Friday, 10 July 2009

francis collins

aparantly fraancis collins is going to be put in charge of the nih, as always Richard Dawkins hits the nail on the head:

I know we are all supposed to say it doesn't matter how ridiculous somebody's beliefs are, so long as he leaves them at home and doesn't thrust them on other people. This is often said of teachers. For example, it doesn't matter if the science teacher believes the world is 6,000 years old, so long as he tells the children the scientific estimate is 4.6 billion. But I can never be quite happy with this. Surely the fact that somebody believes really dopey things tells you he isn't INTELLIGENT enough to teach, even if he keeps his stupid beliefs out of the classroom.

Now, Francis Collins is a very nice man, he doesn't SEEM stupid, and I think Bill Maher was mistaken when he told me, on television, that Collins believes in a talking snake. But he presumably believes the things his Biologos Foundation advocates, for example the view that God causes miracles to happen (illustrated with a picture of Jesus walking on water). Can somebody who holds such anti-scientific and downright silly beliefs really be qualified to run the NIH? Isn't he disqualified, not by whether or not he leaves his beliefs outside the laboratory and the committee room, but by the very fact that he is capable of holding such beliefs at all?



johnny said...

Hi Mike,

Here we go again... maybe this time you will finally understand that the claim you (and Dawkins) are making, is a self-defeating argument.

There was a guy named W.K. Clifford who said, "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."

Apart from the obvious self-contradictory statement (that Clifford's statement should not be believed because he has not provided sufficient evidence for his statement), Clifford has also made a moral statement (e.g. "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone".

This is what Dawkins is doing when he contemplates whether it is right to continue to allow Collins to hold his position (based on Collins' beliefs AND on what Dawkins claims as truth*).

Now, consider something else that Dawkins said:

"For example, there was a well-known television chef who did a stunt recently by cooking human placenta and serving it up as a pate, fried with shallots, garlic, lime juice and everything. Everybody said it was delicious. The father had 17 helpings. A scientist can point out, as I have done, that this is actually an act of cannibalism. Worse, since cloning is such a live issue at the moment, because the placenta is a true genetic clone of the baby, the father was actually eating his own babyis clone. Science canit tell you if itis right or wrong to eat your own babyis clone, but it can tell you thatis what youire doing. Then you can decide for yourself whether you think itis right or wrong."

"You have to decide for yourself whether it's right or wrong"

From Dawkins perspective on placenta pate, Dawkins has no moral right to impose his moral opinion regarding Collins' NIH position, because Dawkins (i)has no scientific basis to determine right from wrong; (2)morals, if not objective, are neutral (neither right nor wrong).

Dawkins cut his own legs out from under himself.

* I said, "what Dawkins claims as truth".

This is meant to be understood as truth itself, being the objective moral absolute, to which Dawkins is appealing. I'm not referring to the actual scientific estimate of the age of the universe.

Bottom line, Mike... in order for you or Dawkins to claim someone is morally wrong, you need an objective moral absolute.
From the atheist's position, even if Collins' beliefs were factually incorrect, you've no right to think he's wrong. Without that objective absolute, you've no right to think he's incompitent merely because he believes something other than your belief.

Without that objective absolute, you've no right whatsoever...
rights do not exist if atheism is true.

The fool has said in his heart that there is no God.

God Bless,

johnny said...

Preceding the placenta quote...:

The role of science in society is to inform, clarify and illuminate, not dictate policy or create moral values, Dawkins says. "The scientific method of thought, of logical rationalism, can help us think through our moral beliefs, to detect inconsistencies. You canit use science to say fundamentally what is right or wrong, you canit use science to demonstrate itis wrong to kill or hurt people. That comes from somewhere else.

It would seem that Dick Dawkins attack on Collins' position is not following his own understanding... Dick don't detect his own inconsistency.


johnny said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks to Pumbelo from tweb, i finally listened to the Craig-Hitchens debate (all except the last part, it froze about halfway through).

In my opinion, neither won. Also, in my opinion, most of the comments by the you-tubers missed or ignored vital pieces of the arguments....
both Hitchens and Craig struggled for the upper hand by specific wording that many of the people commenting seem to have missed.

But again Mike, truth is not determined by popular opinion. If it were, then at one time a flat earth used to be the truth.

the youtuber that posted the debate was Sapien6x (incase the url gets cut by the blog's software)


johnny said...

I just wanted to share something that i read today, and it just happens that i don't have to type it in, like i planned....


Part 1

"What Does the Bible Teach About Human Beings?

by Russell D. Moore

(Original context: Ps 8)

According to the Bible, one of the most powerful apologetic arguments for the Christian faith is humanity itself. The Scriptures tell us that the wonder of the human body points to the creativity and genius of the Creator God in a way that should evoke both fear and awe (Ps 139:14). The human exercise of dominion over the created order reflects God’s kingship over the universe (Gen 1:26), a kingship that is fully realized in the mediation of Christ Jesus (Eph 1:10). Man is created male and female in the image of God for a one-flesh union resulting in offspring, a union that foreshadows the reality of the Christ/church relationship (Eph 5:22-33).

