This Thursday, December 4th at 7:30pm at Cincinnati Museum Center's Union Terminal Dr. Kenneth Miller of Brown University will speak in the museum's Dury Science Lecture Series. Dr. Miller is a cell biologist and author of life sciences textbooks and popular books on the conflicts between evolution and intelligent design creationism.
A vocal proponent of evolutionary biology in the public arena Dr. Miller has been featured on the PBS series Evolution and served as an expert witness in the recent Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board case in US District Court of Middle Pennsylvania. Dr. Miller's testimony played a critical role in the Judge John Jones' decision which declared that the Dover school board's policy to promote intelligent design (ID) theory in public school science courses was in violation of the US Constitution's Establishment Clause because, while presented as science, "ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents".
While proving to be highly effective at exposing the deep flaws within this latest version of scientific creationism, ID theory, Dr. Miller has provided a counterpoint to creationist/ID accusations that evolution promotes atheism by being very open about his own personal beliefs in the Christian faith. Miller's highly successful popular book Finding Darwin's God was not only an effective rebuttal against ID but also a personal testimonial of a Christian scientist's ability to reconcile faith with the scientific consensus on biological evolution. His latest book, Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul, dismantles ID arguments and emphasizes the explanatory power of evolutionary biology in making sense of life's diversity.
In a dwindling economy with environmental and energy crises looming larger and innumerable challenges for the US both domestic and abroad the ability to innovate is critical in moving America forward. The launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957 by the Soviet Union was a wake-up call for the US and spawned an increased focus in science education and research in the 1960's. The rising prominence of China and India in science and engineering is today's Sputnik and Americans need to decide if they want to continue to be leaders and producers of science innovation and technology or followers and consumers of technology provided by other nations.
Far from an esoteric issue the debate between ID creationism and evolution cuts to the heart of science education in the US. On the one side is scientific innovation and adoption of evidence based inquiry and the other is an attempt to roll back two centuries of scientific progress and judge scientific evidence on the basis of narrowly-defined, preconceived socio-religious ideology. Attending Dr. Miller's lecture at the museum center will be an excellent introduction to these critical issues in American scientific literacy and demonstrate that, contrary to what creationists would have us believe, scientific progress need not come at the expense of our religious faith. I hope to see you there.