Hallmarks of Design

Paperback, 230pp. Published by Day One Publications, PO Box 66, Leominster. HR6 0XB. Price: £8.00; ISBN 978-1-84625-139-9.

The book is subtitled ‘Evidence of purposeful design and beauty in nature’. The author, Professor STUART BURGESS, sets out to present a number of clear arguments that nature declares and reveals a Designer. This is accomplished well with the support of the latest discoveries about the complexity and beauty of the natural world.

The book describes six ‘hallmarks of design’ that can be produced only by an intelligent designer: irreducible mechanisms (e.g., the knee joint), complete optimum design (e.g., the albatross), added beauty (e.g., the peacock tail and birdsong), extreme similarity in features (e.g., warning colours and patterns), extreme diversity of kinds (e.g., hummingbirds) and man-centred features (showing that God designed the earth purposely to suit mankind). BURGESS sets out to describe each hallmark and then seeks to explain its relevance in relation to the Design Argument.

In defence of the Design Argument, BURGESS undoubtedly presents some very interesting examples. The chapters on added beauty in the peacock tail and birdsong are particularly fascinating. For example, nightingales have a musical repertoire of 100-300 songs and don’t repeat the same song for at least 70 songs! Some birds can even mimic others or sing matched duets. Burgess argues that the beauty of birdsong is so great that its most important purpose ‘is to bring pleasure to the Creator and to man’. The closing chapters are perhaps the most enjoyable of the book. These comprise a discussion of the unique design and beauty of man, the biblical creation account and answer objections to the Design Argument. BURGESS concludes the book by directing evolutionists to the witness of creation; God has done great things we cannot comprehend, Job 37. 5, His attributes in creation are clearly seen, Rom. 1. 20, and this God wants a personal relationship with us, Isa. 45. 18, 21-22!

Overall, this is an enjoyable book which unfortunately is made somewhat difficult to read by its complexity of scientific and technical language. It is evident that the author has tried hard to write in simple, plain to understand, English. However, much of it is still too difficult for the average reader and requires some sections to be read and re-read to fully follow the argument. Despite this, BURGESS has succeeded in presenting a strong case for the evidence of a divine Designer.

[Our thanks to Dan Rudge, Bracknell, UK, for this review]