ID and, without reading it, spout off that it is purely religions propaganda.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)