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Only a Theory - Comments

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 1 by mordacious1

Different name, same old crap.[edit] creationism=ID=strength and weaknesses.

I'm not a big K. Miller fan, but he has been useful lately. Good front man.

edit: I liked the groan when the announcer said "let's take some questions from the audience".

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 11:56:00 UTC | #183708

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 2 by moderndaythomas

On legislation to teach the controversy in classrooms Kenneth Miller: "An intellectual welfare for an idea that can't make it on its own"
"analyze the strengths and weaknesses of everything"

That is beautiful!

I said this before, teach the controversy. Teach it all!

Creationists are dogs that shit everywhere, rub their nose in it.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 12:01:00 UTC | #183711

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 3 by Chrysippus_Maximus

What the FUCK does being a 'fan' of someone have to do with anything?

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 12:09:00 UTC | #183715

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 4 by thewhitepearl

"It tells the student that you can't trust the scientific process"

Exactly. I was a victim of similiar cock and bull stories growing up.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 12:18:00 UTC | #183719

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 5 by mordacious1


There was a reason why they had Miller testify at the Dover trial, where he did a good job. My only problem with him, is he is not as outspoken against religion as a Dawkins or a Hitchens would be. But I stated that this is a good thing if one needs to smooth things over at a trial, for example. Even Richard has said, that if he testified, the trial may have gone the other way.

[edit] Maybe I should clarify. I enjoy K. Miller as a scientist, but he is a Roman Catholic, and sometimes he makes statements that try to link religion and science, that works for some people, just not for me.[end edit]

You seem to get agitated fairly easily for no reason. I am not a fan of his, I wouldn't buy his book, I agree with alot he has to say though, plain and simple. If you don't like it, so what?

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 12:23:00 UTC | #183723

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 6 by thewhitepearl

Spinoza why so hostile today? It was an opinion that's all.

You know thats what we do. State our opinions.

UH-OH I just got to the pastor calling in..oh wait he accepts the evolution theory..interesting..

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 12:27:00 UTC | #183726

Shergar's Avatar Comment 7 by Shergar

Another attempt by the Creationists to undermine one of the greatest leaps forward in mankind's understanding of our whole existence. Kenneth Miller fights our corner fluently and with the casual grace of someone who knows his subject inside out.

How long before we are fighting this same fight here in Britain against this insidious affront to reason and true scientific analysis of ideas? Can you imagine any of our leading politicians (or ex prime-minister??) openly supporting faith schools and the promotion of …….. DOH

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 12:42:00 UTC | #183730

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 8 by mordacious1

How come some people get those weird symbols in their posts? The last word in Shergar's post is "?".

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:09:00 UTC | #183749

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 9 by EvidenceOnly

I saw a bumper sticker on a car today that said:

"If evolution is outlawed, then only outlaws will evolve".

We're getting the same effect by dumbing down science so that the GodDidIt-ists and the IDiots have an easier time teaching their nonsense.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:13:00 UTC | #183752

Quine's Avatar Comment 10 by Quine

Ken Miller is a great resource and I often refer the religious people I meet to his videos and writings.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:17:00 UTC | #183757

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 11 by mordacious1


Off topic, but I saw a picture of a sermon sign outside a church posted somewhere, might have been here. The sign read:


9 A.M.......Jesus walks on water.

11 A.M......Looking for Jesus.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:18:00 UTC | #183758

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 12 by phil rimmer

9 A.M.......Jesus walks on water.

11 A.M......Looking for Jesus.

HAAAA! Coffee, screen, damn!

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:38:00 UTC | #183762

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 13 by phil rimmer

I've found Ken Miller very useful indeed. I see it as all part of Sam Harris's "going under the radar" strategy. We need to do it more. I often concede a deist God, for instance, just to get in close.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:43:00 UTC | #183763

fizhburn's Avatar Comment 14 by fizhburn


Don't you then have to smell their fear?

Unlike napalm, fear smells more like a latrine than victory.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:45:00 UTC | #183765

FightingFalcon's Avatar Comment 15 by FightingFalcon

I got into a discussion on religion recently in my office and I got the "it's only a theory" line from one of my co-workers when I said that evolution belongs in science classes and creationism doesn't.

