Skip to comments.Reason to Believe : A leading geneticist argues that science can lead to faith
Posted on 07/09/2006 8:40:40 PM PDT by SirLinksalot
Reason to Believe A leading geneticist argues that science can lead to faith.
Reviewed by Scott Russell Sanders
THE LANGUAGE OF GOD
A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
By Francis S. Collins
Here we are, briefly, under the sun, one species among millions on a gorgeous planet in the remote provinces of the universe, our very existence a riddle. Of all the words we use to mask our ignorance, none has been more abused, none has given rise to more strife, none has rolled from the tongues of more charlatans than the name of God. Nor has any word been more often invoked as the inspiration for creativity, charity or love.
So what are we talking about when we talk about God? The geneticist Francis S. Collins bravely sets out to answer this question in light of his scientific knowledge and his Christian faith. Having found for himself "a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews," he seeks to persuade others that "belief in God can be an entirely rational choice, and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complementary with the principles of science."
As a researcher who helped discover the genetic basis for cystic fibrosis and other diseases and as the director of the Human Genome Project, Collins brings strong credentials to the scientific side of his argument. For the spiritual side, he draws on Christian authorities such as Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas and C.S. Lewis. His aim is to address "extremists on both sides of the science/faith divide." On one extreme are those scientists who insist that the universe is purely and exclusively matter, and on the other are literal interpreters of the Book of Genesis who reject the last two centuries of scientific discovery.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Here's a related article from the man who helped crack the Human Genome...
Man leaves Earth, he will be evolvin' -- and evolvin' in directions nobody can predict.
Glaciers come back, man will be evolvin' -- and quick.
Good size meteor hits Earth and it all goes to pot, man will be evolvin' -- hopefully quick enough.
The idea that we are through evolving does not stand up to the test of history.
A sidebar to the work of Collins...
Here's link to a story on Craig Vetner, the fellow who to a large degree
forced the acceleration of genome sequencing:
While I appreciate Vetner and the jump-start he gave to high-throughput
genetic work...Collins surely is a great scientist and a very decent fellow to boot.
I've just ordered his book for my husband. "The Language of God..." by Francis Collins.
So many of these arguments can be summarized as "Here is an impossibly complex reality, it must have been made by a thinking God." Thus we explain that which is too complex for our understanding by postulating a God who must be much more complex in order to have created that which we see. Sorry, makes no sense to me.
I just finished "The Question of God" by Armand Nicolosi.
In a way, that book's comparison of worldviews of Freud v. C.S. Lewis reminds
me of Vetner v. Collins.
In other words, the materialistic v. spritualistic.
(I don't actually know of Vetner's spirtual point of view...but he does strike
me as more likely in the materialistic camp.)
Wouldn't those examples be natural selection, not evolution?
Natural selection works on the range of variation within a population.
That range of variation is supported by mutations.
If a change, say in climate, occurs, one end of a range (for example, skin color) may be slightly favored over the other end. Hot climate favors darker skin, low sunlight favors lighter skin up to a point.
Over time the range of variation within that trait expands again (its like a bell curve). In this way populations can adapt to changing conditions, as long as conditions don't change too fast.
This change over time is called evolution.
I don't see that in this particular experience/opinion, and I think often it is more along the lines of an undeniable intelligence than impossible complexity, but I will say that for me accepting that something as complex as say the reproductive system of mammals or the cardiovascular system simply evolved is a much greater stretch than believing in a Creator.
So is the scientist who headed up the team that cracked the human genome qualified to teach public school science classes?
"a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews"
Works for me...
Just got int to The Science of God, by Gerald Schroeder. If your hubby enjoys such books, get that one for him too. It has a particularly interesting explanation of how time from bang appears very different (we're in the seventh day by God's perspective) than from our now back to the bang (15 billion give or take a few hundred million).
ping for later
Venter really drove this and began genomics with TIGR following his development of ests.
Absolutely. Scientifically Venter is and has been innovative and independent. But as far as scientists, he's typical, whereas Collins seems to be a bit of a renegade in admitting and braodcasting his beliefs in God.
...or simple adaptation...
The ACLU would sue him and the usual suspects here would condemn him as a crackpot.
Considering his accomplishments perhaps he believes further improvements in man will be artificial rather than by natural selection.
There's a lot of people who like to tell God how to do things, and I'm not talking about the scientists.
Possibly, but they'd stick him in a P.E. class rather than science...
Maybe he's been looking at Reasons to Believe
Yep! There's an awful lot of assuming that goes into those millions of miracle mutations which supposedly accompany all that natural selection and adaptation.
Happens every day.
"Hot climate favors darker skin, low sunlight favors lighter skin up to a point."
Huh? A lighter-skinned person would be able to survive a hot climate better than a dark-skinned person.
Some scientists may be finally realizing that the universe is more complicated than they thought. I wouldn't be surprised to see more prominent scientists coming forward to suggest that reality is way beyond mere happenstance.
To partially paraphrase a famous physicist, not only is the universe stranger than we imagined, it's stranger than atheistic scientists wanted to imagine.
