Thursday, March 30, 2017

Finding Darwin's God IX

Miller, Ken. Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution.New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. ISBN: 978-0061233500.

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VII, Part VIII.

In his final chapter, titled "Finding Darwin's God," Miller sets out to do three things. First, he rejects the common path of finding in the natural world something apparently unexplainable by scientists and assigning the explanation to God. He notes that theists have often hung their hopes on science's unsolved mysteries as the unique domain of God's work, God's fingerprints on creation.  Yet, for Miller, this is a losing hand for theists to play.  Sure, science has not yet been able to explain everything.  Yet, they have explained a lot, and they are finding new answers every day.  The minute that a theist draws a line in the sand and says that some unexplained mystery must be the domain of God's work, a scientist comes along and explains that mystery. Then, the case for theism is damaged.  This view has often been called the God of the gaps theory because it places God into the gaps of scientific knowledge.  The problem is that as time goes by, those gaps continue to shrink, as does the supposed domain of God's work.  Instead, Miller claims, one should expect the natural world to have natural, scientific explanations, and to be confident that scientists will continue to find explanations for the previously unexplained mysteries of the universe. 

Second, Miller argues that a common refrain of anti-theist scientists, that science proves that the universe has no meaning or purpose, is not a scientific claim at all.  He says that when these scientists make these claims, they are using their credibility as scientists, and claiming the backing of science, but that they have wandered outside of the bounds of science in these proclamations.  Science does not assign purpose or meaning to the universe.  It cannot.  So, in the same vein, it cannot assign purposelessness or meaninglessness to the universe. 

Finally, Miller wants to answer the question of what kind of God science and evolution has led him to believe in.  He answers with a quote from the last sentence of Darwin's Origin as follows:
"There is a grandeur in this view of life; with its several powers having been originally breathed by the Creator into new forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most wonderful and most beautiful have been, and are being evolved." What kind of God do I believe in? The answer is in those words.  I believe in Darwin's God. (292). 

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