Meet the Prizewinning Catholic Biologist Creationists Can’t Stand

*Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller, one of America’s leading advocates, has just received one of America’s oldest and most prestigious awards—from the Roman Catholic Church.

At commencement on May 18, the University of Notre Dame will honor Miller with the 2014 Laetare Medal, an award given annually to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” The award was first given in 1883 and previous recipients include former President John F. Kennedy, and West Wing’s popular acting president Martin Sheen.

Many consider Miller a paradoxical figure who occupies the thinly populated no-man’s land between science and religion, embracing both with enthusiasm and finding no conflict. He is a life-long practicing Catholic and accepts church teachings on salvation, the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus. He described himself in the PBS “Evolution” series as simply a “traditional” Catholic, one who has not had to abandon or distort his beliefs to accommodate his other passion: evolutionary biology. Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins describes Miller as an “incisive witness both to scientific acumen and religious belief.”*

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in my opinion it is science and atheism that are incompatible,. Most Catholics would see science as a tool to find the truth of God’s laws of Creation…

The topic title made me think of those diet/get ripped quick ads and banners you see all over the internet.

Dietitians HATE him.
See how he lost 20 lbs. a week with this one weird exercise!

Never heard anyone described as a ‘theistic chemist,’ have you?”


I’m not familiar with him… but what he’s describing is how I was raised. I simply see no dichotomy between science and religion, or faith and reason.

I don’t know anything about Miller, but the article does indeed sound appealing.

Real science, by definition, must look for methodological answers using repeatable methods. Thus, by definition, “God did it via a miracle” is not an acceptable scientific answer, even if it ends up being TRUE.

Creationists and atheists BOTH make the SAME error in assuming that science = truth. Creationists assert that science must allow for the possibility of “intelligent design” in order to preserve their mistaken view that science = truth. Atheists assert that anything that science cannot demonstrate doesn’t exist (i.e. science = truth). Both miss the fact that science is merely TOOL that is often useful for comprehending truth or reality. It’s a means, not an end. Miller sounds like he actually understands that. Good for him!

Dr. Miller is good. He was the main expert witness for the plaintiff in the Katzmiller vs Dover case that legally defined intelligent design as a form of creationism.



Hence all of the threads here about ghosts, spirits, tarot and ouija, psychics, the threads rejecting evolution, global climate change, the ones promoting geocentrism, etc. Very scientific stuff there.

You, apparently, see no problem lumping together tarot, ouija and psychics with climate change and evolution as if these are identical with regard to their scientific merit. I would suggest that it isn’t the “scientific” that is lacking, but, rather the logical, if you see no way of distinguishing between the various classes of “stuff” on these fora.

There are legitimate philosophical arguments that question the grounds upon which Miller bases his theistic evolution and the tenuous petitio principii abductive argument that evolutionists use to move from the fact of adaptive change to the theory that all or most positive change has been due to natural selection acting on random mutation. There is a difference between saying evolutionists (of any stripe) are wrong and claiming, legitimately, that they have not sufficiently proven their case.

This is not to deprive Dr. Miller of his due with regards to his work in evolutionary biology. However, all such work that leads to metaphysical (and not scientific) conclusions requires sound logical appraisal, not merely empirical data - which is always subject to interpretation in terms of what it signifies.

I don’t, by the way, recall a thread promoting geocentrism on CAF. Could you provide a link?

Since when are important metaphysical or scientific matters “defined” and settled in law courts by judges who need not have any expertise in either science or metaphysics?

The error on the part of the judge was to impugn a valid philosophical position by referencing a misguided act on the part of a few “creationists.” By this “verdict,” the judge was guilty of a number of logical fallacies including the ad hominem and hastily generalized claim that all forms of “creationism” are scientifically and logically untenable BECAUSE they are somehow associated with the determined position of a specific party of “creationists” who published a “creationist” textbook.

Most other Christians I have met, too; I have yet to come across a real life “creationist” in the flesh.

I think they might only be numerous in other parts of the world, and (much like the WBP) primarily useful to the enemy as a kind of Christian Bogeyman.

Dr. Miller is not credible.

“[E]volution works without either plan or purpose — Evolution is random and undirected.”
(Biology, by Kenneth R. Miller & Joseph S. Levine (1st ed., Prentice Hall, 1991), pg. 658; (3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 1995), pg. 658; (4th ed., Prentice Hall, 1998), pg. 658; emphasis in original.)

“Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that **matter is the stuff of all existence **and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless–a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us.”
(Biology: Discovering Life by Joseph S. Levine & Kenneth R. Miller (1st ed., D.C. Heath and Co., 1992), pg. 152; (2nd ed… D.C. Heath and Co., 1994), p. 161; emphases in original.)


You must not live/have not lived in the South Eastern United States.

There are those in the US.


Yes, so I gather - the mind boggles, it really does. Of course the study questions mentioned in that link are awful, I think I’d decline to participate if presented with them.

Ed, it’s not clear if that second quote is Miller’s thoughts or Miller summarizing Darwin’s thoughts. The first doesn’t give enough context to decide if Miller is speaking in term’s of scientific process or actual reality.

