“Creationists,” biologist Ken Miller, told a large, receptive audience at the University of Kansas last night, “are shooting at the wrong target.”
Showing a slide of the cover art of “The Lie,” an anti-evolution tract by Ken Ham, that prominently features a serpent tempting us with a poisoned apple labeled evolution, Miller said creationists mistakenly take aim at Darwin’s theory because they believe science to be anti-religious.
Evolution isn’t anti-religious, said Miller. Rather, it’s the non-scientific philosophical interpretations some humanists, such as Richard Dawkins, draw from the evidence that challenges the role of religion.
If that account is accurate (I trust Pat Hayes to be accurate, and I also have independent confirmation*), then that was a shot at the majority of biologists, and a declaration of common cause with creationists. They are “shooting at the wrong target,” but who is the right target? Why, those humanists, people like Richard Dawkins and anyone who challenges the role of religion. Go get ’em, Kansans! Hound those wicked atheists—they aren’t the real scientists, after all. Real scientists believe in God and spirits and magic and etheric essences infused into souls by a phantasmal hominid, just like you do.
Thanks, Dr Ken! I know what side you’re on, now…it’s you and the creationists, best friends 4ever! Did they promise to let you strike the match at the atheist-burning?
Some of those who take a materialist world view assert that science alone can lead us regarding the nature of existence, or that scientific knowledge is the only kind worth having, said Miller. In doing so, these skeptics ignore the limitations of science, just as the creationists ignore the limits of theology.
In fact, many scientists, said Miller, a practicing Catholic, draw the opposite conclusion from the evidence for evolution.
“Faith and reason are both gifts from God,” said Miller. “It is faith that gives scientists a reason to pursue science.”
So all those atheist scientists who have no faith, who actively deny gods…what reason do they have for pursuing science? Hmmm? Why should we believe this immaterial god of yours gives any kind of “gift” at all? There is a non sequitur there: while many scientists do believe in some god or gods, he cannot claim that they draw that conclusion from the evidence—there is no evidence supporting the existence of any deities. Miller should know this.
Neither the philosophical or theological interpretations of the nature of existence, its purpose, meaning, or lack of it, are scientific, said Miller, because they are not testable.
Claims that a god operates in the natural world are not testable. They lack evidence in support. They make no predictions. They guide no hypotheses. They add nothing to any explanations of the natural world. They are contradicted by an absence of evidence.
Claims that gods do not exist or do not interfere in natural processes, and that we must base our interpretations on an assumption that events occur by the action of natural phenomena, however, have been the essential operational basis of all of science, and that has worked incredibly well. Barring the presentation of any positive evidence, a scientist should provisionally reject the existence of a postulated force that does nothing, is indetectable, and that even its proponents argue would exert only actions that are indistinguishable from what would occur in its absence.
The only unscientific opinion being offered is the bizarre idea that a magical being might have miraculously created humans or jump-started the Cambrian explosion, two suggestions Miller makes in his book, Finding Darwin’s God.
*The Lawrence Journal-World reports the same thing.
But Miller said the root of the portrayal of religion and evolution as opposites may come from scientists who have an “anti-theistic interpretation of evolution,” a stance he disagrees with.
“People of faith are shooting at the wrong target. They should not be shooting at evolution itself,” he said.
Instead of attacking evolutionary theory, the argument should be against the anti-theistic interpretation of evolution, he said.
I’d say he was pandering to a bunch of bible-walloping yahoos, except I think he honestly believes that nonsense himself. It still doesn’t excuse suggesting that everyone needs to start shooting at the godless, and he should realize that what he’s doing with that kind of argument is antagonizing a rather large subset of the scientific community.
I’ve put more shooting at Miller here.