In the religious community, the people who criticized the book were largely coming from what you might call the young earth creationist and intelligent design community. Within the larger community of believers, though, there was an overwhelmingly positive reaction, and I certainly found that within the Catholic Church.
This recent interview with Kenneth Miller demands a response from me, so here it is. If you believe that a purposeful God used a non-purposeful undirected method to create the universe, life, and the human race, you are a heretic. Yet, you can believe this and still call yourself a Catholic in today’s Church. This is because of the sad influence of Teilhard de Chardin on the thinking of most Catholics today. Teilhard’s poison has penetrated deeply. Dr. Kenneth Miller is the product of that poisoned thinking.
Dr. Miller is a theistic evolutionist even if he rejects the label. As far as I can tell, he believes all that the Roman Catholic Church teaches on faith and morals. He also believes in neo-Darwinian macroevolution. This holding of two contradictory worldviews is what allows Dr. Miller to remain a Catholic in good standing while also keeping his job in the sciences. You see a similar sort of position with Catholic Democrats who claim to be personally opposed to abortion but support the grisly practice with every bit of legislation that comes by them including funding Planned Parenthood. I can only describe this straddling of worldviews as “schizophrenic.”
Dr. Miller attempts to find common ground between Darwin and God. But this is one of the few times I will agree with atheists like Richard Dawkins. There is no common ground. You can believe in God and reject Darwin. Or, you can believe in Darwin and reject God. But you can’t have it both ways. Richard Dawkins is totally correct on this point. Theistic evolutionists are deluded.
On the subject of theistic evolution, Miller’s position is like nailing Jell-O to the wall. Here is what Dr. Miller had to say on the matter:
People like Jerry Coyne routinely accuse me of holding to the view that God intervened in the evolutionary process,” said Miller, “and it seems like no matter how many times I post on his blog that I believe exactly the opposite, he persists. That’s one reason why I reject the label of theistic evolutionist at every opportunity I get.
Apparently for all his brilliance. Dr. Miller needs to learn the most elemental fact that words have meanings. A theistic evolutionist is someone who believes in both Darwinian macroevolution and God. Dr. Miller wants to quibble with an atheist because the atheist believes words have meanings? Miller is a theistic evolutionist whether he likes the term or not. Quit being a fool, you fool.
If you accept neo-Darwinian macroevolution, this leaves you only two options on God. Either God is the indifferent god of the deists who wound up the clock and walked away from it. Or, God does not exist at all. Anything else is the intellectual schizophrenia of theological liberals and modernists who don’t believe in God but wish to keep their jobs in the religious profession.
Fortunately, there is a way out of this inescapable conflict. This is Intelligent Design. I believe God created the universe and life with structure, purpose, and an end in accordance with the fifth argument of Aquinas for the existence of God. Atheists like Dawkins are at pains to refute this argument as they try to explain the appearance of design in nature as a product of a random process of mutation and natural selection except Dawkins claims the process is not random. Whatever.
Science presupposes this fifth argument of Aquinas. Because science has embraced materialism, it does not see how it cuts its own philosophical foundation from underneath itself. Why do science if the cosmos is just chaos? How can we believe what we have discovered? How can we even know that anything can be discovered? Even the most hard nosed materialist atheist science must presuppose the order of the universe and that this order can be known. This is a philosophical position and not a scientific one, yet we can’t do science without it. But I digress. . .
Unfortunately, Catholics concede an argument that is already being won. There is evidence of design in nature which implies a designer. I recommend that Catholics look into the work of the folks over at the Discovery Institute and follow Evolution News. As for theistic evolutionists like Dr. Miller, intelligent and honest Catholics need to reject his intellectual schizophrenia.