Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Francis Collins As Culture War Statement

posted by swaldman

Beliefnet Blogger Francis Collins was nominated to be head of the National Institutes of Health!
Okay, being a Beliefnet blogger is not Francis Collin’s main claim to fame, though the blog that he and his BioLogos foundation run — Science and the Sacred — is fascinating, stimulating and often inspiring.
He’s probably more appropriately known as the former head of the Human Genome Project and as the author of the book God’s Language.
I have no idea whether Collins will administer the National Institutes of Health well, but President Obama’s appointment of Collins is significant as a culture war statement. A devout Christian, Collins is one of the foremost advocates for the notion that science and faith are compatible. He’s a strong believer but he doesn’t let that weaken his scientific rigor (for instance, he’s been critical of Creationism and Intelligent Design).
In Science and the Sacred, Collins wrote:

“Suppose God chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create animals like us, knowing this process would lead to big-brained creatures with the capacity to think, ask questions about our own origins, discover the truth about the universe and discover pointers toward the One who provides meaning to life. Who are we to say that’s not how we would have done it? If you believe that God is the creator, how could the truths about nature we discover through science be a threat to God? For many scientists who believe in God — including me — it’s just the opposite. Everything we learn about the natural world only increases our awe of the God the creator….
I urge us all to step back from the conflict and look soberly at the truth of both of God’s books: the book of God’s words and the book of God’s works. As people dedicated to truth, let us resolve to move beyond a theology of defensiveness to a theology that celebrates God’s goodness and creative power.”

Collins was mocked by Bill Maher in his movie Religulous, so perhaps Collins appointment will generate suspicion among secularists. And because he’s advocated “theistic evolution” — the idea that God set in motion the laws of the universe, including natural selection — there are some more fundamentalist Christians who may sniff at Collins.
But to me, Collins is not just a scientific leader, he’s a Christian role model — showing that being a believer doesn’t mean checking your brain at the church door, that people of faith have just as much intellectual heft as seculars, and, most important,.how faith and science can happily co-exist.
galaxy.jpg
A version of this was printed on The Wall Street Journal Online



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posted July 11, 2009 at 10:48 am


s83p9u Collins speculates about god’s possible intentions and then goes on as if his speculations were demonstrable fact. When he acts as a scientist and frames and tests scientific hypotheses, he follows a rigorous protocol that normally includes peer review and the replication of experiments and findings (just recall what happened in the “cold fusion” matter. Collins just substitutes one kind of religious speculation for the more traditional biblical nonsense that has been the hallmark of religion throughout history. Let’s apply the rigorous scientific method to all religious speculation and see what stands up to and survives serious examination. f6cffb



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panthera

posted July 12, 2009 at 10:18 am


Your Name,
I fear there is an error in your reasoning.
Science, at least real science and not mumbo-jumbo like creationism or intelligent design, is predicated upon postulating a hypothesis, designing means to disprove this hypothesis, carrying out those means through tests and then analyzing the results to determine whether the hypothesis has been disproved.
If yes, then one needs must abandon it. It not, then one must either tentatively accept the hypothesis as a working model, subject to further examination until disproved or consider whether the hypothesis was, indeed, capable of disproof. It not, then science is not the means by which to explore the question at hand.
There is no means of disproving the existence of God. Thus, science is not the appropriate discipline, neither to put nor to discuss God’s existence.
If you are going to snarl at people for their beliefs, then you need to acknowledge the systematic of the natural sciences.
Sigh.
Personally, I have no idea whether he will be good at his position or not. I have enjoyed much of what he has written. At this point, I confess to a measure of conservative optimism.
Of course, after eight years of persecution under the christianists, I suppose he can’t make things very much worse for us and might well improve things.



