July 10, 2008
Vol. 285, No. 19
This issue will be a comfortable read for just about every SDA, liberal or conservative. The quality of the writing is generally good. Bouquets and Black Eyes will not be awarded.
Consequently, I’m going to this space to demonstrate how important it is to carefully check the references used to support an assertion, fact, or idea. Deryl R. Corbit’s article in this issue has provided that opportunity.
From Marvels All Around (sub. required)
For many years, Darwinists have pointed out “flaws” in human anatomy to support their arguments for evolution through mutations and natural selection, and the eye has long been one of their favorite targets. Brown University professor Kenneth Miller claims that the vertebrate eye is poorly designed, because any light entering the eye must pass through the nerve layers before reaching the light receptors of the retina.
“Miller maintains that an intelligent designer would never have placed the neural wiring of the retina on the side of incoming light, since this arrangement scatters the light, making our vision less detailed than it would otherwise be, and even causes a blind spot where the wiring is pulled through the retina via the optic nerve that carries visual messages to the brain. Other evolutionists have chimed in over the years with their indictments, decrying the ‘functionally stupid, backward construction.’ To the evolutionists, this stands as clear evidence that no designer exists.
Corbit cites Bergman and Clakins to support his claim that evolutionists, including Kenneth Miller, assert “no designer exists”.* (1) This citation is not from an unbiased source.** In fact Bergman is the authority he sites to support his own claim to be an authority on both the human eye and the views of evolutionists.*** (2) I offer the following excerpt from the final chapter of Miller’s book, “Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution”,**** as evidence that evolutionists are not necessarily atheists or even agnostics.
From Finding Darwin’s God
“Evolution is neither more nor less than the result of respecting the reality and consistency of the physical world over time. To fashion material beings with an independent physical existence, any Creator would have had to produce an independent material universe in which our evolution over time was a contingent possibility. A believer in the divine accepts that God’s love and gift of freedom are genuine – so genuine that they include the power to choose evil and, if we wish, to freely send ourselves to Hell. Not all believers will accept the stark conditions of that bargain, but our freedom to act has to have a physical and biological basis. Evolution and its sister sciences of genetics and molecular biology provide that basis. 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.
“Those who ask from science a final argument, an ultimate proof, an unassailable position from which the issue of God may be decided will always be disappointed. As a scientist I claim no new proofs, no revolutionary data, no stunning insight into nature that can tip the balance in one direction or another. But I do claim that to a believer. Even in the most traditional sense, evolutionary biology is not at all the obstacle we often believe it to be. In many respects, evolution is the key to understanding our relationship with God.
“When I have the privilege of giving a series of lectures on evolutionary biology to my freshman students, I usually conclude those lectures with a few remarks about the impact of evolutionary theory on other fields, from economics to politics to religion. I find a way to make clear that I do not regard evolution, properly understood, as either antireligious or antispiritual. Most students seem to appreciate those sentiments. They probably figure that Professor Miller, trying to be a nice guy and doubtlessly an agnostic, is trying to find a way to be unequivocal about evolution without offending the University chaplain.
“There are always a few who find me after class and want to pin me down. They ask me point-blank: “Do you believe in God?”
“And I tell each of them, “Yes.”
Puzzled, they ask: “What kind of God?”
“Over the years I have struggled to come up with a simple but precise answer to that question. And, eventually I found it. I believe in Darwin’s God.”
* Jerry Bergman, PhD., and Joseph Calkins, M.D., “Is the Backwards Human Retina Evidence of Poor Design” from The Institute for Creation Research articles / 2476, 2007
** The Institute for Creation Research
*** Bergman, Jerry. 2000. “Is the Inverted Human Eye a Poor Design?” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. 52(1):18-30, March.
**** Miller, Kenneth R. 1999. Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution. New York: Cliff Street Books.
Andy Hanson is Professor of Education at California State University, Chico and blogs at Adventist Perspective.