The Illusion of Intelligent Design
"Your Highness, I have no need of that hypothesis."String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design by Leonard Susskind, the father of string theory, aims to show why the so called anthropic principle, the fact that the physical laws of the universe seem remarkably fine tuned to make life possible, is no evidence for intelligent design of the cosmos. The Village Voice has a nice article on the book.
--Pierre Simon de Laplace (1749-1827),
reply made to Napoleon when asked why his
celestial mechanics had no mention of God.
There is also a more technical review available on Physics Web. And more reviews here and here.
"I started writing about it as a controversy strictly between physicists," says Susskind. "I started writing it as a physics book, and quite honestly, I didn't know that much about biology and chemistry, but as I started to write, I realized I was writing something broader."While doing some online research, Susskind inadvertently came across dozens of religious blogs and websites invoking the anthropic principle. "I discovered this very large culture of people [who believe] that the anthropic principle means intelligent design," he says. "That was a bit of an education for me. This book is about the lack of need for supernatural explanations."... "As you know, there's something of a war against science going on," Susskind says.
The appearance of this book is another good sign that more top scientists are beginning to recognize the importance of raising the general level of understanding of science and engaging the public. Unless the reality based view of the world is vigorously defended, the social context in which doing science is possible may be terminally eroded.