Kenneth Miller sells book on consciousness—and its evolution

A reader sent me this notice from an online magazine called Publisher’s Lunch, which reports weekly on recent book deals. This week it reported a sale of a new book by Kenneth Miller, biochemistry professor at Brown, co-author of a best-selling biology textbook, strident anti-creationist (author of the anti-ID Only a Theory), accommodationist (author of Finding Darwin’s God), and a self-described observant Catholic:

Brown University professor and Stephen Jay Gould Prize winner Kenneth Miller’s DARWIN’S MIRROR, which argues that human consciousness is a result of natural selection rather than evidence against it, to Priscilla Painton at Simon & Schuster, by Barney Karpfinger at The Karpfinger Agency (World).

I find this interesting.  For sure human consciousness is a staple of creationists, who argue that since we can’t explain it, God must have done it; but it’s also a staple of theists, including Sophisticated Ones™. According to some readers, David Bentley Hart, in the book I discussed this morning, uses human consciousness as evidence for God in the same gappy way, and I suspect this God-of-the-gaps tactic for consciousness is held by other theologians who nevertheless accept evolution.

Of course I agree with Miller’s thesis as presented above: if we’re evolved beings who came from ancestors lacking our refined consciousness, then yes, our consciousness must have been also evolved—and likely via natural selection (although Larry Moran might object). But Miller may be stepping on the toes of some Catholic theologians.

61 Comments

  1. NewEnglandBob
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Sub

    • francis
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      //

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        //

  2. Sastra
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Miller may be stepping on his own toes, if he carries this through far enough.

    People who believe that “God works through evolution” have a love/hate relationship with the evolution of the human mind. On the one hand they think that God’s mind is so completely, totally different than the human mind that of course we’re just watching how God would have formed minds that resembled his by using matter and energy to do so. Neurology only helps us love God more! You bet.

    On the other hand, they may suspect that once they remove mental things like consciousness, awareness, agency, intention, will, love, creativity, joy, and so forth from the mysterious realm of the supernatural, they haven’t just closed a “gap” and given God less to do. That was all God ever was in the first place.

    • Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I myself have wondered a bit if Dr. Miller will hold to his Catholicism the rest of his days. Honestly, he’s too smart for that shit.

      b&

      • desertviews
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Agree.

      • Posted March 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        I’ve also wondered the same thing, as Miller certainly is too smart for Catholicism. But he’s 65, and his faith has, as far as we know, been steadfast through all of his adult years. If he hasn’t given it up yet despite his obvious intellect and knowledge, I can’t see it going away any time soon.

        • Posted March 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          That would be the way to roll the dice, but it’s far from a foregone conclusion. There could very easily be one horror too many to come from the Church, prompting him to leave it. And in his subsequent search for a new home, he may well discover that he doesn’t need to keep fooling himself any more about the supernatural bits after all, either.

          b&

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted March 25, 2014 at 4:22 am | Permalink

          I dunno, I don’t think ‘too smart for Catholicism’ is a thing. I tend to think my parents are pretty smart; and remember Johnny von Neumann (no dummy) calling on his deathbed for a ‘smart priest’. It’s more that there’s an internal switch that just gets rusted into one position, and they can’t reach it to see if the machine still works without it.

          Catholicism can be pretty flexible, and it’s not like their beliefs actually have any bearing on empirical reality. Oh, except for the long history of xenophobic militarism, slavery, teaching of ignorance and black-is-white mysterianism, child raping, forced birth, AIDS-promotion and so on, which they’re apparently pretty comfortable with.

          • Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            By “too smart for Catholicism”, I don’t mean to imply that there can’t be very smart Catholics. I’m positive that Ken Miller is much smarter than me overall. But with such an intellect, we expect these people to see through the superstitious nonsense that is religion. Most of his colleagues do, I’m sure, and nearly all eminent scientists do.

            I like the analogy of a rusty switch – it’s as if Miller’s scientific reasoning simply can’t or won’t be allowed to apply toward his religious beliefs.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I like Rustin Cohle’s take. The nihilism is entertaining and reminds me of my youth:

    I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, a secretion of sensory experience and feeling programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody’s nobody. I think the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming; stop reproducing; walk hand-in-hand into extinction. One last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.

    • Dale
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes! I like that too. Except for the last couple of sentences.

      When we do things like “meditation” we become hung up on isolating something that doesn’t even exist.

