Foundation for Thought and Ethics

December 27, 2007

Dear Friends,

William A. DembskiWhat joy it is to share the good news we have eagerly anticipated sending you this month. The Design of Life has been out since mid-November, and the buzz about it is coming from readers all over the world!

To go online is to go international, and since intelligent design scientists have been working in Europe for several years, orders for the book have come in on our web site from Finland, Italy, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Norway, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, India, and Australia. Already, publishers from Germany and Spain are seeking rights to translate and publish it in their countries! Closer to home, several friends have bought initially one or two copies, and then returned for additional books to give as gifts. One delightfully frank couple confessed they spar many nights over who gets to read it before bedtime!

Book retail giant Amazon.com has been posting book reviews at the rate of one every other day. Let me share just three samples (all emphases are mine):

STEPHEN FROM NEW HAVEN, CT: Lucid, forceful, and intensely engaged in the debate as it rages at the current moment, this volume will quickly become indispensable to anybody interested in intelligent design or Neo-Darwinian evolution.

B. L. FROM REDMOND, WA: In short, Dembski and Wells have written a comprehensive text of absolutely sparkling perspicacity. 'One long argument' of a quality that Darwin could only have dreamt has been given, and a bright new research paradigm has found its way into the sunlight. This book will be praised and it will be vilified, but most importantly it will be read because it is eminently worthy of being read — and the young minds who read it will have their eyes opened to a new and better and more accurate and vastly healthier scientific understanding of the world.

RICHARD FROM MADRAS, OR: Scientific understanding has progressed only as presently-held theories have been open to critique. That is, truly objective scientists welcome evidence contrary to a particular theory, since it leads to refining or discarding, to pursuing more promising lines of research. Today, despite a wealth of new, contrary evidence from a variety of disciplines, this basic scientific principle is ignored by many biologists. At stake in biology today are both academic freedom and scientific progress.

It is into this tense but exciting situation that Dembski and Wells speak with clarity, depth, and authority. In The Design of Life they do what defenders of neo-Darwinism have shown themselves unwilling to do-they interact with the evidence . . . . Their argument engages the breadth and the best of what neo-Darwinism has to offer, and meets-indeed, overwhelms-each materialist objection in turn. For anyone interested in discovering the truth about the history of life, I cannot think of a better place to start than this book.

Thus, you can see why we fully expect this book to speak to a wide demographic, including tens of thousands of strong and intelligent young minds, proving Daniel J. Boorstin's observation that "books make the difference to our nation as well as to individuals." Many of you have visited our web site, now up and running, and its companion blog, which a seasoned blogmaster is maintaining for us. If you haven't seen it, take a look at www.thedesignoflife.net for information about the book, and click on "Blog" at the top to go to the blog site.

Of course, not all of the reviews posted in the first month have been as exuberant as those above; some are venomous. We are receiving numerous requests for review copies from people we know intend to try to destroy it. (We do not intentionally send complimentary review copies to these people.) But we are greatly encouraged and delighted by the extremely positive reviews and accolades coming in from highly respected research scientists and science teachers across the country and from overseas.

Getting the Book to Market

The Design of Life is available in only a handful of bookstores as of this moment, so the quickest way to get a copy is online through our own web site (www.thedesignoflife.net) or at Amazon.com. However, despite three volume orders in rapid succession, Amazon.com has been out of stock for most of the month! (Good thing another order, this time for 90 copies, arrived from Amazon today!) So, we are filling all orders in 24 hours and working hard to ensure that DOL will soon be available through other online bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million. Putting a book on the national market is an enormous undertaking, and we are inundated by the volume of detail involved. Thankfully, the book-selling industry is highly organized, and many of the hoops we have jumped through for one or more business partners will not need to be repeated for the others.

Where Do We Go from Here?

We are thrilled to report that we have reached our $275,000 goal to publish The Design of Life and put it on the market. In fact, we went over the top! In my November letter to you, I told you we had raised $231,500 toward this goal, but that we still needed to raise $43,500 to accomplish it. You opened your hearts and pocketbooks and sent in another $51,000! How grateful we are for the wonderfully generous partners who read our letters and stand with us! We have been able to pay the typesetting and printing bills in their entirety. We have $23,000 in the bank.

Please know, though, that the early success of the book does not mean we are without significant challenges in the weeks and months ahead. There will be intense opposition to our attempts to market the book widely. The Design of Life is a thousand times more threatening to the opposition than Pandas, the book they tried to censure. Success will come with a big price tag. The marketing and PR expenses required, if we set our sites on tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or more, in sales, are likely to be quite large.

In addition, we must maintain the book industry's protocols throughout. There can be no down-time for retailers. If the book is hot, they will want seamless inventory, not a 5-day wait. In addition, if it is hot, we can be good stewards only if we print larger print runs to realize the economies of scale available to popular items in today's market.

So the fun is just beginning, and we still need your generous help! But from here on out, we can watch the progress together. We can share our stories with one another and with the world!

A book of this quality, eliciting such powerful reviews immediately upon publication, deserves the strongest possible backing. I hope you'll continue to pray and also write the largest check you can, and send it in with the information requested on the enclosed card. With your steadfast partnership we can cautiously add one or two additional staff needed for growth in our outreach, and begin to sponsor programs, including symposia like those that so effectively helped to launch the intelligent design movement over fifteen years ago.

Thank you again for your amazing generosity. We are very grateful!

Sincerely,
Jon Buell
Jon Buell

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