A question about “evidence”

I have a question for my detractors. We theists are constantly chided by atheists and skeptics for our “blind faith,” whereas they claim they base their views on solid scientific evidence. It’s also popularly thought that progress in science will eventually replace “religious superstitions” (see “Deconstructing the God of the gaps“). Here’s my question…. If it’s all about the “evidence” then why is Francis Collins a devout Christian and Richard Dawkins a militant anti-Christian atheist?

They’re both brilliant scientists in their field; they both have the same scientific data available to them in genetics and biology. Collins was not raised in a Christian home and was an atheist when he entered college but became a Christian while in medical school. (You can hear Collins’s testimony here). Dawkins was raised as a Christian and became an atheist as a teenager.

So, in light of these things, why did these two scientists make opposite conclusions about God?

Advertisements

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 37 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Christian apologetics, Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

157 Responses to A question about “evidence”

  1. paulfg says:

    We are all believers. We just differ in what we believe. Which interestingly – for me – is not usually about the present.

  2. john zande says:

    Why concentrate on these 2? It’s hopelessly non-reflective of reality.

    When it comes to the higher sciences (ie. not disciplines like dentistry and computer enginnering, rather biology and physics) over 93% of scientists don’t believe in the gods.

    • Mel Wild says:

      So, you have no answer?

      • john zande says:

        I could make a guess. Collins has terrible existential death anxiety. His science certainly doesn’t inform his belief, so that belief is most probably rooted in emotional reasons.

        Care now to address the deliberate deception of your false dichotomy?

        93% of scientists do not believe in the gods. You raised the subject of “evidence,” so clearly this actual number speaks to the “evidence,” wouldn’t you say?

      • Mel Wild says:

        Great non-answer, JohnZ. So, you have no clue. I see.

        False dichotomy? Nice try. Wally was right. You will just complain about the question. I compared two scientists who are accomplished in the field of biology and genetics. One grew up in a Christian home and became an atheist. The other grew up in a secular/agnostic home and became a devout Christian. Both have great intelligence in the sciences and have access to the same scientific data. Yet, they made opposite decisions about God. There is no false dichotomy here.

        What is false is the premise that only ignorant and superstitious people are attracted to Christianity.

      • john zande says:

        Non-answer? It’s a perfectly likely answer. If, however, you can demonstrate to me how biology informs Collin’s belief in the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, Yhwh, then by all means, present that information… and do give references to the biology and genetic books that contain the word “God,” or “Magic.”

        False dichotomy? Nice try.

        Well, Mel, reality is not 1:1 scientists with competing views, is it?

        No, and yet that is the idea you choose to try and present here. When it comes to the higher sciences it is over 9:1.

        If you wish to present an honest representation of reality, then 9:1 is the number you should have presented, without hesitation.

        That, obviously, is a bridge too far, though.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Well, Mel, reality is not 1:1 scientists with competing views, is it?

        That’s not the point of the question, JohnZ. I am testing the notion that anti-theist make that scientific evidence will turn someone away from Christianity. That the advance of science will eventually do away with our “superstitious religions.” Obviously, it’s not true, is it.

        No, and yet that is the idea you choose to try and present here. When it comes to the higher sciences it is over 9:1.

        “Higher science”? So the former Director of the Human Genome Project is not high enough for you. You are a piece of work! Okay, what about Sir Isaac Newton and Steven Hawkings? Both held (or hold) the same chair at Oxford in physics. When Newton discovered the law of gravity it showed God’s handiwork in creation; Hawkings says that gravity means we don’t need God. They are making opposite conclusions with the same information.

        Let me know if you wish to just provide an honest answer instead of all this “pantomime,” as you like to say.

      • john zande says:

        I am testing the notion that anti-theist make that scientific evidence will turn someone away from Christianity

        Which is precisely why the ratio 9:1 is critical here…. Not the 1:1 you presented.

        93% is the answer to your quandary.

