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Is Fine-Tuning an Argument for a Creator? A Harvard Pioneer on Chemical and Biological Design


Lawrence J. Henderson, professor for chemistry at Harvard at the beginning of the 20th century, was doing research on physiological buffer-systems. Hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen and their molecules, water and carbon dioxide – building up earth’s atmosphere – work very nicely in essential tasks in physiological systems. This fact points to a teleological order. Henderson was convinced that there should be a mechanistic explanation which was – in his own words – “not at hand” and still isn’t. In this talk, we consider Henderson's claim and examine whether there are valid reasons to deny ideas of design.