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Kenneth R. Miller

Kenneth Raymond Miller
Born (1948-07-14) July 14, 1948 (age 75)
Nationality (legal)American
Alma materBrown University
University of Colorado at Boulder
Known forCriticism of creationism
AwardsASCB Public Service Award (2006)
AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award (2008)
Stephen Jay Gould Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution (2011)
Laetare Medal[1] (2014)
St. Albert Award (2017)
Scientific career
Cell Biology
InstitutionsBrown University
ThesisThe structure of the photosynthetic membrane (1974)
Notable studentsCraig Mello

Kenneth Raymond Miller (born July 14, 1948) is an American cell biologist, molecular biologist, and Professor Emeritus of Biology at Brown University.[2][3] Miller's primary research focus is the structure and function of cell membranes, especially chloroplast thylakoid membranes.[2] Miller is a co-author of a major introductory college and high school biology textbook published by Prentice Hall since 1990.[4]

Miller, who is Catholic, is opposed to creationism, including the intelligent design (ID) movement. He has written three books on the subject: Finding Darwin's God, Only a Theory, and The Human Instinct. Miller has received the Laetare Medal at the University of Notre Dame. In 2017, he received the inaugural St. Albert Award from the Society of Catholic Scientists.[5]


Miller graduated from Rahway High School in Rahway, New Jersey, and then received his Sc.B. in biology in 1970 from Brown University. He earned his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1974.[6] From 1974 to 1980, he taught at Harvard University.


His research involves problems of structure and function in biological membranes, especially chloroplast thylakoid membranes, often involving electron microscopy.[2]

Science advocacy

Miller has voiced his support for what he calls "pro-science" candidates in politics. He has campaigned for school board and education candidates who support the teaching of evolution in Kansas and Ohio. In the science community, he has sought to elevate the understanding of scientists of the roots of the creationist movement, and to encourage the popularization of scientific concepts.

Miller has appeared in court as a witness, and on panels debating the teaching of intelligent design in schools. In 2002, the Ohio State Board of Education held a public debate between two scientists, including Miller, and two proponents of intelligent design.[7]

He testified for the plaintiffs, but only as a fact witness (not as an expert), in Selman v. Cobb County, testing the legality of stickers calling evolution a "theory, not a fact" that were placed on the biology textbook Miller authored. In 2005, the judge ruled that the stickers violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[8][9] This decision was vacated on appeal because of missing records of the previous trial. The case was remanded for additional evidentiary inquiry and new findings, and a list of factual issues that the court would probably want to address included as item 15 a reference to Miller's testimony regarding "the colloquial or popular understanding of the term [theory]" and the suggested question as to whether he has any qualifications to testify as an expert on the popular meaning of the word "theory". The case was remanded back to the lower court and was eventually settled out of court.[10]

Miller was also the plaintiff's lead expert witness in the 2004-2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, challenging the school board's mandate to incorporate intelligent design into the curriculum. The judge in that case also ruled decisively in favor of the plaintiffs.

He spoke at the Skeptics Society's Origins Conference in October 2008,[11] and at the Veritas Forum on topics such as the relationship between science and religion and the existence of God.[12]

Miller has appeared on the Comedy Central television show The Colbert Report,[13][14] and has made many appearances on C-SPAN debating proponents of creationism and intelligent design. He has debated several supporters of intelligent design including biochemist Michael J. Behe.