        Higher Science pertains to biology, physics, etc. It’s an actual term, Mel, in case you didn’t know. It differentiates hard sciences from things like dentistry, computer engineering, and podiatry, which are also classified as ‘sciences.’

        I gave you an honest answer. Science DOES NOT inform Collins’ belief in the Middle Eastern god, Yhwh. NINETY-THREE PERCENT of scientists confirm this. That number is actually 97% if we just take biologists. NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT. So, as his science does not inform his belief, then we must assume he believes because of emotional reasons.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Higher Science pertains to biology, physics, etc. It’s an actual term, Mel, in case you didn’t know. It differentiates hard sciences from things like dentistry, computer engineering, and podiatry, which are also classified as ‘sciences.’

        Why do you keep making this distinction, John? Are you saying that Collins is just some dentist or general practitioner? Sounds like snobbery to me. And I could make the same argument against Dawkins. What qualifies him to speak about theology? He obviously knows nothing about it. For that matter, why should we listen to Christopher Hitchens who was just a journalist?

        You are only showing, over and over again, Wally’s point, which is that you would rather disqualify the person or the question that treat it honestly.

        I gave you an honest answer. Science DOES NOT inform Collins’ belief in the Middle Eastern god, Yhwh. NINETY-THREE PERCENT of scientists confirm this.

        Okay, you gave an answer. Fair enough. But your statistics confirm nothing of the sort. All you can honestly say is that scientific evidence does NOT lead someone to become a theist or to become an atheist, which actually was the point of my question in the first place. Furthermore, according to Collins’ own testimony it played a big part in his journey toward faith; we could also point to one the most famous atheists of all, the late Antony Flew, who became a deist specifically because of the evidence. And since a Materialist worldview dominates the scientific community, the 93% could just as easily be attributed to their materialist worldview and not the evidence itself.

        So, as his science does not inform his belief, then we must assume he believes because of emotional reasons.

        First, you have not proven this assertion. Second, your conclusion is a non sequitur fallacy. One does not follow the other. There is no logic that concludes that the only choice is either hard scientific data and emotion. We don’t have to assume any such thing.

      • john zande says:

        The distinction is critical in sorting dentists from biologists… the people who actually face the “evidence,” at a professional level.

        Collins is part of the 3%. Fine. 97% see the “evidence” and conclude there are no gods. Your 1:1 ratio was designed to mislead and give the impression that scientists (Higher Scientists) were split on the matter. They’re not. They are overwhelming in agreement on the matter.

        All you can honestly say is that scientific evidence does NOT lead someone to become a theist or to become an atheist

        Are you insane? That is EXACTLY what the numbers indicate. You can even trace the slide of science and belief over the last 100 years. Yes, there are survey’s going that far back. They paint a VERY CLEAR PICTURE.

      • Mel Wild says:

        The distinction is critical in sorting dentists from biologists… the people who actually face the “evidence,” at a professional level.

        And dentists and general practitioners had nothing to do with my question. The only thing I attribute to this irrelevant comment is that you think Collins was no better than a dentist. But, regardless, you keep making points that are not relevant to my question.

        Are you insane? That is EXACTLY what the numbers indicate. You can even trace the slide of science and belief over the last 100 years.

        No, but you can’t see the forest for the trees. I could make just as strong of an argument that 100% of these scientists have a materialist worldview and bias that has more to do with their conclusion than actual science. You are not proving anything. People like Collins, and many other theist scientists, disprove your rule.

      • john zande says:

        Please, point me to where I said Collins was no better than a Dentist. Nice straw man, though.

        People like Collins, and many other theist scientists, disprove your rule.

        3% of fellow biologists. 7% of fellow Higher Scientists.

        If you’re comfortable with those numbers, and you think they support you, then good for you. Have fun looking foolish.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Why did you bring up dentists, John? Be honest. What did that have to do with my question?

        I am comfortable knowing that it’s likely 100% of those atheists are materialists, which is a better explanation than just the scientific data.

