Finding Darwin's God
The book, Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller, has been an incredibly enjoyable read for me. I just finished this book less than an hour ago, and I wish to write short commentary on what I thought the book did well. I began reading this book as an alternative viewpoint, having just finished Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett a little over a month ago. I want you all to know that I enjoyed and agreed with a lot of what Dennett said in his book. The only difference between what Dennett says in his book and myself, is that I am a theist. In spite of the available purely naturalistic explanation of how life evolved on this planet without the hand of divinity, I still choose to believe in God. While reading Dennett's amazing book, I felt a little like a heretic. I am consulting with the enemy to religion! I am learning about the ways of the Devil! Science seeks to destroy religion by explaining God away! These concerns were some of the ideas that we going through my mind as I was reading Dennett's book. However, once I finished Dennett's book, and accomplished my first endeavor into learning about evolution, I didn't feel like I had read anything evil or inherently against the belief in God. Instead, I found that what I had just read was an honest exploration of what the scientific evidence humbly has to say concerning the life here on this planet. And furthermore, I felt that what I had just read was right. Even though I am no expert in science, I still thought that evolution answers questions that I had long been perplexed by in such a simple and clear way, that it would be harder to continue to deny evolution than it would be to accept it.
Now, with an unwillingness to deny evolution after learning what it truly says, I wished to read about someone who was in the same position that I was in. After a lot of searching through garbage on Amazon.com concerning "evolution and god" I finally came upon Finding Darwin's God. The reviews spoke highly of the book's explanation of evolution and honestly evaluated the theistic viewpoints. While reading the book, I found everything Miller said about the theory of evolution jived with what I had read in Dennett's book; I found this fact quite comforting. I knew that, at least, I wasn't going to be duped at a scientific level. Having gotten to the later chapters of Miller's book, I began to come upon the theistic viewpoints and arguments. Oh and just to note, it was quite enjoyable to read a theist's blasting of Creationists and I.D.er's attempts at scientific arguments. Ok, back to my point.
I found the theistic perspectives that Miller brought out in relation towards evolution and quantum uncertainty an incredible mix of science and theology that I had never heard before. The arguments about how quantum uncertainty and evolution could support positions concerning free-will were truly fascinating to me. Importantly, I want anyone reading this to note that I am not saying that I think Miller has found the right answer, or magical solution to the free-will vs determinism debate. I am merely attempting to communicate that I found his attempt at the issue very original and refreshing. I also liked how he challenged the anti-evolutionist theists to continue to doubt evolution and remain consistent in their beliefs of how God presumably operates. Essentially, I found Miller's arguments very enjoyable and at the very least, entertaining. Of course, the views that readers will have on the entirety of Finding Darwin's God rests partly on their respective viewpoints concerning the status of God. However, I would argue that even an atheist would enjoy reading Miller's book, if not just to admire his attempts to rationalize God's position in relation to science.
But I want to make my point clear, I am not writing this to convince an atheist to read a theist's book on science and God. Rather, I am writing this to get the attention of theists who are either anti-evolution, creationists, or I.D.er's. This book provides the answers to almost every anti-evolutionist claim that I knew of before reading Miller's book. Truly, the theory of evolution is not the antithesis of God. I believed this after I finished reading Dennett's book, who is an atheist author, but I didn't know how to consistently maintain this view. After finding Miller's book and reading it cover to cover, I found a truly fortunate example of how to maintain my faith, while accepting scientific explanations of our existence. I find what Miller has to say as incredibly compelling and I just want to leave this post with a quote from his book where I think Miller nails home the advantage of spiritually coexisting with science:
"If a lack of scientific explanation is proof of God's existence, the counterlogic is unimpeachable: a successful scientific explanation is
an argument against God."
The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller
Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat