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Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (P.S.) Paperback – April 3, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Though he takes a different tack than Wyller (above), Miller tries to draw a straight line between two apparently opposing ideas: the theory of evolution and belief in a creator. In a more humanistic account than Wyller's, Miller, a professor of biology at Brown University, explains the difference between evolution as validated scientific fact and as an evolving theory. He illustrates his contentions with examples from astronomy, geology, physics and molecular biology, confronting the illogic of creationists with persuasive reasons based on the known physical properties of the universe and the demonstrable effects of time on the radioactivity of various elements. Then standing firmly on Darwinian ground, he turns to take on, with equal vigor, his outspoken colleagues in science who espouse a materialistic, agnostic or atheistic vision of reality. Along the way, he addresses such important questions as free will in a planned universe. Miller is particularly incisive when he discusses the emotional reasons why many people oppose evolution and the scientific community's befuddled, often hostile, reaction to sincere religious belief. Throughout, he displays an impressive fairness, which he communicates in friendly, conversational prose. This is a book that will stir readers of both science and theology, perhaps satisfying neither, but challenging both to open their minds. Illustrations. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Scientific American
Miller, professor of biology at Brown University, believes firmly in evolution. He also believes in God-a belief not widely shared among scientists. Here he sets out to offer thoughts on how to reconcile the conflict many people see between the two positions. Evolution, he says, is a story of origins; so too is the Judeo-Christian creation story. "The conflict between these two versions of our history is real, and I do not doubt for a second that it needs to be addressed. What I do not believe is that the conflict is unresolvable." Laying out the positions with care and clarity, he offers his resolution: "As more than one scientist has said, the truly remarkable thing about the world is that it actually does make sense. The parts fit, the molecules interact, the darn thing works. To people of faith, what evolution says is that nature is complete. God fashioned a material world in which truly free, truly independent beings could evolve."
EDITORS OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Miller considers first the arguments of young-earth creationists (Whitcome and Morris, Duane Gish, et al.) and answers these with an avalanche of scientific evidence. He then examines in two chapters the claims of old-earth creationists, especially Philip Johnson (who stresses a lack of transitional forms in the fossil record) and Michael Behe (who identifies what he considers are "irreducably complex" biochemical machines in the cell). In his careful analysis of these views, Miller helps the reader appreciate how both approaches are, in effect, misguided attempts to defend creation with a "God of the gaps." Each offers examples which, the authors hope, defy explanation by modern science. This (temporary) inability of modern science is then taken as evidence in support of the work of the Creator at that point. Miller shows the consistent failure of this mode of argumentation in the past and cites evidence published since the appearance of Johnson's and Behe's writings, which, unfortunately for them, fills in their hoped-for gaps.
One of the greatest dangers of a God of the gaps argument, Miller notes, is that each time science succeeds in filling one of these alleged gaps its success is misconstrued by atheistic scientists as proof that God must not exist. Miller turns his attention in the second half of his book to a refutation of the equally deficient views against creation that have been advanced by atheistic scientists.
In the end Miller affirms the wisdom of resting one's faith in a God who is the God of the stuff in between the gaps - whose handiwork is best seen in facts and qualities of the universe which are well known to science, rather than in those which are as yet undiscovered. Although he strongly affirms evolution, natural law, and chance, he sees these as means which God used for accoplishing His creative intention and safeguarding the genuine freedom and independence of His Creation. Miller affirms that the existence of the universe is not self-explanatory. Although he recognizes that the convictions of faith cannot be proven absolutely, he considers faith in the Creator to be reasonable and supported by such evidences as the anthropic principle. He also favors the possibility that God may utilize quantum indeterminacy and chaos as subtle means for interacting with His creation.
Kenneth Miller's philosophical arguments about why evolution is consistent with the existence of God is not quite as well argued, however. His opinion, in a nutshell, is that God provided the universe with the properties that made the eventual formation of intelligent life extremely likely. The mechanism of evolution made it probable that at least one species would become advanced enough to be able to recognize and have a relationship with a creator, and that evolution was essential in the development of "free will" that would make individuals have a choice in choosing or rejecting the creator. Of course there is no scientific evidence to support this, but Mr. Miller does raise some interesting points with this argument. However, it seems to me that this would be an unsatisfactory argument to someone who wishes to have an "active" God in their individual lives who can intervene on their behalf. In addition, Mr. Miller provides no viewpoints on why a Judeo-Christian God (as he believes in) would be the prime deity. Why not Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, or any of the other major Eastern religions?
Overall, I think that Mr. Miller's book is definitely worth reading for his excellent summary of the overwhelming evidence for evolution. His religious arguments are not as well argued, but they certainly will make you think, regardless of your religious (or non-religious) beliefs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Miller contradicts himself.Read more