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Ken Miller: Reconciling Science and Faith

Ken Miller is the author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution. According to Miller, a biology professor at Brown University; "our human tendencies to assign meaning and value must transcend science, and ultimately must come from outside of it. The science that results, I would suggest, is enriched and informed from its contact with the values and principles of faith." Interviewed for Evolution: "What About God?"

Credits: 2001 WGBH Educational Foundation and Clear Blue Sky Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ken Miller: Reconciling Science and Faith

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5 min, 8 sec

Topics Covered:
Science, Faith, and Politics


Ken Miller: Reconciling Science and Faith:

Fifty years ago, no one knew why flowers bloomed; the phenomenon baffled researchers and bolstered creationists, who pointed to gaps in science as proof of the existence of a higher being. A half century later, we know that a plant's genes tell an ordinary cluster of leaves to bloom and scatter pollen in springtime as a way to reproduce.

Is this yet another victory for evolutionists who rule out any notion of God?

No, says Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor at Brown University and author of the book Finding Darwin's God. Miller, a devout Catholic and evolutionist, believes God and science can coexist in the chapel and the lab. The key, Miller says, is to set aside the assumption that science and religion rule each other out. Miller does this by considering two separate realities: a material reality that relies on science and forms the basis for the theory of evolution, and a spiritual reality based on faith that gives our lives value and meaning.

This theory of two realities sits at odds both with creationists who discount science and evolution and with scientists who suggest that life is simply the existence of organisms and is without a higher purpose. Instead, Miller's theory points to a deity that created a self-sufficient world, which functions virtually independently from God's influences. In this view, God used science and physics to create a complex world and then allowed it to evolve on its own. God created the genes that tell a flower to bloom and spread pollen; God created the common ancestry among organisms first noted by Darwin; and God created the evolutionary process that ultimately resulted in our own human consciousness. This awareness, Miller says, points to a spiritual influence that holds our civilization together and gives humans a moral responsibility for the care of the planet.

Miller recognizes that while science can tell us many things, such as why a flower blooms, it will never be able to prove, or disprove, the existence of a higher being. The question of God, for Miller and anyone else, still comes down to one thing: faith.

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