By Ke'Lan R. Mitchell, University Communications
Kenneth Miller, professor of biology at Brown University and the author of Biology: The Living Space and Finding Darwin's God, sees evolution as a system that God set forth. It is a system, in accord with religion that gives meaning to each individual's life. "Seen in this way, evolution was much more than an indirect pathway to get me. By choosing evolution as his way to fashion the living world, he emphasized material nature and our unity with other forms of life. He made the world too contingent upon the events of the past. He made our choices matter, our actions genuine, and our lives important. In the analysis, he used evolution as the tool to set us free," Miller said in Finding Darwin's God.
In many fiery discussions between creationists and evolutionists, Miller tries to find a common ground between the two. In his belief that evolution is compatible with religion he tries to persuade believers that evolution is not inherently hostile to religion and many of their objections are illusory.
Miller also tries to argue against those who believe evolution is too unpredictable, cruel and indirect. The contingent nature of any historical process makes evolution unpredictable. Evolution is not cruel because it just points out the fact that all living organisms will die and evolution cannot have a problem of being indirect unless we ignore the indirect pathways between our personal and political history.
"We cannot yet explain everything about our natural history, but we know enough to be sure that Darwin's mechanism was at the heart of it. How did we get here? We were produced by what Darwin called 'descent with modification,' a process of change that links us with the grand story of life on earth. In other words, like everything else on this warm and wonderful planet, we evolved," Miller said in one of his several letters to Phillip E. Johnson, professor of law at University of California (Berkeley) and author of Darwin on Trial.
Miller has had many debates, discussions and he has answered many questions over the years on the topic of evolution and "how we got here." Miller does not hide the fact that he is a devout Christian nor does he ignore the facts, such as fossil records, about the evolution of man. So in the debate over the two he tries to find a bond that links them together.