      • john zande says:

        Because you, Mel, tried to deride me for saying Higher Sciences. You, clearly, didn’t know what the term meant, and I was FORCED to EXPLAIN it to you.

      • Mel Wild says:

        No, John, not true. First, I know full well what the higher sciences are. You don’t have to explain them to me. Second, you brought up dentists in your very first comment. You said:

        When it comes to the higher sciences (ie. not disciplines like dentistry and computer enginnering, rather biology and physics) over 93% of scientists don’t believe in the gods.

        So, why did you bring this up? It had nothing to do with my comparison. Collins’ expertise is not at the level of dentistry nor is he below the stature of Dawkins in the scientific community. As the former Director of the Human Genome Project, I think he understands the data as well as Dawkins. This snide comment is just pure snobbery on your part.

      • john zande says:

        Again, you clearly did not know what the term “higher sciences” meant, hence the explanation, and the distinction… Also why you can’t get over the examples given to EXPLAIN it to you.

        And for the final time: I’m not even concerned with Collins. You tried to paint some sort of dichotomy, that it’s Collins or Dawkins, 1:1. It’s not. Collins sits in a group of 3% of biologists (all of them very real, capable scientists, I’m sure) who believe in a God… and a lot of that 3% DON’T believe in your particular god, Yhwh. 97% of biologists are atheists. That 97% is a pretty strong indicator of the evidence.

        And, as I have asked, but which you keep ignoring: please, show me how Collins work informs his belief in the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, Yhwh. Show me the evidential connection which you seem to be suggesting exists…. But which neither I, nor 97% of Collins learned colleagues seem to know about.

      • Mel Wild says:

        And, as I have asked, but which you keep ignoring: please, show me how Collins work informs his belief in the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, Yhwh. Show me the evidential connection which you seem to be suggesting exists…

        I’m suggesting an evidential connection? Certainly not! I was actually making quite the opposite point, which you don’t seem to be grasping. I was questioning the notion that scientific advancement would turn someone away from their faith. So, why didn’t it keep Collins from becoming a Christian?

        My point is, actual scientific inquiry or evidence has (should have) no bearing on whether one believes in God or not, unless you believe in some pagan god of the gaps, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Christian theology.

      • john zande says:

        I’m suggesting an evidential connection? Certainly not! I was actually making quite the opposite point, which you don’t seem to be grasping.

        To be fair, that is exactly what you’re suggesting in raising the subject of the “evidence” available to both men. My central point, though, was that by presenting just two biologists you were purposely trying to paint a false picture of reality. That reality is, of course, not 1:1, rather 97:3. 97 out of every 100 biologists see the same evidence and completely dismiss the God hypothesis.

        I was questioning the notion that scientific advancement would turn someone away from their faith. So, why didn’t it detract Collins from becoming a Christian?

        And I answered that. As we have solid evidence that scientific advancement does indeed result in a dismissal of the God hypothesis, Collins’ belief is, self-evidently, emotional in nature, not evidential. As far as I’m aware, he’s never once said “See, Yhwh!” Quite the opposite, his views on God are almost deistic in character, which as you’ve already seen right here, is thoroughly rejected by most Christians, as Colourstorm exampled.

        My point is, actual scientific inquiry or evidence has (should have) no bearing on whether one believes in God or not,

        And, as demonstrated, your point is simply not supported by reality. Scientific enquiry clearly does influence belief. Greatly. As example in the Catholic Answers article: “Does It Matter That Many Scientists Are Atheists?”

        One fact that concerns some Christians and elates some atheists is that 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most elite scientific organizations in the United States, do not believe in God.

        That being said, one can easily still maintain belief if that belief is not informed by the evidence… Which I think is Collins’ position. That speaks to emotional needs, and it requires a clear partitioning of reality from belief. That’s fine, if that is the person’s choice… But it is a choice.

