[Reading] ➸ Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution Author Kenneth R. Miller – Turboville.co.uk

Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution Ken Miller is a Christian and a biologist at Brown University, and one of the major anti creationist debaters I really liked this well argued dismantling of intelligent design and other creationist arguments from a scientific perspective His theological reflections weren t as deep as I would have liked, but Conrad Hyers The Meaning of Creation Genesis and Modern Science covers that angle Christians really need to be informed that A evolution is very well supported science, and B it doesn t Ken Miller is a Christian and a biologist at Brown University, and one of the major anti creationist debaters I really liked this well argued dismantling of intelligent design and other creationist arguments from a scientific perspective His theological reflections weren t as deep as I would have liked, but Conrad Hyers The Meaning of Creation Genesis and Modern Science covers that angle Christians really need to be informed that A evolution is very well supported science, and B it doesn t conflict with the Christian faith When it s painted as a black and white issue with two extremes atheistic materialists on the one hand and biblical literalist crusaders on the other, manypeople are led away from the faith than towards it.Christians Don t be afraid to question what you ve been taught Enlightening World view altering I think it is a MUST READ for anyone interested in either science OR religion I love both Enjoyable to read and fun to chew on There is enough science, enough philosophy, enough logical reasoning, and enough religious thought to make one pause, think, and digest however, it is not daunting or intimidating, just thought provoking I liked Jared Smith s 2 3 08 review Evolution is a tricky subject There are few topics like it everyone has an iron opinion Enlightening World view altering I think it is a MUST READ for anyone interested in either science OR religion I love both Enjoyable to read and fun to chew on There is enough science, enough philosophy, enough logical reasoning, and enough religious thought to make one pause, think, and digest however, it is not daunting or intimidating, just thought provoking I liked Jared Smith s 2 3 08 review Evolution is a tricky subject There are few topics like it everyone has an iron opinion on an issue about which they know so very little With thousands of papers and books written on the subject in the past 150 years, there is no shortage of information, just a shortage of courage God loving folks are genuinely scared of this dangerous theory, and for this reason avoid the literature On the other hand, most of the literature proving evolution also defames religion and undermines faith This book is both God loving and proves evolution How surprising I have intensely studied biology for 20 years I have taken advanced courses in both evolution and molecular evolution I understand the biology But I am also a person who likes to avoid conflict, and I never bothered to make any firm decision about where I stood in the conflict After reading this book, I now know where I stand Heard of DNA Do you believe that it is a double helix I teach Genetics Trust me, it s a double helix I m convinced that there is significantlyevidence that evolution occurred and is still occurring than there is that DNA is a double helix.Many of you, including friends, who read this may say Duh, those God people sure are slow to accept the obvious More of you, however, likely can identify with wondering whether creation stories are of necessity mutually exclusive, or how evolution fits if at all with the reality of God Dr Miller shows that evolution does fit with God, and does so in a way that grants us free will He also concludes that most of the reasons that we have feared evolution only conflict with Puritanical views of a Watch Maker God that we don t believe in anyways I chose this deliberately after reading The God Delusion Dawkins pretty clearly thinks that religion is incompatible with science, and I wanted to read the POV of someone who thinks the opposite I didn t get as much out of this book as I d hoped it seems to beaimed at people who believe in God, but not evolution So clearly I am not the audience Occasionally Miller will make dismissive reference to non believers and materialists , but he didn t really address their arguments in dep I chose this deliberately after reading The God Delusion Dawkins pretty clearly thinks that religion is incompatible with science, and I wanted to read the POV of someone who thinks the opposite I didn t get as much out of this book as I d hoped it seems to beaimed at people who believe in God, but not evolution So clearly I am not the audience Occasionally Miller will make dismissive reference to non believers and materialists , but he didn t really address their arguments in depth I think this was intentional he s not out to convert anyone, and admits that he can t provide scientific proof of God he just wants to say that science doesn t disprove God I wish, though, that he d explained a little bitabout why he does believe in God, not just why it s possible I also wish he d exploredof the implications of God, because I find that sort of thing interesting Unfortunately, he dismisses a lot of things as ineffability Why did God take so long to create people It s a mystery Who are we to say we know why God does what he does Okay, fine, yes, but you do think you know some things You seem convinced God loves you, for instance, and that seems to be a pretty big bit of mind reading I can t even always tell if other human beings even like me, and I understand them a lot better His theory seems to be that God created the universe and the laws in it in such a way that they would be hospitable to life This is known as the Strong Anthropic principle, by the way Okay And that He and Miller s God seems to be a He knew that evolution on Earth and possibly other planets would eventually lead to life that was intelligent enough to um Love him, I guess Worship him I don t know, this is where religion in general fails to make sense to me, but I ll go with it So at a certain point, when humans had evolved into something capable of understanding Him, he gave them a soul So what point was that, exactly I mean, was there literally an Adam and Eve early homo sapiens Did all their kids have souls but the others not have them Were their kids marrying unsouled humans, or did all the humans that existed