Only A Theory

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Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul
AuthorKenneth R. Miller
CountryUnited States
PublisherPenguin Group
Publication date
12 June 2008
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Preceded byFinding Darwin's God 

Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul is a 2008 book by the American cell biologist and Roman Catholic Kenneth R. Miller.[1] In the book, Miller examines the battle between evolution and intelligent design (ID), and explores the implications of science in America. The title of the book comes from a misconception of what "theory" means in the context of science and evolution.


Glenn C. Altschuler reviewed the book saying "Though I.D. trumpets its connections to information theory, biochemistry and molecular biology, Miller concludes, as did Judge John Jones in Kitzmiller v. Dover, it rests, ultimately, on ignorance. Extending an olive branch to religious Americans, Miller suggests that evolution and faith aren't really in conflict because all of nature is part of God's providential plan."[2]

Biologist PZ Myers wrote "Miller is a fine writer who sharply addresses the details of the arguments about intelligent design creationism. When tackling old chestnuts such as the 'only a theory' complaint, or Michael Behe's argument for a maximum limit for the number of genetic mutations, or William Dembski's rehash of William Paley's watchmaker argument for complexity, Miller discusses the contemporary biological explanations while refuting the errors."[3]

John Woodmorappe was critical of the book, and stated "On the outer jacket of this book, Miller is praised as a brilliant and original thinker. To the contrary: Miller is simply dusting off and repackaging the same old straw-man arguments against creationists of decades ago and reusing them against ID…In conclusion, Miller’s book is nothing new. It tells us more about his rationalistic preconceptions than about ID."[4]

A number of reviewers had pointed out a factual inaccuracy in the book: on page 149, Miller referred to the Dingo as a marsupial, when in fact Dingos are feral dogs.[5] In his list of errata, published online, Miller gave a correct reading of the passage: "It produced hunter-predator marsupials like the dingo and the Tasmanian tiger," should read "It produced hunter-predator marsupials like the tiger quoll and the Tasmanian wolf."[6]

On June 16, 2008 Miller was interviewed on The Colbert Report discussing the book.[7]


  1. ^ "Only a Theory". Penguin Group. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  2. ^ Altschuler, Glenn (June 15, 2008). "A counterattack for evolution". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2014-09-14.
  3. ^ Myers, PZ (454, 581-582 (31 July 2008)). "BOOK REVIEWED: Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul". Nature. Retrieved 2008-08-17. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Woodmorappe, John (April 2009). "Review Kenneth Miller Only a Theory -". Creation Ministries International. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  5. ^ Bottaro, Andrea (May–June 2009). "Review: Only a Theory". Reports of the National Center for Science Education. 29. National Center for Science Education. pp. 40–41. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  6. ^ Kenneth R. Miller (2009-01-06). "Only A Theory: Errata" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  7. ^ "Ken Miller". The Colbert Report. June 16, 2008. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-15.

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