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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Intelligent Design has suffered some legal and public relations defeats of late. So I was somewhat surprised to see this article in the London Times: "I’ve found God, says man who cracked the genome."

The scientist at issue is none other than Francis Collins, the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute. As a result of all that he has learned -- and the Human Genone Project has learned more about human genetics than any other scientific endeavor -- Dr. Collins "claims there is a rational basis for a creator and that scientific discoveries bring man 'closer to God'." Indeed, Dr. Collins has a book coming out that details his argument for just that belief: The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

According to Dr. Collins:

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.

Dr. Collins does not believe in some distant diestic entity that set the universe in motion and left it alone. Rather, Dr. Collins ascribes to theistic evolution, which sees God using evolution as a tool to create man. In his own words:

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.

Has Dr. Collins simply found a justification for his childhood faith? Not hardly. He was an atheist until age 27, when the faith of his patients, a Methodist minister, and C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity changed his thinking.

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.

Okay, I am not a scientist. I do not know whether Intelligent Design has reached the point that it is a scientific theory that should be taught in schools. But surely, if scientists of unquestionable credentials and accomplishment such as Dr. Collins (and these) believe that natures points to a designer, then it is reasonable for the rest of us to do so.

3 comments:

Technically speaking, this is not intelligent design as the movement has been understood. Rather, this is theist evolution. While I am an intelligent design advocate, I can certainly see where the theistic evolution approach would be more acceptable for some people.

I certainly think that he is correct that regardless of whether it is theistically led evolution or intelligent design, the evidence for God that is found at the cellular level is fairly convincing.

Layman, it's encouraging to see scientists who profess a belief in God and Christianity, but I disagree with your last sentence "But surely, if scientists of unquestionable credentials and accomplishment such as Dr. Collins (and these) believe that natures points to a designer, then it is reasonable for the rest of us to do so." I disagree because such reasoning could be used by atheists who could point to sciensists who don't believe that nature points to a designer, such as Richard Dawkins. That a scienstist(or many) may believe something isn't relevant to its truth, but rather the basis for that something.

P.S. I'm a first time poster, and I think this is a great blog, so keep up the good work.

btboy500,

Thanks for dropping a link.

In response I would ask whether its reasonable for people to believe in evolution because so many scientists believe it is true? IMO, yes. Most people simply are not going to spend the time it takes to really tackle the issue sufficiently to make an informed decision. There are many scientific beliefs and "facts" that I accept as true b/c scientists tell me they are true, even though I have not taken the time or expended the resources to resolve the issue for myself.

Now, this is not to say that the proposition is proven because x believes y. Or even because a, b, c, and d believe y. I am merely speaking to the reasonableness of holding a certain belief. More evidence or consideration may render the holding of said belief unreasonable.

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