      • Mel Wild says:

        And I answered that. As we have solid evidence that scientific advancement does indeed result in a dismissal of the God hypothesis…

        This only means that you (and a lot of atheists, apparently) believe in a god of the gaps (scientific discovery replaces God as an explanation), not the God of Christian theology.

        That being said, one can easily still maintain belief if that belief is not informed by the evidence…

        Your scientism is showing here. You define “evidence” as scientific evidence, I assume, what can shown through scientific method, which ironically, is a worldview that cannot be proven by scientific method. There are LOTS of things we understand that cannot be proven by science.

      • john zande says:

        Don’t try and speak for all Chrsitian, Mel. You guys can’t even get your theology right.

        This article from this just morning (What happened when a public school student sued over prayer) is about a school in Webster Parish, Louisiana:

        Religion made its way into instruction, too, Cole alleges. She recalls a teacher slapping the Bible on her desk and declaring it should be taken literally. And a science teacher saying evolution is a “fairy tale,” that students should believe in “Adam and Eve, not the big bang.”

        Evolution is a fairy tale. Adam and Eve, not the Big Bang.

        Great stuff… from a Christian science teacher.

      • John Branyan says:

        “Don’t try and speak for all Chrsitian, Mel. You guys can’t even get your theology right.”

        A mighty wind is blowing! This has nothing to do with the preceding dialogue about evidence. I’d like to get back on track if you don’t mind.

        “…we have solid evidence that scientific advancement does indeed result in a dismissal of the God hypothesis…”

        That is something I would LOVE to see! Show us this solid evidence. I’m sure you have it in a handy file all ready to cut and paste! Lay it on us, Windbag!

      • john zande says:

        As example in the Catholic Answers article: “Does It Matter That Many Scientists Are Atheists?”

        One fact that concerns some Christians and elates some atheists is that 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most elite scientific organizations in the United States, do not believe in God.

      • John Branyan says:

        That’s what I thought. Your “solid evidence” is your religious interpretation of a completely unrelated statistic.
        Impressive.

        I’ve noticed you haven’t actually linked to that article so we can see that juicy statistic in context.
        Also impressive.

        Keep blowing, Windbag!

      • john zande says:

        How is it unrelated?

        (Can’t link, Mel doesn’t allow it, which is why I always post the article title)

      • John Branyan says:

        …bingo…
        Remember, you’re not the only guy that knows how to Google…

        Here’s the next statement from the article!
        “First, the National Academy of Sciences represents a small number of scientists. The Academy itself comprises only about 2,000 members, while there are more than 2 million scientists employed in the United States as a whole….”

      • john zande says:

        That doesn’t dispute the numbers. It’s also why I earlier made the distinction between the higher and lower sciences. It’s important when you look at something like the Pew study.

        Now, why is it unrelated?

        Please answer…

      • John Branyan says:

        Because you are equating “scientific advancement” with the religious beliefs of individual scientists.

        In order to demonstrate your thesis, you need to cite at least one advancement in science directly contradicts belief in God.

        Don’t bother Googling it. Lots of smart people have tried to do this and failed. The biggest failures usually convert to Christianity.

      • john zande says:

        Yes, and why is that unrelated? A persons knowledge about a subject increases with advancement. In-turn, that affects other elements of their life. In this case, a belief in the gods.

      • John Branyan says:

        Now you’ve completely changed your statement. A “persons knowledge about a subject” is not the same thing as “scientific advancement”.

        You need to figure out what you’re trying to tell me before I can help you understand that you’re wrong.

      • john zande says:

        From wiki:

        In 1916, 1,000 leading American scientists [I’m assuming these are from the higher sciences] were randomly chosen from American Men of Science and 42% believed God existed, 42% disbelieved, and 17% had doubts/did not know.

        Today, that number is much, much higher, or much, much lower, depending on your perspective. 93% of all higher scientists are atheist, 97% if we just take biologists.

        See the pattern emerging in concert with scientific advancement from 1916 to the 2000’s?

        Patterns are pretty.

      • John Branyan says:

        The only pretty pattern I see is your relentless refusal to stay on topic.

