Thursday, August 13, 2009

Watch out, the scientist is a Christian!

Here's an op-ed piece in the NY Times about Obama's recent appointment for the Director of the National Institute of Health. It acknowledges that Obama's nominee, Francis Collins, is an outstanding scientist, but... gasp, he's an Evangelical Christian!

As a result, the author writes, "it is important that we understand Dr. Collins and his faith as they relate to scientific inquiry." He goes on to conclude that "one can only hope that these convictions will not affect his judgment at the institutes of health."

I'm guessing that Collins understands science far better than the author, but somehow his faith makes him suspect.

God forbid that God isn't forbidden at NIH....

Thanks David!


Jeff L said...

The author, Sam Harris, complains of the "scientific ignorance" of the American public while questioning whether one can be a scientist and a Christian. Even a cursory look at the history of science reveals plenty of major scientific figures who were Christians; for many their Christian faith was the primary motivation for exploring the natural world. For example, Newton, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Lemaitre, and Gray are considered to be some of the most influential and accomplished scientists of all time, and each were devoted Christians.

Jeff L said...

Apparently it is OK to believe in Eastern religions and be scientific, just not Western religions. It turns out Harris is sympathetic to certain forms of Buddhism, reincarnation, and ESP. And he's questioning Collins' integrity as a scientist?

jprapp said...

I like Harris. I take Harris as I do Hume. And all the masters of suspicion. To incorporate criticisms into my faith. And my faith is charismatic and robust. Not language idling. Sam is peer review. A worthy critic.

Sam blew this one. He almost argues that believers cannot do science. And that faith is severable from expression. Worse, he argues dangers to empirical inquiry due to religious bias and despite oaths of office, while presenting no empirical evidence of bias compromising these duties.

Big guffaws. All in a row. Not like him.