Axe, Douglas. Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed. NY, NY: HarperOne, 2016. 298pp. $25.99.
Axe, a molecular biologist, argues that everyone has an intuition toward design. That is, the things we know without a doubt are designed (shoes, bricks, engines) affirm that the most complex things in the universe were also designed. Our natural bent is not toward life being an accident because we know by experience that complex things require an inventor. Axe suggests everyone is allowed to assert the design intuition because of what he calls “common science.” I interpret his phrase as “science that aligns with common sense.”
He demonstrates the unlikelihood that random selection can account for the millions of life forms on planet Earth. Axe states it like this:
Darwin’s idea that life wanders from one variation to the next, never committing, always yielding to the blind force of natural selection, is plainly incompatible with the idea that the physical forms of life are expressions of something deeper, something immovable, something perfect.
Using a series of analogies (from a homing robot to pixels to alphabet soup) he demonstrates the extraordinary improbability of life arising by blind unguided forces, as well as the statistical and biological impossibility of beneficial mutations with natural selection being sufficient causes to explain life as we know it. Change requires invention; natural selection cannot invent, according to Axe. It cannot create. If natural selection acts at all, it can only act on what already exists.
Unlike some authors in the Intelligent Design realm, Axe does not hesitate to allow the evidence to lead where it may: an intelligent Designer who we would commonly call God.
Benefit for Ministry
When dealing with issues related to creation, evolution, origins, ID, and similar subjects, pastors and church leaders should stay current. I have heard well-meaning Christians use arguments for creation that haven’t been updated in 20 years. This leaves the hearers ripe for confusion when a knowledgeable friend or classmate can easily disprove the argument.
Undeniable provides pastors and church leaders with current information on the naturalism vs ID debate. Since scientific discovery is not static we do well to make sure we address the facts in play in 2016 rather than those of 1986.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
Undeniable by Douglas Axe is beneficial to those with an interest in science, for pastors preparing to address the creation of the universe, and for students who need to balance their diet of naturalism with insight from the other side.