I wanted to punch my computer screen...

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:48:00 UTC | #183766

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 16 by phil rimmer


I normally would but usefully I lost some of my sense of smell recently to a viral infection. I seem to have lost only the nasty stuff. (I'm saving a fortune on deodorants!)

But I see the fear in their eyes. To a man and a woman they are all pessimists about the world. Despite statistics they see only a corrosive decline. They've all got their fingers crossed for something better on the other side.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:57:00 UTC | #183768

Buddha's Avatar Comment 17 by Buddha

Kenneth Miller is an excellent defender of science and seems to be a very decent and honourable chap - regardless of his other interest in bronze-age mythology.

After all, many vicars and bishops here in the UK are atheist or agnostic, so I suppose it just boils down to ying and yang.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 13:59:00 UTC | #183770

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 18 by Border Collie

OK, let's "teach the controversy" in every subject. How 'bout math and reading. I assert that Dick, Jane, Spot & Puff equal four entities. Now, surely, there is someone out there to challenge this assertion. I mean, maybe the rest of us have missed something. What has happened to the NPR announcers & interviewers? I thought NPR was aimed at intelligent people.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 14:29:00 UTC | #183781

LaTomate's Avatar Comment 19 by LaTomate

True, Ken Miller is a deist, but he's a very good scientist and a great speaker.

Check out his talks, "God, Darwin, and Design", if you haven't done so yet:

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 14:34:00 UTC | #183784

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 20 by rod-the-farmer

I like the idea the fundies propose, to teach the "strengths & weaknesses". I would then force them to lay out EXACTLY the curriculum points for each, in particular the strengths of evolution. I think we can all guess the weaknesses they suggest, but if THEY want to teach the strengths, please let us have them, in writing. Both sides now, as the song said. I find it helps a great deal to pin them down, when they offer vague ideas. Show us in writing what you mean.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 14:41:00 UTC | #183785

AoClay's Avatar Comment 21 by AoClay

Ken Miller really amazes me with how he can be so smart and still believe in such crap. It must weigh on his mind to be in the same crowd as a lot of crap (and a lot of fascists). I hope he's a deist that just wants to go under the radar or something, but that's probably condescending. Either way, fight the good fight Ken!

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 16:24:00 UTC | #183835

Nova's Avatar Comment 22 by Nova

phil rimmer:

I've found Ken Miller very useful indeed. I see it as all part of Sam Harris's "going under the radar" strategy. We need to do it more. I often concede a deist God, for instance, just to get in close.

The problem I have with it is it fails to recognize that religion is not random falsehood which manifests in many areas which individuals or small groups can eliminate, it's a large scale phenomenon of poor thinking. There needs to be organization to stop it as a phenomenon - ironically my point is that we need THE END OF FAITH but as such a widespread phenomenon Sam's approach would be the worst way to try to make our way to what his book's title proclaims precisely because it would destroy the we altogether.

Without an organized rationalism movement there is no consensus or resource to research what has been reached through critical thinking and what has been accepted on tradition, if we did what Sam did and just disorganized and eliminated irrationality where we saw it we would quickly lose form and merge with everyone else with their own agendas, it would be impossible to tell who was a rationalist and who wasn't and this would be fine if there was only random falsehood around and almost everyone was trying to eliminate it, but the fact is is that there is organized falsehood and it is being actively propagated and adapts to methods to eliminate it, so we need organization to identify its status and coordinate moves against it.

Ken Miller is a deist

No he isn't this is wishful thinking, that would be a colossal dissent from Catholicism. He may dissent with great difficulty from some of the Vatican's decrees but no Catholic can go completely against them because then by definition they are no longer Catholic. We must be aware he is only with us on one front because Catholicism is evil.

I hope he's a deist that just wants to go under the radar or something, but that's probably condescending

He could equally be an atheist under the radar and it is not at all condescending to wish someone was not infected with evil. Unfortunately, because I agree he's smart and a powerful advocate for evolution, it is wishful thinking as I said earlier.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 16:35:00 UTC | #183840

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 23 by mordacious1

Ken Miller a deist?

