The Believer

Religion / Science

There’s an interview posted on with the author the book “The Language of God”. The author, Francis Collins, is the head of the Human Genome Project, a medical doctor, a physicist and an Evangelical Christian.

From the article:

Collins hopes to stake out the middle ground between Darwinian atheists and religious fundamentalists. “Both of these extremes don’t stand up to logic, and yet they have occupied the stage,” he told me. “We cannot let either side win.” Unlike so many of those players most invested in this culture war, Collins sees no inherent conflict between science and religion. Yet his book is likely to alienate plenty of people on both sides of the debate. His frequent references to God’s almighty power might be difficult for secular readers to swallow. And his scathing critique of both Young Earth creationism and intelligent design probably won’t attract the hordes of readers buying Ann Coulter’s latest diatribe against evolution.

Hmmm. Finding the middle ground ‘eh? Sounds familiar. Grin.

From the interview:

Intelligent design is a more sophisticated critique of evolution. And the core argument is that certain natural phenomena, such as human blood clotting and the eye, are irreducibly complex; you can’t get these through incremental genetic mutations. What’s wrong with this argument?

It’s a very interesting argument, but I fear there’s a flaw. The intelligent design argument presumes that these complicated, multi-component systems — the most widely described one is the bacterial flagellum, a little outboard motor that allows bacteria to zip around in a liquid solution — that you couldn’t get there unless you could simultaneously evolve about 30 different proteins. And until you had all 30 together, you would gain no advantage. The problem is it makes an assumption that’s turning out to be wrong. All of those multi-component machines, including the flagellum, do not come forth out of nothingness. They come forth very gradually by the recruitment of one component that does one fairly modest thing. And then another component that was doing something else gets recruited in and causes a slightly different kind of function. And over the course of long periods of time, one can in fact come up with very plausible models to develop these molecular machines solely through the process of evolution as Darwin envisaged it. So intelligent design is already showing serious cracks. It is not subject to actual scientific testing.

This is what’s often called “the God of the gaps.” You use God to explain certain things that science can’t explain. You’re saying these arguments end up hurting religious people because once science does explain these things, it discredits religion.

And that has happened down through time. When God is inserted in a place where science can’t currently provide enough information, then sooner or later, it does. My God is bigger than that. He’s not threatened by our puny minds trying to understand how the universe works. And He didn’t design evolution so that it had flaws and had to be fixed all along the way. My God is this amazing creator who at the very moment that the Big Bang occurred, already had designed how evolution would come into place to result in this marvelous diversity of living things.

There is so much to like in this article, and for good reason. Lewis presents an example of a thoughtful, honest, intellectually rigorous person who is attempting to fully live out his various vocations.

Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll get to meet him someday. If you get the chance, take it!

Here’s the link to the full article.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...