The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Kenneth Miller: A Theistic Evolutionist Debunks Intelligent Design

Though lengthy, Kenneth Miller’s lecture debunking classical Intelligent Design theory is imo the most articulate and engaging lecture of any kind I have ever heard. If you intend to criticize him, please have the decency at least to watch the video all the way through. I think you’ll be amazed and deeply impressed , if you do so. Once readers can convinced me they have watched the whole lecture, I will mount a biblical defense of his perspective:

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Miller explains the sense in which your comment misses the point: so watch the video.

The first 19 minutes are a complete waste of time but your answer comes just after 19 minutes.
I’ve watched 30 mins and I find it rather laboured and tedious.
I don’t want to waste any more of my time.

That video was quite informative. I’m an old earther but not yet so convinced of biological evolution. I don’t see biological adaptation (horizontal—within species) as being the same as biological evolution (vertical—bottom up).

There are HUGE flaws in the theory. Among hundreds of other books debunking the Theory, especially in its over-reaching, try ‘Tornado in a Junkyard’, which quotes all the ‘biggies’ who are evolutionists, voicing their doubts. Yes, even Hawking.
I’ll send you a copy if you cannot find it. It is an eye-opener.
That being said, it is a huge battle for our minds and hearts. I’m old-Earth, but young-Human in my current stance.

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Pilgrim, ]
LOL, you just watched the first 30 minutes and thereby missed his main devastating argumentsw against Intelligent Design, as that expression was defined in the decisive Dover trial, where key evangelical witnesses failed to testify. What iwant to know is this: Do you have the integrity to \watch this riveting video through and then address his compelling arguments? Miller is widely recognized as one of the most effective pro-evolution coummunicators in the world and has authored standard high school and college text books on the subject. And he is a devout Roman Catholic. This thread creates yet another chance for Evangelicals to display the intellectual integrity I find lacking in some of my other threads.

I don’t have a problem with both sides - of equally intelligent scientists - making their best case. I would not have it any other way.
What does bother me, at bottom, is this type of propaganda:

" The decision (Dover) is a victory not only for the ACLU, who led the legal challenge, but for all who believe it is in appropriate, and unconstitutional, to advance a particular religious belief at the expense of our children’s education."
That is so abysmally ambiguous that I don’t take it seriously. The question of what constitutes ‘education’ is not considered; neither is the question of whether the intentional masking of religious motives is not in itself promoting a ‘religious’ - i.e.,dealing with ultimate issues - pov of scientism, not just science (IOW, the ‘belief’ that reality can be reduced to only that which can be measured) - that is, scientism as religion; the reasons, so-called, for not allowing the mention of the “Panda” book even as elective reading, I find troubling - I could go on and on. This is a philosophical discussion (in my wheelhouse) and a moral question as well.
“Intelligent Design” - AS determined and defined by the Dover proceedings - people have to make up their own minds. I don’t think it ‘proved’ anything other than that ID, within the ‘Scope’ (pun intended) of the trial, was judged to have a hidden religious dimension. For some ID’rs, I reckon that part is true.

I haven’t yet listened to Miller, but my issue is not with him nor his opinions; I’m interested in the philosophical and moral questions. I will try to give it a listen, though, it sounds interesting.

Some friends of mine from Brazil, brought this chap to my attention. It might have credence here:

Let me quote a bit, from the Wiki article:

Jakob Lorber (22 July 1800 – 24 August 1864) was a Christian mystic and visionary[ citation needed ] from the Duchy of Styria, who promoted liberal Universalism. He referred to himself as “God’s scribe”. He wrote that on 15 March 1840 he began hearing an ‘inner voice’ from the region of his heart and thereafter transcribed what it said. By the time of his death 24 years later he had written manuscripts equivalent to more than 10,000 pages in print.

His writings were published posthumously as amounting to a “New Revelation”, and the contemporary “Lorber movement” forms one of the major neo-revelationistsects, mostly active in German-speaking Europe, although part of Lorber’s writings have also been translated into more than 20 languages (according to the website of the Lorber Publisher) and the world-wide spread adherents do not gather in an institutionalized church, but usually continue to belong to their previous Christian denomination.

In the Great Gospel of John , the narrator, Jesus, explains that he is the creator of the material universe, which was designed both as a confinement of Satan, and so he could take upon himself the condition of a man. He says he did this to inspire his children who could otherwise not perceive him in his primordial form as a spirit. He gives descriptions of the eons of time involved in creating the Earth. He does so in a manner similar to the modern theory of evolution all the way up to the point several thousand years ago when Jesus placed Adam upon the Earth, which at the time contained man-like creatures who did not have free will, being simply the most clever of the animals.[5]

In comprehensive manner, the Great Gospel of John continually emphasizes the importance of free will. In this book, heaven and hell are presented as conditions already within us, expressed according to whether we live in harmony or contrary to God’s divine order. The Great Gospel of John also states that the gospels of John and Matthew were written at the time of the events they chronicle; for instance, Lorber writes that Jesus specifically told Matthew to take notes during the Sermon on the Mount.[4] Such an account seems at first contrary to orthodox Christian theology which typically places the authorship of Matthew some years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that of John even later. However, in the Great Gospel of John the narrator explains how this happened. He claims that there were many writers who described him, including several authors named Matthew, who all wrote similarly over a period of many years.