As a roman catholic, I wonder if he goes into the little box to confess his sins. If he believes that an invisible being can forgive his sins, then he's not a deist.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 16:40:00 UTC | #183842

foxfire's Avatar Comment 24 by foxfire

Josh, thanks for posting the NPR interview - Miller is scheduled for the Colbert Report tomorrow (Monday 6/16/08). My copy of the book arrived several days ago and made it to the top of the read pile. I've just started and am finding it an excellent read.

Unfortunately, the anti-evolution scum haven't given up after Dover and are now inundating state legislatures with moronic "academic freedom" bills to "promote critical thinking skills".


Sun, 15 Jun 2008 17:40:00 UTC | #183863

catskill's Avatar Comment 25 by catskill

Hey FightingFalcon - I usually tell anyone that uses the 'just a theory' line that I am glad they said so because it absolutely proves they have no idea what they are talking about. Its hard to get mad when you are laughing.

"atomic theory states that all matter is composed of atoms but I am not convinced, after all, its just a theory"

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 18:30:00 UTC | #183876

Saerain's Avatar Comment 26 by Saerain

I sometimes wonder if their sense of grammar allows them to believe that 'critical thinking' means being critical of thinking.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 18:40:00 UTC | #183882

hopeful's Avatar Comment 27 by hopeful

I thought it was quite interesting when one religious caller used the phrase "what about the fossil record?"

He was so obviously repeating a stock phrase that he had been fed, as if just using these two magic little words is sufficient to make a powerful counter-argument.

I think it really shows how widely and routinely flawed anti-evolution arguments are propagated, and how they are dished out as small easy to handle packages - "Anti-Evolution for Dummies".

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 19:08:00 UTC | #183896

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 28 by Richard Dawkins

What a superb performance by Kenneth Miller. Congratulations to him. He is just so incredibly good at this, and he comes across as such a nice man. But how weird that he is a theist - not deist - an allegedly devout Roman Catholic. I wonder what he really believes. When I challenged him on it, in public, he said, loudly and confidently, "Richard, there's a REASON it's called FAITH!" I find that very interesting but I surely don't understand it.

Anyway, this radio interview is brilliant. I am sure I can learn from his technique.


Sun, 15 Jun 2008 23:00:00 UTC | #184022

AtheistJon's Avatar Comment 29 by AtheistJon

Yeah, this was a good interview by Kenneth Miller.

I think one of the techniques that Kenneth understands well, and used effectively here was a technique taught to me also during a presentation training which I needed for my job. It's called, "building rapport with your audience". For example, when Matt called in, Kenneth went out of his way to congratulate Matt for being from Colorado where he had also studied and how he wished a person from that place all the best.

Richard, if I may say so, when you deal with hostile audiences, you are definitely a nice guy (you are being yourself), but you tend not to do that rapport building (have you ever done that?). Anyway, maybe you think it is a sneaky (dishonest/American) thing to do... but I don't think it is. As long as you can honestly say something nice to somebody (something that you honestly feel that you share in common (even if he's an idiotic fundamentalist or murderous islamic zealot), it's like giving the person sugar, before you give them the medicine.

I'm just thinking back to the "Root of all Evil" episode, where you interviewed that NYC Jewish guy who had converted to radical Islam and who told you that he hated Atheists. Perhaps you wanted to get that reaction (i.e. his inner feelings), but if you had done some sort of rapport building with him first, maybe he wouldn't have said that.

Mon, 16 Jun 2008 00:02:00 UTC | #184034

beeline's Avatar Comment 30 by beeline

I think that "strengths and weaknesses" DO need to be taught, but only in a 'higher up' course about the methods of science generally. In fact, the philosophy of science should come a long time before any actual science is taught: you just need to introduce the modes of reasoning such as those introduced in Sagan's "Dragon in the Garage" sketch.

Also, if "strengths and weaknesses" are taught in the proper place - at the 'top' of the science curriculum, it will not leave open a door for ID Creationists to wheel in their barrows of crap, because it won't be focusing specifically on evolution.

And we all know that there aren't any ID-Creationist cabals that like to focus on Newton's Laws, or electromagnetism, or calculus, or energy conservation, or quantum mechanics, or... (etc etc etc)

Teach the controversy, but teach it 'higher up' to show that really there is none.

Mon, 16 Jun 2008 00:10:00 UTC | #184037