(Cross posted at my personal blog). It is no secret that the acceptance of evolution in the United States varies by region: in general, it is most accepted in the bluest, least religious states and least accepted in the reddest, most religious states. This was brought out during the talk. The same holds true among the "industrialized countries".
So, are "science and faith" compatible? This was one of the issues that Dr. Miller was to address (one of several issues) at his talk at Bradley University. I went and describe the experience below the fold:
I was excited to see Kenneth Miller be invited to speak at Bradley University. He is a top flight scientist (biologist at Brown University) with a ton of peer reviewed publications (the only way you get tenure at a place like Brown) as well as some well respected biology text books. He was also an expert witness in "creationism/ID trials" in the United States; he was cross examined for 9 hours at the Dover trial. Here is an article about his testimony and the howls from the creationists over it.
Dr. Miller is an excellent speaker. About 80 percent of the talk was about science (why evolution isn't some mere wild guess: how it makes testable claims and how these claims have passed the tests with flying colors). About 15-18 percent of the talk was about the creationism/ID failures (which included an excellent blurb about Neil Shubin's work; I can recommend Shubin's book Your Inner Fish without reservation). He talked about the anti-science culture of the United States and took shots at creationists, climate change deniers, anti-vaccination people and the anti-GMO woos.
He did spend, oh, maybe 3-5 minutes telling us that "science and faith" are compatible. The summary of his argument: "well the laws of nature came from somewhere or just were....if you believe the former you are a theist and if you believe the latter you are an atheist...but doing science is the same in either case." He didn't use those words of course, but his presentation on this topic took only slightly longer to hear than my summary did to read.
He did take questions and he did say that he did NOT like the "god acting through the uncertainty relation in QM" argument.
As far as whether his science has been compromised by his faith (he is a Roman Catholic), I'll let you read Jerry Coyne's stuff:
My question is of a different variety. Dr. Miller claims that "science and faith" are compatible. Really? I suppose one can cook up a "faith" that is compatible with science, but I doubt if this would be recognized as "faith" by most believers in the Western world. Here is why I think this:
If he goes to mass, he says this at least once a week:
We believe in one God,Everything that I have put in bold contradicts science, period.
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
(all bow their heads during the next three lines)
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son
he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic
and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
So, when he says this, is he:
1. Allowing for "singular miracles" at which point the laws of science are suspended? That is, of course, incompatible with science.
2. Just speaking metaphorically, just to go along with tradition? If so, how is this consistent with Catholic Faith?
3. Or is this Sophisticated Theology™; perhaps the Gospels were intended for those with philosophy Ph. D.'s and not the masses?
4. Something I haven't thought of? (I warmly welcome a response from anyone here).
Seriously, is "faith" sans supernatural things really "faith"? Can a believer reduce their deity to some sort of word salad and still call themselves a believer?
In this respect, I see his position as intellectually dishonest.
Someone thought that I was somehow misrepresenting how believers view the world. I am not. Via the Washington Post:
Most Americans believe that angels and demons are active in the world, and nearly 80 percent think miracles occur, according to a poll released yesterday that takes an in-depth look at Americans' religious beliefs.