This paragraph is EXTREMELY interesting - for two points:

He does so in a manner similar to the modern theory of evolution all the way up to the point several thousand years ago when Jesus placed Adam upon the Earth, which at the time contained man-like creatures who did not have free will, being simply the most clever of the animals.[5]

  • Is this evolutionary scheme similar to that of Kenneth Miller?

  • Are the “man-like creatures who did not have free will, being simply the most clever of the animals.”…the future creatures of the tribulation and ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE?

I particularly love the way Miller buttresses his case with allusions to early patristic and later Christian tradition.

Now you have tempted me beyond my resistance - I’m going to light up (Omar Ortez maduro cigar, 5x54) and listen to Miller.


I’m back.
That was a great experience! I also watched another of his talks that resonated even more (with me)- on youtube, “The Collapse of Intelligent Design”.
I’ll have to really think more about this. I hope others will give a listen; there is a lot to think about, given by an excellent speaker and scientist.

Qaz - I really want to suggest that you take the time - little over an hour!! - to watch the second video I mentioned, as it deals a bit more specifically - in my mind - with your question.
ID has been a ‘moving target’ over the years; it was about 1987 when a famous textbook (the ‘Panda’ book) replaced all occurrences of the word ‘creationism’ with the term ‘intelligent design’ or a direct cognate thereof. The Panda book was a ‘science’ textbook supporting non-evolutionary thought.
In which ways, and to what degree, ID is/is not ‘science’ is the question. Miller leaves no stone unturned, as far as I can tell, in explaining why it is not science, and therefore should not be taught as such or as an option to evolution.
He does not argue against Creation - it is the ‘ism’ part of it that is the focus.
It’s well-balanced, entertaining, and educating video. It is not philosophy, and he does not wander into discussions about our Maker, much - but I can see how a Christian Theist could go along with his presentation, no problem.

I found this very interesting and detailed presentation - on Miller’s ideas

Kenneth Miller’s Best Arguments Against Intelligent Design

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I realize that the OP was ID but what about the coming of artificial intelligence? :neutral_face:

OP, ID, AI ?
We had a thread I think on AI. I’ll try to find it.
This thread will have its hands full with ID, I reckon.
Have you had a chance to watch the vid?

Yes - I tried to start a thread but alas, it went sadly off the rails.

I am a skeptic by nature, so in that, I I don’t know if evolution, the way it is currently believed is accurate, but I think it is a pretty good educate guess. As we learn more, we will likely fill in the gaps, and update the model. I am huge into science, but I am not scared to admit (as many are) it can be wrong. But just because it can be wrong, doesn’t dissuade me from thinking it is probably more correct than not. I also believe, that as time goes on, science is always self-correcting. Sure, a falsehood might be kept secret for a long time, but eventually the truth wins out. It has every time thus far.

What I don’t respect is 6 day Creationists who basically throw their hands up and say “No need to research these things, cuz God dun it!” What is so silly and stupid because 1) That line of thinking keeps us in the dark ages and 2) It basically has ZERO evidence for their claim, other than a book, and then pokes holes in a lack of evidence (BTW, lack of evidence is not evidence, I wish people would understand that) from their opposition.

You can certainly believe God created all this in 6 days and it could be true. But it could also be true that God’s means of creation was evolution, whatever form it takes. I mean, what does the evidence say? The evidence points to an old earth, not a young one. You’d also have to believe that the entire scientific community is out to deceive everyone, including themselves and that 99.9% are wrong. Sure, it could be true, but is it? Is it likely?

In the end, I guess it does matter. But there is no reason to stop science of the past just because it might poke holes or doubts into the “This book is 100% divine”, when, really, you could interpret the book many different ways WITHOUT removing the divinity, and of course, you could also just not believe the book is divine. I mean, it isn’t a either or… There are gradients. It is generally the 6 day Ken Ham creations that waged war on everyone else, pointing the fingers, while for the most part, being deceptive and dishonest and throwing the most far fetched ideas ever. He sure makes a good living off of it too!

My good friend Jim Gentry, had this to say about the video (the second one):
All that follows is Jim:

I see lots of problems with this one, both scientifically and philosophically.