get souls at the same time I mean, either way, you ve got some homo sapiens that don t have souls until later in life, or you ve got unsouled parents giving birth to children with souls, or I don t know Also, does this mean that cats and dogs don t have souls Because I will agree with Will Rogers, the Mahabharata and the Twilight Zone if heaven doesn t have cats, I don t want to go there And when do Heaven and Hell which, again, Miller clearly believes in come into being And why To give Miller a bit of a break, he s not trying to say he knows the answer to these questions, but I just come back to wondering why he believes in what he does know about God Reading between the lines, I think he believes and assumes that his reader believes that there are ways other than the scientific method that one can make discoveries about truth because as he admits, you can t scientifically prove God But he doesn t say what those other ways are , and I m interested in that I don t know if I d be convinced, but I want to know how Miller who has clearly thought about this a lot thinks it works Coming from the other angle, I don t know if this would convince religious folks that evolution is true, and that it doesn t mean they can t believe in God I hope it does I want Dawkins to be wrong, I want science and religion to be able to co exist because science is awesome, and I want as many people to love it as possible In the past 700 years science has had a way of humbling humansand , once we were the center of everything, created on day 6 in the image of God First we learn that everything doesn t revolve around the Earth, instead we circle the sun The sun isn t anythingthan just one of billions of stars in the Milky Way, which itself is just one of billions of galaxies The earth wasn t created created in 1 day, its billions of years old and humans aren t the first dominant species but inst In the past 700 years science has had a way of humbling humansand , once we were the center of everything, created on day 6 in the image of God First we learn that everything doesn t revolve around the Earth, instead we circle the sun The sun isn t anythingthan just one of billions of stars in the Milky Way, which itself is just one of billions of galaxies The earth wasn t created created in 1 day, its billions of years old and humans aren t the first dominant species but instead just the latest in a large series We weren t even created in one day but instead we ve evolved over billions of years from a multitude of species In this book Miller sets out to present the evidence for evolution and then later to shows that you can still believe in God and evolution The first half of the book presents the evidence for evolution while at the same time taking on the arguments from young earth creationists, intelligent design and theistic evolution This is the first book on evolution I ve read so I don t know how it compares to others, but its pretty convincing well I think, I already accepted it I liked how Miller presented the other sides arguments and then showed how they are mistaken, but doing so in a civil manner The second half of the book deals with naturalism and the view that evolution has removed the need for God He goes on to argue why God and evolution can coexists Truthfully, in my opinion it almost seemed at times like the God he presents is one that I picture with open theology muchthan the common one presented in Milers Catholic background In a way I think I can accept this view of God sometimesthan the one presented in Calvinism which is so sovereign that he even controls or predestines our belief in Jesus With evolution and a less active God, harder things to accept like disease or things like bedbugs becometolerable, although sometimes it did seem that Miller was taking a deist approach even though several times he spoke against it Overall I loved this book and it got me interested in readingon evolution and especially interested in reading about genomes and DNA From my perspective having an evangelical background, I think the biggest hurdle to getting evolution or even an old earth model accepted, is getting the evangelical community to start to accept that Genesis isn t a scientific account of the early creation of the earth and man Miller briefly mentioned this and showed how even early church fathers like Augustine didn t take the literal 6 day approach, but this is still going to be a battle From my point of view to accept that the earth wasn t created in 6 days is to at least have to partially start to question inerrancy Sadly there are many people who would rather put their head in the sand than confront these pressing issues First and foremost, Ken Miller is an excellent science writer, expressing things plainly and concisely in a wholly accessible manner that other science writers should study This is essential in dealing with things like irreducible complexity, which most people haven t even heard of, let alone understand As an evolutionary scientist and Christian, he represents a sorely misunderstood middleground between Christian creationists and atheist Darwinists His arguments against traditional intelligen First and foremost, Ken Miller is an excellent science writer, expressing things plainly and concisely in a wholly accessible manner that other science writers should study This is essential in dealing with things like irreducible complexity, which most people haven t even heard of, let alone understand As an evolutionary scientist and Christian, he represents a sorely misunderstood middleground between Christian creationists and atheist Darwinists His arguments against traditional intelligent design theory are thorough and convincing for the non hardcore science reading public This is a great book to check out if you re interested in some of the ways evolution probably works His defense of his faith is weaker, which is somewhat understandable it s harder to prove and does not deal exclusively with scientific method like his arguments for chance or natural selection His conclusion of an omnipotent entity seems closer to Charles Darwin s own, one that is unknowable and that is not working entirely for human benefit Had he expoundedon his or the ramifications of Darwin s beliefs,scientists probably would have given the book credit I enjoyed this book most at the beginning and decreasingly as it went on, despite the fact that many of Miller s views seemor less right to me It was helpful to see the clarity of the physical evidence for the great age of the solar system, particularly the chart of radioactive nuclides