He gave a Faraday Institute lecture in April 2009 on "God, Darwin and Design"[15] and appeared on the Today Programme arguing, "The issue of God is an issue on which reasonable people may differ, but I certainly think that it's an over-statement of our scientific knowledge and understanding to argue that science in general, or evolutionary biology in particular, proves in any way that there is no God."[16]


General books

  • Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (2000, Cliff Street Books ISBN 0-06-093049-7) which argues that acceptance of evolution is compatible with a belief in God.
  • Only a Theory : Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul , (2008, Penguin Group, ISBN 978-0-670-01883-3 ) which explores Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case along with its implications on teaching science in America
  • The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will (Simon and Schuster. 2018 ISBN 978-1476790268) which explores how humans evolved to develop reason, consciousness, and free will. it was described by David DiSalvo as "an optimist's argument for a refreshed view of human evolution"[17]


Miller is the co-author (with Boston College neurobiologist and marine biologist Joseph Levine) of a major introductory college and high school biology textbook published by Prentice Hall since 1990.[4] The current edition was published in 2010 by Savvas (which now owns Prentice Hall).[18] Initially, Prentice Hall approached Joseph Levine to write the textbook after reading an article he wrote in Smithsonian magazine; Levine, who is a former student of Miller's,[19] then recruited Miller as a co-author.[4] Miller and Levine have also co-written a college-level textbook published by the former D.C. Heath and Company, first edition in 1991, entitled Biology: Discovering Life.[18]


2006 Public Service Award from the American Society for Cell Biology .[20]

2006 Dwight H. Terry Lectureship at Yale University, delivering his lecture "Darwin, God, and Dover: What the Collapse of 'Intelligent Design' Means for Science and for Faith in America."

2008 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology.[21]

2010 Elected as a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.[22]

May 2014, Laetare Medal at the University of Notre Dame.

2017, inaugural St. Albert Award from the Society of Catholic Scientists.[5]

Since 2016, Miller has been listed on the board of directors of the National Center for Science Education.[23] In 2017 he became the president.[24]

See also


  1. ^ "Laetare Medal Recipients". University of Notre Dame Archives. University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Curriculum Vitae for Kenneth R. Miller" (pdf). Brown University. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  3. ^ ""End of an Era" Amazing, inspiring and often hilarious celebration of Ken Miller's retirement after 42 years as Brown faculty! His remarkable career as a science educator, communicator, and researcher were highlighted by an A-list of speakers of colleagues and past students!". Twitter.
  4. ^ a b c "Biology by Miller and Levine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-11-10. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  5. ^ a b "St. Albert Award".
  6. ^ "Ken Miller: Molecular, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry". Brown University. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
  7. ^ Ken Miller. "Goodbye, Columbus". Retrieved 2007-09-20.
  8. ^ "Victory in Cobb County". National Center for Science Education. 13 January 2005. Retrieved 20 September 2007. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Judge: Evolution stickers unconstitutional". CNN. 14 January 2005. Archived from the original on 4 August 2007. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  10. ^ Selman, et al. vs. Cobb County Board of Education Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine, 25 May 2006.
  11. ^ "Origins Conference, October 3–4, 2008". Skeptics Society. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  12. ^ "Ken Miller".
  13. ^ Firestone, Chaz (2007-09-20). "Prof. Ken Miller: life as science's media darling". Brown Daily Herald. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2007-09-20.
  14. ^ "Ken Miller on Science Friday and Colbert Report". National Center for Science Education. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-18. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Darwin Online: Darwin 2009 commemorations around the world".
  16. ^ News recap, Today Programme, BBC, 29 April 2009.
  17. ^ "The Must-Read Brain Books Of 2018". Forbes. 2018-12-30. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  18. ^ a b "About the Authors". Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  19. ^ "Kenneth Miller - Evolution vs. Intelligent Design FULL". YouTube. 2011-10-24. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  20. ^ Forrest, Miller to receive ASCB Public Service Awards[permanent dead link]. ASCB Newsletter, July 2006.
  21. ^ AAAS Programme Book Color Insert after p. 64. Award presented 14 February 2009.
  22. ^ "Sixteen Notable Figures in Science and Skepticism Elected CSI Fellows". 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  23. ^ "Board of Directors". National Center for Science Education. Archived from the original on 2016-09-03. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  24. ^ "NCSE Board Elects New President, Adds Two New Members". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 17 January 2020.


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Kenneth R. Miller
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