Kenneth Miller, bible-thumping Darwinist
Miller said religion and evolution are too often played as opposing forces and incorrectly identified as mutually exclusive . . . . .
But Miller said the root of the portrayal of religion and evolution as opposites may come from scientists who have an “anti-theistic interpretation of evolution,” a stance he disagrees with.
“People of faith are shooting at the wrong target. They should not be shooting at evolution itself,” he said . . . .
Instead of attacking evolutionary theory, the argument should be against the anti-theistic interpretation of evolution, he said.
I am not surprised at such comments coming from Ken Miller, but these comments have aroused a lot of controversy on various blogs. PZ Myers' Darwinist blog Pharyngula has a several posts on the subject with a total of about 300 comments, and many of these comments are long. The anti-Darwinist blog Uncommon Descent and the Darwinist blog Panda's Thumb also have some posts about the subject.
I certainly disagree with Miller's opposition to the teaching or even mention of criticisms of evolution in public school science classes -- he was the lead expert witness for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover and also was an expert witness for the plaintiffs in Selman v. Cobb County (the textbook sticker case). But I partly agree with him here -- I think that both Darwinism and the scientific criticisms of Darwinism should be judged solely on scientific merit but that it is OK to discuss their religious implications.
I think that Kenneth Miller certainly deserves a lot of the blame -- or credit, depending on your viewpoint -- for the one-sidedness of the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision. I think that his influence is clear in the following ruling in the Dover opinion:
Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.(page 136)
By telling people what their religious beliefs about Darwinism are supposed to be, Judge Jones conveniently dodged the question of whether people who oppose Darwinism because of religious beliefs were entitled to a concession to those beliefs in accordance with the political "insider-outsider" principle of the endorsement test. Also, I don't know why the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller and Selman risked having a theistic evolutionist as an expert witness -- it could have backfired.
Labels: Evolution controversy (3 of 4)