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By Design or by Chance?

Denyse O'Leary

Augsburg Fortress (US and Canada), (Paperback), 337 pages, 2004

Item# B088
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It's official. Intelligent Design has seeped across the border and planted roots in Canadian soil. At least that's one conclusion you could draw from the new book By Design or by Chance? written by award-winning Canadian journalist, Denyse O'Leary.

Perched from her home in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, O'Leary has been tracking the ID movement for several years and has crafted a broad popular overview of the topic that distills a lot of technical information on biology and cosmology down to an easy read that most people can get their arms around.

Besides being a more friendly read than many of the technical books on the subject, O'Leary's book has three key strengths. First a healthy dose of her material comes from personal interviews and correspondence with key players in the movement (what else would you expect from a journalist?). Second, the book contains many charts, tables and timelines that help the reader grasp essential issues quickly. The timeline of Darwin's Theory of Evolution on page 87 and the timeline of key books that shaped the ID controversy on page 204 are just two examples. Finally, the last 90 pages of the book contain extensive research notes that allows the reader to dive as deeply into the various topics as they care to go. Especially useful are the many web site URLs provided for additional reading material.

I had the chance to chat with the author recently at an ID conference in California and it was obvious that she possessed several characteristics of a good journalist. She was a careful observer of details and she has a passion for translating important concepts from the world of science to the everyday world where most people live.

For these reasons I would highly recommend her book to any one trying to understand the basic concepts or history of the origins controversy. The book would also be a great resource for homeschoolers who want to bring their high school age students up to speed on the issues.

"Denyse O'Leary provides a magnificent introduction to the people and issues involved in the greatest intellectual controversy of our time."
Phillip Johnson
Author of
Darwin on Trial

"The conflict between Darwinian evolution and intelligent design is rapidly growing into a major scientific and cultural upheaval. The issues are complex and the disagreements are often heated, but Denyse O'Leary writes about them in a way that is clear, even-handed, and entertaining. Anyone who wants to get up to speed on this history-making controversy should read her book."
Jonathan Wells, Ph.D.
Author of
Icons of Evolution

"Are life, consciousness, and values merely by-products of blind purposeless material forces operating in cosmic history? Or are these the result of a master intelligence intrinsic to reality? Denyse O'Leary helps the nonspecialist reader to weigh this momentous option and come to the right conclusion."
William A. Dembski
Author of
The Design Revolution

O'Leary provides by far the broadest popular overview yet of the ID movement. She quotes ID leaders such as Phillip Johnson, William Dembski and Michael Behe. She also quotes their sternest critics, including Richard Dawkins, Stephen J. Gould and Michael Ruse. She writes about the Wedge Movement, DNA, the age of the Earth, the search for extraterrestrial life, the teaching of ID in schools, and the monarch butterfly. She anticipates the culmination of the ID revolution by writing that Darwinism 'was part of our folklore.' Yet the evolutionary tales she relates are still widely taught as fact in many schools.

This well-organized guidebook of O'Leary's journey through the world of Intelligent Design has the potential to lead many of the next generation away from the evolutionary fables that now pass for science. Her book is must reading for anyone who wants to understand the history and significance of the Intelligent Design movement. It also belongs in college and even high school classrooms."
Forrest M. Mims III
popular American science writer

Table of Contents


Part One / Was the Universe Created or Was It Always Here?
1 By Design or by Chance?
2 The Best Arguments for Chance
3 The Best Arguments for Design

Part Two / What About Life? Did It Start by Design or by Chance?
4 Why Design or Chance Matters So Much
5 Who Was Darwin? What Did he Really Say?
6 Who Loved Darwin? Who Hated Him?
7 The Scopes Trial: What Really Happened?
8 How Modern Evolutionists Have Evolved Away from Darwin
9 Darwin's Quarreling Heirs: Dawkins vs. Gould

Part Three / In the Beginning, There Was� Creationism!
10 Creationism: Morphing into a Modern Movement
11 Can a Scientist Be a Creationist?
12 Why Has Creationism Been Growing?

Part Four / Design� the Picture Is Coming In
13 Intelligent Design: Why So Controversial?
14 Is ID Good Science? Is It Science at All?
15 Is ID Good Theology? Is It Theology at All?
16 The Future of Design


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