NIH Director Francis Collins on why Christians must reconcile with science -...

The NIH Director speaks out for science:

I agree they need to reconcile with science but scientism which is part of the popular media is something else.

There is a lot of confusion created by people using untested scientific claims for ideological reasons.

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This part resonates with me:

I think that’s the case for me as a scientist: I get a special privilege in the moment of discovery to say, ‘Oh wow. Look what I figured out, and I can tell everyone else I know it,’ but also, ‘Look at this glimpse I just got of God’s mind, and what a gift that is!’ So, I think Christians bring that sense of curiosity and vision and awe.

Whether it’s adding to the body of knowledge of how life works or how the universe is put together, or whether it’s more applied and prevents a child from suffering, that feels like a calling that every Christian deep down experiences, and here is a chance to play that out in this wonderful team spirit of scientific investigations of nature.

This is the science that @Eddie sneers at as “technical.”


Like the confusion sowed among laypersons by the DI pushing untested and untestable ID claims for religious reasons.

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False. I never sneered at medical research aimed at preventing suffering. In fact, I said that this was one of the areas where I respected Collins. Why do you constantly misreport my words?

Every science deals in technical matters. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s a necessary part of science. That’s true of subjects such as history and philosophy as well. Scholars in those areas have to master certain technical matters. There is nothing wrong with that. My complaint is against only those who are so wrapped up in microscopic concerns of technique that they have long since ceased to do any big-picture thinking about their subject. And not even so much about people like that, since they don’t do any harm by their narrow focus, and at least carry out good research. But when such people go beyond mere disinterest in big-picture thinking, to dismissing anyone in their field who engages in such thinking, then I object.

If you think that this complaint is aimed at scientists in particular, you are dead wrong. Bible scholars are often guilty of exactly the same thing. Some them will spend their whole lives on techniques of reconstructing a hypothetical original text, but never write a single thing about what the Biblical text we have means or teaches. I have seen such technical philologists ridicule and belittle Bible scholars who raise larger questions of the meaning of the texts. I have seen them try to stop research on the larger questions from being done (by denying scholars interested in those larger questions jobs or tenure, and writing disapprovingly of their grant applications).

If a biologist would rather study minutely some very precise mechanisms with relevance to medical research, I have no objection whatsoever. I do object when such people react belligerently against thoughtful biologists like Scott Turner who think outside the box and ask questions about the larger framework in which life and evolution are generally considered.

Pure contempt, Eddie. And a complete denial of reality.

Eddie, you’re explicitly claiming that those who do medical research are not thoughtful.


If I wanted to say “Those who do medical research are not thoughtful,” I would have said it. But I didn’t. So right away you are wrong. I presume it’s because you don’t know the meaning of the word “explicit.”

I think what you are trying to assert is that I implicitly claimed that medical researchers were not thoughtful. But I didn’t do even that. Rather, I explicitly claimed that some scientists (not just medical researchers) get so wrapped up in minutiae that they lose interest in big-picture questions, and in some cases even become impatient of other scientists who are interested in those big-picture questions.

This conversation is becoming repetitive and boring. Even more boring than Collins’s tedious article on population genetics. I think I will exit.