I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Kenneth Miller, bible-thumping Darwinist

A bible-thumping Darwinist? Isn't that an oxymoron? Well, Kenneth Miller is a Darwinist who just sounds like a bible-thumper sometimes in the way he talks about religion. A Lawrence Journal-World article about a speech he gave on Friday at Kansas University said:

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.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> By telling people what their religious beliefs about Darwinism are supposed to be <

But he didn't do so.

> Judge Jones conveniently dodged the question <

The question was not at hand. He was to make a legal decision, not to expound on irrelevancies. ID is a form of creationism. Creationism is not science.

Monday, September 11, 2006 7:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

> Judge Jones conveniently dodged the question <

And he said nothing at all about the smog fee. Perhaps if it were relevant, he might have mentioned it.

Monday, September 11, 2006 7:54:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

And as usual, the quotes provided by Larry don't show any evidence of his claim, in this case bible-thumping.

Monday, September 11, 2006 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> And as usual, the quotes provided by Larry don't show any evidence of his claim, <

I don't think he is even aware of it. He seems to be totally incapable of understanding anything he reads. He just does a word search on the subject and then "interprets".

Monday, September 11, 2006 5:15:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

I should have added that Miller has a double standard: he condemned anti-Darwinists for asserting that Darwinism is based on atheism but did not condemn Darwinists for asserting that anti-Darwinism is based on theism.

Monday, September 11, 2006 9:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> I should have added that Miller has a double standard: <

He condemned anti-Darwinists for their false statement and did not condemn Darwinists for their true statement. Where is the double statdard?

Monday, September 11, 2006 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

W. Kevin Vicklund said...
>>>>> And as usual, the quotes provided by Larry don't show any evidence of his claim, in this case bible-thumping. <<<<<

PZ Myers went a lot further -- he called Miller a "creationist." And I don't see you jumping on PZ. That figures.

Monday, September 11, 2006 11:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Fake Larry(?) dodges the questions. As usual.

Larry's Cry Room continues.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 7:33:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

It has often been thought that "miracles prove the existence of God." But there are several problems with that. One is that, since miracles seem to be rather scarce and not reproducible, a lot of natural occurrences get drafted to serve as stand-ins. Another difficulty is that God presumably intended humans to act with free will, so he can't go around rescuing us all the time.

What happens to the model if "God" is somehow intrinsic rather than separate? That is more plausible (although God's purpose is puzzingly inconsistent, regardless).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 8:43:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>I should have added that Miller has a double standard: he condemned anti-Darwinists for asserting that Darwinism is based on atheism but did not condemn Darwinists for asserting that anti-Darwinism is based on theism.<<<

Almost all anti-Darwinism is based on theism. The extremely rare exceptions (which includes Larry) are based on anti-intellectualism - if Larry can't understand a concept in a paragraph summary, he utterly rejects it. We can see this in his rejection of most concepts of law, history, science, and engineering. If he's not smart enough to understand it, it MUST be false. The only question remaining is whether he knows that he is misrepresenting the knowledge he is attacking, or does he truly believe the bs he's spouting. And it's that question that keeps drawing us back to this blog.

>>>PZ Myers went a lot further -- he called Miller a "creationist." And I don't see you jumping on PZ. That figures.<<<

That's because he retracted his claim, apologized, and clarified his stance prior to my being made aware of the original claim - not to mention the fact that other people jumped on him for that claim (besides, I generally avoid the obvious religious flamewars). Remember, I was without internet access the entire weekend.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 12:24:00 PM  

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