Miller, Ayala, and Theistic Evolution

Don’t forget Kenneth Miller. He is a Christian and he literally wrote the biological textbook.


Yes. This is somewhat of a side issue, but Miller is less trusted amoung many religious communities. He is a reason that TE is associated with Deism. The same is true of Ayala. Some people wonder if they are actually orthodox Christians, and neither have publicly clarified. For that reason I leave Miller and Ayala off these lists. Ayala, as I understand it, eventually came out as an atheist too.


I wasn’t aware of that, so thanks for the info.

Are you sure? When? How?

Not sure, but I’ve heard reports from several scientists he has talked to that he is really an atheist, and is equivocal in public because it is a way to counter ID.

It is hard to tell if this is wishful thinking on the part of the atheist scientists bringing the report, but I’ve heard it from so many independent sources, and he has never clarified, that I believe there may be truth of some sort behind this.

I’m explaining the details here so that it can be understood why many Religious communities see him as a Trojan horse. If some one can produce a recent quote, for example, that shows Ayala affirms miracles it the Ressurection Jesus, I would like to see it.


The last time I spoke with Ayala was some 4, or so years ago. At that time he was still a practicing Catholic.


Same is true of Miller. But the question from many Christians if whether or not this is anything more than attending Mass on Sunday? The key question on many peoples minds: Do you believe Jesus physically rose from the dead? In contrast with them, we know precisely how Francis Collins would answer.

Don’t take this as some bizarre loyalty test, or exclusionary. I work with atheist scientists all the time, and I would work with Miller and Ayala too. With regards to religious communities, however, if they don’t answer “yes”, they are just a different (and untrusted) type of Christian. Some people would see it a duplicitous, or cautionary, so their religious affiliation would be a major negative compared to an atheist. Ironically, they can end up being less trusted than an atheist scientist.

What they personally believe or not, they have been in the limelight for a while. If this isn’t clear yet, it will not be any time soon. I’d just recommend against putting Christians like this on lists of evolution endorsers if the goal is to build trust with religious communities.

Do you mean that some would see it that way or that you would see it that way? You post suggests the former, but the way you say this creates doubt.

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I mean untrusted by skeptical Christian audiences, whether or not he is actually trustworthy or not. I’m not commenting on myself. I have no problem with his science, and trust his work. I’m talking about difficult to reach religious audiences.

What was this originally about? I’ll guess what it was about and add

John Polkinghorne
Simon Conway Morris
George Ellis
Christopher Isham (these last two I’ve only heard WLC mention as imminent Christian scientists, I don’t even know if I’m spelling Isham correctly)

By the way, Ellis is an EES supporter. :slight_smile: He has a blurb on the back of Noble’s book.

Polkinghorne warmly affirms the resurrection and I’m pretty sure Conway Morris does as well. He speaks about the incarnation quite easily.

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Polkinghorne isn’t a biologist. Don’t know about Ellis and Isham; I haven’t heard of them. But Conway Morris, for sure.

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I didn’t know what this thread was originally about. I guess just biology. I think both Ellis and Isham are physicists or cosmologists.

It started with “Can anyone name the prominent evolutionists who are not atheists?”, and I take that to refer to evolutionary biologists.

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Rupert Sheldrake. More controversial than prominent though.

Precisely. We aren’t challenging their scientific acumen or their religiosity, but rather their viability as a trusted voice in the Christian community. The old saw in marketing circles is that perception is reality, and it applies here.

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