Let us now praise famous geneticists. President Obama did the right thing Thursday by nominating Dr. Francis Collins, the "genome guru" in the mellifluous words of the Associated Press, to head the National Institutes of Health. Collins is highly likely to receive Senate confirmation and become one of the world's most influential scientists, with an annual budget of almost $30 billion to use in support of human flourishing.
Collins, 59, is best known for directing the successful effort to sequence the humane genome, the DNA that makes up the human physical blueprint. But there's more: Earlier this year, I heard him before a sophisticated New York audience speak of his personal faith in Christ, and he did so credibly and winsomely. He said it would require more faith not to believe in "a designed universe" than to see it as God-made.
So, is Collins a proponent of Intelligent Design (ID)? Perish the thought! Yes, he speaks of "pointers to God from nature," including "the precise tuning of 15 physical constants-if you tweak their values by a tiny fraction, it doesn't work." But he takes pains to argue for "theistic evolution" and recently set up the BioLogos Foundation, funded with a Templeton Foundation grant. According to its website, BioLogos "is the belief that Darwinism is a correct science."
Let's be clear here: Collins is not an atheist like many Darwinians. He told the New Yorkers that "atheism is the least rational of all the choices." He's not a deist: He believes not only that God got the ball rolling, but that miracles can happen, although not very often. He believes in Christ's resurrection. But he doesn't seem to have a high view of Scripture, which is where we primarily learn about Christ's resurrection.
Here's just one example: Collins's BioLogos website declares, "It seems likely that Adam and Eve were not individual historical characters, but represented a larger population of first humans who bore the image of God." Many subsequent figures in the Bible, preeminently Jesus, referred to Adam as an individual: Were they deluded? But I'm not so worried about Collins's theological statements: Many readers can exegete them and come to their own conclusions.
What I and many others need help with is the science. Collins is a busy man, but I'd love to see a discussion between Collins and an ID expert like Steve Meyer, a Cambridge University graduate and the author of a new, highly praised book, Signature in the Cell (HarperCollins). A discussion between two intelligent, influential guys would help all of us to sort out truth from falsehood.