Francis Collins, the famed geneticist, was selected to head the National Institutes of Health by President Obama.
Here’s what I’ve been hearing from other atheists.
Pro: He’s a brilliant scientist.
Con: He believes in God.
They all bring up that he’s an evangelical Christian and the author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. In that book, he explains how he came to Christianity after he saw a frozen waterfall separated into three parts — i.e. Trinity.
Ok, so that’s comical, and he really does believe that. But this is the same man who said:
… If God has any meaning at all, God is outside of the natural world. It is a complete misuse of the tools of science to apply them to this discussion.
He’s the rare scientist who happens to believe in God. It’s a personal belief and not one that he uses while working (though he may say he’s using science to understand how God works). It’s not like Collins is about to use federal funding to investigate Jesus.
We’re doing a disservice by going after him just because he’s a Christian. He is exactly the type of person we want in that position — a man who knows his science and separates his personal beliefs from his work.
Even if you believe that science and religion cannot go together, it’s irrelevant here.
If he has any influence beyond the strict science, I think it’s far more likely that he’ll get Christians thinking about science in a more positive way than getting atheists to convert to Christianity.
I suspect he’ll be a good NIH Director, not because of his faith or despite his faith. He’s just a great scientist and I trust his expertise in the profession.
So what if he believes in God? In terms of the work he’ll do at the NIH, how will he be any different from an atheist in the same position?
Let’s save any criticism for the religious people who try to mix their faith and their work and who use improper science. There’s enough of them to go around. Like those Christians from Texas and Arizona. They deserve it.
(Unless, of course, he uses his platform to preach to the country. Then we criticize relentlessly. Thankfully, I don’t think that will happen.)
(Thanks to Claudia for the link!)