Francis Collins is a world-leading geneticist. He is head of the Human Genome Project, director of the National Institutes of Health, a best-selling author, and holds a doctorate from Yale University.
Collins is also a Christian. Does his work as a scientist collide with his Christian faith? Not in the slightest, he claims.
In an interview with Big Think, Collins explains that he sees science as an important tool for answering many of nature’s deepest questions.
“It’s quite reliable if carried out correctly with generation of hypotheses and testing of those by accumulation of data, and then drawing conclusions that are continually revisited to make sure they are right. If you want to answer questions about how nature works, how biology works for instance, science is the way to get there.”
If readers are anticipating a large “BUT” coming next, they would be right. Collins goes on to explain that there are some questions that science cannot help humans answer, and many scientists struggle with this.
“Scientists…are very troubled by a suggestion that other kinds of approaches can be taken to derive truth about nature. And some, I think, have seen faith as therefore a threat to be resisted.”
Collins believes faith and science are asking fundamentally different sets of questions, thus there need not be conflict between the two.
Faith, Collins says, can help humans address deep, philosophical questions to which science offers few answers:
- Why are we here?
- Why is there something instead of nothing?
- Is there a God?
Assuming these questions are legitimate and worth pursuing, and that science doesn’t offer satisfactory answers, Collins says it makes perfect sense to find other ways to pursue truth.
You can watch Collins’ entire talk below.
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Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.