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Reason to Believe : A leading geneticist argues that science can lead to faith
Washington Post ^ | 07/09/2006 | Scott Russell Sanders

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 ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: asshatathiests; atheisttruebeliever; bewareofluddites; bewareyeccult; bloodbath; crevobloodbath; crevolist; droolingpavlovians; faith; geneticist; godsgravesglyphs; herecometheyecs; humangenome; keywordwar; keywordwars; lookout; pavlovian; pettykeywordfight; science; slaughterhousefive; timhardin; whatsayek
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1 posted on 07/09/2006 8:40:47 PM PDT by SirLinksalot
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To: DaveLoneRanger

fyi.


2 posted on 07/09/2006 8:42:33 PM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( http://www.answersingenesis.org)
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To: SirLinksalot

Here's a related article from the man who helped crack the Human Genome...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2220484,00.html




I’ve found God, says man who cracked the genome

Steven Swinford

THE scientist who led the team that cracked the human genome is to publish a book explaining why he now believes in the existence of God and is convinced that miracles are real.

Francis Collins, the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, claims there is a rational basis for a creator and that scientific discoveries bring man “closer to God”.

His book, The Language of God, to be published in September, will reopen the age-old debate about the relationship between science and faith. “One of the great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that science and religion have to be at war,” said Collins, 56.

“I don’t see that as necessary at all and I think it is deeply disappointing that the shrill voices that occupy the extremes of this spectrum have dominated the stage for the past 20 years.”

For Collins, unravelling the human genome did not create a conflict in his mind. Instead, it allowed him to “glimpse at the workings of God”.

“When you make a breakthrough it is a moment of scientific exhilaration because you have been on this search and seem to have found it,” he said. “But it is also a moment where I at least feel closeness to the creator in the sense of having now perceived something that no human knew before but God knew all along.

“When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery about humankind, you can’t survey that going through page after page without a sense of awe. I can’t help but look at those pages and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God’s mind.”

Collins joins a line of scientists whose research deepened their belief in God. Isaac Newton, whose discovery of the laws of gravity reshaped our understanding of the universe, said: “This most beautiful system could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.”

Although Einstein revolutionised our thinking about time, gravity and the conversion of matter to energy, he believed the universe had a creator. “I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details,” he said. However Galileo was famously questioned by the inquisition and put on trial in 1633 for the “heresy” of claiming that the earth moved around the sun.

Among Collins’s most controversial beliefs is that of “theistic evolution”, which claims natural selection is the tool that God chose to create man. In his version of the theory, he argues that man will not evolve further.

“I see God’s hand at work through the mechanism of evolution. If God chose to create human beings in his image and decided that the mechanism of evolution was an elegant way to accomplish that goal, who are we to say that is not the way,” he says.

“Scientifically, the forces of evolution by natural selection have been profoundly affected for humankind by the changes in culture and environment and the expansion of the human species to 6 billion members. So what you see is pretty much what you get.”

Collins was an atheist until the age of 27, when as a young doctor he was impressed by the strength that faith gave to some of his most critical patients.

“They had terrible diseases from which they were probably not going to escape, and yet instead of railing at God they seemed to lean on their faith as a source of great comfort and reassurance,” he said. “That was interesting, puzzling and unsettling.”

He decided to visit a Methodist minister and was given a copy of C S Lewis’s Mere Christianity, which argues that God is a rational possibility. The book transformed his life. “It was an argument I was not prepared to hear,” he said. “I was very happy with the idea that God didn’t exist, and had no interest in me. And yet at the same time, I could not turn away.”

His epiphany came when he went hiking through the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. He said: “It was a beautiful afternoon and suddenly the remarkable beauty of creation around me was so overwhelming, I felt, ‘I cannot resist this another moment’.”

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.


3 posted on 07/09/2006 8:42:52 PM PDT by SirLinksalot
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To: SirLinksalot
Among Collins’s most controversial beliefs is that of “theistic evolution”, which claims natural selection is the tool that God chose to create man. In his version of the theory, he argues that man will not evolve further.

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.

4 posted on 07/09/2006 8:49:01 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: SirLinksalot

I aree.


5 posted on 07/09/2006 8:50:33 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: SirLinksalot

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:

http://www.time.com/time/poy2000/mag/venter.html

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.


6 posted on 07/09/2006 8:54:48 PM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA

I've just ordered his book for my husband. "The Language of God..." by Francis Collins.


7 posted on 07/09/2006 9:05:29 PM PDT by Tampa Caver
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To: SirLinksalot

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.


8 posted on 07/09/2006 9:21:08 PM PDT by tickmeister (tickmeister)
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To: Tampa Caver

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.)


9 posted on 07/09/2006 9:28:03 PM PDT by VOA
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To: Coyoteman

Wouldn't those examples be natural selection, not evolution?


10 posted on 07/09/2006 9:33:25 PM PDT by puroresu
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To: puroresu
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.

11 posted on 07/09/2006 9:41:33 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: tickmeister
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 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.

12 posted on 07/09/2006 9:54:03 PM PDT by Northern Alliance
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To: Coyoteman

So is the scientist who headed up the team that cracked the human genome qualified to teach public school science classes?


13 posted on 07/09/2006 9:56:34 PM PDT by puroresu
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To: SirLinksalot; Alamo-Girl; betty boop; curiosity; marron; hosepipe
PING!

"a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews"

Works for me...

