The Miracle of the Cell

Michael Denton

The Miracle of the Cell provides compelling evidence that long before life emerged on our planet, the design of the carbon-based cell was foreshadowed in the order of nature, in the exquisite fitness of the laws of nature for this foundational unit of all life on Earth. Nowhere is this fitness more apparent than in the properties of the key atomic constituents of the cell. Each of the atoms of life — including carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, as well as several metal elements — features a suite of unique properties fine-tuned to serve highly specific, indispensable roles in the cell. Moreover, some of these properties are specifically fit for essential roles in the cells of advanced aerobic organisms like ourselves. Author Michael Denton is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He holds an MD from Bristol University and a PhD in biochemistry from King’s College in London. His previous books include Evolution: A Theory in Crisis and Nature’s Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe. He has published his work in NatureNature GeneticsBioSystemsHuman Genetics, and Biology and Philosophy.


“Michael Denton is the world’s most profound thinker about the fundamental physical and chemical requirements for the existence of a humanoid species such as ourselves. By gathering and synthesizing facts from an enormous range of scientific observations, Denton shows with overwhelming force that the universe was made for intelligent, technology-using beings of roughly our size — beings whose very existence depends precariously on a myriad of physical details that the universe miraculously got right. Anyone who wonders whether nature shows any signs of purpose needs to read The Miracle of the Cell.

Michael J. Behe, PhD, Lehigh University molecular biologist and author of Darwin’s Black Box, The Edge of Evolution, and Darwin Devolves.

“In this seminal new book, distinguished biochemist Michael Denton takes the fine-tuning argument to a whole new level. He shows that many of the chemical elements themselves and their properties are delicately fine-tuned for life, and the same holds for crucial compounds like water. Denton also makes a convincing case that all these instances of fine-tuning converge towards a primal blueprint that existed prior to the arrival of the first living cell. Denton is at the forefront of assembling this evidence as a cumulative case for teleology in nature. The Miracle of the Cell greatly advances the case in favor of intelligent causes in the natural sciences. The growing body of evidence from modern science more and more calls for a shift away from the ruling but obsolete paradigm of materialism, which allows only for the blind action of natural laws and mere matter in motion. Michael Denton’s work will prove to be a milestone in this ongoing scientific revolution.”

Günter Bechly, PhD, paleontologist

“Michael Denton has again sent the opponents of cosmic purpose scurrying. True, I do not share his hope that one day we may discover natural laws that would “save the day” for a naturalistic origin of life. We know — experimentally and conceptually — that the meaning of chemical bites such as CTA equals valine must be free of lawlike constraints for them to express the reams of life-essential information they do. But there is much I find to celebrate in Denton’s new book. The Miracle of the Cell is marvelous in vividly illuminating the evidence that the elements of life were selected and exquisitely fine-tuned by a master intellect, and had to be before the first cell could exist. Here we are confronted with undeniable and definitive findings in favor of a powerful genius who foresaw and precisely orchestrated chemistry as a whole for life.”

Marcos Eberlin, PhD, member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, founder of the Thomson Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, winner of the Thomson Medal (2016), and former president of the International Mass Spectrometry Foundation

Michael Denton

Senior Fellow, Centers for Science & Culture and on Human Exceptionalism
Michael Denton holds an M.D. from Bristol University, as well as a Ph.D. in biochemistry from King’s College in London. A Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, Denton has had a critical impact on the debate over Darwinian evolution.