Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul by Kenneth Miller

This is my second read from the cell biologist Kenneth Miller. This is actually a really great read though not as deep and thought-provoking as his first book entitled Finding Darwin’s God. Scientifically, I think it’s more detailed and Kenneth Miller presents a very detailed case for why intelligent design should not be accepted as a scientific, educational alternative. Miller also presents as to how it is not limiting people’s freedom to only teach evolution as opposed to intelligent design in schools.

Miller starts off his book by attempting to find a scientific plausibility of intelligent design. This might leave a creationist misquoting him and misrepresenting him here and there but I think the risk he takes is quite necessary to help people see the science behind intelligent design. For instance, he goes through the details of the intelligent design arguments about the bacterial flagellum, the human genome, and even the blood clot. Most of these are brought up by Michael Behe.

Kenneth Miller attempts to take these claims seriously at first. He tries to treat them on an even scientific footing but ultimately cannot bring himself to doing that throughout the rest of his argument. The intelligent design argument is based on the concepts of there being some sort of evidence for a designer. All of there evidences for this designer fail. Miller defines and explains what science is and why intelligent design cannot be classified as science in any way shape or form.

Miller refutes all of the intelligent design arguments (or at least a good majority of them) from the bacterial flagellum to the blood clot. When the intelligent design claims of irreducible complexity are put under the test, they do not stand scrutiny. There is always something that does not follow irreducible complexity and the intelligent design adherents are usually forced to explain away what an irreducibly complex system is and hence, redefine the meaning of an irreducibly complex system. When components of an irreducibly complex system prove that they can still function without these components, they are not irreducibly complex. A mousetrap without a catch or hammer can function as a catapult meaning that it isn’t irreducibly complex.

Finally, Kenneth Miller attacks the political ground through which intelligent design is closely tied to. The intelligent design movement started when creationism was ruled unscientific. But the creationists would not surrender defeat. Instead, they made an appeal to change some terminology around. Because of this changing of terminology, scientists and court rulings were able to detect that all intelligent design really was was masked creationism. Which creationism was ruled out previously as being religious and not scientific.

The intelligent design adherent cannot make a coherent case of testibility for his predictions. The evolutionist can. This is a key component of science as Miller discusses. Thus, intelligent design cannot be classified or termed as scientific. So the intelligent design adherent has to switch his case to a political agenda. A political agenda that has had a known track record for failure.

Miller finally discusses how the problem in politics persists not with the notion of open-mindedness but actually with the issue of too much open-mindedness. In other words, the liberals are open-minded but in the educational field, the conservative intelligent design advocates have to accuse liberals of not being open-minded. This argument is built on a faulty logical principle since when we teach people things that are wrong, this is not good education at all. Thus, for Kenneth Miller, the enemy is not open-mindedness but too much open-mindedness.

Ultimately, Kenneth Miller proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that evolution is perfectly consistent with conservatism. Most intelligent design adherents don’t believe in a literal Genesis any way so they would have no problem taking a non-literal interpretation of it. And evolution has built up and established a very pro-capitalist and pro-conservative agenda. Where would he take Darwin now a days to show his theory in action? Wall Street. So conservatives can no longer make a scientific or political complaint on the theory of evolution. Or, at least, we hope they can no longer make a scientific or political complaint on the theory of evolution.

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About newenglandsun

A student. Male. Passionate. Easily offended. Child-like wonderer. Growing in faith, messing up daily.
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