Home » Courts, Legal » Ken Miller caught making factually incorrect statements under oath

Ken Miller caught making factually incorrect statements under oath

Discovery Institute attorney and scientist (and IDEA co-founder) Casey Luskin has posted this article on more of Ken Miller’s mis-steps under oath and in public. See: Ken Miller’s “Random and Undirected” Testimony. Luskin earlier pointed out Miller’s misrepresentations under oath here. I figured you all might want a thread to discuss this, so here it is!

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20 Responses to Ken Miller caught making factually incorrect statements under oath

  1. I’ve been aware of Miller’s penchant for making “mistakes” in his published material ever since reading his Finding Darwin’s God. It’s all well and good to point this out now, I guess, but what kind of fools did the Dover school board have for their attorneys? Did they know what it means to impeach a witness? Frankly it would probably have been better in the long run to keep this under our hats in the hopes of getting him on the stand again in a trial some day.

  2. Salvador,
    First you criticize Paul Nelson for being too easy on Miller, then you write that Miller made ‘factually incorrect statements under oath’.
    Can we please call it what it is?

    Miller lied in his testimony. (unless you believe he didn’t actually read the first six editions of his own textbook.)
    He then blamed his colleague. Another lie. (unless you believe that he didn’t actually read the first four editions of his own textbook.)

    I agree with Mung on this one. The Dover attorneys blew this case by allowing prevarication to go unpunished on the witness stand.

  3. Among some “Pandanians” Miller is considered a “good Christian”.

  4. The “random and undirected” statement is the least of Miller’s problems. See here and here.

  5. chunkdz:

    First you criticize Paul Nelson for being too easy on Miller, then you write that Miller made ‘factually incorrect statements under oath’.
    Can we please call it what it is?

    Yes I know, I’ve become Milk Toast of late. :-)

    If I’ve not said it formally to you earlier, “welcome to our humble weblog”.

    Look forward to seeing you again.

    Sal

  6. I think it is very important to point out that the key quote that Casey Luskin makes in his article doesn’t show the context in which Miller was writing. Here is the quote:

    “Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless–a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us.” (Biology: Discovering Life, by Joseph S. Levine & Kenneth R. Miller (1st edition, D.C. Heath and Co., 1992), pg. 152; emphases in original)

    Actually when one reads the statement in its context (see http://telicthoughts.com/?p=792), which Mr. Luskin does not give us, one comes to see that what Miller was doing was writing about the anxiety that Darwin sensed as he prepared to publish “Origin of Species.” Miller goes on to explain almost the exact reverse of what the quotation seems to say. Miller concludes this section by saying, “Like religious scientists of many faiths today, he found no less wonder in a god that directed the laws of nature than in one that circumvented them.”

    I’m not sure that Mr. Luskin has fairly represented Miller. When I first read the quote, I felt a sense of dismay that Miller, a professed theist, would write something like this. However, further investigation shows that what he really said was the exact reverse of what he had been purported to have said.

    Seems to me that we’re capable of making a few mistakes of our own.

  7. I’m not sure that Mr. Luskin has fairly represented Miller. When I first read the quote, I felt a sense of dismay that Miller, a professed theist, would write something like this.

    Miller’s theism is an enigma.

    Ken Miller:
    ”The existence of a supreme being simply is not a scientific question. A supreme being stands outside of nature. Science is a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature. Beyond that it’s a matter of personal belief.”

  8. Actually when one reads the statement in its context (see http://telicthoughts.com/?p=792), which Mr. Luskin does not give us, one comes to see that what Miller was doing was writing about the anxiety that Darwin sensed as he prepared to publish “Origin of Species.”

    It takes quite a bit of strain to construe it as saying that. Note that it says that Darwin *knew* his theory to require philosophical materialism, not that he thought that it did, or that he was worried that other people might think it. In the next two paragraphs, the authors go on to confirm that this is the Darwinian worldview themselves, but try to counteract it with Futuyma’s belief that the Darwinian mechanism makes us “masters of our own fate”. Finally, it ends with the contradictory claim that Darwin remained a devout Christian all his life, and other Darwinists can too. Taken together, the whole thing is incoherent. Matzke suggested that perhaps Levine wrote the three paragraphs that shill for philosophical materialism, and that Miller tacked on the contradictory last part to try and soften the blow. That seems like a fairly likely explanation to me.

