Prof Kenneth Miller to discuss evolution, faith

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Prof Kenneth Miller to discuss evolution, faith

Postby Anonymous » Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:26 am

http://www.lenconnect.com/articles/2006 ... news05.txt

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2006 Last modified: Tuesday, November 7, 2006 8:40 AM EST
Professor to discuss evolution, faith

Kenneth R. Miller will look at the relationship between faith and science.

By James Rufus Koren

Daily Telegram Staff Writer

ADRIAN — Kenneth R. Miller, a leading evolutionary scientist, will speak Wednesday at Adrian College about the anti-evolution movement and how it affects the relationship between religion and science.

Miller, who believes in both God and evolution, is a professor of biology at Brown University in Providence, R.I. In 2000, he published a book on that seemingly opposing set of beliefs, titled “Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution.”

Miller will speak at 12:15 p.m. in Dawson Auditorium as part of the Dr. James Borland Convocation speaker series. The event is free.

He will discuss a 2005 trial in Dover, Pa., in which a federal court struck down the Dover Area School District’s policy of pointing out intelligent design as an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The court ruled that it is unconstitutional for public schools to teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution because intelligent design is not scientifically legitimate and cannot be separated from religious beliefs.

After discussing the trial itself, Miller said he will discuss the implications of the court’s ruling on faith in America as well as the relationship between faith and science.

Over the weekend, The Daily Telegram interviewed Miller via e-mail about Wednesday’s lecture and about how he combines science and faith.

Q: What are your thoughts on the current debate about teaching creationism or intelligent design in the public schools?
A: Both creationism and intelligent design have been exposed as scientifically bankrupt, religiously driven ideologies that have no place in the science classroom.

Q: How can science and the world’s diverse faiths coexist and contribute to one another, not only in schools but also in society?
A: Properly understood, science does not contradict faith, but rather serves to complement it.

Q: As an evolutionary scientist who believes in God, how would you describe God’s role in the creation of the earth and in evolution?
A: I would say that God created the universe, the physical laws of nature, and that he sustains it in every moment of existence. Evolution is a natural process, made possible by the creator’s providential plan for his created world.

Q: How has your belief in God been received by other scientists, specifically those in fields related to evolutionary theory?
A: In general, very favorably. I have never pretended that religious faith is proved by science, only that it is consistent with it. This is a view that is generally supported by most scientists whom I know. It is not supported by all of them, of course, but even my most ardent critics usually agree that their opposition to my theism is a philosophical choice, not a matter of science.

Q: Your most notable work, “Finding Darwin’s God,” was first published six years ago. How, if at all, have your thoughts been refined or changed in the meantime?
A: I have become increasingly aware of the political nature of the anti-evolution and anti-science movement in the United States, and that is the topic of a book I am working on right now.
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Postby George Jelliss » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:24 pm

I decided, after much soul-searching, that I am not an atheist but a Devil worshipper. Here is an extract from an interview I recently had with the Daily Pitchfork:

Q: How can science and the world’s diverse faiths coexist and contribute to one another, not only in schools but also in society?
A: Properly understood, science does not contradict faith, but rather serves to complement it.

Q: As an evolutionary scientist who believes in Satan, how would you describe Satan’s role in the creation of the earth and in evolution?
A: I would say that Satan created the universe, the physical laws of nature, and that he sustains it in every moment of existence. Evolution is a natural process, made possible by the creator’s devilish plan for his created world.

Q: How has your belief in Satan been received by other scientists, specifically those in fields related to evolutionary theory?
A: In general, very favorably. I have never pretended that religious faith is proved by science, only that it is consistent with it. This is a view that is generally supported by most scientists whom I know. It is not supported by all of them, of course, but even my most ardent critics usually agree that their opposition to my theism is a philosophical choice, not a matter of science.

It is of course much easier to believe in Satan as creator of the world. How else do you account for evil and horror? Those who try to believe in a do-gooder God are just doomed to perpetual paradox. The famous argument of Epicurus proves this conclusively.
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Prof Kenneth Miller to discuss evolution, faith

Postby Anonymous » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:33 pm

George Jelliss wrote:

It is of course much easier to believe in Satan as creator of the world.

That makes as much sense as my neighbour's extremely loud and irritating
music.
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Re: Prof Kenneth Miller to discuss evolution, faith

Postby Brian Jordan » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:07 pm

mikeybrass wrote:George Jelliss wrote:

It is of course much easier to believe in Satan as creator of the world.

That makes as much sense as my neighbour's extremely loud and irritating
music.

I thing George was invoking Reductio ad absurdum.

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Prof Kenneth Miller to discuss evolution, faith

Postby Anonymous » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:13 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:

I thing George was invoking Reductio ad absurdum.

As I said, I found it made as much sense as my neighbour's music.
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Postby George Jelliss » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:40 pm

Perhaps my use of "Satan" as the name of the demonic creator my be confusing to people imbued with standard christian theology.

What I believe now, in my newly acquired religion, is that there is just one creator, and that creator is demonic. I'm not sure what Its name is. Let's try the Lovecraftian name Yogsothoth for sake of argument.

My point, if it really needs to be pointed out, is that exactly the same statements can be made to justify my faith in this wicked creator as Miller uses to justify his belief in a goodly creator, and moreover, given the horrors in the world, it makes much more sense.
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Prof Kenneth Miller to discuss evolution, faith

Postby Dave Oldridge » Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:06 pm

On 22 Nov 2006 at 16:40, George Jelliss wrote:

Perhaps my use of "Satan" as the name of the demonic creator my
be confusing to people imbued with standard christian
theology.

