Finding Darwin's God : A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution Paperback
From a leading authority on the evolution debates comes this critically acclaimed investigation into one of the most controversial topics of our times
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
- Publication Date: 03/04/2007
- Category: Christianity
- ISBN: 9780061233500
Showing 1 - 5 of 7 reviews.
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Review by Magus_Manders
This book can best be described as split into three parts. The first is a really fantastic refutal of so-called creation science, intelligent design, and other supposedly scientific alternatives to evolution that are primarily motivated by religion. Miller is a very competent scientist and presents his arguments and information in an easy to understand but still in-depth manner, with no small amount of wit and good humor. Any readers still harboring doubts as to the falsehood of the alleged alternatives to evolution should accept that they are a lot of hogwash by page 112. After settling the fact that evolution is true, Miller goes into a discussion on the nature of the modern debate between religion and evolution from both points of view. It was very refreshing to not only see the objections members of the religious sphere have with scientists, but the many biting dismissals that some prominent scientists have of religion of all stripes. The final segment is really Miller's thesis, his personal reconciliation between his science and his very real faith in God. He presents a world view where the two are in no way conflicted, and in which it should be easy for a person to believe in the Creator and the atom. As a non-religious person, I found this last segment occasionally tedious and far fetched, but then again I am not his audience at that point. At times, this work seems to lose itself in information, anecdotes, and stray ideas, some of which can become alienating to those who do not agree with Dr. Miller's faith. None the less, it is a powerful work in the debate, and well worth picking up even if you have to stop half-way through. In a way, there's a little something for everyone.
Review by koeniel
I admire Kenneth Miller, he is walking on a very thin rope stretching across a deep chasm. All the while he is fencing with two different, opposing, enemies. In short, he is courageous.My family is a very Catholic family. I studied in Catholic schools under nuns and Jesuits. Yet I’d never for once doubted or think twice about evolution. I – and a lot of people around me – accept it as a fact. The priests taught us that the Bible is a compilation of experiences of people of a long time ago, when science was not as advanced as now. Imagine the surprise when I found out that there are people who think that evolution is a fake. Those creationists must be joking. But, apparently out there, there are a lot of people who think that it’s Darwin instead who is a joker.Miller’s first attack was aimed at these people. First he explains evolution and the science of biology. Then he devoted the next chapter ‘God the Charlatan’ to attack the young-earth creationists, those people who choose to ignore all scientific evidence showing that earth is billions year old, and accept the Bible literally instead, believing the earth is no older than 10,000 year old. In the ‘God the Magician’ chapter he fights those who do not think that there is evidence of evolution from fossil and that all living things are designed by an intelligent being instead. The title came from these creationists’ believe that species just pop up from nowhere, like if God is a magician. In ‘God the Mechanic’ he argues brilliantly against those who do not accept evolution on the basis that a lot of life and living things are irreducibly complex. Then in ‘God of Disbelief’ chapter he begins to attack the other side – those scientists who do not accept God and religion, saying that it is their severe attack on God and religion that has made anti-evolutionists more defensive and alienate them further. In the next two chapters he explores science to see where religion, believe and God can fit. He looks at quantum theory and postulate that the indeterminate nature of quantum material could be one of those areas where God materialise Himself.Miller’s God is not that of the deists. His God cares about people and still actively involves in life. It is therefore not strange for him to pray to this God. Yet, his God is not the god of the creationists, because his God follows the law of nature that He creates.Miller, a Roman Catholic biology professor, is a good author. He’s also a prominent figure in the field of biology. His explanation of evolution is clear and concise. He’s definitely thought long and hard about the reconciliation between science and religion. He researched the subject thoroughly; the bibliography is extensive. Will Miller’s book sway people, both from the creationist group and the non-believer group into believing evolutionists like him? I doubt it. However this book will definitely help those who are like him, are searching for the common ground between science and religion.
Review by stretch
This treatise is a great attempt to reconcile religion and science. Dr. Miller makes an elegant argument that religion and science are not opposed to one other. Miller does an excellent job of showing how modern evolutionary theory can fit within a non-literalist interpretation of someone’s faith. All the while Miller destroys the various creation myths and Intelligent Design “theories “with good science, but he also makes theological arguments as to how those theories are incompatible with faith or non-faith. Never once did the book become overly preachy or condescending.While I disagree with the tenant that religion and science are not in opposition, I do agree that science and faith can co-exist; and lead to important discoveries about our place in the universe.
