Shifting Ground

Kenneth Miller, a professor of biology at Boston University, has produced a beautifully written work. His book is intended to refute every objection to the more or less universally accepted doctrine of evolution, to discredit its opponents, and to assert the compatibility of strict evolutionary doctrine with religion.

Ever since Darwin—and especially since the rise of Protestant fundamentalism early in this century—his opponents have launched attacks, some sophisticated but many of them heavy-handed, on the doctrine of evolution. During the last few years, a fresh series of literary assaults has been made, including books by a legal scholar and a biochemist, as well as political attacks, through the determination of school boards in Kansas and Kentucky that the teaching of naturalistic evolution in their schools will no longer be a requirement. In consequence, several promoters of evolutionary doctrine, Stephen J. Gould of Harvard among them, have mounted counterattacks to demonstrate that evolution (which for our purposes we shall call Darwinism, although evolutionary doctrine has subsequently progressed far beyond Charles Darwin's views) is true, irrefutable, and indeed impossible for serious thinkers to doubt; also, that religious people need have no fear of it. Despite its title, which might suggest an inquiry into Darwin's religious faith and theology. Miller's book is devoted primarily to the defense...

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