on pp 70 71 If this doesn t mean anything to you, no worries Miller explains it clearly It was also helpful to know that Phillip Johnson is a lawyer, not a biologist, and that some of Michael Behe s I enjoyed this book most at the beginning and decreasingly as it went on, despite the fact that many of Miller s views seemor less right to me It was helpful to see the clarity of the physical evidence for the great age of the solar system, particularly the chart of radioactive nuclides on pp 70 71 If this doesn t mean anything to you, no worries Miller explains it clearly It was also helpful to know that Phillip Johnson is a lawyer, not a biologist, and that some of Michael Behe s examples of irreducibly complex systems are not irreducibly complex after all But as Miller moved further from biology and physics and closer to theology and philosophy my own area , the cracks began to show The discussion of chance and divine providence lost some opportunities and ignored the history of Christian thought on these topics For some powerful thinking on these topics, readers should consider Peter van Inwagen s The Place of Chance in a World Sustained by God in God, Knowledge, and Mystery and Thomas Flint s Divine Providence A Molinist Account I m glad to see a Christian biologist standing up and saying that he believes in evolution and believes in God But the attempts at interdisciplinary work were not as successful as one might hope Theistic evolutionists get attacked from both sides From creationists they are attacked for compromising with the theory of evolution And from their atheist colleagues they are attacked for joining the religious in believing in God Kenneth Miller spends this book articulating why he believes in both God and evolution.The first half of the book focuses on the theory of evolution it is true, best explaining all the evidence and showing how life originated He attacks young earth creationi Theistic evolutionists get attacked from both sides From creationists they are attacked for compromising with the theory of evolution And from their atheist colleagues they are attacked for joining the religious in believing in God Kenneth Miller spends this book articulating why he believes in both God and evolution.The first half of the book focuses on the theory of evolution it is true, best explaining all the evidence and showing how life originated He attacks young earth creationists as well as intelligent design advocates Basic point the theory of evolution explains how we got here deal with it.When he turns to discussing God his basic point is that when scientists argue that evolution disproves God they are stepping out of the realm of science and making a claim beyond what the evidence shows He talks a lot about quantum mechanics showing the basic randomness of the universe Of course, Miller goes into manydetails and arguments I found this book thought provoking, somewhat liberating, and challenging I would recommend it to anyone interested in the relation of science and faith This is the rare book that attempts to bridge the divide between fundamentalist Christians and atheist evolutionary biologists Miller has tendrils iin both camps, being a Brown University biologist and author of the the textbook at issue in the Dover Evolution Trial and a committed Roman Catholic In the first half of the book Miller ably displays the flaws in Intelligent Design while sympathetically attempting to understand what might drive people to embrace it In the second half he attacks This is the rare book that attempts to bridge the divide between fundamentalist Christians and atheist evolutionary biologists Miller has tendrils iin both camps, being a Brown University biologist and author of the the textbook at issue in the Dover Evolution Trial and a committed Roman Catholic In the first half of the book Miller ably displays the flaws in Intelligent Design while sympathetically attempting to understand what might drive people to embrace it In the second half he attacks the arrogance of scientists that so often drives people of faith away The ideal ending of this work would be for Miller to present a deep and convincing reconciliation of traditional faith and evolution and he does try Unfortunately this is probably the weakest and most sketchily rendered portion of the book, leaving readers with a slightly bittersweet taste as they close the book Focusing On The Ground Breaking And Often Controversial Science Of Charles Darwin, The Author Seeks To Bridge The Gulf Between Science And Religion On The Subject Of Human Evolution Overall I thought this book was pretty interesting, and I was amused by how easily and thoroughly Miller dispatches all the intelligent design arguments I wanted a littlefrom the last part of the book, in which Miller explains the compatibility of religion and science, and how science actually makes his faith stronger I suppose what I really want is a conversation with him, so I can ask all the questions his book raised for me but didn t answer adequately.


About the Author: Kenneth R. Miller

Kenneth R Miller is Professor of Biology at Brown University He earned his Ph.D in 1974 at the University of Colorado, and spent six years teaching at Harvard University before returning to Brown He is a cell biologist, and chairs the Education Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology He serves as an advisor on life sciences to the NewsHour, a daily PBS television program on news and public affairs.His research work on cell membrane structure and function has producedthan 50 scientific papers and reviews in leading journals, including CELL and Nature, as well as leading popular sources such as Natural History and Scientific American Miller is coauthor, with Joseph S Levine, of four different high school and college biology textbooks used by millions of students nationwide He has received five major teaching awards, and in 2005 was given the Presidential Citation of the American Institute for Biological Sciences for distinguished service in the field of Biology In 2006 he received the Public Service Award from the American Society for Cell Biology, and in 2007 was given the Science Educator Award from the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco.One of Miller s principal interests is the public understanding of evolution He has written a number of articles defending the scientific integrity of evolution, answering challenges such as intelligent design, and he has debated a number of anti evolutionists over the years.


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