Review by YogiABB
I have to tell you that I have been a little lax lately. Until this past summer I had thought that the whole Genesis versus Evolution thing was settled a long long time ago. I knew that some of the Genesis literalists proponents when they finally figured out that it was actually against the law to teach religion in public schools tried to make something up called "Creation Science" and try to get their narrow religious views accepted as official State Dogma but they were blocked on that. Then they tried to distance themselves from religion and they recreated their beliefs as "Intelligent Design." That thankfully has been blocked also.Anyway I came to find out this past summer that people, educated people, really do take this stuff seriously. They think that it really is science. They talked about "irrudicible complexity," something I had never heard of, and claimed that for all the millions of fossils found there were zero fossils of "transitional species" (I had never heard of a transitional species.) They also said that "more and more scientists are finding out that evolution is wrong and that there had to be a designer." I had never heard of that either. They also talked about a lawyer named Johnson who wrote a book who logically proved that Evolution is impossible. (A lawyer, a professional spinner, spinning, instead of a scientist in his lab?)What's the deal? I suscribe to Scientific American and I thought I was reasonably on top of things. Evolution as a biological theory that explained how life changes was thriving I thought. Paleontology looked like a thriving field also. I mean people pay big bucks to see dinosaurs. I was also puzzled because you see I am a believer in God and Jesus. In fact, I'm pretty conservative theologically. I like the basics. No fuzzy wuzzy, light some candles, get the incense smoking, me, we, you and the universe are one nonsense for me. God created the heavens and the earth, he created you and me, he sent his son Jesus to die on a cross for our sins. That's where I am at. I also believe that there is not one iota of conflict between science and the Bible. (Gasps!)I had to hit the books, or rather start using Google. Lots of stuff out there. What I noticed though is that the creation scientists and the intelligent designers are not really into laboratories and peer reviewed journals. They are also great at using scientific sounding words to advance their beliefs. I am ashamed to admit that I'm not qualified to evaluate what they were claiming. I needed somebody or something to help me along.I found "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth R. Miller. Miller is not only a Biology Professor at Brown University, he is a Believer.The book is great. In the first part of the book he takes on the so called scientific arguments of creationists and disposes of them in an even handed manner. He is not mean about it. I'm not really going into it here. Read the book! Besides that is not the best part of the book. Later on he talks about what the real problem some people have with evolution. Part of the problem is that some people including scientists are adamant that evolution proves that God doesn't exist. My opinion, reinforced by reading this book, is that it does no such thing. Many scientists have an arrogance that some people of faith just cannot stand. Plus, some think evolution takes much of the magic out of the world. (Personally I think that creation science and intelligent design, and the young earth theories totally destroy the magic of creation and the universe.)The more speculative last part of the book goes into his beliefs about God and evolution and the limits of science.Why do I worry about this stuff so much? I worry about because it matters. People can believe whatever they want but when it gets to teaching wrong science in our schools I draw the line. Teaching magical science in our schools teaches fuzzy thinking which this country has way too much of anyway. I think there is a link between the avoidance of evolution teaching in our classrooms and our slow erosion of technical capability in this country. I also think that teaching fake biology creates an extremely fragile religion. If we say we know the Bible is true because of (whatever) and then the youngster finds our for himself that is wrong, then does that mean that the Bible is not true anymore?Easy to do. I remember as a teenager participating in a youth group where the leader tried to tell us that the world is only a few thousand years old. I told him that couldn't be true. When I lived in Utah I remember seeing thin coal seams exposed on road cuts on our Boy Scout hikes where we could see the outlines of ferns and other plants. The leader told me that Satan put them there to deceive us. I also told him about fossilized shellfish I had seen. He didn't want to talk about it.I recommend this book highly. It sheds much light on the manner in a thorough but gentle manner. I give it a four on a one to four star rating for this type book.Note that this book was first published in 1999 but has recently been updated in 2007. I didn't know that until I finished the book and was researching this post. I recommend getting the updated book.
Review by Eskypades
There is no lack of controversy and debate surrounding the hot topics of evolution and creation. Evolutionists will often paint creationists as religious nutcases who deny every shred of scientific evidence given to them and go so far as to want not even a hint of creationist teaching in public schools since they claim it is a violation of church and state. On the other side, creationists often consider evolution as a view held only by militant atheists bent on attacking God Himself and thus view any scientific evidence with a great deal of skepticism, if not outright denial.In Finding Darwin’s God, Kenneth Miller, a professor of biology at Brown University, attempts to show how evolution is compatible with Christian theology. He argues against the main creationist theories including Young Earth Creationism (YEC) and Intelligent Design (ID), showing the supposed logical and scientific flaws in each. He also argues against Michael Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity – the idea that all of life seems to hint at design to some degree or another. While much of the book is aimed at dispelling creation as held to by most Christians, he also takes atheistic evolutionists to task for assuming that a belief in evolution automatically rules out a belief in God. He argues very strongly for a belief in God while at the same time arguing very strongly for a belief in the “fact” of evolution.As an “Old Earth Creationist,” I was admittedly biased before reading the book. I did not expect any concrete, scientific evidence to support evolution (in the macro sense) and did not come away having a changed mind. However, I was very surprised at how well Miller wrote and presented his arguments. For a scientific book and especially one written by a biology professor, I did not expect it to be so readable. I found his arguments regarding dating methods and support of an old universe especially compelling. His questions pertaining to Young Earth Creationism and the “appearance of age” theory were well formed and certainly demand some sort of coherent answer. While he presents quite a bit of scientific evidence in support of evolution itself, I found it a bit lacking and not really supporting evolution in the bigger picture.Although Miller is perhaps an astounding biology professor, his theology leaves much to be desired. It seems his science has dictated his theology and the result is very akin to Open Theism. He seems to sacrifice the sovereignty of God in order to keep the “independence of nature” – two concepts that certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, but Miller appears to have trouble reconciling.Perhaps the greatest takeaway from this book is that Miller does achieve his main purpose – showing that beliefs in God and evolution are certainly compatible. In one of the later chapters, he discusses a very plausible interpretation of the Genesis creation account as seen from the perspective of an evolutionist, yet does not take away from the Biblical account. Though I was not convinced that evolution is fact, reading the book helped me to grasp that while the scientific evidence may not be there (yet!), my theological beliefs certainly wouldn’t suffer should the evidence ever be proven.
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