Barbara Seaborn's recent column, "Is 'Christian science' an oxymoron?" proves once again that for Seaborn, a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing. Her hero is Dr. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, and author of The Language of God.
Seaborn is comforted by the fact that for Collins, science and faith complement one another. She sees Collins as the defender of faith against such assaults as the atheist Christopher Hitchens' defense of Darwinian evolution, and Iowa State University's recent refusal to grant tenure to a science faculty member who supports so-called Intelligent Design.
I wonder how comfortable Seaborn would be if she knew, or admitted, that her hero Francis Collins shares most of Hitchens' defense of evolution.
For example, Collins accepts evolution at both the micro and macro levels, and argues for the Darwinian concept of human evolution from "lower" forms of life. Collins has said, "But for me as a scientist, when I look at DNA, ... the evidence that we are all descended from a common ancestor is overwhelming." More specifically, Collins has said that in the wake of genome studies, "the conclusion of a common ancestor for humans and mice is virtually inescapable." He concludes, "evolution is the mechanism by which human beings came into existence."
Collins has described himself as a proponent of "theistic evolution," the idea that God chose evolution, pretty much just as Darwin defined it, as the divine mechanism of speciation.
Collins is not much help with Iowa State's Professor Gonzalez either. Of "Intelligent Design," Collins has said, "the examples that intelligent design puts forward... we are learning a lot about, and the notion that those are examples of irreducible complexity is showing serious cracks." He argues that intelligent design is just another example of a tendency which, "When science can't quite explain something, it interposes God in that place." Simply put, Collins rejects "Intelligent Design" as non-science.
What Seaborn really admires about Collins is how his faith affects his work on the Human Genome Project. "What a loss to the world," Seaborn wrote, if Collins were not a "born-again" Christian whose Christian morality leads him to advocate limits on genetic engineering. She apparently does not believe opposition to radical experimenting with genetic engineering can have any basis other that Christianity, despite the fact that most scientists share Collins' moral concerns and that most scientists are nonbelievers (60 percent by Collins' own reckoning, 93 percent according to a poll of its members by the National Academy of Sciences).
I wonder if Seaborn knows that Collins is an advocate of somatic stem-cell research, also known as therapeutic cloning. He argues that the ethical issues surrounding therapeutic cloning are minor and that the technique offers "the greatest medical promise" of all.
Seaborn concluded by saying how much she looked forward to hearing Dr. Collins at the dedication ceremony next year of the new science center at Gordon College, Seaborn's alma mater. If she listens carefully she might hear Collins advise the college to forget "Intelligent Design" as a non-intelligent sham and, instead, to instruct its science students in the basics of Darwinism.
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