Friday, September 01, 2006


Grist Mills

Real life continues to unfairly intrude on my time to spend kicking around IDeologists and other creationists. In addition, in the thread at started by a version by my "Wouldn't be nice if they Tased Ann Coulter" post, a philosophy of science argument over whether "theistic evolution" is somehow bad science, instead of, at worse, bad theology, has broken out again, so this will be a quick one . . .

Here is Ken Miller's take on theistic evolution, as long as the subject has come up. Discussing speculation, particularly by the Discovery Institute, that Pope Benedict is about to come out in support of Intelligent Design, Miller notes that, instead of rejecting evolutionary theory outright, as the Discovery Institute would do, religious believers should:

[B]reak the false connection between [nihilistic philosophies that enlist evolution to claim that existence is without meaning or purpose] and evolution itself. The notion that evolution deprives human life of meaning and robs us of our special place in the cosmos is simply not true.

What modern science actually tells us is that we live in a remarkable and dynamic universe, in which the genuine miracle is its remarkable embrace of life and change. We find ourselves in the midst of a continuing creation, in which the physical properties of matter itself drive the formation of new stars and galaxies, and make possible the emergence and evolution of life in all its splendor.

Miller goes on to say:

As Aquinas had recognised nearly 800 years ago, finding a natural cause (even a "truly contingent" one such as evolution) for a phenomenon doesn't take God out of the picture. In fact, to people of faith, scientific explanations of nature only increase our admiration for His work.

The same applies to evolution. Far from reducing humanity to the random result of pointless molecular collisions, evolution unites us with every living being in a fabric of life and change in which our emergence, and the continuing creative power of our universe, is the product of the Creator's will and love. There is indeed a design to life - and the name of that design is evolution.

I don't have to agree with Miller's beliefs to see that he can sincerely hold them with no harm done to his own scientific work or to science as an enterprise.

Thanks for the interesting post. This helps clarify Ken Miller's position for me.
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