What I believe now, in my newly acquired religion, is that there
is just one creator, and that creator is demonic. I'm not sure
what Its name is. Let's try the Lovecraftian name Yogsothoth for
sake of argument.

My point, if it really needs to be pointed out, is that exactly
the same statements can be made to justify my faith in this
wicked creator as Miller uses to justify his belief in a goodly
creator, and moreover, given the horrors in the world, it makes
much more sense.

This "problem of evil" is older than Christianity and a good deal
of ink has been expended on it.

Let me respond with a short parable.

One day, the young disciple ran to his guru exclaiming about his
uncle's untimely demise, "The tiger ate him, how awful!"

The guru's response: "Not for the tiger."



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Postby George Jelliss » Fri Nov 24, 2006 9:15 pm

Horror is not necessarily to be equated with evil.

The 2004 tsunami that affected countries round the Indian Ocean was a natural disaster of a horrific kind. Would your guru describe it as pleasant for the sea?

In a letter to J. D. Hooker written in 1856 Charles Darwin famously wrote: "What a book a Devil's Chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low and horridly cruel works of nature!"

An objective view must take in the bad as well as the good. A phrase I like to use is that "Beauty is in the eye of the survivor". In other words we have evolved to see the world as pretty good generally, since we are, for the most part, well adapted to its vagaries.

There were two items that turned my thoughts in this direction recently, as I think I've mentioned in another thread. The first was a lecture by George Levine on his book "Darwin Loves You" and the second an essay on the Edge Organisation's site by S. Kauffman about reductionism.

The first of these wants us to put on rose-tinted spectacles and see natural selection as adding "enchantment" to the world, and the second wants us to see a redefined "god" in the creativity of nature.

Both these are unscientific, in the same way that religious belief in a good creator is unscientific. It is essential to maintain objectivity. In the unlikely event that science eventually shows that there is a creator intelligence, then it is evident that it must accept responsibility for horrors as well as for felicities.
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Postby Timothy Chase » Sat Nov 25, 2006 1:10 am

George Jelliss wrote:Horror is not necessarily to be equated with evil.


Admittedly.

However, when people speak of the "traditional problem of evil" in introductory philosophy courses, evil is taken in the wider sense to mean "anything bad." For me, the far more interesting problem is whether it is possible for someone to knowingly choose to do that which they know is wrong, for it would seem that implicit in the act of doing anything is the view that it is the right thing to do. This is what is sometimes known as the classical problem of evil.
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Postby George Jelliss » Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:58 am

Timothy Chase wrote: ///
For me, the far more interesting problem is whether it is possible for someone to knowingly choose to do that which they know is wrong, for it would seem that implicit in the act of doing anything is the view that it is the right thing to do. This is what is sometimes known as the classical problem of evil.


Of course it is possible for someone to knowingly choose to do something they know to be wrong! People steal things everyday, when they think they can get away with it. Of course they may justify it to themselves by thinking that the person or company they are stealing from won't miss it, but they are still aware that it is wrong, both from the point of view of the expected standards of society, and from their own personal standards. It is only "right" in the sense of being to their personal advantage. They know that it would be preferable if they could obtain that advantage by other more righteous means.
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Prof Kenneth Miller to discuss evolution, faith

Postby Dave Oldridge » Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:56 pm

On 24 Nov 2006 at 15:15, George Jelliss wrote:

Horror is not necessarily to be equated with evil.

The 2004 tsunami that affected countries round the Indian Ocean
was a natural disaster of a horrific kind. Would your guru
describe it as pleasant for the sea?

Possibly...he's a pretty unattached person. :-)

In a letter to J. D. Hooker written in 1856 Charles Darwin
famously wrote: "What a book a Devil's Chaplain might write on
the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low and horridly cruel works
of nature!"

An objective view must take in the bad as well as the good. A
phrase I like to use is that "Beauty is in the eye of the
survivor". In other words we have evolved to see the world as
pretty good generally, since we are, for the most part, well
adapted to its vagaries.

There were two items that turned my thoughts in this direction
recently, as I think I've mentioned in another thread. The first
was a lecture by George Levine on his book "Darwin Loves You"
and the second an essay on the Edge Organisation's site by S.
Kauffman about reductionism.

The first of these wants us to put on rose-tinted spectacles and
see natural selection as adding "enchantment" to the world, and
the second wants us to see a redefined "god" in the creativity
of nature.

Both these are unscientific, in the same way that religious
belief in a good creator is unscientific. It is essential to
maintain objectivity. In the unlikely event that science
eventually shows that there is a creator intelligence, then it
is evident that it must accept responsibility for horrors as
well as for felicities.

See above, re: attachment.



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Postby Timothy Chase » Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:04 pm

My apologies - I hadn't seen your response.

George Jelliss wrote:
Timothy Chase wrote:... the classical problem of evil.


Of course it is possible for someone to knowingly choose to do something they know to be wrong! People steal things everyday, when they think they can get away with it. Of course they may justify it to themselves by thinking that the person or company they are stealing from won't miss it, but they are still aware that it is wrong, both from the point of view of the expected standards of society, and from their own personal standards. It is only "right" in the sense of being to their personal advantage. They know that it would be preferable if they could obtain that advantage by other more righteous means.


Then it would seem that they do not actually regard their actions as wrong. They may pay lip-service to the standards of society - perhaps because paying mere lip service is in their view the right thing to do. But by their own personal standards - as exemplified by their actions, it would appear that they really regard these actions as right - at least by their overriding or ultimate ("higher") standard.

Or am I missing something? Actually, I think I am.

In any case, the classical problem of evil was a genuine problem of some importance to the ancient Greeks. Perhaps it isn't so easily dismissed.
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