Open Letter by Kenneth Miller
|September 28, 2005||Posted by William Dembski under Darwinism, Evolution, Intelligent Design|
From: Kenneth Miller [mailto:Kenneth_Miller@Brown.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 2:17 PM
Subject: Re: Some other questions…
You are one of scores of people who have written messages to me as a result of my scientific testimony at trial in Harrisburg, PA. I hope you will forgive the fact that I cannot possibly reply to each of you individually. While I appreciate your comments and respect you right to hold views with which I disagree, I thought it might be helpful to make a few things clear.
1) The scientific case for evolution is, indeed, overwhelming, and at the trial I gave several hours of detailed testimony documenting that fact. You are, of course, welcome to claim that there is “not a shred” of evidence for evolution. But had you been present in the courtroom, I suspect you would not make that statement.
2) Many of you accused me of “mocking God” for pointing out that remarkable frequency of extinction would make an “intelligent designer” look ridiculous. In fact, it was exactly because I do not mock God that I pointed out how ridiculous this view of an “intelligent designer” would be. It is those who advance the opposite view, in favor of ID, who must actually argue that the “designer” isn’t competent enough to make organisms that would last.
3) While I would love to discuss the details of your own, individual view of ID or evolution, I simply don’t have the time right now to engage in a detailed e-mail discussion of such issues with (literally) nearly a hundred people. Sorry, but I just cannot do it.
3) No, I do not serve as an expert witness just to “pick up a few extra bucks.” I receive no compensation at all for my testimony. Not a penny.
4) Many of you expressed a determination to pray for my soul. I am grateful for that, and send my sincere thinks. I will remember each of you in my own prayers at mass on Sunday.
5) The most common sentiment expressed in your messages was that it was blasphemous, insulting, or scientifically absurd to suggest that our species shares a common ancestor with chimpanzees or other primates. You are welcome to all such views. However, before claiming that you have science on your side, I would strongly suggest that you visit a library to read the September 1, 2005 issue of NATURE magazine. The complete DNA sequence of the chimpanzee genome was presented and discussed in several articles in that issue. I would urge you to read through all of them before you conclude that the idea is “absurd.” Please do read Hillier et al (2005) Nature 437, 69-87. I quote from the first paragraph of that paper:
“More than a century ago Darwin and Huxley posited that humans share recent common ancestors with the African great apes. Modern molecular studies have spectacularly confirmed this prediction and have refined the relationships, showing that the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and bonobo (Pan paniscus or pygmy chimpanzee) are our closest living evolutionary relatives.”
I think that speaks for itself.
In peace and with best wishes,
Kenneth R. Miller
Professor of Biology
Providence, RI 02912