Sunday, July 22, 2018

I Believe in Science

      The advances of science in the modern age have come at the cost of certain traditional reasons for belief in God. When we had no idea how the universe came into existence, it was easier to ascribe it all to an act of God, or many separate acts of God. Similarly, until Kepler, Copernicus, and Galileo upset the applecart in the sixteenth century, the placement of Earth at the center of the majestic starry heavens seemed to represent a powerful argument for the existence of God. If He put us on center stage, He must have built it all for us. When heliocentric science forced a revision of the this perception, many believers were shaken up.

     But a third pillar of belief continued to carry considerable weight: the complexity of earthly life, implying to any reasonable observer the handiwork of an intelligent designer...Science has now turned this upside down. But here, as with the other two arguments, I would like to suggest that science should not be denied by the believer, it should be embraced. The elegance behind life’s complexity is indeed reason for awe, and for belief in God—but not in the simple, straightforward way that many found so compelling before Darwin came along…

      Now that molecular mechanisms, genetic pathways, and natural selection are being put forward to explain all this, you might be tempted to cry out, “Enough! Your naturalistic explanations are taking all the divine mystery out of the world!”

      Do not fear, there is plenty of divine mystery left. Many people who have considered all the scientific and spiritual evidence still see God’s creative and guiding hand at work. For me, there is not a shred of disappointment or disillusionment in these discoveries about the nature of life—quite the contrary! How marvelous and intricate life turns out to be! How deeply satisfying is the digital elegance of DNA! How aesthetically appealing and artistically sublime are the components of living things, from the ribosome that translates RNA into protein, to the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the butterfly, to the fabulous plumage of the peacock attracting his mate! Evolution, as a mechanism, can be and must be true. But that says nothing about the nature of its author. For those who believe in God, there are reasons now to be more in awe, not less.
                                                                                      -Francis Collins, The Language of God

Dr Collins is currently head of the National Institutes of Health. He lead the Human Genome Project to map the entire human genome: a wildly audacious goal when initiated, it was ultimately successful by 2003.

My advice regarding the book “The Language of God,” is that you could skip the first two chapters and start with chapter 3. Philosophy is not his field, and others have done a better job saying the same thing (I suggest reading Mere Christianity). But after that, it is really worth the read.

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