      • john zande says:

        That doesn’t even make any sense, but don’t bother trying to explain yourself. I’m already bored.

      • John Branyan says:

        Bored by your own conversation. How intellectual!

        At this point, all you’ve done is cited a statistic about atheism in a small number of scientists in a select group. We don’t know WHY these scientists are atheists. You are ASSUMING it is the result of their scientific endeavors.

        You haven’t demonstrated that “scientific advancement” reduces belief in God. That’s the thing for which you claimed to possess “solid evidence”.

      • john zande says:

        Yes, I have demonstrated that “scientific advancement” reduces belief in God.

        Article: Evangelical Christians overwhelmingly support President Donald Trump because they believe he’ll cause the world to end.

        Evangelical Christians overwhelmingly support President Donald Trump because they believe he’ll cause the world to end.

        Many have questioned why devout evangelicals support Trump, a man who has bragged about sexual assault, lies perpetually and once admitted he never asks God for forgiveness. Trump’s lack of knowledge of the Bible is also well-known.

        Nevertheless, many evangelical Christians believe that Trump was chosen by God to usher in a new era, a part of history called the “end times.” Beliefs about this time period differ, but it is broadly considered the end of the world, the time when Jesus returns to Earth and judges all people.

        Since Mel was talking about theology, are you one of these evangelicals, Branyan?

      • John Branyan says:

        LOL!

        This is what I mean by refusing to stay on topic!

        Voting for Donald Trump has NOTHING to do with scientific advancement or the number of atheist scientists.

      • john zande says:

        I know, but Mel was talking theology, this is theology, and you’d already bored me regarding the original subject. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but…

        Bye.

      • John Branyan says:

        I accept your surrender.
        See you later.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Don’t try and speak for all Chrsitian, Mel. You guys can’t even get your theology right.

        I would grant you that many Christians, including teachers and pastors, have a superficial understanding of Christian theology, and from that can spring erroneous variances and doctrines. But when you’re talking about various views on evolution, Donald Trump, big bang, climate change, etc., you are no longer talking about Christian theology. You are talking about interpretations of the Bible and how diverse Christian groups see the world around them. And your particular argumentation is usually pointed against the fundamentalist in particular, those who hold a Biblicist interpretation. But that has nothing to with Theology.

        Theology is the study of God, and it’s very robust and has been precisely articulated by brilliant Christian theologians over the last 2,000 years. For instance, Christian theology does not teach a god of the gaps. Science does not threaten or replace God. Whether there was a big bang or whether the universe is eternal does not change anything with regard to Christian theology. At the very core of our theology is that all things consist and are held together in Christ in God.

      • john zande says:

        … and from that can spring erroneous variances and doctrines

        And you, of course, are the keeper of The Christian Truth, Mel. Talk about hubris. I’ll give 100 points for sheer arrogance. 0 points, I’m afraid, for humility.

      • Mel Wild says:

        And you, of course, are the keeper of The Christian Truth, Mel. Talk about hubris. I’ll give 100 points for sheer arrogance. 0 points, I’m afraid, for humility.G

        This is puerile nonsense. What I was referring to was well-established core tenets of theology from brilliant Christian thinkers in history, going back Origen, Athanasius, the Cappadocian fathers, Hillary, Augustine, Aquinas, and many others. They are the ones that hammered out the central tenets of theology over centuries of careful thought and reflection.

        Most bad theology today was already argued and found wanting many centuries ago. There are very good reasons these spurious ideas were rejected. And they get resurrected from time to time from people who don’t understand the arguments or reasons that we have developed orthodox theology in the first place. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be honest disagreement of secondary issues of doctrine. That’s not arrogant, John. That’s just the reality of the situation.

