Monday, August 21, 2006

Francis Collins, Intelligent Design and the Origin of Life

There seems to be great interest in Francis Collins, his new book The Language of God, and his views on Intelligent Design. I had previously posted on the topic of Francis Collins and ID here. Given the level of interest, I thought I would cite to some other quotes by him related to ID.

Here is one comment on the origin of life question. His position seems very sympathetic to the ID perspective:
[Collins speaking:] Another issue, however—one where I am very puzzled about what the answer will be—is the origin of life. Four billion years ago, the conditions on this planet were completely inhospitable to life as we know it; 3.85 billion years ago, life was teeming. That is a very short period—150 million years—for the assembly of macromolecules into a self-replicating form. I think even the most bold and optimistic proposals for the origin of life fall well short of achieving any real probability for that kind of event having occurred. Is this where God entered? Is this how life got started? I am happy to accept that model, but it will not shake my faith if somebody comes up with a model that explains how that the first cells formed without divine intervention. Again, watch out for the God-of-the-gaps. However, I think it is noteworthy that this particular area of evolution, the earliest step, is still very much in disarray.

In this interview he stated that intelligent design is "a thoughtful, well-argued perspective."
ABERNETHY: But what about the theory of intelligent design, the argument dividing school boards around the country over whether life is so complex the theory of evolution can not explain it, thus there had to have been a designer?

Dr. COLLINS: Intelligent design, while a thoughtful, well-argued perspective, I do not think is taking us to the Promised Land. I think this will be an argument which ultimately will not do damage to science; it will do damage to faith. The problem is the examples that intelligent design puts forward we are learning a lot about. And the notion that those are examples of irreducible complexity is showing serious cracks.

I encourage you to compare Collins' perspective to that of Michael Behe, and then decide for yourself. In this regard, read Behe's book Darwin's Black Box. I previously posted on the short statements by Collins and Behe included in the Time Magazine coverage of the issue here. That post also contains a link to the statements by each scientist.


At June 10, 2011 2:20 AM, Blogger Kurt said...

This post was helpful to me in considering buying Collins' book. Thanks.


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