The Human Instinct by Ken Miller


@archicastor1 You might find this book interesting since you liked Millers first book.

The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will
is a new book by Ken Miller, one of the leading voices in the science and religion war conversation. A Roman Catholic and professor of biology at Brown, He was awarded the University of Notre Dame’s 2014 Laetare Medal, the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics. This book, Miller’s third concerning science and religion, will be released on April 17, 2018. It is described as

A radical, optimistic exploration of how humans evolved to develop reason, consciousness, and free will.

Lately, the most passionate advocates of the theory of evolution seem to present it as bad news. Scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and Sam Harris tell us that our most intimate actions, thoughts, and values are mere byproducts of thousands of generations of mindless adaptation. We are just one species among multitudes, and therefore no more significant than any other living creature.

Now comes Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller to make the case that this view betrays a gross misunderstanding of evolution. Natural selection surely explains how our bodies and brains were shaped, but Miller argues that it’s not a social or cultural theory of everything. In The Human Instinct, he rejects the idea that our biological heritage means that human thought, action, and imagination are pre-determined, describing instead the trajectory that ultimately gave us reason, consciousness and free will. A proper understanding of evolution, he says, reveals humankind in its glorious uniqueness—one foot planted firmly among all of the creatures we’ve evolved alongside, and the other in the special place of self-awareness and understanding that we alone occupy in the universe.

Equal parts natural science and philosophy, The Human Instinct is a moving and powerful celebration of what it means to be human.

(David Heddle) #2

Nice. Miller will be skewered in certain quarters.


Indeed. The ID folks, the YEC folks, and the militant atheist folks tend to hate him. What’s not to like?

(Curtis Henderson) #4

Sounds like a pretty good endorsement to me!

P. S. @beaglelady, you have the best links, thanks for another!


I’m so glad you like them, Curtis! I have another one or two in the works.

(George Brooks) #6


Perhaps not quite equal parts natural science & philosophy… it sounds like there might be some metaphysics in there too!

Despite my Unitarian Universalist foundation, I’m rather a mystic when it comes to the soul. I see the soul as one of those “mystery boxes” that some people order on the internet. But the difference is our souls take years to unwrap.

God delivers to each of us this mysterious apparatus. Some of us get to love jazz (I’m not such a one). Some of us are given the inclination to have their conversations abruptly interrupted by the sunlit view of a thundercloud forming, or a flock of starlings swirling in a darkening sky.

(Juan Romero) #7

Thanks! I’ll definitely check it out.


Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy.

(John Dalton) #9

That seems like a bold statement!


It is. We are the only species we know of with this special place of self-awareness and understanding. But this is a book blurb, anyway.