      It’s why Sam Harris is so hung up on what he see’s as a contradiction between determinism and the “free will” of this thing, “consciousness” that doesn’t even exist the way he thinks of it. The most “consciousness” does is monitor behavior, events, and “decisions” that have already occurred.
      I’m with Dan Dennett. People make way too much of “consciousness”. Of course it’s evolved feature. It may be so successful that it proves as maladaptive for humans as it has for the rest of the bio-sphere.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        The parts that I didn’t buy are these sentences: “Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law.” Since we aren’t separate from nature, we just think we are and if natural law is evolution and we evolved than it’s not really a violation of natural law. That’s just silly. The rest I’m good with and I especially love the “nobody” part and the illusion of the self.

      • irritable
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        “… The most “consciousness” does is monitor behavior, events, and “decisions” that have already occurred.”

        Isn’t there more content to consciousness than that? It’s one thing to describe consciousness as no more than a complex brain state, it’s another thing to assert that it is no more than a retrospective monitoring process.

        For example, the intense conscious sensation of, pain, seems to involve more than the mere “monitoring” of an “event”. Subjectively, that intense brain state involves far more than merely “registering” the existence of a particular type of sensory input. Pain seems to have a large emotional content. It tends to prompt particular types of introspective searching (eg. what could be the cause of this? what should I urgently do to stop this?) as well as reflex physical attempts to minimise the stimulus. The experience of pain tends to be integrated into prompt and/or complicated behaviours and other mental activities.

        Secondly, assuming Libet’s experiment has been correctly interpreted, we do not become conscious of some types of decisions until after they are “made”. But it doesn’t follow that consciousness is limited to this sort of function. For example, the elaborate processes – including introspection, memory access, concept manipulation, linguistic formulation etc which lead to – say, posting on this web page – subjectively appear far more elaborate, complicated and drawn out that the mere “monitoring” of the “behaviour” of typing.

        You don’t have to believe in the existence of qualia to accept that the content of consciousness is intense, complicated and difficult to explain. It is precisely the ineffability of conscious experience which gives dualists, particularly theist dualists, a toehold.

        • Steve Gerrard
          Posted March 24, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          “For example, the elaborate processes – including introspection, memory access, concept manipulation, linguistic formulation etc which lead to – say, posting on this web page – subjectively appear far more elaborate, complicated and drawn out that the mere “monitoring” of the “behaviour” of typing.”

          It is not that these mental processes are not elaborate, but rather that consciousness is, in this view, just being aware of the processes as they take place.

          For instance, most of us don’t consciously know how to remember something. Usually it just happens; and when it doesn’t, we are stumped. What exactly do you do to try to remember that name or number that eludes you? Basically you just wait around until it pops into your head.

          • Greg Esres
            Posted March 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            “Basically you just wait around until it pops into your head.”

            Nah, there are a number of conscious techniques that help. Running through the alphabet works sometimes, or replaying the introduction in your mind. Or you can decide to think about it again in a few minutes.

            There is clearly an interplay of conscious and unconscious mechanisms.

            • Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:43 am | Permalink

              But how do you know that those *are* conscious mechanisms? Again, it could just be your conscious awareness of an unconscious mechanism.

              /@

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:13 am | Permalink

            I read I thin in the Self Illusion by Bruce Hood that the idea of the self helps us remember things in a context and we tend to remember those things around which we have a personal narrative. I find I remember things based on context. If a date I remember the weather (so I know what season it was – I’d be in trouble if I lived somewhere with no seasons) or location.

        • Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          Pain is intense, of course (as does pleasure), because these emotions are part of the mammalian brain, precedes our consciousness.

          Emotion is an invention by the mammals to sort out and act accordingly different stimuli based on profit-loss calculation of action. The hormones that drive these ‘mammalian technology’ is older than consciousness.

          Consciousness is an app that arrived later in the game, usurping the executive power (but not totally), giving itself a sense of power (the self), and thus created the new layer on top of the mammalian brain, and a new virtual arena of human culture and interaction.

          We will understand the details of these higher-order structure. In time, after lots of scientific researches ….

          • Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:44 am | Permalink

            But does consciousness have executive power or is it just a figurehead monarch?

            There was a throwaway line in the new _Robocop_ that I wish had been further developed in the movie. Alex Murphy has slower response times than a police droid, so they tinker with his brain, allowing his AI to take control

            Dr. Dennett Norton: “When the machine fights, the system releases signals into Alex’s brain, making him think he’s in control, but he’s not. It’s the illusion of free will.”

