Brian Miller

Research Coordinator, Center for Science and Culture

Dr. Brian Miller is Research Coordinator for the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. He holds a B.S. in physics with a minor in engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in physics from Duke University. He speaks internationally on the topics of intelligent design and the impact of worldviews on society, and helps manage the ID 3.0 Research Program, having been a primary organizer of the Conference on Engineering in the Life Sciences (CELS). He also has consulted on organizational development and strategic planning, and he is a technical consultant for TheStartup, a virtual incubator dedicated to bringing innovation to the marketplace. He has contributed to multiple books and journals covering the debate over intelligent design, including The Mystery of Life's Origin: The Continuing Controversy, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, and Inference Review. He is a regular contributor to Evolution News & Science Today, and the ID the Future Podcast.

Archives

Brian Miller Q&A: Engineering in Biology, and THE Engineer

On today’s ID the Future, host John West sits down with physicist and engineer Brian Miller to pitch him questions submitted at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith. Is the Bible against the pursuit of knowledge about the natural world, or for it? Are microevolutionary changes in various organisms consistently driven by random mutations and natural selection, or instead, are some made possible by pre-programming in the organism, programming that gives the organism a built-in flexibility to adapt to its environment, within limits? If living systems were deliberately engineered, how good of an engineer was the engineer behind living systems? And if so, what are the implications for the evolution/design debate? Also, what do engineering insights regarding optimization processes Read More ›

Brian Miller: The Surprising Relevance of Engineering in Biology

Today’s ID the Future brings listeners physicist and engineer Brian Miller’s recent lecture at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, “The Surprising Relevance of Engineering in Biology.” Miller rebuts several popular arguments for evolution based on claims of poor design in living systems, everything from the “backward wiring” of the vertebrate eye to whales, wrists, ankles, and “junk DNA.” But the main emphasis of this discussion is the exciting sea change in biology in which numerous breakthroughs are occurring by scientists who are treating living systems and subsystems as if they are optimally engineered systems. Some in this movement reject intelligent design for ideological reasons. Others embrace it. But all systems biologists treat these systems as if they are masterfully engineered Read More ›

Origin-of-Life Mystery at the University of Tokyo, Pt. 2

Today’s ID the Future is Part 2 of physicist Brian Miller exploring a recent report from the University of Tokyo claiming a big breakthrough in origin-of-life research. As Miller and host Eric Anderson make clear, the university’s laboratory work on RNA, detailed in a recent Nature Communications article, involved the intelligent interference of the lab scientists and, despite this intelligent interference, the devolution of RNA rather than the evolution of increasing RNA sophistication. Miller says that it’s ironic that Steven Novella, a scientist committed to puncturing science hype, seems to have fallen for the hype surrounding this laboratory work. Miller and Anderson go on to discuss critiques of origin-of-life tall-tale claims, critiques coming Robert Shapiro, James Tour, and others. Life, Read More ›

Did U of Tokyo Just Solve the Mystery of Life’s Origin?

On this ID the Future, Brian Miller, research coordinator for the Center for Science & Culture, reports on laboratory research recently presented in Nature Communications and in a University of Tokyo press release— research that supposedly provides dramatic “new insights into the possible origin of life,” and specifically “the molecular evolution of RNA.” The popular press picked up on these claims and ran with them, including in this May 5 Quanta article that breathlessly reported, “When researchers gave a genetic molecule the ability to replicate, it evolved over time into a complex network of ‘hosts’ and ‘parasites’ that both competed and cooperated to survive.” Miller says nothing remotely this dramatic occurred in the experiment. He insists there were no great Read More ›

Physicist Brian Miller Answers the Big Bang Evaders

On this ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller looks at various attempts to evade the mounting evidence that the universe had a beginning, a Big Bang. Miller and host Casey Luskin first review the fascinating history of how the eternal universe model of the nineteenth century gave way to the Big Bang model. Then Miller walks through about a half a dozen attempts to evade a cosmic beginning after the Big Bang model had won the day. These evasions include the steady state model, the idea of an eternal cyclical universe, and the string landscape model. According to this model, our universe exists in a multi-dimensional brane (not “brain”) which exists in a higher dimensional space, and our multi-dimensional brane Read More ›

Engineers Crash the Evolution Party, Rethink Biological Variation

On today’s ID the Future, physicist and engineer Brian Miller sits down with host Casey Luskin to survey exciting developments in intelligent design research that are driven by an engineering model for understanding and studying variations in species. ID researchers are pushing this work, but so too are systems biology researchers outside the intelligent design community. Tune in to hear Miller and Luskin discuss everything from fruit flies, finch beaks, and stickleback fish to mutational hotspots, phenotypic plasticity, and the gravity well model of biological adaptation.

Physicist Brian Miller Talks Nanotech, Origin of Life, and Area 51

On today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller and host Eric Anderson continue their exploration of a recent conversation between origin-of-life investigators Jeremy England and Paul Davies on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio show. Miller begins with a quick flyover of the many nanotechnologies essential to even to the simplest viable cell. A minimally complex cell is vastly more sophisticated than our best human nanotechnology. What about England’s insistence that real progress has been made in origin-of-life studies since the 1950s? True, Anderson says, but the progress has been principally in better understanding how the simplest cells function, and in figuring out what doesn’t work to blindly evolve life from non-life. That is, the direction of discovery has been to throw Read More ›

Dissecting an Unbelievable Conversation about Abiogenesis

On today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller and host Eric Anderson explore a recent conversation between physicists Jeremy England and Paul Davies on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio show. Davies admitted he doesn’t want the origin of life to require divine design, while England argued that his work on non-equilibrium systems offers a promising avenue for explaining the origin of the first life in naturalistic terms. Miller and Anderson demur on both counts. They hold out hope that Davies, having recognized his philosophical bias, will eventually decide to follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if doing so has theistic implications. And as for Jeremy England’s approach, Miller says it’s fascinating work but fails to solve the origin-of-life challenge in Read More ›

More on James Tour’s Abiogenesis YouTube Series

On today’s ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller continues his review of James Tour’s origin-of-life YouTube series. As Miller explains, Tour, a world-renowned synthetic organic chemist and professor at Rice University, was inspired to create the series when YouTuber and evolutionist Dave Farina critiqued Tour’s critique of contemporary origin-of-life claims. In reviewing Tour’s video series, Miller and host Eric Anderson praise the Tour series and discuss the Levinthal paradox of the interactome, the ridiculously long odds of blind processes assembling the first living cell, and the challenge of cell death (think Humpty Dumpty and what all the king’s men couldn’t do). Also discussed: entropy, molecular machines, the challenges that Brownian motion and homochirality pose, the presence of intelligent design in Read More ›

The Origin of Life was the Origin of an Engineering Marvel

On today’s ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller touches on various challenges facing the origin of the first life. He and host Eric Anderson discuss Jeremy England’s origin-of-life ideas and the RNA World Hypothesis, and offer multiple reasons why they are convinced that various proposed mindless processes do not explain the origin of the first self-reproducing cell. Miller urges another approach, one that draws on engineering principles and embraces the evidence in even the simplest cell of highly intelligent engineering.