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How a scientist can believe in God

johndiii (229824) writes | more than 7 years ago

User Journal 16

For those, like me, who are frustrated by the popular (and false) dichotomy between science and religion, this article by Dr. Francis Collins is worth reading. Dr. Collins is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. The article also links to a video of him explaining his beliefs.

I have been told that his recent book is quite good, though I have not read it.

For those, like me, who are frustrated by the popular (and false) dichotomy between science and religion, this article by Dr. Francis Collins is worth reading. Dr. Collins is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. The article also links to a video of him explaining his beliefs.

I have been told that his recent book is quite good, though I have not read it.

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FreshAir (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18612307)

He's a light in the darkness, [npr.org] after hearing Dorkins - the Ayatollah of Unbelief.

I hope you can find a free podcast. [npr.org] It looks like they want to charge for the Audible.com stuff.

Re:FreshAir (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613457)

the Ayatollah of Unbelief.

Gods forbid anyone have an opposing opinion - let alone speak it.

Re:FreshAir (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614149)

Not opposed to opposing opinion. I don't like fndamentalist bigots - of any stripe.

Re:FreshAir (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615187)

I don't think that Richard Dawkins is really a fundamentalist bigot, but that any attempt to put his beliefs on a serious and equitable footing with Theism is instantly seen as suspect.

Re:FreshAir (1)

Degrees (220395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616435)

I had heard the name, so I started to read one of his articles somewhere. Certainly, if enough people think he's worth listening too, I'll give him a shot. So I did.

I didn't get get very far though - there was a basic arrogance right up front that put me off. I'd have continued reading if I could tell that the article was going to deliver opinion or thesis - but the first thing I ran into was a "hooray for our side, for we aren't idiots" comment.

Sure, he was pandering to his fans.

Made me think he is a bigot though.

And with that first impression, I lost interest.

Dawkins (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18618015)

Okay, I'm a Spinozan Pantheist, rather than atheist per se. (intelligence emerges from nature, and evolution is a form of intelligence), but I find Dawkins seriously off-putting, myself.

I did find "The Extended Phenotype" well worth a read, and "The Selfish Gene" okay, but he clearly has faith, and not the absence of faith. The hard-nosed and aggressive atheism that you find on the net definately seems to have his tone of voice and turns of phrase resonating throughout it. I'd expect that someone who was proclaiming an abscense of belief would take a more Socratic approach. But maybe that's just me.

Re:Dawkins (1)

Degrees (220395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18618743)

Thanks - it's nice to know it wasn't just me. I'm in the middle of a different book at the moment, so I'll probably stick with smaller articles on the subject.

Re:Dawkins (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18629393)

I disagree with you both, I'm not an athiest - I consider myself a whimsical agnostic polytheist. I think that he has a dogma, there's a difference between dogma and faith. He rigidly holds the scientific method superior to the religious method, and part of his rigid assertions colour his text. However, I don't believe that makes him a bigot - merely zealously argumentative! ;)

I'd point out (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18612617)

That he has come to a RATIONAL faith in God. There is a far deeper division between rational faith and irrational faith in the same God, than there is between rational faith in God and rational faith in No God. Rational faith at least follows the same rules of observation, acceptance of evidence from observation, testing, and theoretical limits. Irrational faith; such as that believed by fundamentalist Christians in the United States, or Orthodox Jews, or Nationalistic Islamics, where God can do anything including contradict his own commandments; does not depend on observation, testing, and theoretical limits; but only on the words of scripture and preachers.

I fully believe that a scientist can come to a position of finding no argument with rational religion; I don't think anybody can find irrational religion to be compatible with science. If Science is the search for the Mind of God; then Science has proven that the fundamentalist reading of scripture is at best inaccurate, and at worst self-delusional.

Personally I agree he's found a higher power (2, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18612865)

But it doesn't matter, the Spaghetti Monster will forgive his blasphemy anyway.

Science and religion (1)

Tet (2721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613785)

I don't believe science and religion to be mutually incompatible. After all, they attempt to answer different questions. The difference to my mind is that science makes a reasonable attempt at an answer the questions posed, where religion gives smoke and mirrors. The article claims that science was unable to provide answers to questions like "What is the meaning of life?", "Why am I here?", "Why does mathematics work, anyway?", "If the universe had a beginning, who created it?" and so on. I'd agree with that. It isn't able to answer those questions. The problem I have is that religion is equally unable to provide answers to those questions that stand up to even the most half-hearted scrutiny. Pretty much every mainstream religion claims to answer those questions, yet not a single one that I've yet found does so in a way that doesn't require blind faith in something that I just can't see as being even remotely likely. Perhaps he explains his reasoning in the video, but I just can't be bothered to fight CNN enough to try and get at the video data.

Re:Science and religion (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614185)

I think the real problem is that you might be using an ENTIRELY different definition of God than he is. To me, God is a reasonable answer to some of those questions, for *certain attributes* of God and *within the bounds of the physical laws as we know them*. An irrational God, one that "breaks his own rules" such as the type that say, fundamentalist Christian preachers may have tried to pound into your head when you were young, is NOT the same as the exquistitely rational God of CS Lewis and GK Chesterton and even Pope Benedict XVI. I can find rational answers in rational religion, just as I can find rational answers in rational science. But irrational religion leads to irrational science- and I think it would be quite right to reject it on those grounds (especially, when say God causes Mohammed to write in the Koran that Jews and Christians are people of the book and fellow believers in one Sura, and writes that they are infidels to be killed in another Sura, and some modern terrorist decides that God can order whatever the hell he wants and so follows only the second).

St. Augsutine (1)

denidoom (865832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18784397)

I noticed he's been popping up in stories lately. There was this one that you referenced, and then someone else mentioned it too in a different story (http://seenonslash.com/node/1169). I only noticed because I am a student of History. I enjoyed this article thanks for posting it.

Re:St. Augsutine (1)

johndiii (229824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18788899)

Interesting. He's come up recently to me as well. Thanks for the seenonslash link. That's a good one. I'll have to walk back through the posts there this evening.

Glad you enjoyed the article. My original college degree was in History.

Re:St. Augsutine (1)

denidoom (865832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18789325)

I love History and have a love/hate relationship with St. Augustine :P He can be difficult to digest at times. I prefer reading some of the early writings by scientists like Kepler or Newton because they state why they do science, i.e. quest for God's perfection, or Plato's shapes, or Descartes locking himself in a room (so I guess Brian Wilson wasn't the first...) to contemplate the meaning of life. I think of them when I think of how science and spirituality can co-exist, and I worry that with adamant atheism comes an deadening of the imagination, because to be so empirically inclined - to declare that if something can't be proven then it does not exist - means also that things that I could imagine, could not exist. Then what motivation would people have to invent anything? Would invention solely serve utilitarian needs? What a dry, boring, and uninteresting place it would be without believing in things we cannot prove or see.
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