A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief The Language of God
Francis S. Collins, Free Press 2007
Collins is head of the Human Genome Project.
Collins considers four responses to the question of science and religion: Atheism or agnosticism, Creationism, wherein the bible is interpreted literally, Intelligent Design, and Theistic evolution.
Collins seems to change perspectives when considering atheism and agnosticism. On the one hand he sees that Dawkins’ claim that ‘science demands atheism’ goes beyond the evidence, since if god is outside nature, then science can neither prove or disprove the existence of god. (In this case atheism can then be considered a form of blind faith in the non-existence of god. p. 165) On the other hand, in his argument against agnosticism , he states that one should arrive at an agnostic conclusion only after considering all of the evidence for and against god.
Young earth Creationism is the view held by 45% of Americans, but is not supported by scientific inquiry. p. 172
According to Collins, the ID movement rests on three propositions:
1) Evolution promotes an atheistic world view and should therefore be resisted.
2) Evolution is fundamentally flawed, since it cannot account for the intricate complexity of nature.
3) if evolution cannot explain irreducible complexity, then an intelligent designer, or god, is required.
In response to these propositions, Collins notes that while ID is presented as a scientific theory, it was not born from a scientific tradition, and it fails to qualify as a scientific theory, which would predict other findings and suggest further experiments. But since god is the always the final cause, there is no need of further experiments.
In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe outlines these arguments of irreducible complexity. However, Collins notes that evidence is mounting which shows that incredible complexity can arise thru evolutionary processes. On the other hand, core ID theory provides no mechanism for accounting for complexity, and Behe’s suggestion of pre-loaded genes has not been supported by research.
Collins supports the concept of Theistic evolution, whose properties he gives as follows:
a.The universe came into being out of nothingness about 14 billion years ago
b.The properties of the universe appear to be precisely tuned for life
c.While the precise mechanism of the origins of life on earth remains unknown,
Once life arose, evolution permitted biological diversity and complexity.
d.Humans are part of the process, sharing a common ancestor with the great apes
e.Humans are unique in ways that defy evolutionary explanation and point to our spiritual nature
Property b. addresses the fact that if any one of about 20 universal constants had been off by just a small amount, our universe and the life in it could not have happened.
Property e. however, un-does property c. and d. If anything in human development is “outside” of evolution, human development is outside evolution. What is it that makes humans “spiritual”? Why not just make our spirituality part of evolution ?