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Critique of Intelligent Design

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Title Author Date
Ken Miller's book review Prophet, Nathan May 08, 2008
Congratulations on a superb review in my humble opinion. A group of us at local university read Miller's book and discussed one or more chapter's for several weeks prior to Miller coming to speak at the university. Many of the points you address came out in our discussions. I like your "Yang and Yin" analysis.

My personal opinion is that Dr. Miller is desperately trying to find a way to justify the existence of God through science (quantum
indeterminacy), while trying to hold fast to his traditional Roman Catholic beliefs in light of his considerable knowledge of evolution and science in general. He cannot deny science, so he attempts to justify God through science, and he fails to do that.

Thanks for the great review.

Nathan Prophet.

 

Title Author Date
Yin and Yang of Kenneth Miller Prophet, Nathan May 08, 2008
From a Brown University website - written by Dr. Ken Miller:

http://www.findingdarwinsgod.com/excerpt/index.html

[1] "In biological terms, evolution is the only way a Creator could have made us the creatures we are - free beings in a world of authentic and
meaningful moral and spiritual choices."

[2] "Over the years I have struggled to come up with a simple but precise answer to that question. [What kind of God do you believe in?] And, eventually I found it. I believe in Darwin's God."

My comments:

[1] The "only way" - I doubt it. Are we "free beings in a world of authentic and meaningful moral and spiritual choices? It's very debatable.
Gee, millions of the unborn and children who die in early childhood never had the chance to make "moral and spiritual choices". Pity I guess - that's the price they had to pay for us living adults to have the free will to make those types of choices.

[2] If Miller means Charles Darwin's personal belief in God, then he should know that Darwin became an staunch agnostic, and possibly and
atheist. He did not believe in the Bible as does Miller. If Miller means by "Darwin's God" a "creator god" that kick-started life with DNA and its associated mechanisms powering evolution, then that's a little more
palatable. He doesn't really make that clear.

Although Miller doesn't attempt to find a "scientific basis" or "proof" of God, he goes to great lengths to attempt to find a natural mechanism (quantum indeterminacy) through which God can act, and to permit the all important "free will" for making moral choices that we Homo sapiens are supposed to have. It's a kind of "God of the gaps" argument.

In my opinion, Miller is desperately trying to find a way to preserve his traditional Roman Catholic beliefs in light of his considerable
knowledge of facts thus far discovered through science.

Nathan Prophet.

 

Title Author Date
Yin and Yang of Kenneth Miller Moritz , Al Apr 30, 2006
I did read both Miller's book and Rossow's review, and I have to agree with Pehnec that it was Miller's intent to establish that Darwinian evolution is thoroughly compatible with faith in God (which is a non-controversial thesis, as Rossow points out), yet that it was not at all his intent to try to establish some kind of "scientific evidence" for God's existence. In this sense, Rossow's review is based on a substantial misunderstanding, one which I would not have thought possible until I read the review. I do not see how Rossow supposedly is able to infer from the cited passages from page 17 of Miller's book that the author wants to establish evidence for God from evolution. However, unlike Pehnec, I do not think that Rossow's review is entirely without merit, since it raises some interesting and well-researched points and, misunderstanding aside, tries to be fair in an admirable way. I certainly cannot see it as a "strawman attack".

The length of the "yin part" (as Rossow calls it) of Miller's book is due to the fact that it not only expounds on the compatibility of Darwinian evolution with faith, but also on the reasons why it enriches faith and elevates the concept of God. I think Miller overall does an admirable job in showing this, even though I have some philosophical disagreements with him. As I see it, the "yin part" is entirely written by Miller from a believer for other believers, without the intent to "convince" skeptics. If Rossow misunderstands it as having such an intent, it necessarily appears weak from his perspective, but this is not Miller's fault. About the strengths of the "yang part" of the book of course there is little disagreement.

 

Title Author Date
Yin and Yang of Kenneth Miller Pehnec, Steve Oct 24, 2002
From the Talk Reason summary of the article:

"The opinion of the reviewer Amiel Rossow is that Miller's book consists of two parts, with greatly differing quality of arguments. The larger part offers a well-substantiated and elegantly presented defense of Darwinism and critique of its opponents, while the smaller part is a much less convincing argument, mostly in a way of declarations, in favor of Miller's religious faith, which, contrary to Miller's assertion, does not appear to be supported by scientific evidence."

Dr. Miller's point, which he made clearly, was that Darwinian Evolution, or any discipline in genuine science for that matter, can not rule out the possibility that God exists. He goes even further to suggest how quantum indeterminacy would allow a personal God to act in the world without need of miracles. It was clearly not Dr. Miller's intent to try to establish some kind of "scientific evidence" for God's existence.

In my opinion, the article by Amiel Rossow is without merit and nothing more than a classic "strawman attack" of no consequence.