by Francis A. Andrew
reviewed by Wendy Strain
"Astra would not only be capable of solving the many scientific riddles that had baffled the best scientific brains for centuries, but could even resolve the political, social, economic, and even religious questions that had perplexed the human mind for eons."
With a title like Intelligent Design, it should be no surprise that Andrew's book attempts to bridge the perceptual distance between science and religion. Heavy on theology to the point of incorporating multiple pages of quoted scripture, the connections made between religion, astronomy and astrophysics can be, at times, rather surprising.
The story opens nearly with the flipping of a switch to power up the world's first intelligent super-computer, Astra. What makes this computer so different is its purposeful design based upon neuroscience and the functioning human brain. Illustrating the central role of theology within the story, the first pages present the debate regarding why the computer has not been given access to philosophical information. As the story progresses, this debate becomes heated as the Athiest project director blames his Christian assistant for accidentally providing Astra with access to the Bible.
It is clear that a great deal of thought and consideration went into the creation of this novel. The scriptural passages are carefully selected with connections made between them not commonly considered by the average lay-person. However, there are numerous characters introduced within the novel, many of which share similar characteristics and mannerisms. When the author refers to characters by the incorrect name, it adds unnecessary confusion. Even though Intelligent Design does not read smoothly as a story, it provides a number of concepts to consider and discuss.
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