Friday, July 28, 2006

Francis Collins on ID

An article on Francis Collins appeared in the Washington Post recently. The writer paraphrases him commenting on evolution and intelligent design:
But his most complete argument for God appears in a new book, "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief," which addresses two radically divergent audiences:

He asks scientific skeptics to investigate God with the same open-minded zeal they apply to the natural world, saying that there's no incompatibility between belief and scientific rigor.

He tells fellow evangelicals that opposition to evolution -- whether based in the biblical literalism of creationists or "intelligent design" arguments -- undermines the credibility of faith. He finds the first line of thought "fundamentally flawed" and says the second builds upon gaps in evidence that scientists are likely to fill in.

The audience of 200 at Williams gave Collins's views a respectful reception, in contrast to the frosty reaction he got when he said at a national meeting of Christian physicians that the evidence for evolution is "overwhelming."

I am not sure what he means by "evolution" when he says that the evidence for it is overwhelming. If he means microevolution, then I agree. If he means that there is overwhelming evidence that the Cambrian Explosion came about through nothing but random mutation and natural selection, then I think he needs another dose of the skepticism and scientific rigor that he encourages.

What does he think someone like Michael Behe should do- who thinks that the evidence is something less than "overwhelming"?

I think that he and others should be encouraging evangelicals and non-evangelicals alike to approach the evidence honestly and with an open mind and let the facts speak for themselves.

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Update: For further reading, my follow-up post is here.

Update #2: The following link is to an article that points out that Francis Collins makes a scientific case for intelligent design in his recent book.


At August 01, 2006 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least someone who says the evidence is overwhelming implies that they're willing to talk about the evidence.

Anybody who tells me that evolution is "proven" or a "fact" gets this question in response:

"Sooooo, when did that happen, and what was the evidence that proved evolution."

Steve O

At August 05, 2006 12:19 AM, Anonymous Z^<# said...

The interesting thing about microevolution, as discussed in Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome by John Sanford, is that there is a LOSS of information occuring that allows the organism to survive. Nobody ever talks about that fact, though it seems such an obvious question to ask.


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