Sunday, July 23, 2006

God, Under a Microscope

God, Under a Microscope:
Washington Post (free registration required)

by Richard Ostling, AP
"... Francis S. Collins led the international Human Genome Project that mapped the 3.1 billion chemical base pairs in humanity's DNA. He now directs the U.S. government program on applying that information to medical treatments.

He has also emerged as an advocate for faith and its compatibility with science.

The 56-year-old Collins discussed the clash of science and religion last weekend during a conference at Williams College sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Foundation. The writings of the English literature scholar were instrumental in Collins's conversion. ..."
It is good to see scientists who are willing to go beyond the traditional realm of the scientific method, and realize that there is more than one way to understand reality. I was especially interested to note that it was his reading of C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity that led to Francis Collins' conversion from atheism to Christianity.

Like Richard Dawkins, Collins is at or near the top of his field, having earned the respect of the scientific community. Unlike Dawkins, Collins did not see religion and science as being mutually exclusive, nor did Collins approach religion with the antipathy that Dawkins seems to have.

Collins does not enjoy complete acceptance for his views, as he believes the evidence for evolution to be overwhelming. His view on both creationism and intelligent design is that they undermine the credibility of faith. Creationism is fundamentally flawed, as it is based wholly on untestable assertions, and intelligent design makes assumptions about gaps in our knowledge that can be studied, and filled in by science.

This reminds me of a statement in my freshman biology textbook from Fall 1970 -- to allow one's faith to stand or fall on any aspect of the physical universe that can be observed or tested, risks having science destroy that faith.

Collins' new book The Language Of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief, was published on July 11, 2006, and is available from

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