(Second of a series of seven)
BioLogos was founded by genome mapper Francis Collins to reconcile Christians to Darwinism.
To set the context for the second question, consider: In “First question: Are the Christian Darwinists at Biologos conscious fronts for atheism? Or unconscious ones?” The force of the question is a two-fold difficulty:
1. They claim that a Christian can be a Darwinian yet the significant majority of serious, professional Darwinists are materialist atheists.
Plus, Paula Kirby, the textbook definition of a conventional journalist, recently explained candidly how Darwinism caused her to cease to be a Christian. One sees one’s co-worker, one’s neighbour, one’s realtor in her. The reason they don’t lose whatever faith they have is because they do not believe Darwin.
Doubtless, there is some contortion by which a Christian can be a Darwinian, but who would care to undertake it, when most of the interesting stuff that is happening in evolution is non-Darwinian? And that was the other problem.
If you want to hear about real evolution (convergence, co-evolution, epigenesis, symbiogenesis, along with stasis and extinction), you’re better off at Uncommon Descent than BioLogos. Here, once we shut up Darwin’s fervid devotees, we found lots to talk about re evolution … and atheism just did not make the cut. Problem solved.
So why is BioLogos – a self-proclaimed Christian organization – fronting the one and only belief about evolution that reliably produces atheism?
Now, let’s move on to that second question: What about Francis Collins, BioLogos’s founder? How do his views – as the most famous Christian scientist in North America – square with typical traditional views?
Normally, I wouldn’t count the views of an individual no longer associated with BioLogos. After all, in most cases, we don’t really know why the person is no longer associated, and what we don’t know is so often the only story that matters.
But Francis Collins is a special case. He is BioLogos’s founder, and he resigned in order to avoid conflict of interest when he accepted the position of NIH director. Is there any reason to think he would have resigned otherwise?
Now, if the BioLogians are right, that orthodox Christianity is easily reconciled with Darwin’s rule, Collins should demonstrate it. So let new atheist Sam Harris be our witness here:
At the time of this writing, the Obama administration still has not removed the most important impediments to embryonic stem-cell research. Currently, federal funding is only allowed for work on stem cells that have been derived from surplus embryos at fertility clinics. This delicacy is a clear concession to the religious convictions of the American electorate. While Collins seems willing to go further and support research on embryos created through somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), he is very far from being a voice of ethical clarity in this debate. For instance, he considers embryos created through SCNT to be distinct from those formed through the union of sperm and egg because the former are “not part of God’s plan to create a human individual” while “the latter is very much part of God’s plan, carried out through the millennia by our own species and many others” (Collins, 2006, p. 256)
Here, let’s be too charitable to even compare Collins’s revolting remarks (“by our own species and many others,” for example) with the transparent Christian witness over two millennia against destruction of unborn children, however conceived.
The BioLogians think that Christians can gain favour with the unconverted by embracing Darwinism. Harris, who has little or no respect for Collins, makes clear that that would never happen:
There is little to be gained in a serious discussion of bioethics by talking about “God’s plan.” (If such embryos were brought to term and became sentient and suffering human beings, would it be ethical to kill them and harvest their organs because they had been conceived apart from “God’s plan”?) While his stewardship of the NIH seems unlikely to impede our mincing progress on embryonic stem cell research, his appointment seems like another one of President Obama’s efforts to split difference between real science and real ethics on the one hand and religious superstition and taboo on the other.
So now, what about Collins? Was BioLogos doomed from the start by his ethical obtuseness?
See also: “First question: Are the Christian Darwinists at Biologos conscious fronts for atheism? Or unconscious ones?”
Next: Is there any proposition advanced in Darwin’s name – accepted by fashionable Darwinists – that most BioLogos contributors would reject?
Follow UD News at Twitter!