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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ken Miller Reclaims "Design" (Update from AAAS)

At a session called "Communicating Science in a Religious America," Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller is arguing that science, including evolutionary biology, is based on the idea of "design." The human body has a fishlike design, the genome's design tells the story of our common ancestry, and life has a design produced by the laws of chemistry and physics; the evolutionary "design" of life is part of the inherent fabric of the natural world, he said. "Recoiling from the theological implications of design, scientists are forced to argue that there is no design in nature," said Miller. But "a language of scientific advocacy that challenges the existence of 'design' is at odds with the realities of nature."
The "intelligent design" movement has won people over, despite the fact that it has no scientific support, because humans don't want to believe that we are accidents of nature. "ID is a PR success story," said Miller . To fight back, he said, scientists need to reclaim the concept and language of "design"—"take it away from the ID movement and make it our own." —Heather Wax