  9. Telologist: “Miller’s theism is an enigma: ‘The existence of a supreme being simply is not a scientific question…’”

    There is nothing enigmatic about thinking that the existence of a supreme being is not a scientific question. Many, many Christians consider belief in God to be a matter of faith and not science….including many fine theologians from a wide variety of theological traditions. I think it is important for all Christians to acknowledge (if only within the context of 2,000 years of theological tradition) that even though this may not agree with one’s own personal belief, that it is not inappropriate for a person think this way and still be a dedicated Christian (let alone a theist!)

    Duece: “…Miller tacked on the contradictory last part to try and soften the blow. That seems like a fairly likely explanation to me.”

    In all sincerity, I believe you are being very unfair. Can’t we take the words of a fellow believer at face value. If Miller tacked on the final few sentences to soften Levine’s statement, great…the point is that he did it.

    Having said all of this, I would like to once more express my appreciation for this positive influence of ID leaders: Scientists like Levine are now needing to be much more careful to take their philosophy out of their textbooks. As a biologist who has read a lot of textbooks in my day, I can tell you it didn’t used to be that way. All Christian biologists and their students are indebted to this aspect of the ID movement. Thank you!!

  10. Darrel,

    There is nothing enigmatic about thinking that the existence of a supreme being is not a scientific question.

    This is ridiculous. You are promoting a religion akin to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is at least incompatible with Christianity. If Christians accept your definition, it would be equivalent of inviting in the Trojan horse. This is the kind of invective accusation the atheists use against the Christians. I wouldn’t be surprise if the people who promote this kind of religious belief are actually atheists disguised as Christians, just to mislead the gullible.

    Your assertion also fails as a scientific method. Why? Would you please explain how you can scientifically affirm the premise that ”The existence of a supreme being simply is not a scientific question”? And can you empirically prove that ”A supreme being stands outside of nature?” Can you define multiverse as ”a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature”? Which part of the 11th dimension is inside nature as we know it?

  11. 11

    Despite the fact that the Kitzmiller v. Dover case has probably been the most analyzed court case in history, it seems that new flaws in it are still be discovered almost daily, more than six months after the decision.

    I was astonished when I found out that the plaintiffs in an establishment clause case chose an expert witness who claimed to be motivated by religion.

    And now I am astonished again to find out that a supposedly secular biology textbook co-authored by that expert witness contains a passage promoting the idea that Darwinism is compatible with religion:

    “Some scholars speculate that fear of being branded a heretic for his materialism contributed to Darwin’s 21-year delay in publishing his theory. The same antimaterialistic reasoning also drives much modern-day opposition to evolutionary thought.

    “Darwin remained to the end a devout, if somewhat unorthodox, Christian. “I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone,” he wrote. Like religious scientists of many faiths today, he found no less wonder in a god that directed the laws of nature than in one that circumvented them.”
    — from http://telicthoughts.com/?p=792

    It is the height of hypocrisy to condemn evolution-disclaimer statements as establishment-clause violations while allowing that biology text to be used in public schools.

  12. In all sincerity, I believe you are being very unfair. Can’t we take the words of a fellow believer at face value.

    I am taking it at face value, which, as I said, makes the whole thing incoherent. The first three paragraphs unequivocally argue for philosophical materialism from Darwinism, including the promotion of Futuyma’s argument (which is that Darwinism makes us masters of our own fate on the rationale that there is no deity planning things). The last paragraph doesn’t make sense together with the others, but it doesn’t give any indication that the author wasn’t serious about the first three, nor does it negate or deny them. You can’t really take the whole thing at face value while having it all make sense. It’s not my fault that it says what it says. So which part should be taken at face value, all of it or just the last part?

  13. Deuce @8: “Finally, it ends with the contradictory claim that Darwin remained a devout Christian all his life, and other Darwinists can too.”

    Miller thinks that Darwin was a devout Christian all his life?

    …disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress & have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother & almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.

    I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came from and how it arose. Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am, also, induced to defer to a certain extent to the judgment of many able men who have fully believed in God; but here again I see how poor an argument this is. The safest conclusion seems to me to be that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect; but man can do his duty.

    Quotes from The Survival of Charles Darwin by Ronald W. Clark, pp. 62, 215.

