Finding An Evolutionist's God


"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble"
(James 2:19).

A very potent anti-creationist book has recently been published by Dr. Kenneth R. Miller entitled, Finding Darwin's God. It is unusual for a total evolutionist such as Ken Miller to defend belief in God against the atheist leaders of the evolutionary establishment—men such as Stephen J. Gould, Richard Dawkins, Edward Wilson, Richard Lewontin, Daniel Dennett, and others of that persuasion.

However, Miller is a Catholic and repeatedly professes belief in God, though he never mentions the Lord Jesus Christ. And he does rebuke atheism, maintaining that men such as Dawkins are harming evolution by insisting that it destroys belief in God. He is quite eloquent in making this case—as, indeed, he is in all his writing and speaking.

However, the god he favors is not the Christian's God of the Bible, as he makes clear in the last sentence of his text. "What kind of God do I believe in? . . . I believe in Darwin's God."1 His attitude toward the Bible is, in fact, much like that of Darwin. Regarding the Biblical account of creation, he says: "It is high time that we grew up and left the Garden. We are indeed Eden's children, yet it is time to place Genesis alongside the geocentric myth in the booklet of stories that once, in a world of intellectual naiveté, made sense."2

Miller's "god" is really "the great god Chance." He argues very persuasively for total evolution, from particles to people, all by random interactions and natural selection, and then says God did it this way. He still finds some evidence for his kind of "god," however, in the mystic anthropic principle and the indeterminacy assumptions of modern quantum physics.

Ken Miller is a remarkable young man, handsome, charismatic, and highly articulate. He is a professor of biology at Brown University, active in both teaching and research. He is also deviously sophisticated in argumentation, as I have learned from participating in three creation/evolution debates with him, and now also from reading his new book.

He was clearly the most superficially convincing protagonist against creationism I ever encountered in my more than 30 creation/evolution debates, and the same effectiveness, in my judgment, is true of his book. But he achieves this result by what seems to me, at least, to be sophistical argumentation and (possibly unintentional) misrepresentation of facts.

For example, in discussing one of our debates in his book, he noted that I had used the magnetic field decay argument as evidence for a young earth, and then he claimed to have demolished this argument by referring to the past reversals of the field. Then he says that I "withdrew the argument."3

I did no such thing. He brought up the reversals in the question period, and there was little time to respond. There are, of course, good answers to this common and irrelevant objection; by no means was the argument "withdrawn," and it still provides an excellent evidence for recent creation, as I tried to show in the brief time still allowed.

Then he reports on our discussion at breakfast on the morning following the debate, giving a rather lengthy quotation of what he thinks I said. Now this was 19 years ago, and I have talked with many evolutionists both before and since that time, so I really don't recall what either of us may have said. Either he had an indelible memory or else he was freely paraphrasing what he assumed I might have said but he concluded from our discussion that, to me and other literal creationists, "the appeal of creationism is emotional, not scientific."4

As it happens, that is exactly what we think about the appeal of evolutionism to people who are hoping to find some other "god" then the true God of creation. The appeal of evolution cannot be "scientific," for evolution is neither observable nor repeatable nor predictable as taking place in the present. Neither does the fossil record affirm that it ever happened in the past. The firmly proved laws of thermodynamics make it highly improbable that "vertical" evolution could ever happen at all, to a higher degree of complexity or information content. "Horizontal" changes (or what has been called "microevolution") can take place, of course, and so can "downward" changes to a lesser degree of complexity, or even to extinction. But that is all, as far as any observational data are concerned.

Ken Miller's "evidences" for evolution, in his new book, though presented with his characteristic bravado, are barren in terms of real substance. He does not deal at all with the powerful argument of thermodynamics and probability against evolution. He makes a big issue about mutations at the bacterial level and the rate of genetic changes in guppies and other animals, and then concludes that "since mutations can duplicate, rearrange, or change literally any gene, it follows that they can also produce any variation."5 But, of course, he cannot cite any real-time example of mutational changes leading to greater genetic information and higher complexity in its host. In terms of transitional forms in the fossil record, his main examples are an amphibian with internal gills, Acanthostega and the so-called "walking" whale, Ambulocetus. Instead of a handful of very questionable intermediate forms like these, however, the fossil record should exhibit true intermediate forms everywhere, if evolution had really been happening during the supposed geological ages.

