Discovering Miller’s God

Kenneth Miller, also known as the guy who kicked Behe‘s ass in the Dover trial, wrote a book called “Finding Darwin’s God“. Kenneth is a talented writer, and I loved his book “Only a Theory“. But somehow, my reactions to FDG were more mixed.

First the compliments: it is exactly what it says on the tin: it is finding Darwin‘s God. Darwin lost his faith towards the end of his life — but the reason was his daughter’s death, and had nothing to do with the theory of evolution. The Darwin who wrote “Origins” was a believer. Kenneth Miller’s text reads almost like a whodunnit detective novel, searching for that God.

This is the part that weirded me out, in the beginning. The search is not for a God, some notion of divinity that is compatible with evolution. The search is for Darwin’s God, the same Darwin who studied Anglican theology. The search is for the Christian God, and the book itself is a fine book of Christian apologetics. Thus, Miller takes care to present evolution carefully and accurately, but takes no such similar care with presenting the views of other religions. He casually dismisses Einstein’s religious feelings as “not real religion”. It makes sense in context — he is on the hunt to prove that the Christian God (and related beliefs, like the divinity of Jesus and the immaculate conceptions) are perfectly consistent with what science knows.

This book is not really intended for people who accept evolution as hard science and wish to understand its compatibility with religious beliefs. This book’s real audience is Christians for whom evolution causes a crisis of faith. Miller’s goal, noble in its own way, it to reconcile the fact that the evidence for evolution are overwhelming with the need of Christians to keep their faith. The search is truly for Darwin’s God, the Christian God that Darwin believed in even as he wrote “Origins”.

If, like me, you have never read a book of Christian apologetics, this book is a wonderful example of its genre. If, however, you are interested in how evolution and religion, in general, can be reconciled — well, that’s not what the book attempts to do, and it does not do it.

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