Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

(New York: HarperCollins, 1999), 352

Note: this book does a great job of:
1) explaining evolution, seen in chapters 1-2;
2) defending the science of evolution against various attacks (including illogical religious ones), seen in chapter 3-5, and
3) beautifully connecting a scientific understanding of evolution with the Christian God, seen in chapters 7-9

  • Chapter 1 - Darwin’s Apple (introduction)
  • Chapter 2 - Eden’s Children (description of evolution)

    • Evolution’s 3-part mechanism: mutation, variation, natural selection (51)

    • discusses how our imagination is shaped by our experiences

  • Chapter 3 - God the Charlatan (defending evolution 1: against scientific creationism, young-earth creationism)
  • Chapter 4 - God the Magician (defending evolution 2: against intelligent design)
  • Chapter 5 - God the Mechanic (defending evolution 3: against intelligent design at the bimolecular level)
  • Chapter 6 - The Gods of Disbelief
  • Chapter 7 - Beyond Materialism

    • the uncertainty of quantum mechanics in fact limits what science can know in principle (209)

    • “what critics of evolution consistently fail to see is that the very indeterminacy they misconstrue as randomness has to be, by any definition, a key feature of the mind of God.” (213)

    • “We need not ask if the nature of quantum physics proves the existence of a Supreme Being, which is certainly does not. Quantum physics does allow for it in an interesting way, and certainly excludes the possibility that we will ever gain a complete understanding of the details of nature. We have progressed so much in self-awareness and understanding that we now know there is a boundary around our ability to grasp reality. And we cannot say why it is there. But that does not make the boundary any less real, or any less consistent with the idea that it was the necessary handiwork of a Creator who fashioned it to allow us the freedom and independence necessary to make our acceptance or rejection of His love a genuinely free choice.” (213)

  • Chapter 8 - The Road Back Home

    • “At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” -Robert Jastrow (225)

    • “As a scientist, I know very well that the earth is billions of years old and that the appearance of living organisms was not sudden, but gradual. As a Christian, I believe that Genesis is a true account of the way in which God’s relationship with the world was formed. And as a human being, I find value in both descriptions.” (257)

    • Augustine warned against literal interpretations of Genesis (258)

  • Chapter 9 - Finding Darwin’s God

    • “Each and every increase in our understanding of the natural world should be a step towards God, and not, as many people assume, a step away. If faith and reason are both gifts from God, they they should play complementary, not conflicting roles in our struggle to understand the world around us.” (267)

    • “In biological terms, evolution is the only way a Creator could have made us the creatures we are-free beings in a world of authentic and meaningful moral and spiritual choices.” (291)

Topic: Faith and Science