Michael Denton

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Michael John Denton
Born (1943-08-25) August 25, 1943 (age 76)
Alma materKing's College London
Scientific career
FieldsMedicine, Biochemistry

Michael John Denton (born 25 August 1943) is a British-Australian proponent of intelligent design and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. He holds a degree in biochemistry. Denton’s book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, inspired intelligent design proponents Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe.[1]


Denton gained a medical degree from Bristol University in 1969 and a PhD in biochemistry from King's College London in 1974. He was a senior research fellow in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand from 1990 to 2005. He later became a scientific researcher in the field of genetic eye diseases. He has spoken worldwide on genetics, evolution and the anthropic argument for design. Denton's current interests include defending the "anti-Darwinian evolutionary position" and the design hypothesis formulated in his book Nature’s Destiny.[2] Denton described himself as an agnostic.[3][4] He is currently a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.


Evolution: A Theory in Crisis[edit]

In 1985 Denton wrote the book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, presenting a systematic critique of neo-Darwinism ranging from paleontology, fossils, homology, molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry, and argued that evidence of design exists in nature. Some of book reviews criticized his arguments.[5] He describes himself as an evolutionist and he has rejected biblical creationism.[6] The book influenced both Phillip E. Johnson, the father of intelligent design, Michael Behe, a proponent of irreducible complexity,[7] and George Gilder, co-founder of the Discovery Institute, the hub of the intelligent design movement.[8] Since writing the book Denton has changed many of his views on evolution, however he still believes that the existence of life is a matter of design.[9]

Nature's Destiny[edit]

Denton still accepts design and embraces a non-Darwinian evolutionary theory. He denies that randomness accounts for the biology of organisms; he has proposed an evolutionary theory which is a "directed evolution" in his book Nature's Destiny (1998). Life, according to Denton, did not exist until the initial conditions of the universe were fine-tuned (see Fine-tuned universe).[10] Denton was influenced by Lawrence Joseph Henderson (1878-1942), Paul Davies and John D. Barrow who argued for an anthropic principle in the cosmos (Denton 1998, v, Denton 2005). His second book Nature's Destiny (1998)[11] is his biological contribution to the anthropic principle debate, dominated by physicists. He argues for a law-like evolutionary unfolding of life.[12]


  • Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Adler & Adler, 1985. ISBN 0-917561-52-X
  • Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe, New York: Free Press, 1998. ISBN 0-7432-3762-5
  • Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis. Seattle, Washington: Discovery Institute, 2016. Paperback: ISBN 978-1936599325


  1. ^ http://www.discovery.org/p/521
  2. ^ Background of Denton and his scientific work Archived March 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Stephen C. Meyer. Signature in the Cell. Harper Collins. Retrieved 13 November 2010. Michael Denton, an agnostic, argues for intelligent design in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 326–43.
  4. ^ Tom Frame. Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design. Retrieved 13 November 2010. Michael Denton, Darwin and Intelligent Design In contrast to the other would-be pioneers of intelligent design, Denton describes himself as an agnostic, and his book was released by a secular publishing house.
  5. ^ Mark I. Vuletic. "Review of Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crisis", The Talk Origins Archive
  6. ^ "Profile in Evolution and creationism in the public schools by Angus Macleod Gunn"
  7. ^ "Intelligent Design Video: 'Unlocking the Mystery of Life'". Evolution Research - General Evolution News. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  8. ^ Forrest and Gross(2004) pp 17, 259
  9. ^ My Biological World View Archived May 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Allene Phy-Olsen, Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design, 2010, p.72
  11. ^ 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: A Response to Ashby Camp's "Critique", Talk.Origins "Interestingly, it appears that Denton has finally rectified his misunderstanding about nested hierarchies and common descent, since in his latest book he unconditionally assumes the validity of the nested hierarchy, common descent, and the tree of life."
  12. ^ "[T]he second argument, developed in Part 2, that the cosmos is fit also for the evolutionary development of life" (p. xiv). See also especially chapter 12.

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