The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Evolution lecture hits on middle ground

Thursday night, cellular biologist and Brown Professor Dr. Kenneth Miller gave a speech on what the collapse of intelligent design means for science and faith in America in his lecture entitled, “Is it Time to Abandon Darwin?” Miller quickly cut the tension in the room with his opening statement of a loud and clear, “No.”

Evolution has been a controversial topic since its beginnings with Charles Darwin. Currently, evolution still stands as a hot topic in the political realm as Miller showed a question from a presidential debate taken less than two months ago which asked: “How many of you on stage do not believe in evolution?” Miller even attested to having testified in court as an expert witness in Georgia and Pennsylvania in cases questioning the legitimacy of evolution.

At this point, Miller asked the audience, “Why is evolution under attack?” Colleagues and fellow scientists of Miller have asked if a certain kind of fossil or a certain type of gene mapping would help convince people like Ken Ham, the leader of a Creationist group known as Answers in Genesis, who believes evolution to be the foundation for all that is evil including pornography, abortion and homosexuality, that evolution is real.

“That would be convincing evidence if this were a scientific debate, but it’s not. This is a cultural war,” Dr. Miller said.

Dr. Miller went on to explain his role in the Dover, Pa. trial that lead to the collapse of intelligent design. The plaintiffs in the case were 11 parents who felt that the public school board of Dover had overstepped their First Amendment rights by teaching a religiously fueled curriculum in a government institution. The parents’ star scientific expert was Dr. Miller. Despite hurdling several of the defenses set up by the pro-Intelligent Design lawyers, ultimately what brought about the cases downfall was the fact the book had been previously republished under a different name, called “Biology & Origins.” There was nothing wrong about this book except that it was a creationist version of the exact same book that was called into question by the 11 parents. And since the court decision of Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987, identified “creation science” as religious doctrine, it was forbidden in public schools.

Dr. Miller again posed the question, “What does this collapse of Intelligent Design mean for faith?” Miller then explained how through the actions of people like Phillip E. Johnson, a Berkley Professor and founder of “the Wedge theory,” the relationship between Evolution and Religion are stated as a “debate in whether you believe God exists or you are an atheist.” Dr. Miller, who is a devout Catholic, believes in the coexistence of these two principles: religion and evolution.

At the end of his lecture, Dr. Miller opened the floor for some questions and answers. Some were skeptical and others were enthralled by his speech, but the final question posed to Dr. Miller really summed up the event: “Where did Mary get the Y chromosome?” To which Miller replied, “Well, you either believe one of two things: One, someone made it up in order to draw attention to the message of the birth of the man called Jesus, or you just accept it as the miracle it’s described as.”

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