Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Throwing the Christians to the Lions

One of the simple pleasures of the Internet (which, as you may recall, is a series of tubes), is that marvel known as Stumble. Stumble, as I believe I've mentioned in previous posts, is an Internet search engine that randomly serves up pages that it suspects will be of interest to you based on your previously visited sites.

Today, while home sick and killing time, I found an article entitled "God vs. Science - A debate between Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins"(1). It was an apparent interview conducted by Time Magazine between noted proponents of Darwinism and Intelligent Design. To wit, there is nothing terribly new here that those interested in this debate haven't seen before in terms of the content and framework of the argument. However, what did strike me was the hostility of Dr. Dawkins, the man arguing in favor of Darwinism. (Dawkins is biologist, the author of numerous books, and a professor at Oxford University.)

Let me step back a moment and provide some background to this.

Francis Collins, a believer in God and in a God-directed formation of the universe and the life within, is credited as being the man responsible for the mapping of the human genome. In his book, The Language of God, he described his particular faith and his life as a scientist. But Collins is far from being a 6-Day Creationist; rather, he professes a Theistic Evolutionary belief. In the article here, he states:

There are sincere believers who interpret Genesis 1 and 2 in a very literal way that is inconsistent, frankly, with our knowledge of the universe's age or of how living organisms are related to each other.

In the article, Dawkins counsels Collins to avoid all dialog with those who take the Bible literally. He admonishes, "Why bother with these clowns?" Collins counters with a measured response, explaining that name calling will do little to further Dawkins' cause. To this, Dawkins makes a volatile statement:

Once you buy into the position of faith, then suddenly you find yourself losing all of your natural skepticism and your scientific -- really scientific -- credibility. I'm sorry to be so blunt.

Let me interpret that comment for my more innocent readers: "If you believe in God, you don't have a voice in this debate. You're not welcome here. You're too stupid to take part."

But it goes much deeper than this. Christians have already been conditioned to accept that they are free to believe whatever they wish -- just don't talk about it. No one wants to hear it. Keep your beliefs out of our politics, off of our streets, out of your workplace. Now we're seeing society take the next step to marginalizing faith. Read on, please.

Francis Collins was selected by President Obama to head the National Institutes of Health(2). The LA Times article describes Dr. Collins as a scientist who discovered the cause of half a dozen diseases, who oversaw the efforts to map the human genome, and one who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

What follows is the quote from Richard Dawkins in the forums of http://www.richarddawkins.net/ as he replies to people's reactions to the news of Collin's nomination:

I know we are all supposed to say it doesn't matter how ridiculous somebody's beliefs are, so long as he leaves them at home and doesn't thrust them on other people. This is often said of teachers. For example, it doesn't matter if the science teacher believes the world is 6,000 years old, so long as he tells the children the scientific estimate is 4.6 billion. But I can never be quite happy with this. Surely the fact that somebody believes really dopey things tells you he isn't INTELLIGENT enough to teach, even if he keeps his stupid beliefs out of the classroom.

Now, Francis Collins is a very nice man, he doesn't SEEM stupid, and I think Bill Maher was mistaken when he told me, on television, that Collins believes in a talking snake. But he presumably believes the things his Biologos Foundation advocates, for example the view that God causes miracles to happen (illustrated with a picture of Jesus walking on water). Can somebody who holds such anti-scientific and downright silly beliefs really be qualified to run the NIH? Isn't he disqualified, not by whether or not he leaves his beliefs outside the laboratory and the committee room, but by the very fact that he is capable of holding such beliefs at all?

Get it now? Do you see the step being taken here? It's no longer "Believe whatever you want, just keep quiet about it". It's now become "Your belief itself automatically disqualifies you."

Welcome to the New America. Welcome to the fruits of Darwinian Humanism, the new pseudo-religion that will grab you by the throat and force you to believe what you're told. Such a brave new world!

Make no mistake, this is not science talking. The scientific method offers NO tools to make a declaration one way or another on the existence of God and the rationalism of faith. This is Humanism -- the religion of man-worship.

By God, if I wasn't a Fundamentalist Christian already, these arrogant, assinine comments would quickly drive me to seek out what it would mean to be one.

(1) http://richarddawkins.net/article,4047,God-vs-Science---A-debate-between-Richard-Dawkins-and-Francis-Collins,TIME-Magazine
(2) http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-sci-collins9-2009jul09,0,7642590.story


Anonymous said...

You know I'm a Darwinist, but you also know I love a good debate. And you cant learn anything, you cant find out anything new, without questioning what you think you know. And the only reason to silence debate seems to me to be because you cant defend your position.

Mr. (or is it Dr.?) Collins sounds like a fine choice for the position from what you have said. I do want a person with a scientific mind for such a job, not a person of faith, and while he has faith in some kind of God, he obviously can see the workings of science as well. I don't care how he thinks things got started, or if there is a greater power influencing them, as long as he can look at the real world in a skeptical and annalitical way, not trying to shape it one way or the other to fit his faith (or lack there of) but rather trying to put the pieces together that make sense. And if they don't makes sense one way, to look at them in another way.
There is debate in the scientific community about the origins of man on the North American continent. The idea that everyone came over on the land bridge isn't accepted universally. Many people of science refuse to consider any other alternative, but there is controversy, because there is other physical evidence to the contrary. Anyone who isn't willing to look at new information isn't a scientists.
Same with the courts when it comes to new evidence in a trial. If you are not willing to look at new (real)info, it's probably because you are afraid you will be proven wrong, not that you feel you are right.
Richard Dawkins seems to be an extremist. Just as there are many extremist in the religious community.
And somehow this post makes me think of 'dont ask, dont tell.'. I'm not sure why.

Anonymous said...

I'm praying to see another Crusade rise up. Jerusalem is too passé, though.

New target: Washington, D.C.

I'm sick to death of feeling oppressed everywhere I go because I'm white, male, and Christian.

I'm beginning to feel a need to act out violently.