July 10, 2009


Francis Collins as Culture War Statement (STEVEN WALDMAN, 7/10/09, WSJ)

President Obama's appointment of Francis Collins to run the National Institutes of Health is significant as a culture war statement. A devout Christian, Collins is one of the foremost advocates for the notion that science and faith are compatible. The former head of the Human Genome Project, Collins is also the author of The Language of God. He's a strong believer but he doesn't let that weaken his scientific rigor (for instance, he's been critical of Creationism and Intelligent Design).

In Science and the Sacred, a blog on Beliefnet published by Collins and his foundation, Biologos, Mr. Collins wrote:

"Suppose God chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create animals like us, knowing this process would lead to big-brained creatures with the capacity to think, ask questions about our own origins, discover the truth about the universe and discover pointers toward the One who provides meaning to life." [...]

Mr. Collins was mocked by Bill Maher in his movie Religulous, so perhaps Mr. Collins' appointment will generate suspicion among secularists. And because he's advocated "theistic evolution" -- the idea that God set in motion the laws of the universe, including natural selection -- there are some more fundamentalist Christians who may sniff at Mr. Collins.

The problem with Mr. Collins' attempt to reconcile Science and Religion is that his belief in theistic evolution represents a rejection of Nature and natural selection and supplants it with the intelligently designed determinism of the Creator. He is a creationist/IDer. He just disputes the particulars with his peers.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 10, 2009 10:51 AM
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