            /@

            • eric
              Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:34 am | Permalink

              does consciousness have executive power or is it just a figurehead monarch?

              Just an educated guess, but since we are really talking about different chemical- and signal- producing subsections of the brain, its probably not “area A always dominates area B” or “area B always dominates area A.” Its probably a more complicated “in some cases A dominates, and in others B does, and in others C does, and…”

              So, my guess would be neither full-time executive nor full-time figurehead, but a sometime executive and sometime figurehead.

              • Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

                Well, I am persuaded by the model that reckons consciousness is just ultra short-term memory.

                /@

              • Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

                There’s actually some very compelling new research suggesting that consciousness is the exact same (type of) mechanism of “mirror neurons” that permit us to build models of the internal states of others applied to our own internal state. There’s a bit of a recursive twist there, with you literally perceiving yourself as you perceive how others perceive you. I’m pretty sure there’s some neuroimaging evidence to support the idea, and it conceptually solves all the various “hard problems” most neatly.

                b&

              • Posted March 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

                Let me reflect on that

                /@

              • lisa parker
                Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

                You are an atheist because you don’t want to believe that you’re going to hell for all these bad puns.

                Keep up the good work.

      • Davey
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        One aspect of meditation that makes it worthwhile is that there is an habitual aspect to our cognition. Immediately after a good session of meditation there is a small window where you can see things in a new way. It’s like skipping out of a groove. The mind soon takes it up, again, but you are reinvigorated.

        Sometimes it might just be a sense of really being embodied and feeling more at home in oneself. Other times there’s a real shift in perspective.

        I don’t recognise what it means to say ‘hung up on isolating something that doesn’t exist’.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      If only one planet per galaxy has such excessively-sentient beings laboring under the illusion of selfhood, that’s still a big bunch of “folks” in the universe perceiving themselves recipients of a “raw deal.”

      Does the cognitive wherewithal resulting in a civilization’s advancement and flourishing also necessarily, unavoidably, inescapably bring about this heightened illusion of selfhood? Could something somehow be tweaked so that we don’t know we’re going to die? I don’t see how; the evidence around us hits us in the face and makes us aware.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        Selfhood? I dunno maybe. I wonder if the self illusion is necessary for all beings. I won’t know until I meet one but it would be really interesting if we didn’t have the illusion – for us it would result in insanity (I imagine a River Tam version) but is it absolutely necessary in the evolution of all beings who reach a high degree of intelligence and form type 1 civilizations. I’d really like to know.

  4. Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I think that Miller adopts the same kind of approach to science and religion that Lemaitre did. A red queen approach where scientific theories are considered completely separately to religious beliefs.

  5. Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Step on those toes, Miller! Step on those toes!

    /@

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Is it tap!?!

      Looks like he’s gonna need some severe tap dancing skills if he wanna whack-a-mole all those toes…

  6. desertviews
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Miller is an enigma to me. Some Catholic teaching (I hesitate to say dogma) comes dangerously close to making a supernatural god superfluous. Namely, they broach the idea of Natural Law, which attempts to find empirical evidence in nature for their dogma.

    Of course, the empirical evidence is misinterpreted or ignored* when it goes against Church teaching thus rendering Catholic Natural Law flawed, but the fact remains that they do attempt to justify their ideology with scientific-like observations.

    Catholics draw a hard line line in the sand about the Resurrection and Transubstantiation an a host of miracles. Having read most of Miller’s stuff I always wonder what he thinks of these miracles; anyone know?

    * The obvious example is the Church teaching that homosexuality is “Unnatural”, which of course is not true since same sex relationships are present throughout the animal kingdom.

    • Ned
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I was at a talk Miller gave a few months after the Dover trial. He was asked “Do you believe in the virgin birth and the Resurrection?” He replied, “I accept them”, which seemed to mean ‘I don’t try to work them into any wider view.’ From other things he said, I sensed that he really believed in the ground-of-being/why-is-there-anything kind of theism, and accepted Catholicism as part of his upbringing and culture without any specific justification for it.

      These were my impressions, not a specific summary of what he said.

      • desertviews
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:54 am | Permalink

        thx

  7. Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It would seem inevitable that, at some point, Ken Miller will come to admit to himself that he is actually an atheist. Perhaps he already has but has chosen to keep that realization to himself for the time being.