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freelunch

posted July 12, 2009 at 7:53 pm


Steve,
I will not be reading or posting at Beliefnet any more. Your misguided popups and ads for hospitals that don’t serve 90% of the country weren’t the reason. The bad implementation of captcha was not the reason. The reason was that you have hired an inveterate liar who also attacks other posters and you don’t seem to care about that as long as he brings in hits. Well, not only will David Klinghoffer, who is only a shill for the Discovery Institute or gay intolerance anyway and is not writing about the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible, not be getting my hits but the rest of your site will not either.
Read Judge Jones’s opinion in Kitzmiller or read what David had to say about Collins if you want to know why he is a liar.
My e-mail works. I am done with this site.
This is what I posted to explain to David why he is responsible for my decision to leave:
David,
1. You make claims that are demonstrably false.
2. People correct you on those claims.
3. Rather than correct the erroneous claim, you repeat it.
4. Someone calls you a liar because you are telling lies.
5. You act all self-pitying because someone had the temerity to point out your lies.
6. Now you post about how proud you are that you are willing to stand up (against reality so you can continue to repeat your lies).
It’s pretty clear that the folks on Beliefnet really do not care what you write as long as it gets hits. I guess that they don’t care that you have chosen to insult some of their other writers. Your arrogant assertions about whether theistic evolution is valid are, as with all of your assertions, unsupported by any evidence, yet you whine whenever anyone points out your total lack of evidence — except when you refuse to acknowledge a valid criticism at all.
I will not read Beliefnet any more and you are personally responsible for that. It is your self-righteousness, your proud ignorance, your refusal to ever admit that you are making a mistake, along with your unlimited shilling for the corrupt falsehoods of the Discovery Institute that not only persuades me not to read your posts, but those of anyone else as long as they tolerate your dishonesty.
1. You make claims that are demonstrably false.
2. People correct you on those claims.
3. Rather than correct the erroneous claim, you repeat it.
4. Someone calls you a liar because you are telling lies.
5. You act all self-pitying because someone had the temerity to point out your lies.
6. Now you post about how proud you are that you are willing to stand up (against reality so you can continue to repeat your lies).
It’s pretty clear that the folks on Beliefnet really do not care what you write as long as it gets hits. I guess that they don’t care that you have chosen to insult some of their other writers. Your arrogant assertions about whether theistic evolution is valid are, as with all of your assertions, unsupported by any evidence, yet you whine whenever anyone points out your total lack of evidence — except when you refuse to acknowledge a valid criticism at all.
I will not read Beliefnet any more and you are personally responsible for that. It is your self-righteousness, your proud ignorance, your refusal to ever admit that you are making a mistake, along with your unlimited shilling for the corrupt falsehoods of the Discovery Institute that not only persuades me not to read your posts, but those of anyone else as long as they tolerate your dishonesty.



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panthera

posted July 13, 2009 at 10:16 pm


I was of the opinion that beliefnet was meant to be a forum for all possible avenues of belief?
Now, truly, there are some pretty offensive people blogging here. We have the racists and gay bashers – Erin Manning and Rod Dreher over at crunchycon. We have David Klinghoffer who is every bit the lier freelunch calls him.
So what?
We also have Steven, the wonderful people at progressive, several genuinely brilliant bloggers from all different perspectives.
Instead of walking away, I have just decided to accept that there really are some folks who hate me for being gay. Folks who hate people of color.
I won’t let the Klinghoffers and Dreyers of this world deprive me of the great exchange of information and learning here and, quite frankly, freelunch: You shouldn’t either.
Hit back at them with the truth until they ban you. Fight them with facts. Or, ignore them.



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Mr. Incredible

posted July 16, 2009 at 3:55 am


==…there really are some folks who hate me for being gay.==
An assumption. A wong one, at that, of course. Somebody’s been feeding you bad info.
Hate is an operation of the mind. So, unless you are inside a person’s head, or a mind-reader, you can’t say, for sure, who hates you and who doesn’t. Thus, you say that everybody who challenges you hates you.
Your handlers have hammered you with the idiotic notion that people hate you just cuz — just cuz — you claim to be homosexual, and you wanna believe it, and, so, you do, that’s all.



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Simpleton

posted July 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm


Mr. Incredible
July 16, 2009 3:55 AM
==…there really are some folks who hate me for being gay.==
An assumption. A wong one, at that, of course. Somebody’s been feeding you bad info.
Hate is an operation of the mind. So, unless you are inside a person’s head, or a mind-reader, you can’t say, for sure, who hates you and who doesn’t. Thus, you say that everybody who challenges you hates you.
Your handlers have hammered you with the idiotic notion that people hate you just cuz — just cuz — you claim to be homosexual, and you wanna believe it, and, so, you do, that’s all.
===
Could be worse. He could be you. You, who claim to be a heterosexual, cuz. Just cuz



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Mr. Incredible

posted July 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm


==You, who claim to be a heterosexual…==
God created ALL heterosexual. I agree with Him that I am heterosexual, agreeing with Him that everybody He originally created, He created heterosexual.
Out of the fallen nature of Man, some have chosen the homosexual, alternative-lifestyle orientation option. God did not choose it for them. They chose it for themselves.



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Mr. Incredible

posted July 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm


God says, in essence, that, if you’re gonna play by your own rules, rejecting His, you gotta expect and be big enough to accept the consequences of your decisions.



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