  14. [Quotes from Mr. Darwin hisself, in case that's not clear.]

  15. 15

    Teleologist: “This is ridiculous. You are promoting a religion akin to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is at least incompatible with Christianity.”

    Romans 5: 1b,2. “…we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access *by faith* into this grace in which we now stand.

    Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, *through faith–and this not from yourselves*, it is the gift of God”

    I Corinthians 2:5, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that **your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom,** but on God’s power”

    All of these Scriptures are saying the same thing. Marvelously and wondrously, we come to God in response to God’s initiative and not through the very human activity manifest in test tubes and electrophoresis gels. We respond to that grace-filled initiative from God, in faith…and not through scientific tools and techniques.

    John’s gospel begins with an assumption. “In the beginning was the Word…” This is simply the premise. It then proceeds to talk about the real problem: the fact that mankind loves darkness rather than light. John uses the rest of his treatise (and his epistles) to show how the power of love can conquer that darkness. The answer to drawing humankind into God’s Presence is God’s love. Our task is to exhibit that love, and it is in that way that humankind will be drawn into God’s Presence…through faith and not through science.

    Paul’s great theological treatise, the book of Romans, begins with a premise (1:20): people know about the Creator, but their hearts have been darkened. He then proceeds to tell how hearts can be enlightened…through faith in the God who is love. It reaches its zenith in Romans 8:38,39, among the most powerful verses in all of Scripture.

    Even though the Bible was written well before the age of science, it is not a book about how to use human techniques to draw humankind to God. It is a book about God’s initiative and our responding in faith to that initiative. Since most readers of this blog are Christians, I think it important to make this point. To those who are not…you are missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime!!

    With all due respect, this is not ridiculous and it is not the equivalent of believing in the flying spaghetti monster. It is the heart of the Christian faith and always has been.

  16. 16

    Watching the ID/evolution debate as I have since high school (I’m 23 and a college graduate), I’ve noticed that it’s always the opponents of ID that end up talking about religion. I don’t blame them. They have nothing else to talk about.

  17. Thank you darrel that was very good. Just a couple of points, the kind of faith that is described in the Bible is not some irrational blind faith. The kind of faith that Miller is promoting is a illogical blind faith that is contrary to Scripture. He is affirming the straw man that critics like those who created the flying spaghetti monster to insult Christianity. I wrote a more detail comment on Christian faith in Christianity and ID.

    I am sure you understand this; the point is not to take Scriptures in isolation and formulate a theological doctrine based on isolated passages.
    27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27)

    There is no doubt that the Bible tells us that faith is an integral part of Christian life, but what sort of faith is it talking about? 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? … .18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (James 2:14,18-19) So we already know that a Christian faith never stand alone by itself. As a theologian has said, “we are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone”. So is Miller’s faith compatible to Biblical faith? 1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. (Ps. 19:1-4) God’s Creation reveals knowledge that we might know is works. This is in direct contradiction to Miller’s and the atheist’s concept of faith, where God is a necessarily excluded from the study of nature. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Ro 1:20) It doesn’t get anymore clearer than this folks. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is clearly saying that the invisible attributes of God can clearly be perceived in nature. Every Christians that has been involved in this ID-Evo debate knows these verses. This is the reason why Miller’s claim of blind faith in an imperceptible God is ridiculous and an affront to Scripture. I think you have the right idea. You just need to rejects Miller’s bad theology and bad science.

  18. This doesn’t really illuminate much on either side, but I feel for some reason that a little quote from James (First Law Of Thermodynamics) Prescott Joule on the pursuit of scientific knowledge would follow teleologist’s point well:

    After the knowledge of, and obedience to, the will of God, the next aim must be to know something of His attributes of wisdom, power and goodness as evidenced by His handiwork.

    It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.

  19. [...] Empirical evidence 13 years later is putting some egg on Miller’s face [remember Ken Miller is the guy who made misrepresentations under oath in the Dover trial]. [...]

  20. [...] 1. Ken Miller is the guy who has taken various bruisings from scientific evidence and continues his misrepresentations and story telling as he did under oath in the Dover trial. [See: Ken Miller may face more embarrassing facts, Behe’s DBB vindicated and Ken Miller caught making factually incorrect statements under oath] [...]

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