    I simply can’t conceive of how Miller with his expertise in biology, his sound grasp of the theory of evolution and his pragmatic intelligence can honestly continue to believe in Catholicism, Transubstantiation and all the other stuff of that religion. Even if he is like most Catholics who pick and choose what parts of Catholicism to believe and which to conveniently ignore, there remains the cognitive dissonance of believing something that is contradicted by one’s own professional research.

  8. Lars
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    It would be interesting to see if Miller distinguishes between human consciousness and the soul. As I recall, one of the non-negotiable points of Catholic dogma is that Man is made in the image of God; this is generally conceded today to mean in a non-anatomical sense, but in what way never seems to be made clear.

    • Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      JPII said basically that the psychological faculties of humans did not evolve but instead were a miraculous change. This is vague, but Miller’s thesis seems to contradict any version of it.

  9. ridelo
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the social cost for leaving religion is too high for Kenneth Miller. Something like “Caught in The Pulpit”.

    • gbjames
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      This seems likely, although I know nothing of the man.

  10. Paul
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone have anymore information on this book? I can’t find anything on the internet about it. I would love to find out more about it. Ken miller is awesome at destroying creationists and clearly demonstrating complex

  11. Richard Olson
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m uncertain from what Kapflinger reports whether Simon & Schuster issued Miller a contract to write a book, or purchased a finished book from him. No publishing date is in the blurb, leading me to suspect the former.

    • Richard Olson
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      ‘… Darwin’s Mirror, which argues that human consciousness is a result of natural selection …’

      I guess this answers my question. Reading and comprehension, oh my.

  12. kelskye
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Not sure if Ken Miller is the best qualified to write on this topic since he’s neither a neuroscientist nor a philosopher, but he’s such a clear and engaging writer that I’ll probably read this. It can’t be as philosophically naive as The Moral Landscape, surely!

    • Greg Esres
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      “Not sure if Ken Miller is the best qualified to write on this topic since he’s neither a neuroscientist nor a philosopher”

      As far as I can tell, there isn’t anyone qualified to write about consciousness, so Miller is as good as anyone.

      • kelskye
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:53 am | Permalink

        I’d think there’d be degrees of qualification. Pat Churchland comes to mind as the ideal person; Dan Dennett and Ned Block as well.

        I need to whittle down my to-read pile and get Churchland’s new book. Her book Braintrust was everything that The Moral Landscape should have been.

        • Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink

          Churchland comes highly recommended.

          _Braintrust_ is on my to-read list – but at the moment I keep adding books to that faster than I read them

          /@

  13. lisa parker
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Actually, the Catholic church has supported evolution and disavowed creationism for a long time now. Way back when I was in grade school (and I mean way way back), Sister Mary Elephant taught us that Tarran life forms, including humans, evolved from complex non-living proteins and the human brain/mind was a product of Darwinian evolution. Most of those that deny evolution are Protestant Christians. The RCC has officially supported evolution (not ID) for quite some time.

    • Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Sure, the Church mouths acceptance of Darwin out of the one side…but, out of the other side, they also posit human morality as an irreducibly complex phenomenon that required intelligent design in the form of a literal Adam and Eve from whom all humans are descended. They’re also violently anti-scientific in many other ways, with particular hostility to biology; witness the liturgical importance of male human parthenogenesis and zombification (not just of Jesus but of Lazarus and a great many others).

      Catholics might not be as obnoxious in this particular set of superstitions, but the only difference is one of style, not substance.

      b&

      • eric
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:45 am | Permalink

        The 50’s encyclical that ‘officially’ accepted evolution is somewhat silent on the A&E question, but certainly could be read to accept a nonliteral A&E. Here’s the relevant section:

        “…the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.”

        That’s pretty much a concession to science on everything having to do with “the origin of the human body.” Which includes the notion of a population evolving. The Pope’s focus is very clearly on defending the notion that God stuck souls into bodies, and not on carving out some bit of biological history for further/exceptional protection.

        • gbjames
          Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:53 am | Permalink

          There are no souls in scientific evolution. The insertion of magic spirits into the process voids any claim of compatibility.

          • lisa parker
            Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

            Souls were never part of the deal. The RCC has agreed that all life here evolved naturally. Souls, being non-corporeal were/are horses of a whole lot of different colors. And since that way-back time I was in grade school, the RCC, at leased in the US, has taught that the whole Garden of Eden deal was to be taken as metaphorical, including Adam and Eve. The ‘original sin’ part is just sort of hanging out there; somebody early on did something very naughty.

