Thursday, July 09, 2009

Christians and Public Science

President Obama recently tapped Francis Collins to head the National Institutes of Health. This is a really interesting nomination for a few reasons. Collins is the author of the best-selling book, The Language of God, in which he makes an argument akin to and Intelligent Design argument for the existence of God. And he is no small-scale scientist. He headed up the Human Genome Project under President Clinton, which essentially mapped the human genome.

Add to that his hot-and-cold relationship with the Christian world. He is an outspoken Christian, but as a theistic evolutionist, he is on the outs with many who work on these scientific and cultural matters from the Christian worldview.

What is interesting, but not surprising, about the NYT article announcing his appointment, is that he is controversial due to his "very public embrace of religion." I still fail to see why that would make someone who has clearly done a great deal of ground-breaking scientific work controversial for a public post like this.

I know what the basic and over-repeated arguments are for this "controversy," but they remain very unconvincing. Collins could be a fascinating addition to the world of science on this level, in part exactly because he is a scientist committed to God's universe.

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