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A Testament of Belief Masquerading as Science

Need there be a conflict between science and religion? Francis S. Collins thinks not, but his “evidence for belief” disintegrates under scrutiny, revealing instead a personal testament of belief.

In a recent study funded by the John Templeton Foundation and published in the journal Public Understanding of Science, researchers found:

Zoologist Richard Dawkins’s [author of The God Delusion] influence as a public intellectual . . . does not persuade new readers that science and religion are in conflict, [while] . . . biologist Francis Collins [author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief] . . . could persuade audiences that science and faith can be compatible. (Fahy 2015, 5)

How does Collins’s assertion of compatibility stand up to scrutiny?

Francis S. Collins’s The Language of God offers a wealth of excellent science, but does the book do what it says on the cover and present “evidence for belief?” Or is Archbishop Desmond Tutu closer to the mark when he writes in his review, “Francis Collins, eminent scientist, tells us why he is also a believer”? In short, not “evidence” but a personal testimony of faith. Collins is careful to couch his concept of God in conjectural terms, but one is left in no doubt about what sort of deity lies at the heart of his belief. For Collins, it seems, the universe serves one primary purpose: to satisfy God’s desire for personal fellowship with humankind. “If God is the creator of the universe, if God had a specific plan for the arrival of humankind on the scene, and if He had a desire for personal fellowship with humans . . .” (Collins 2007, 230).

Collins, a prominent biologist (a Nobel laureate and director of the National Institutes of Health) and an evangelical Christian, accepts the current consensus concerning the age of the universe—approximately fourteen billion years. So, if God created the universe in order that he might have fellowship with human beings, why didn’t he cut to the chase? Current anthropological evidence indicates that humankind, in its modern anatomical form, arrived on the scene no more than 200,000 years ago. Thus, for 99.998 percent of the life of the universe, Collins’s God has had to do without his desired fellowship with human beings.

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About Skeptical Inquirer

Creators of the Paranormal: A handful of twentieth-century figures “created” the modern concept of the paranormal and its leading topics, transporting fantasy, myth, or speculation into a kind of believable “reality.” Most proved to be a chimera. CRISPR-Cas9: Not Just Another Scientific Revolution Dissociation and Paranormal Beliefs Scientific Reasoning at the USAF Academy: An Examination into Titanium-Treated Necklaces Stick It In Your Ear! How Not To Do Science A Testament of Belief Masquerading as Science and much more...