            Not until the early second millennium when the church went so radically misogynistic, (in the early church women often held as much power as men; it just isn’t widely acknowledged by the church) it has been hinted a that the ‘sex act’ was in and of itself sinful, if necessary (as was dealing with women in almost any way was considered ‘dangerous’ to a man’s soul), so we were all ‘born of sin.’ Even animals were tried and executed under the same judicial system as humans well past the middle to the end of the 16th century because all life derives from a sinful act. Somehow this teaching’s conflict with and sort of ignored the biblical command to “go forth and multiply” (perhaps god was referring to elementary mathematics) and the fact that it is still part of the Catholic marriage vows that the couple must do their best to have lots of babies. Since the whole sex thing (inside of marriage) being sinful was never made dogma, and is now pretty much considered to be ridiculous, defining when or what ‘original sin’ is has been pushed aside into a dark corner.

            Please remember that I do not consider myself Catholic, nor do I buy into their belief system. I was just educated a Catholic and have a bunch of loved ones who do believe.

            • gbjames
              Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

              I was baptized Catholic, not that this fact has any bearing on the subject.

              Catholicism is rife with magic beings that interact regularly with the material world. One of these interactions is the insertion of souls into us all, bingo!, when sperm meets egg. This soul is purported to be what guides us through life. It and the rest of the magic spirits are believed to be responsible for all kinds of things, many of which can not help but change the character of gene distributions in populations. That is the world view of Sophisticated Catholics™ who want the to have the cake of science along with the “eating it” of religion. That ain’t scientific evolution.

              And, of course, most Catholics aren’t particularly sophisticated. They believe in god-directed evolution if they believe in evolution at all, and follow along when the priest directs them to ask Mama Mary to pray for the victims of (pick your tragedy), because Mama Mary can get the Big Guy™ to fix things. Somehow.

              • lisa parker
                Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

                I agree with the whole ‘mixing magic and superstition’ is very often part of many Catholic’s world view; it drives me nuts! However the whole idea that we living humans are not good enough or important enough to ‘speak’ to God directly; we must have a saint ‘intervene’ or a priest ‘translate’ for us . That has annoyed me since I was a very young girl.

                Luckily for me, almost all my Catholic acquaintances are well educated and sophisticated people and can just compartmentalize their religious beliefs and function like rational people.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

                I can attest to the lack of sophistication with the followers of Catholicism. The Catholic side of my family rejected evolution. I enjoyed mentioning that they should find out what the Pope says about this. A co-worker once told me he only believed the parts of the bible about Jesus. When I mentioned “only through me” and the whole bringing a sword and turning family members against each other, he waved me off and said that he wasn’t taught that. I encouraged him to open his bible and read for himself. I’m sure he never did.

              • Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

                Me too… 

                And now the obligatory video.

                /@

        • Scott_In_OH
          Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

          You’ve cited paragraph 36 of Humani Generis, which allows Catholics to accept the scientific evidence that evolution happens, but paragraph 37 makes it clear that the Church still believes in a literal Adam and Eve:

          “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”

          • gbjames
            Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for that.

    • gbjames
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      The RCC accepts evolution except for the parts where it doesn’t. They are compelled to insert their deity into the mix and we know from the science that there is no need for that particular hypothesis. They think there was a first couple. They believe in all manner of miraculous interventions by spirits and demigods. They spend inordinate amounts of time, on their knees and off, casting magic spells to intervene in the material affairs of the world. That is not a scientific viewpoint by any measure.

      • lisa parker
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        Well, somehow I don’t think the RCC would use quite the same vocabulary,you’ve pretty much nailed it. But then, it is a religion, so of course God must be in the middle (and beginning and end also, I guess) of everything.

  14. Posted March 25, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Jerry, I’m flattered by the attention, but all of this discussion is premature. I’m in the process of signing a contract with Simon & Schuster for a new trade book on human evolution. The “Publisher’s Lunch” folks mentioned a discussion of consciousness, but that’s only part of what I’ve outlined for the book. So it will be a while before the book actually appears – I’ve got plenty of work to do.

    As for one of your comments – this won’t be the first time I’ve “stepped on the toes” of some Catholic theologians. In fact, I’m kinda looking forward to having some fun along those lines.

    Best Wishes,

    Ken

    • lisa parker
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      I have a feeling I’m gonna love your book. Please get busy.


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