I may have sold Francis Collins short. He may be a useful agent in the battle against creationism, but not in the way he probably intends.
The Discovery Institute – the Seattle-based headquarters of the intelligent design movement – has just launched a new website, Faith and Evolution, which asks, can one be a Christian and accept evolution? The answer, as far as the Discovery Institute is concerned, is a resounding: No.
The new website appears to be a response to the recent launch of the BioLogos Foundation, the brainchild of geneticist Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and rumoured Obama appointee-to-be for head of the National Institutes of Health. Along with “a team of scientists who believe in God” and some cash from the Templeton Foundation, Collins, an evangelical Christian who is also a staunch proponent of evolution, is on a crusade to convince believers that faith and science need not be at odds. He is promoting “theistic evolution” – the belief that God (the prayer-listening, proactive, personal God of Christianity) chose to create life by way of evolution.
Hmmm. So two titans of the credulous and ignorant are battling it out for turf? This may be Collins’ true strength here, that he speaks the language of the gullible as a native.
I know that in the past the Discovery Institute has been particularly damning of Ken Miller: he also speaks that same language, and is in competition for the same niche as the DI fellows. Collins is apparently even worse, since he has now driven the DI to flamboyantly and publicly admit that their whole scheme is aimed at shilling for religion, and that their argument is that evolution, even the hobbled version of Collins and Miller, is incompatible with god-belief.
I hope the NCSE and various lawyers have snapped an archival copy of the entire “Faith and Evolution” website — it will be so useful in the next ID trial.
It’s an aggressively dishonest site, too. It consists of lots of people claiming that modern scientific evidence points more strongly than ever to a cosmic designer, which is a flat lie — finding natural mechanisms for complex processes means their designer god is increasingly superfluous. And Wells, that fraudulent pseudo-scholar, trots out the idiotic ‘we believe in microevolution, the rest has no evidence’ argument. That’s long been the hallmark of ignorant people who know nothing of the wealth of evidence beyond a few small scale, well-documented instances. It’s also nothing but a rhetorical ploy, where they concede a few points to appear more reasonable in their denial of other, equally well supported cases.