I don't think you know what you're talking about.
Evolution = variation + selection
I gather you accept selection. Do you think variation does not exist?
Natural selection and evolution aren't the same thing. Unless you presume that all the current traits of every creature on earth existed within the original single cell that supposedly started all this. Evolution requires countless millions of mutations to add new information.
I explained to you in my post what the relationship is. Your answer is no answer to it. I'll repeat. The only other component of evolution is variation. Do you not believe in that?
Unless you presume that all the current traits of every creature on earth existed within the original single cell that supposedly started all this.
False dichotomy. At one point, that guru of stealth creationism, Behe was claiming to believe this. Do you think mainstream science believes this? If you don't know what mainstream science even says on the subject, how do you know it's wrong?
Evolution requires countless millions of mutations to add new information.
Posting defensively, I'll anticipate a nitpick from the usual snide distractors and evaders. A case can be made for neutral drift having some role.
I believe there's variation, of course. There has to be for selection to occur. Breeders of dogs and other animals take advantage of variation all the time.
But can the countless life forms that have existed on earth have come from a single original cell via mutations? It can be theorized that that occurred, but it does stretch the imagination, and I expect that's why the head of the human genome project is now suggesting that God has something to do with all this.
I've always said that evolution may be true. I'm not a scientist and thus not qualified to declare it to be impossible. But I do also believe in God and believe there is more to the universe and life than the material. I don't believe life can come from its absence, or that all the life on earth is the result of natural processes without God's handiwork being involved.
Probably not. The education establishment has it fixed in most places so you need a teaching certificate or a degree in "education."
But what does that have to do with my post?
That doesn't leave much room for evolution not to happen.
But can the countless life forms that have existed on earth have come from a single original cell via mutations?
Yes, as already pointed out in the post to which you are supposedly responding here. TRY TO CATCH UP!
It can be theorized that that occurred, but it does stretch the imagination, and I expect that's why the head of the human genome project is now suggesting that God has something to do with all this.
Hello? There is nothing so far identified to stop it continuing indefinitely over time. Of course it happens, as you yourself admit. Nothing stops it. There have been billions of years on Earth already. That's about all you need to know.
I've always said that evolution may be true.
When you get yourself unstupid about the evidence for it, it becomes even more likely.
Dark skin is an adaptation to intense ultraviolet light. It helps reduce skin cancers.
Light skin is an adaption to minimal ultraviolet light. It allows more ultraviolet light to penetrate the skin, which in turn is critical for vitamin D production.
Well, all you're telling me is that you believe there's an unlimited capacity for variation and that that must be how we all got here. That's a belief, not a fact.
Do you know for a fact that all life on earth descended via this method from a single original cell?
Of course, you don't. No one does.
Your choice, of course. But this article is a hit to the "argument" of some evols who try to dismiss the belief in intelligent design of some scientists. The extent of their argument is generally just that these guys are nutcases, blah, blah, blah.
You've admitted (perhaps not intentionally) that it is a matter of faith either way, and I can respect that.
Not everyone believes that natural processes alone could produce the varied life forms we see on earth, that's what it has to do with your post. Here we have a leading scientist who feels that God had something to do with it.
Huh.... While I think I'll give the book itself a look, the reviewer's own beliefs are the most noticeable thing about this review.
There's also the matter of different skill sets. A great scientist may not be a great teacher -- that is, the scientist may not be able to break down the material into easily understood bits.
That's true, of course.
When I cite scientific studies, that's me telling you about my faith? Do you think everything is argued the way you witch doctors argue religion?
If Carl Woese is right, the common ancestor is precellular. (RNA-world.) So what? Common descent is still true in that case.
You don't seem to know what evolution is, never mind what the evidence is. Furthermore, I don't think you want to know. You should probably just let science class alone and go back to your voodoo dolls.
Your choice, of course. But this article is a hit to the "argument" of some evols who try to dismiss the belief in intelligent design of some scientists. The extent of their argument is generally just that these guys are nutcases, blah, blah, blah. You've admitted (perhaps not intentionally) that it is a matter of faith either way, and I can respect that.
>>Collins believes that science cannot be used to refute the existence of God because it is confined to the natural world. In this light he believes miracles are a real possibility. If one is willing to accept the existence of God or some supernatural force outside nature then it is not a logical problem to admit that, occasionally, a supernatural force might stage an invasion, he says.<,
This concept is lifted straight from C. S. Lewis' book "Miracles". The verbiage is even similar.
>>So many of these arguments can be summarized as "Here is an impossibly complex reality, it must have been made by a thinking God."<<
You miss his point. You are an AM radio questioning the existence of FM. You will not get his point until you have, as he did, a defining epiphany, as ALL Christians have.
His message is not for you - yet.
"You don't seem to know what evolution is, never mind what the evidence is."
Not this cr*p again. The word "evolution" has as many meanings as the word "dark".
This "you don't know the meaning of evolution" baloney gets old.
I know the Corvette has evolved. So did the Corvair, but natural selction destroyed it anyway...