      • john zande says:

        What you are talking about is people simply MAKING THINGS UP AS THEY GO ALONG… and nice to see you very conveniently ignored all competing theologies, like Marcionism, Manichaeism, Arianism, the Naassenes, Ophites, Pelagianism etc…

        And modern Christian philosophy/theology is so ridiculous that the chairman of the Reformational Philosophy Association, Gerrit Glas has been noted for saying that:

        postmodern [Christian] writings are often impenetrable.

        But it’s nice to know that you, Mel, know the Truth™, and everyone else is just wrong. (How many people in your church?)

      • Mel Wild says:

        What you are talking about is people simply MAKING THINGS UP AS THEY GO ALONG…

        And that’s just ignorant nonsense.

        …you very conveniently ignored all competing theologies, like Marcionism, Manichaeism, Arianism, the Naassenes, Ophites, Pelagianism etc…

        Haha. I hope you’re not actually serious. Those are some of the very theological ideas that I am talking about. And would add Sabellius to that list. If you actually read the arguments from the ante-nicene fathers, and afterward, instead of listening to popular fiction and conspiracy theories, you would understand just why these ideas were jettisoned.

      • john zande says:

        They were competing theologies… heresies. You people have never been able to agree on anything. And that’s because you’re all just making it up as you go along.

      • Mel Wild says:

        These so called “competing theologies” were argued and soundly defeated for very good reasons. There was no real competition. For instance, of the 300+ Bishops of the first council of Nicaea, only two sided with Arius (including Arius). Hardly a competing theology.

        Your argument is uninformed and bogus. Your assertion that we just “make it as we go along” is ignorant nonsense.

      • john zande says:

        Oh no it’s not. Aseity, for example, is not to be found anywhere in the bible, yet it is a central theme in most Christian theologies… Completely made up, by men.

        But yes, i’m sure you’re right, Mel. Christianity has only ever been one grand happy family with everyone always believing the same thing. No heretics. And there aren’t 42,000 competing sects today… many of whom don’t even believe in the trinity.

        But it’s good to know you are completely in-line with, for example, Marcion. You believe, as Marcion did, that Yhwh of the OT was not the god of the NT? You believe there are two gods, correct?

      • john zande says:

        But yes, I see… Men had to “debate” and “argue” these things… take votes, excommunicate dissenters, kill heretics, edit books, re-edit books, post edicts, re-post updated edicts…

        Got it.

      • Mel Wild says:

        No, you don’t actually have it, but thanks for parroting the most belligerent of the anti-Christian history revisionists.

      • Nan says:

        So, Mel. If JD doesn’t “have it,” what is your perspective on how Christian beliefs came to be? You know, I’m sure, that there are no original documents and what we do have is primarily translations, along with various edits, deletions, and (in at least one case), outright additions.

        How does one determine that “truth” of scripture?

      • john zande says:

        Yes, my apologies… only you Hold The Truth™ 😉

      • Mel Wild says:

        Well, I know the Truth. He’s a person. 🙂

      • John Branyan says:

        More from your cited source:
        “A more accurate description comes from the Pew Research Center, which reported in 2009 that 51 percent of scientists believe that God or some higher power exists, while 41 percent of scientists reject both of those concepts. In addition, while only 2 percent of the general population identifies as atheist, 17 percent of scientists identify themselves with that term.”

      • john zande says:

        LOL

        All “scientists,” you dolt, which includes dentists, podiatrists, computer engineers, chiropractors, sociologists, statisticians, economists…

        Exactly why I drew Mel’s attention to the distinction between Higher Science and Lower Science. The opinions of a dentist and an economist regarding the existence of the gods does not equal the conclusions of an evolutionary biologist and a cosmologist, not when we’re discussing scientific “evidence,” which this post is about.

        Clear now?

      • John Branyan says:

        “The opinions of a dentist and an economist regarding the existence of the gods does not equal the conclusions of an evolutionary biologist and a cosmologist…”

        What a delightful ad hominem argument.

        Yes. You have cleared it up. You cherry picked the first line from an article to maintain the pantomime that “scientific advancement” leads to disbelief in God.

        As usual, you are just a noisy wind.