There’s a key difference. From the viewpoint of scientific process, the scientist has to, in his work, assume that natural processes are the cause of everything. What he has to remember is that science is what he does, not what he is. I’d prefer to see him say something like:

"Science has to assume that everything that happens has a natural explanation. Science can’t acknowledge the existence of miracles because miracles are, by definition, not repeatable. Instead, science if confronted by something that appears to be a miracle, must search for an explanation, even if one can’t readily be found.

Evolution is the best scientific theory that addresses the facts, but it’s adherents really need to admit that it doesn’t answer all the questions yet. Perhaps someday science will be able to clearly demonstrate the natural principles by which life began and increased in complexity over time. We’re not there yet today. But to accept as scientific the idea that supernatural intervention caused evolution is to throw in the towel on gaining greater understanding of the universe. The moment you accept “God did it miraculously” as an explanation for something is the moment you cease to try to understand it."

I don’t know Miller’s work to know if this is the way he actually thinks, but it arguably could fit the first above quote. It’s how I think on matters of science, actually. I just don’t allow science to consume me. It’s a tool to use, not a master to be obeyed.

My point is, science, as a tool, is being used as a bludgeon. Science is the answer. The only answer. My other point is that science is being used here all the time to contest religious claims, and especially about creation. I’m not even suggesting science should stop what it’s doing but scientists who go around using science to bash religion. Tell me. What is the purpose of that? If you are a professor and mention, even casually, that you think there might be something to Intelligent Design, you are censured, disowned and even moved to another department so as to quash “incorrect” speech.

Here’s a quote that you may find useful (but it’s not from Kenneth Miller):

"I do, however, work with the sciences. And for scientists I have four suggestions.

"Change your language, change your mindset. When people oppose something you see as science-based, it does not necessarily mean they oppose science. To approach the world this way is unlikely to be productive (and is probably also just plain incorrect).

"Science practice is not immune from bias and self-interest, nor is scientific research free from cultural influence (consider halal vaccines, for example) .

"Some people have very good reasons to be suspicious of scientists and science. In the last week, for example, a researcher from Tufts University was barred from doing research with humans after feeding GM golden rice to Chinese study participants without informing them it had been genetically modified. I’d be peeved.

"Explore, understand and accept that science doesn’t know everything. Take your time if this is difficult, but try to accept this broadly, and come to terms with it deeply. There are complexities inherent in human interactions that invoking “science” doesn’t magically nullify. This is not some vague, post-modernist, anti-science position: it’s just true. If it weren’t, then problems such as this golden rice brawl would not occur."


If anybody is interested here is part 1 of an interview of Dr. Miller by the Jesuit Post

The fact that scientists are committed to naturalistic and mechanistic explanations,rather than to logical thinking is the problem. It sometimes leads to false attributions of power to natural causes and bad logic. Naturalism is a false,unjustifiable view to begin with,not only in philosophy but in science also. Scientists do not limit their claims to knowledge that can be scientifically tested,they also make hypotheses that cannot be directly tested. If we exclude knowledge of God’s power and activity in nature from the consideration of natural causes,then we are left attributing to natural causes power that they cannot possibly have. For example,natural selection and genetic mutation are said to have produced the variety of species,but NS is a process of elimination,it does not produce anything,and GM affects only a few traits such as hair and eye color and resistance to disease,not all traits. Species exist as individual creatures that are created immediately,but the theory of evolution focuses on gradual processes rather than on reproduction,which is the only natural means by which a new species could be produced from a prior one. The theory traces common descent between species not through known reproductive links,but by comparing genetic and physical similarities. That is bad logic. And it is not logical to say that different species must have a common ancestry because they have many similarities. Many different species with many similarities can have come into being separately.

God’s creative activity is not the same thing as a miracle. A miracle is an event that God makes happen which goes against the normal,expected course of nature. But when God creates things,he is not causing nature to do something against its usual course,he is making things come into existence.
To acknowledge God’s power in nature does not entail giving up trying to understand nature. Our understanding of nature is not limited to scientific observation. On the contrary,we don’t understand natural causes properly unless we understand them in light of Church and biblical teaching about God’s power,and if we don’t perceive that they do not have the power to create matter and order and life and species.

The conflict is between naturalistic theories that portray nature as self-sufficient and having creative power,and the Christian doctrine of creation and divine providence,and also reason itself. The belief in creation is not just a matter of religion or personal faith,it is also held as a matter of reason.

Reason is not limited to science,and scientific naturalism is not a reasonable way of thought.

Science being method, rigour, tools, it can help humanity to provide theories and facts to help us understand things a little bit.

It has nothing to say about theology, it has nothing to say about morality. As far as I can see, it just does not share any authority with Christianity on the things we were given Christianity for, nor has our Lord made any attempt to provide an exhaustive set of spoilers about science in what has been revealed.

I often wonder how shaky an anti-science person’s faith might be if they think that we are going to uncover, through scientific investigation, a universe that God didn’t create.

I know that if God is ineffable we will never find His fingerprints on the fabric of the universe, but if we can understand more of His creation, we should surely have at it.

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