Ken Miller on Intelligent Design

Ken Miller on Intelligent Design December 8, 2012

Came across this old speech again and it’s worth reposting. It’s a talk by Ken Miller at Case Western Reserve University about intelligent design. It begins with a pointless prayer and it’s very long, but it’s well worth watching. Miller is brilliant and eloquent and, I think, our single most effective voice against creationism in all its forms.


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  • But, but but… he is a “faitheist” and an accommodationist and, and *gasp* a theist. That’s three strikes, where only one is required to place you outside the circle of orthodoxy.

  • Gordon

    He can’t be a faitheist and a theist. He’s just a theist.

  • steve b

    I was at Case during this time, but didn’t see the talk live (advisor didn’t let me out much). I did show my support for the cause by hanging a sheet with parodies of the Cobb County warning stickers up on my wall in my cubicle. Sadly, a lot of the findings Dr. Miller talks about really aren’t common knowledge to this day. I’ve told my classmates in nursing about human chromosome #2 and they look at me like I beamed down from Mars.

  • Heddle-

    I think the fact that he’s a Christian is a real advantage in communicating on this subject. He’ll get listened to by audiences that won’t listen to me.

  • jasonfailes

    Orthodoxy? Being a theist puts him a little outside reality.

    However, as oddball as I find his beliefs, I have to give Miller credit for keeping them sealed away in a logic-proof box away from the good scientific work he does.

  • Ed,

    I think the fact that he’s a Christian is a real advantage in communicating on this subject. He’ll get listened to by audiences that won’t listen to me.

    Agreed. Also agreed that he is among the best of the best. He gave a talk at my university a few years ago and had a huge audience spell-bound.

  • He’s really great at it. He’s the perfect combination of incredibly smart and knowledgeable, charismatic and eloquent. And he can explain complex subjects to non-experts in a way that few can.

  • slc1

    Re Ed Brayton @ #4

    A lot of Prof. Heddle’s fundamentalist fellow travelers reject the notion that Roman Catholics are true Christians.

  • Ed Brayton “I think the fact that he’s a Christian is a real advantage in communicating on this subject. He’ll get listened to by audiences that won’t listen to me.”

    To be fair, that’s mostly because of the stage diving.

  • mobius

    A lot of Prof. Heddle’s fundamentalist fellow travelers reject the notion that Roman Catholics are true Christians.

    All too true, going back to the beginning of the Reformation.

    When I was in the Air Force, we had a new troop join our shop. Our sergeant had her give a brief introduction, in which she mentioned that she was Catholic.

    One of the older troops, who belonged to an extremely fundamentalist church just off base, immediately stuck his finger right in her face and yelled, “You’re going to Hell.”

  • dingojack

    (Mobius – hate to be the one to break it to you but –

    there is (was?) a really irritating & hateful troll with the same handle who spammed here and elsewhere. Perhaps a rethink? Just a suggestion).

    🙂 Dingo

  • Ichthyic

    Yes, Ken is a great advocate of science…

    except when he lets his own religion get in the way.

    Please, don’t forget the bad with the good.

    examples are numerous:

    take a close look at his reasoning here:

    for those of us who recall the back and forth during the mainline blog “accomodation” wars a couple years back, he said some phenomenally irrational stuff.

    Also, don’t forget about “God works through quantum fields.”

    I’m not trying to trash the man, I used his books when I taught biology FFS. I just want to point out that religion gets the best of us, inevitably, and even well compartmentalized minds like Kens are not immune.

  • Doc Bill

    “It was supposed to be a debate.”

    Yep, a debate with none other than Michael Behe who failed to show. Typical. Probably had to wash his hair that night.

    I recall there was a snow issue, but Miller showed up and you know Behe, any excuse in a storm!

  • slc1

    Re Doc Bill @ #13

    Actually, I think he was supposed to be debating William Dumbski.

  • maxdwolf

    Hadn’t noticed it before, but around 50:00 to 52:00 he states “evolution was exposed as religion parading as science”. From the context it’s pretty clear that he means “intelligent design…” but I’m still surprised it hasn’t been quote-mined.

  • bendogvallejo

    The whale of a tale. This notion is filled with so many holes and gaps including the fact that many still claim pakicetus was an aquatic animal when we know this is false. We also know the original reconstruction of fossil including placement of the nasal aperture was fudged as well as the original drawing, and Gingrich admits this himself to me in an email when I asked who was responsible for the misleading drawings that made it on to popular science publications back in the 80’s.

    This is also the same guy who said this……..“Intelligent design cannot explain the presence of a nonfunctional pseudogene, unless it is willing to allow that the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles. Evolution, however, can explain them easily. Pseudogenes are nothing more than chance experiments in gene duplication that have failed, and they persist in the genome as evolutionary remnants of the past history”

    He was wrong, and what he refers to as “junk” has now been found to be not so junky or poorly designed after all.

    Science 7 September 2012:

    Vol. 337 no. 6099 pp. 1159-1161

    DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6099.1159



    ENCODE Project Writes Eulogy for Junk DNA

    . Elizabeth Pennisi

    This week, 30 research papers, including six in Nature and additional papers published online byScience, sound the death knell for the idea that our DNA is mostly littered with useless bases. A decade-long project, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), has found that 80%

    He also brought up an argument that tried to claim that if you remove a certain amount of parts from the bacterial flagellum, you then end up with the the T3ss because according to him these are the same proteins that exist in the BF. First of all this is false, you do not end up with a T3ss. First off no one has ever proved this by knocking out proteins. Secondly Miller lied and was caught lying. It turns out the proteins he speaks of are only homologous, meaning similar but no the same. And last but not least, is that this notion requires that the T3ss was the precursor to the BF and this would supposedly satisfy his notion of co option which would according to him falsify irreducible complexity.

    Again the problem with this, is that he is wrong, and the evidence seems to support just the opposite. Therefor based on current data Millers argument falls on ist a bace. Again the T3ss could not have been a precursor because it was not ancestral to the BF and again if anything else the BF predates the T3ss system. Keep in mind this now debunked junk science he is still promoting was used as key evidence at Dover. Even other evolutionist have criticized the Dover case and called it misleading. See “Will the real theory of Evolution Please Standup”? part 4. Google it.

    “Those who support the hypothesis that the T3SS evolved from flagella cite evidence that Eukaryotes evolved after Prokaryotes. Thus, the need for motility would have caused selection for the development of flagella before an injectisome. However this suggestion can be seen as ‘reductive evolution,’ and receives no topological support from the phylogenetic trees.”

    Saier, M “Evolution of bacterial type III protein secretion systems”. Trends in Microbiology

    The Non-Flagellar Type III Secretion System Evolved from the Bacterial Flagellum and Diversified into Host-Cell Adapted Systems

    • Sophie S. Abby1,2*, Eduardo P. C. Rocha1,2

    • 1 Institut Pasteur, Microbial Evolutionary Genomics, Département Génomes et Génétique, Paris, France, 2 CNRS, UMR3525, Paris, France