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Interview by Karl W. Giberson
A Somewhat Higher Opinion of God
Ken Miller is professor of biology at Brown University. In addition to his specialized research, Miller—a practicing Roman Catholic—is the author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (HarperCollins, 1999). He is also the coauthor of a series of high school and college texts and has frequently debated opponents of evolution (see www. millerandlevine.com/km/evol/). Karl Giberson spoke with Miller about his faith, his public role as a defender of evolution, and the integrity of science. Here we conclude the two-part conversation that began in the previous issue.
Why do you think that critics of Darwinism were so interested in debating you if you carried the day decisively in your first encounter with Henry Morris, the founder of the Institue for Creation Research?
What Morris wrote in his newsletter, Acts and Facts, was that I was the most effective evolutionist debater that he had encountered to date. The praise was from his own lips, and other people who read Acts and Facts interpreted that as they wanted to, but clearly they thought I'd given him a hard time! They immediately tried to set up a debate with Duane Gish, whom they regarded at the time—this was more than 20 years ago—as their most effective debater. I was very happy to do that, and I think I did reasonably well against Duane Gish as well.
But I think there is a reason why people from the ICR or from Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis or from another group called the Discovery Institute are eager to engage in debate. They would like very much to promote a sense of equivalence between their arguments and the scientific theory of evolution; they very much like to play to the American ideal of fair play and open-mindedness and hearing both sides of the story. They like to say that on one side we have evolution, on the other side we have Scientific Creationism, or Intelligent Design. "See, members of the general public, what you have here are two equivalent ideas." ...