14 posted on 07/09/2006 10:18:29 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah" = Satan in disguise)
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To: Tampa Caver

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).


15 posted on 07/09/2006 10:25:54 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

ping for later


16 posted on 07/09/2006 10:27:08 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: VOA
Collins surely is a great scientist and a very decent fellow to boot.

So's Venter.

Venter really drove this and began genomics with TIGR following his development of ests.

17 posted on 07/09/2006 10:41:51 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: VOA
(I don't actually know of Vetner's spirtual point of view...but he does strike me as more likely in the materialistic camp.)

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.

18 posted on 07/09/2006 10:44:28 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: puroresu

...or simple adaptation...


19 posted on 07/09/2006 10:45:54 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah" = Satan in disguise)
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To: puroresu
So is the scientist who headed up the team that cracked the human genome qualified to teach public school science classes?

The ACLU would sue him and the usual suspects here would condemn him as a crackpot.

20 posted on 07/09/2006 10:46:07 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: Coyoteman
Among Collins’s most controversial beliefs is that of “theistic evolution”, which claims natural selection is the tool that God chose to create man. In his version of the theory, he argues that man will not evolve further.

Considering his accomplishments perhaps he believes further improvements in man will be artificial rather than by natural selection.

21 posted on 07/09/2006 11:04:24 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: SirLinksalot
“I see God’s hand at work through the mechanism of evolution. If God chose to create human beings in his image and decided that the mechanism of evolution was an elegant way to accomplish that goal, who are we to say that is not the way,” he says.

There's a lot of people who like to tell God how to do things, and I'm not talking about the scientists.

22 posted on 07/09/2006 11:06:11 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: puroresu

Possibly, but they'd stick him in a P.E. class rather than science...


23 posted on 07/09/2006 11:12:34 PM PDT by Triggerhippie (Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.)
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To: SirLinksalot
Wondering about the title.

Maybe he's been looking at Reasons to Believe

24 posted on 07/09/2006 11:41:40 PM PDT by skeptoid
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To: TXnMA

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.


25 posted on 07/10/2006 4:53:49 AM PDT by puroresu
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To: SirLinksalot

Happens every day.


26 posted on 07/10/2006 4:55:52 AM PDT by DennisR (Look around - God is giving you countless observable clues of His existence!)
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To: Coyoteman

"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.


27 posted on 07/10/2006 4:59:36 AM PDT by DennisR (Look around - God is giving you countless observable clues of His existence!)
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To: Triggerhippie; tallhappy

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.


28 posted on 07/10/2006 5:05:31 AM PDT by puroresu
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To: puroresu
Wouldn't those examples be natural selection, not evolution?

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?

29 posted on 07/10/2006 5:40:13 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
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To: VadeRetro

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.


30 posted on 07/10/2006 6:55:48 AM PDT by puroresu
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To: puroresu; Ichneumon
Natural selection and evolution aren't the same thing.

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.

A nice Ichneumon post regarding increases of information with some related ID nonsense disposed of along the way.

31 posted on 07/10/2006 7:06:01 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
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To: VadeRetro
The only other component of evolution is variation.

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.

32 posted on 07/10/2006 7:08:01 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
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To: VadeRetro

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.


33 posted on 07/10/2006 7:18:21 AM PDT by puroresu
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To: puroresu
So is the scientist who headed up the team that cracked the human genome qualified to teach public school science classes?

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?

34 posted on 07/10/2006 7:23:44 AM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: puroresu
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.

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.

35 posted on 07/10/2006 7:24:07 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
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To: DennisR
Huh? A lighter-skinned person would be able to survive a hot climate better than a dark-skinned person.

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.

36 posted on 07/10/2006 7:27:45 AM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: VadeRetro

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.


37 posted on 07/10/2006 7:37:18 AM PDT by puroresu
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To: tickmeister
Sorry, makes no sense to me.

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.

38 posted on 07/10/2006 7:39:13 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Coyoteman

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.


39 posted on 07/10/2006 7:40:46 AM PDT by puroresu
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To: SirLinksalot

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.


40 posted on 07/10/2006 7:43:07 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: Coyoteman; puroresu

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.


41 posted on 07/10/2006 7:44:21 AM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: Gumlegs; Coyoteman

That's true, of course.


42 posted on 07/10/2006 7:46:13 AM PDT by puroresu
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To: puroresu
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.

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?

43 posted on 07/10/2006 7:47:32 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
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To: puroresu
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.

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.

44 posted on 07/10/2006 7:50:29 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
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To: tickmeister
Sorry, makes no sense to me.

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.

45 posted on 07/10/2006 7:54:41 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: SirLinksalot

>>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.


46 posted on 07/10/2006 8:11:18 AM PDT by RobRoy (The Internet is doing to Evolution what it did to Dan Rather. Information is power.)
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To: tickmeister

>>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.


47 posted on 07/10/2006 8:16:31 AM PDT by RobRoy (The Internet is doing to Evolution what it did to Dan Rather. Information is power.)
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To: VadeRetro

"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...


48 posted on 07/10/2006 8:23:46 AM PDT by RobRoy (The Internet is doing to Evolution what it did to Dan Rather. Information is power.)
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To: TXFireman

ping


49 posted on 07/10/2006 8:26:43 AM PDT by Jonx6
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To: TXFireman

ping


50 posted on 07/10/2006 8:26:51 AM PDT by Jonx6
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