The Bible tells us that the human conscience testifies to the content and the rightness of the law of the Creator. Although human beings sought to define good and evil apart from the authoritative Word of God (James 4:17), God nonetheless planted within all children of Adam a witness to His standards of good and evil. The fact that fallen humans acknowledge any standards of morality indicates that there is a transcendent code of law, somewhere above merely constructing societal rules and boundaries (Rom 2:12-16). Moreover, as the Apostle Paul pointed out, this conscience points beyond itself to a day of reckoning. When humans make moral choices—or make immoral choices using moral arguments—they are actually acknowledging that they know of a day in which God will judge all the secrets of the heart (Rom 2:16).

Regardless of how often fallen humans seek to classify themselves as merely biological, they know on the basis of their common rationality, morality, and search for meaning that this is not the case. No matter how many times Darwinians, for example, speak of humans as one more kind of animal, and no matter how many times some psychologists explain our behavior on the basis of evolutionary mechanisms, human beings know it just isn’t so. We know there is something distinctive about us—which is why the Bible calls on us to appeal to the minds and consciences of unbelievers, even though the minds are blinded (2 Cor 4:4) and the consciences are often calloused (1 Tim 4:2).

johnny said...

Part 2

Therefore, the biblical witness about human beings stands in stark contrast with other belief systems. Unlike some Eastern religions, the Bible does not present the life of a human being as a cycle of incarnations, nor does it affirm, as Mormonism does, the preexistence of disembodied human spirits. Unlike many nature religions and various forms of pagan worship, the Bible does not present humanity as part of the larger “life force” of nature. Unlike Islam, the Bible affirms the freedom and responsibility of human beings as moral creatures before a God whose image they reflect. Unlike many psychological theories, the Bible does not reduce human motivations or actions to the interactions of unconscious desires, habitual patterns, or the firing of neurons. Unlike Marxism and libertarian capitalism, the Bible presents the longings of the human heart as far more than material. Unlike Gnosticism or feminism, God’s good creative purposes are seen in the goodness and permanence of sexual differentiation, in the equal worth of the sexes as image bearers (Gen 2:27), and in the protective, sacrificial headship of men as fathers of families and leaders of tribes (1 Cor 11:3). In contrast to rival belief systems, the Bible presents human beings as distinct from a nature they are called to govern (Ps 8:5-8), free to act according to their natures (Josh 24:15), responsible for actions before the tribunal of Christ (Rev 20:12-13), and created for conformity to the image of Jesus as joint heirs of a glorious new creation (Rom 8:17,29). The doctrine of the image of God grants value to every human life, regardless of its vulnerability or stage of development (Gen 9:6), and it stands in eternal hostility to any form of racial bigotry or nation-state idolatry (Acts 17:25-27).

The Bible’s truthfulness about human depravity contrasts strongly with belief systems that are more optimistic about human nature, such as Mormonism, Scientology, or secularism. Human sin is an apologetic issue since a Christian framework explains how educated, rational, loving persons can bring forth cruelty, violence, and hatred. The biblical teaching on sin also answers what may be the most persistent charge against the truthfulness of Christianity: Christian hypocrisy.

Likewise, the prevalence of world religions and ideologies, which is often used as an objection to Christianity, actually serves as an apologetic argument for Christian claims. The Bible tells us that the universal instinct to worship and to interpret reality is grounded in the revelation of God and that the universal suppression of this truth leads to diverse idolatries (Rom 1:18-32). We should not be surprised, then, that literally every human civilization in history has had some practice of worship, but also that cults, world religions, and even secular ideologies often ape some aspects of Christian truth. Nor should we be surprised, as the ancient book of Ecclesiastes illustrates, when the human quest for sensual gratification, material abundance, or the wielding of power apart from the Creator’s purposes leads to despair.

(from The Apologetics Study Bible, Copyright © 2007 by Holman Bible Publishers.
All Rights Reserved. Study Notes edition arranged for PC Study Bible, © Biblesoft, Inc.)"


Anonymous said...

So, Johnny, does your belief in a god give you the right to judge people?

And you don't half go on...

johnny said...

Since objective morality exists, judgement of what is moral and what is not moral is made possible.

And i am pretty sure that it's impossible to have objective morality without God existing.

You aren't playing the game of calling me a hypocrite for judging lest i be judged, are you?


Anonymous said...

Johnny I do not normally insult people who have differing worldviews than I do, but we all know there was not a talking mule so why not give up your supernatural views and cohabitate with the rest of us? I am sorry, but your worldview is unproven and dangerous. Mankind has advanced past your archaic views and it is time for you to catch up. Science has proven time and time again that our ancestors were less knowledgeable than we are. Heck you people ostracized Galileo. Why not amalgamate and be more accepting of your fellow humans? I think that a good argument can be made that the Jewish problem in the old testament was that they were uppity. It is illustrated in Joseph's technicolor shirt. He thought he was better than his brothers and let them know about it. How rude.

Bottom line is you are in Rome and so you need to be a Roman. It will be easier on you if you just blend in and go with the flow. Why do you people insist on causing problems? If the theocracy (I use one of your terms here because the delusional Jewish state thought that a supernatural being was speaking to Moses and ruling through him.) had intermarried and given up their foolish ideas everything would have been better for them. Like your book says you cannot serve two masters. You have a choice. Serve your imaginary God or serve mankind.

So Saith The Velvet Evover...

johnny said...

That's funny TVE.... and are you saying that while you wear your technicolor shirt?