He argues that fossil evidence is overwhelming, but holds up Stephen J. Gould as an Icon of that which would be lost if ID were allowed. Gould argued that the record does not support the neo-Darwin model & suggested quick changes in small isolated populations,(using an unknown mechanism) would, i.e, “punctuated equilibrium.” I quoted many Ph.d’s who said the record is filled with gaps. This guy says not, and goes to lizards where there is a plethora of examples of similarities he interprets as intermediates, and then goes to their new favorite icon on a mammal that inhabited land and water. How is “5” of them an example of intermediates? He cites the ear of such as being “adapted” (not designed!) to water and in a fit of circular reasoning concludes that evolution is thereby confirmed. Where are the intermediates necessary to arrive at these >5< examples. He says these things are found in a valley in India because that is where they “evolved.” Then a plethora of intermediates must be there somewhere as well? I found many qualified persons who question the extrapolations from the record as excessive. Psalm 104 fits the record perfectly, as does “punk-eek,” where the record shows rapid changes, extinctions, & replacements on large scales, and many gaps & mostly stasis as Gould & many others note. Whom should we believe as to the nature of the record?

The argument that science cannot allow a creator as a possibility is in fact an argument that science will disprove a creator eventually. This fellow disallows the argument of a possible creator even while claiming membership in perhaps the most mystic group in Christianity. Clearly he’s a bit occluded here. Does he take issue with the seeming majority of evolutionists who claim that the “theory” renders God unnecessary? He doesn’t go there, apparently because his argument is that the God hypothesis must not be allowed because “Answers in Genesis” will creep in and turn our students into…, Young earther’s, or Roman Catholic mystic Diests, like him?

Is it "scientific” proof when a court decides on a matter? Should the court decide between this guy and Gould regarding the fossil record?

He calls himself a “theist, generally” or something like that. But he suggests that “science” is diluted or something by acknowledging the possibility.

Does he believe in the resurrection? The Pope claims it happened. “His” Pope. Can science explain such? How about the contingent universe? The first self replicating molecule?

His apparent view that evolution has unquestionably been scientifically confirmed dogmatically is my problem. His qualifications are not better than those I cited in my letter to my sister who flatly contradict him. Psalm 104, if true, explains, fits perfectly with, the record of gaps, stasis, and extinctions pointed to by many but denied by him. Why should I believe him over them? But an animal, 5 of which have been found, that inhabits beaches, proves Darwinism? I’m not convinced. The quotes collected in my letter establish without a doubt that this fellow is at odds with many of his peers over the record.

I place a question mark at how much can be explained by mutation and selection. At the very least he must acknowledge, as even Dawkins does, that most phyla appearing in the Cambrian seem to have no precursors at all. “It’s as though they had just been placed there."

I see no problem at all with “teaching the debate.” Clearly, this fellow regards any Ph.d who disagrees with him to be disallowed because he himself has dispensed with them in this sermon, using judges and cartoonists. Would it be OK to mention in the classroom that there is a debate about the fossil record? Or that the “experiment” criteria for “scientific” being applied to Darwinism, according to the National Academy of Sciences, is satisfied by a paleontologist “expecting” to find intermediates when going out to look? This is what separates this “scientific theory” from a mere hypothesis? So it would seem. Examine then, the dotted lines in the more explicit “tree” charts, and formulate the “percentage” of “scientific fact” expressed in our discoveries.

All in all, he’s a bit pretentious I think. And preaching to the choir, clearly. But still preaching.

Evolutionists generally and rightly don’t see punctuated equilibrium as a problem for conventional evolutionary theory. What is particularly decisive for me is Miller’s expression of the scientific consensus on how monkey (chimp) genes morph into human genes and his outline of how alleged missing links in human evolution have been compellingly filled in.

I find it extremely interesting!! - but not (yet?) decisive. I’ll be in further talks with Jim and get his take on it.
Stimulating at the least.

The New Jerusalem Bible’s OT translation is renowned for its sensitivity to Hebrew nuance. Its translation of Proverbs 8:30-31 is my favorite biblical text for the creationist vs. evolution debate. Lady Wisdom is personified and thus becomes part of the earliest concept of the Trinity: “God, God’s Word, and God’s Wisdom” in Theophilus bishop of Antioch (180 AD). Personfied Wisdom overlaps with our modern concept of Mother Nature and implies a set of rational creation laws that normally operate independent of God’s micro-management:

“I (Lady Wisdom) was beside the Master Craftsman, delighting Him day after day, EVER AT PLAY IN HIS PRESENCE, AT PLAY EVERYWHERE ON HIS EARTH…”

Poetically speaking, the concept of creation as divine play allows for experiments, evolutionary dead ends, random mutations, etc. I’m reminded that God doesn’t speak vegetation, sea, and animal life into being; rather He says: “Let the Earth bring forth” without specifying the processes by which the Earth brings forth vegetation, sea, and animal life. The first creation story is formulated poetically with a lot of liturgical repetition for use in Temple worship and to justify Sabbath rest. The sun is created on the 4th day; so the first 3 days are not 24 hour days. The divine rest on the 7th day is not ended by the usual phrase, “Evening came, morning followed, the 7th day:” so in this creation poetry we are still living in the 7th day of creation!