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Francis Collins — Christian Darwinist and Opponent of ID


People increasingly ask me about Francis Collins’s opposition of ID and what to make of it. The short answer is, “Though a Christian, Collins is a thorough-going Darwinist, implacably opposes ID, asserts that it has been discredited scientifically, yet gives little evidence of understanding ID’s main arguments and refuses to engage proponents of ID in public discourse.” For the longer answer, see the following replies to Collins by ID proponents:

Biography of Collins:

Jonathan Wells, “Darwin of the Gaps: A Review of The Language of God by Francis S. Collins”

Jonathan Witt, “Random Acts of Design and Francis Collins”
[originally at:] http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=19-08-032-f
David Klinghoffer, “Facing Darwin and the Deity”

Denyse O’Leary, multi-part review
Steve Fuller, “God and science: You just can�t please everyone”

Tony Jelsma, book review of Collins in Pro Rege
[originally here: https://www.dordt.edu/publications/pro_rege]

Logan Paul Gage, “The Conflicted Mind of Francis Collins on Intelligent Design”

Logan Paul Gage, “Francis Collins Handles Universal Acid Like Baby Formula”

Logan Paul Gage, “Francis Collins on Square Circles”

Casey Luskin and Logan Paul Gage, “A Reply to Francis Collins’s Darwinian Arguments for Common Ancestry of Apes and Humans”

Casey Luskin, “Francis Collins and the Myth of Junk-DNA”

Casey Luskin, “Loss of Function in Stickleback Fish = Loss of Another Argument for ‘Macroevolution’ for Francis Collins”

Casey Luskin, “Francis Collins, Karl Giberson, and Books and Culture Promote Misconceptions About Intelligent Design, Falsifiability & Junk DNA”

Casey Luskin, “Francis Collins’ Hear-No-Evil, See-No-Evil Approach to Persecution of ID Proponents”

Casey Luskin, “Francis Collins and the Overselling of Evolution”

Have you read Collins’ book Mung?
Doesn't look like I ever purchased it, probably because I never saw it as being relevant to ID. It's out on Kindle now though, so maybe... I have read Miller's book, and trust me, it's hugely unreliable. Too bad Collins wasn't aware of that (giving him the benefit of the doubt). Mung
Mark Frank, My own experience with Darwinists really reading the arguments for ID are just anecdotal, but my impression is that they speak in generalities while ID talks specifics. This is the big gap. A couple of years ago I was arguing, about 10 against one (me) with some people at a Panda's Thumb offshoot called After the Bar Closes, about the flagellum. There was the claim that Miller had refuted Behe. Yet to my surprise none of them had really read the relevant essays. They were glancingly familiar with Miller's paper, but had not read Behe nor Dembski's response to the Miller paper. They chided me for not having their level of education (I'm not educated in math or science). Fine, I said, these papers are fascinating, and I want you to read them and then we'll talk about why I think Miller's response to Behe was inadequate. When I read the Miller paper (BTW this is NOT about Miller but about lack of serious reading of the points of ID by Darwinists) I was actually puzzled. At the end I said, "That's it"? I couldn't believe it. And when I then read Dembski's response, I had noted the very things he brought up. So even though I am unable to follow all the more technical arguments, much of this is accessible to an interested layperson. But no one there would take the time to read those essays and I can't imagine why. We're not talking about a book here but a matter of 10 pages or so. I tried to make it easier for them by going over it all a second time with a fine toothed comb and cutting and pasting for them relevant portions. But they couldn't keep up, because they just weren't interested. I mean, if you want to refute ID, you simply must buckle down at some point and deal with detailed arguments, not generalities and assumptions. This experience was very frustrating and very telling. I took a lot of abuse for my lack of credentials, yet when it was time to get down to brass tacks they just would not go there - despite being willing to spend ridiculous amounts of time on a forum! The idea that Miller has refuted Behe on the flagellum is nothing more than a huge, often-repeated rumor. Am I right to suspect that their disinterest lay in a desire to avoid looking at the very thing which ought to have interested them greatly? avocationist
Mark Frank --There is nothing dishonest or stupid about denying that design in general can be objectively determined And I didn't say there was. What I said (or implied) was that it would be stupid or dishonest to fail to recognize the logic behind the claim that design can be objectively determined. If you say it is logical to think that design can be objectively determined but false because here and here and here observations and experiments fail to support the logic, fine. In fact, that is pretty much my position with regard to Darwinism :-) tribune7
#10 This smart, honest person, however, would not distort the subject i.e. .... nor fail to recognize the logic behind it, namely that design can be objectively determined. There is nothing dishonest or stupid about denying that design in general can be objectively determined (as opposed to a particular type of designer in a limited context). It is a controversial idea that is disputed by many honest and bright people. Mark Frank
Anthony09: I think it’s time to admit that one can fully understand ID and yet still feel that it is wrong. It's absolutely possible for a smart, honest person versed in the facts to be an ID skeptic. This smart, honest person, however, would not distort the subject i.e. conflate it with creationism; imply its proponents have a hidden agenda; nor fail to recognize the logic behind it, namely that design can be objectively determined. tribune7
Have you read Collins' book Mung? Collins basically says that irreducible complexity has been disproven and cites Ken Miller's book. Nothing else he said about ID had any substance whatsoever. tragic mishap
In light of: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/11/truth_or_dare_with_dr_ken_mill.html A thread about Miller might be nice so we could keep this one about Collins. Mung
Collins' primary objections to ID are Ken Miller's primary objections to ID. His book Language of God showed very little independent thought on the subject. tragic mishap
I wonder if Collins' primary objections to ID are theological, as with Francisco Ayala. Bill, did you catch the debate last night? http://isintelligentdesignviable.com/the-debate/ I thought Dr. Craig did an admirable job representing ID. Mung
William Dembski: Fair enough. I'm a regular reader here, and I was just responding to the fact that before your post I don't think I had ever seen an ID proponent admit that it's possible for an adversary to understand AND disagree. Thanks. Anthony09
Anthony09: I grant you that there are people who have carefully read the ID literature, can rehearse its arguments, and remain unconvinced that ID is true (Brad Monton is one such). But that's not FC. I use his book THE LANGUAGE OF GOD in a faith-science class I teach -- I know it very well. Its case for Darwinian evolution is lousy (for him, evidence for common ancestry is evidence for natural selection) and its case against ID is even lousier (reflexive appeals to god-of-the-gaps, without reference citing other scientists as having disproven ID, etc.). His pronouncements against ID suggest the barest familiarity with our literature. William Dembski
He's definitely not a Deist, as his book reveals a deep and sincere belief in Christ. Here's my anonymous contribution to the Collins bashing though: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10358 tragic mishap
Francis Collins, a Christian? Collins is just a deist. Enezio E. De Almeida Filho
I've noticed that people who oppose ID or who judge it to be an assertion not supported by good evidence are said "not to fully understand it." I think it's time to admit that one can fully understand ID and yet still feel that it is wrong. Anthony09

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