In his unfavorable review of my book The Edge of Evolution (“Faulty Design,” October 12), the Darwinian biologist Kenneth Miller worries about the kind of God implied by intelligent design. If God designed the germs and parasites that plague humans, how can he be good? In contrast, if God set up an independent process, such as natural selection, to give us “a fruitful and creative natural world,” Miller seems to think, then surely we can’t blame him for the nasty “byproducts” of that process, such as malaria.
I don’t see how Miller’s reasoning lets God off the hook. If God designed a slipshod process that results in natural evil-in fact, one that depends on natural evil-why couldn’t a mother who lost a child to malaria justifiably complain that God should have set up a better process?
Miller is caught in a category mistake. The moral problem of evil is a deep theological question, which no amoral scientific theory can address. Matters become more confused when theological reasons are offered in support of a scientific theory.