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Science and Religion

Kenneth R. Miller

interviewhighlights

Scientific and religious thinking do not conflict. It’s a mistake for religion to reject mainstream science and evolution for several reasons:

  • Science is a naturalistic process, and religious questions are beyond its scope.
  • Evolution and other scientific processes may be part of a supreme being’s goal.
  • Evolutionary biology is a useful theory that produces results every day.

December 2004

Do science and religion rule each other out?

Science and religion are not mutually exclusive.
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The Green Bible is an English version of the New Revised Standard Version Bible with a focus on environmental issues and teachings. Image courtesy of the publisher, HarperOne.

Miller: No, I certainly don’t think they do. I think the whole tradition of Western science is that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. There are many people in the scientific community, in the United States and around the world, who hold strong religious points of view and do not see their points of view conflicting with working in science or even with the philosophy of science.

Can science prove or disprove the existence of a higher being?

Religious questions stand outside the scope of science.

Miller: No, it can’t. The existence of a supreme being simply is not a scientific question. A supreme being stands outside of nature. Science is a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature. Beyond that it’s a matter of personal belief.

Kenneth R. Miller, Ph.D., a Christian and evolutionist, is professor of biology in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry at Brown University, in Providence, RI. His research delves into problems of structure and function in biological membranes using a variety of techniques associated with electron microscopy. One of his principal interests is the public understanding of evolution. He has written a number of articles defending the scientific integrity of evolution, answering challenges such as that posed by intelligent design, and has publicly debated anti-evolutionists. He has written a series of high school and college textbooks with Joseph S. Levine, calledBiology, the most recent of which is known as the “Dragonfly” book (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2002); he also wrote Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution (HarperCollins, 1999). Miller was interviewed at the AIBS Symposium “Evolutionary Science and Society: Educating a New Generation” at the 2004 NABT convention.
http://research.brown.edu/research/profile.php?id=1100924768

Science and Religion

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Understanding Evolution

Your one-stop source for information on evolution. Learn the facts in Evolution 101, browse the resource library, read about evolution in the news, or discover a wealth of materials to help educate others about evolution and related concepts—it’s all right here! http://evolution.berkeley.edu

Brown University Evolution Resources

Links to Kenneth Miller’s articles, debates, and even a couple of online videos.
www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/index.html

Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DOSER)

The Doser site is provided by the The American Association for the Advancement of Science. It provides articles, meetings notices, and other information.
http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/

National Center for Science Education (NCSE)

NCSE, a nonprofit organization, is “a nationally recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and ‘scientific creationism’ out.” The second link takes you to a historical overview, by Eugenie Scott, explaining the range of creationist views (12/00).

“Antievolution: The Critic’s Resource”

This “critical examination of the antievolution movement…aims to provide links to both the anti-evolutionists making their own arguments and also to the critics who provide mainstream science answers to those arguments.”
www.antievolution.org

“Science and…”

Explore the connections between science and ethics, gender, art, culture, race, literature, religion, and politics.
www.chemistrycoach.com/science_and.htm

Separation of church and state resources

The first link takes you to a website authored by two legal experts on the issue. The second link takes you to a site by Tom Peters, a University of Louisville professor. The third link is the religioustolerance.org site’s home page.

ActionBioscience.org article about evolution

“Evolution: Fact and Theory” by Richard E. Lenski succinctly explains the theory of evolution and examines evidence for its support.
www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/lenski.html

Essay: “Life’s Grand Design”

Kenneth Miller writes for PBS Nova about intelligent design and evolution.
www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/change/grand

Read a book

  • » Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution is an analysis of the religious implications of evolution by Kenneth R. Miller, a devout Christian and evolutionist. HarperCollins, 2000. To read an excerpt from Millers’ book, go to
    http://www.findingdarwinsgod.com/
  • » Darwin and Intelligent Design by Francisco J. Ayala (a scientist as well as a person of faith) is a short, concise paperback examines science, faith, and theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006).

Panda’s Thumb

The Panda’s Thumb is the “virtual pub” where “patrons gather to discuss evolutionary theory, critique the claims of the antievolution movement, defend the integrity of science and science education in America and around the world, and share good conversation.”
http://www.pandasthumb.org

The Clergy Letter Project

The Clergy Letter Project is an organization that has created and maintains a statement signed by American Christian clergy of different denominations rejecting creationism, with specific reference to points raised by intelligent design proponents. This effort was organized in 2004 by biologist Michael Zimmerman, now Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.
http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/Backgd_info.htm

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

News, views, and information from this organization, which is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Register for e-mail updates or get involved in one of their campaigns.
http://www.au.org/site/PageServer

Christian Ecology Movements

Christian organizations concerned with the environment:

Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER)

“Through conferences, lectures, research seminars, and electronic and print publications, DoSER assists religious communities to explore the religious implications of evolution and seeks to engage the religious communities in support of research and education about evolution.”
http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/

For Educators: PBS Evolution

The PBS evolution series, which first aired in September 2001, has a superb website of teaching resources for evolution.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution

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