Book Review: Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth Miller
There is no doubt that Finding Darwin’s God is an enthralling book written by Kenneth Miller, a cell scientist at Brown University. Miller is an esteemed supporter of evolution, and he is the co-author of a common Biology textbook. Surprisingly, Miller is a Christian. He is not just any other pretentious Christian who does not fully embrace Christianity; he views God as the father of the universe. Additionally, he is a believer and a practicing Catholic who has faith in an affectionate God. This carefully crafted and meticulously presented literature is Miller’s effort to validate that the receipt of evolution, as well as the trust in the Christian God, need not be at opposite ends.
In essence, there are two sections in Finding Darwin’s God. The initial six chapters are dedicated to elucidating the strongholds of evolution in addition to displaying why the early earth and the seven-day creation processes are unharmonious with science and its discoveries. This is Miller’s strong point; he sparkle
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s in his skill in clarifying information and concepts in a concise way, in which a nonprofessional can understand. His candid anticipation and love for science grip the reader drawing him or her in while his cheery obliteration of the anti-evolution crowd is thorough. Miller is also absolutely phenomenal in responding and addressing his adversaries such as Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins. At the same time, he cogently points out the flaws of using science to contend there is no God.
In the second section of the book, Miller enlightens the reader how he or she can uphold faith in God owing to the marauding presence of science and evolution. More significantly, this is the point where things become extremely contentious. Miller classifies numerous weaknesses that evolution presents to faith spending his time to expound each of them (32). Some instances are thought to be incongruous with Genesis and stimulate the reader’s view that people are the deliberate formations of God. These assertions undoubtedly demand more comprehensive examination than a short review may offer.
In this book, Miller contends the proof for evolutionary theory compellingly and efficiently. Firstly, he lays out the concerns inherent and then elaborately gives the reader foundation about evolutionary conjecture touching on its tenets, arguments as well as weaknesses. Additionally, he explains what evolution theory is not and the misconceptions inherent vis-a-vis religion. Miller then takes issue with the individuals who perceive evolution as a risk or danger to the existence of religion and ethics, regardless of whether the comments originate from theistic or atheistic side (87). He powerfully objects to Dawkins’ usage of evolution to back atheism. Dawkins asserts that the evolution will gradually and substantially destroy religion, something Miller vehemently opposes.
The third chapter of Finding Darwin’s God is titled “God the Charlatan”. In it, the author annihilates the opinions of the young world creationists. Miller outlines the claims of those who believe that the earth has only been in existence for about 6,000 years (59). He also elaborates claims and counterclaims on this matter and gives his view with respect to this assertion thrashing the claims as baseless and bent to destroy religion. Miller also makes it clear that flood geology was or is a concept deprived of a firm basis in science (67). In the fourth chapter, Miller further outlines the basic tenets of the old earth creationists exposing inherent flaws in terms of reasoning and evidence presented to back their claims (81). The reader is likely to think that while Miller substantively replies to the assertions of the old earth group, there remains a rather problematic issue of where God might intercede in a long process of creation as well as what the evidences presented might mean.
Miller sums up this argument by advancing two conceivable approaches to such heavenly intervention. Firstly, God may have to make new living beings immediately. Secondly, God may have to bring about a deliberate gradual process of change. In the initial instance, the evolution theory does not positively compare with the proofs that can be located in the fossil records. In the second occasion, people may have to envisage God not simply generating new living beings, but in a way, that anybody who learnt about the process may presume that evolution took place. In both cases, it may seem that God creates ineptly, incongruously and ineffectively because some of the species that have been in existence in the world are now nonexistent. Miller’s explication on the development of the elephant, as well as its relationship to design is a chef-d’oeuvre because he sumptuously brings to the table the unanswered questions between the two divides (94). Even though the book is proficiently and creatively organized, the majority of the arguments ought to have been placed under this chapter. The level of divine intervention postulated by numerous writers varies significantly. There are a number of perceptions from evolution (pure or less pure), comprising a naturalistic clarification for the derivation of life and spreading through staged creation whereby God’s intercession is the motivating contrivance.
In the next chapter, Miller moves to the intelligent design. Here, he also presents information that reveals how the speed of scientific advancement is quickly making opinions for intelligent design debatable as different sides are explained. In this chapter, he begins to point out the risks of looking for God in imperceptible places such as in the fissures and shades of human knowledge. It is impossible to understand when the gaps or fissures will be filled and when light will eradicate the shades. He argues that the people utilizing evolutionary science to support atheistic philosophies and dogmas do not have a basis or argument because evolution does not entirely answer the questions of the existence of the earth as well as everything inherent. After citing a number of authors, as well as Dawkins among other notable contributors to the debate, Miller concludes that all those writers have dealt with criticisms that might come from evolutionary biologists (185). Miller upholds that evolution is not all about faith, authority or social control (190). Instead, he asserts that it mainly concerns science, together with its tenets, and other functionaries.
In drawing his deductions about science as well as religion, Miller upholds that science definitely works in a natural way. Thus, according to him, it is not the duty of science to establish nonmaterial aspects. Nevertheless, he perceives area for the action of God in the edicts as well as happenings of nature. Quintessentially, he does not suggest an effusive mechanical cosmos. Instead, he sees impulsivity in the nature of realism. Miller contends that spiritual individuals appear to have no issue with the idea that God has a blueprint for their existence (234). Prototypically, according to the arguments posted in the book, he has faith in God who does not restrict people’s freedom. Essentially, it appears that the freedom is not a hoax but is the real thing given by God to his creatures and superior being, man. Miller has faith in God who is not abridged and imperfect; he has faith in God of early Christians.
Essentially, Finding Darwin’s God is well organized, and the chapters explain different but related topics succinctly and concisely. In essence, therefore, the book has been able to achieve its goal in explicating the relationship between faith and evolution particularly concerning Dawkins’ creationism, Darwin’s evolution theory and religion on the other hand. The author presents the points giving a blow-by-blow analysis of the beliefs, tenets, as well as weaknesses of various theories and arguments. In the book, he has suggested that there is a room for God and that people should not use science, particularly evolution, to postulate the existence and reason for atheism. In particular, he does not agree with Dawkins’ assertions of creationism where the latter uses evolution to justify the inexistence of God. In spite of expounding and breaking down common misconceptions, Miller has left out a lot of information about the contentious issue of faith and science. For instance, he does not bring out the converging point of the two disciplines. Instead, he leaves the readers in suspense as if he wants them to judge by themselves. It is important to note that Miller’s points of view are consistent with many liberal Christians, particularly those who have knowledge in science. Most of these scientists leave a room for God.
Book Review: Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth Miller
Miller, Kenneth R. Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution. New York: Harper Perennial, 2000. Print.
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