16th September 2015
The Language of God by Francis Collins – an unscientific attempt that shows Collins doesn’t understand science
I suggested on FB the following:
If I come across a “scientist” who believes in religion, I know that he knows NOTHING. The first test of someone’s knowledge of science (medical/ engineering/ physical/ biological) is whether he/she has discarded religion.
The moment Darwin started understanding the basics of biology, he discarded religion (he started his life as a preacher). Science and religion are polar opposites.
If someone “believes” then he/she has not understood the basics of science. Science is PURELY about doubt. Ever doubtful, ever sceptical, it is impervious to belief of any sort: even in “scientific laws”.
We asymptotically approach the truth. We know that we will never reach it.
A commentator suggested that there is a “scientist”, Francis Collins (head of the genome project), who thinks religion and science are compatible. Indeed, his Wikipedia page says that he is not just a believer but an “Evangelical Christian”.
I’ve chanced upon his book earlier, but never bothered to waste time on it. Today I decided to have a quick look.
Here are a few extracts from this book, and also the point when I stopped reading further.
for me the experience of sequencing the human genome, and uncovering this most remarkable of all texts, was both a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion of worship.
Science’s domain is to explore nature. God’s domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science.
science is powerless to answer questions such as “Why did the universe come into being?” “What is the meaning of human existence?” “What happens after we die?”
a scientist who studies genetics came to be a believer in a God who is unlimited by time and space, and who takes personal interest in human beings.
I went to visit a Methodist minister who lived down the street to ask him whether faith made any logical sense. He listened patiently to my confused (and probably blasphemous) ramblings, and then took a small book off his shelf and suggested I read it. The book was Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
The argument that most caught my attention, and most rocked my ideas about science and spirit down to their foundation, was right there in the title of Book One: “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.”
If the case in favor of belief in God were utterly airtight, then the world would be full of confident practitioners of a single faith. But imagine such a world, where the opportunity to make a free choice about belief was taken away by the certainty of the evidence. How interesting would that be?
The great Marxist experiments in the Soviet Union and in Mao’s China, aiming to establish societies explicitly based upon atheism, proved capable of committing at least as much, and probably more, human slaughter and raw abuse of power than the worst of all regimes in recent times.
This is what’s happened in Collins’s case:
A man first becomes an atheist without thinking things through. Then he finds dying people with strong faith, that gives them strength in the face of much pain and suffering. He is now primed for change. He goes to a priest who gives him a book. That book “changes” this man.
Well, the problem is clear: the man did not think through issues before becoming an agnostic first (as he says); then atheist.
I am NOT an atheist since it is logically impossible to be one. Until I can rule out God’s existence, I can’t be an atheist. No scientist can be an atheist without publishing his proof of the absence of God in a peer reviewed science journal. Richard Dawkins is therefore wrong – for he has nowhere published in a peer-reviewed journal his proof of the non-existence of God. Yes, he has shown how religions are bad and wrong, but where is the scientific proof of the absence of God?
Agnosticism is the only position compatible with science.
But leaving this aside, what happened in Collins’s case is that this man – totally untutored in philosophy and in the logical arguments in favour of God (there are plenty of them!) – got “taken in” by the first such set of arguments that were provided to him.
I had a quick scan of his book and found nothing new there. All boring, routine stuff that doesn’t even REMOTELY meet the test of evidence. Waste of my time.
What put me off – and that’s the end of my “proofs” against this book – was Collins’s claim that Marxism is driven by atheism. That’s sheer drivel.
Yes, it is true that a few of the major Marxists were aggressive atheists. But Marxism is NOT about atheism. It is a COLLECTIVIST ideology about an economic system without property rights. It has NOTHING to do – in its essence – with God/absence of God/ religion.
Collins is a scientific minion who (like a clerk) followed the rules of science and did some good work on the genome project. But that’s about it. He never outgrew his status as a c clerk/ minion. He never grew up into a scientist.
I challenge anyone to scientifically prove God. (Or that “He” doesn’t exist).
Then let’s talk.
Till that time I hope not to waste time on this issue.