It is interesting that Ken Miller, though claiming to be a "creationist," is no more convinced by the "intelligent design" approach than he is by our "young earth creationism." He has an entire chapter rejecting Philip Johnson's arguments and another whole chapter refuting Michael Behe. He says, regarding Johnson's books, that "intelligent design requires us to believe that the past [meaning the geological ages] was a time of magic in which species appeared out of nothing. That magic began with the dawn of life on this planet, and continued unabated for more than a billion years . . . producing eras in which organisms long extinct dominated the planet."6

He continues by pointing out that "we would also have to attribute every plague, pestilence, and parasite to the intentional actions of our master designer. Not exactly a legacy calculated to inspire love and reverence. . . . In simple terms, this designer just can't get it right the first time. Nothing he designs is able to make it over the long term."7

In his chapter on Michael Behe, he notes with surprise that Behe accepts all of the evolutionary scenario, including man's ascent from a common ancestry with the apes, except for the first cell, with is supposedly so irreducibly complex as to have required an intelligent designer.

"And that evidence," Miller says, "squeezes him into a nonsensical position. . . . The result is an absolutely hopeless genetic fantasy of "preformed" genes waiting for the organisms that might need them to appear gradually—and the utter collapse of Behe's hoped-for biochemical challenge to evolution."8

Thus, as we have been saying all along, the intelligent design and irreducible complexity approaches to fighting Darwinism, strong as they seem to be, are no more convincing to "theistic" evolutionists like Ken Miller, with his Darwinian concept of God, and certainly not to atheistic evolutionists such as Gould and Dawkins, than is our approach based on the literal Biblical revelation of creation. Miller even acknowledges that we, at least, are more consistent. Here is what he says:

Such is the road traveled by my debate opponent of many years ago, Henry Morris, and his colleagues at the ICR. They have plenty of company, of course, in other institutes, organizations, and publishers around the world. Of all the attacks against evolution, theirs is the boldest and most consistent, rejecting out of hand anything and everything that seems to support evolutionary biology.9

His big objection to our position is that we make God out to be a "charlatan" who implants the earth with evidences that look like long ages and evolution, when everything was really created in six days several thousand years ago.

But in this he ignores or misses our point. We live in a world where every thing has been cursed by the "wages of sin" and on a globe totally restructured by the great Flood of Noah's day. This world still bears the signature of the Creator, but what we observe is the cursed, flooded remnant of the once "very good" creation.

God has not tried to "deceive" anyone, of course. Real creation must necessarily involve creation of already functioning systems. When men try to imagine how these could have evolved naturalistically into functioning systems, using the naturalistic assumption of uniformitarianism, instead of believing what God has said about them, that becomes their problem, not God's! He has told us plainly, writing it down with His own finger on tablets of stone, that "in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Exodus 20:11).

The real problem evolutionists have is not with us creationists, but with the Word of God. All of us will have to meet God someday, and I believe it will be easier for us to explain to Him why we believed in recent creation and a global flood than Ken Miller and his academic peers will have in explaining why they refused to believe what He clearly said, especially when there is such overwhelming evidence for the truth of Biblical Christianity and such strong, confirming, scientific evidence for its worldview. To believe that God exists is nice, but it is not nice to charge that His revelation is false or misleading.

References

1 Kenneth R. Miller, Finding Darwin's God (New York, N.Y. Harper Collins Publishers, 1999), p. 292.
2 Ibid., p. 56.
3 Ibid., p. 298.
4 Ibid., p. 273.
5 Ibid., p. 104.
6 Ibid., p. 100.
7 Ibib., pp. 101-102.
8 Ibid., p. 163.
9 Ibid., p. 63.
* Dr. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.

Cite this article: Henry Morris, Ph.D. 2000. Finding An Evolutionist's God. Acts & Facts. 29 (10).