      • john zande says:

        No, you dolt. The category of “science” in the Pew survey includes dentists, podiatrists, computer engineers, chiropractors, sociologists, statisticians, economists, veterinarians… Every profession that falls under the general banner “science.”

        Again, this is why I drew Mel’s attention to the critical distinction between Higher Science and Lower Science. The National Academy of Sciences members are ALL High Scientists. That is to say, not statisticians, dentists, economists, and veterinarians.

        Doubly clear now, I hope.

      • John Branyan says:

        Oh! Now that you’ve repeated it word-for-word it makes perfect sense! Repeated stupidity becomes wisdom! I fully embrace your baseless, irrational claim that science reduces belief in God.

        It’s now doubly-clear that you’re pantomiming an intellectual. Well done!

      • john zande says:

        Oh, Okay… So you think a dentist’s opinion on evolutionary biology is equal to, or greater than that of an actual evolutionary biologist. You think an economist’s opinion on Quantum Mechanics is equal to, or greater than that of an actual nuclear physicist. You think a podiatrist’s opinion on Cosmic Inflation is equal to, or greater than that of an actual astrophysicist. You think a sociologist’s opinion on genomic antigenic shift is equal to, or greater than that of an actual geneticist.

        Got it.

      • John Branyan says:

        Hey! Here’s an idea, Windbag.

        If you narrow your pool of scientists to only include “scientists who have written books about atheism” then belief in God drops to 0%. Start citing that statistic on Christian blogs!

        “We have solid evidence that 100% of scientists are atheists.” If anybody questions where you got the stats, just repeat the statement!

      • john zande says:

        Oh, Okay… So you think a dentist’s opinion on evolutionary biology is equal to, or greater than that of an actual evolutionary biologist. You think an economist’s opinion on Quantum Mechanics is equal to, or greater than that of an actual nuclear physicist. You think a podiatrist’s opinion on Cosmic Inflation is equal to, or greater than that of an actual astrophysicist. You think a sociologist’s opinion on genomic antigenic shift is equal to, or greater than that of an actual geneticist.

        Got it.

      • John Branyan says:

        Hey! I wrote an article today about how to construct a strawman argument! This is a textbook example. I’m going to use it!

        God can use your useless blather for his glory…Amazing!

      • john zande says:

        No, No, I heard you the first time. If you ever wanted to learn if a plane was good to fly in you’d happily consult a dentist.

        Got it, thanks.

      • john zande says:

        Seriously, I heard you the first time. If you wanted to know about genetic disease you’d consult an economist.

        I got it, really.

      • John Branyan says:

        LOL
        I accept your surrender.

      • john zande says:

        Really, seriously, I did hear you the first time. If you wanted to know about cellular metabolism in eukaryotics you’d ask a podiatrist.

        I understand your position on the matter.

      • ColorStorm says:

        And yet zande……………..

        ………an astrophysicist is clueless as WHY it’s called a PLANE…………….while the dentist needs not his PhD to engage common sense. Apparently the dentist and gardener is more firmly rooted in reality, while your quantum friends are lost as fog trying to nourish themselves off of assumed theories. Enjoy their opinions as to ‘no God,’ but I’m guessing one day you will wake up, and then be the bane of atheists because you succumbed to true wisdom. I patiently await.

        Your so-called science fails you zande.

      • john zande says:

        When Newton discovered the law of gravity it showed God’s handiwork in creation

        Um, sure… If Yhwh’s objective was the production of black holes, not life capable planets.

        But of course, his theory was overthrown by general relativity, which actually explained gravity.

      • Mel Wild says:

        But of course, his theory was overthrown by general relativity, which actually explained gravity.

        Huh? Who has explained gravity, John? We may know the laws of gravity but we have explained nothing.

        As Ludwig Wittgenstein succinctly put it:

        “The great delusion of modernity is that the laws of nature explain the universe for us. The laws of nature describe the regularities. But they explain nothing.”

        And you’re still missing the point. The only thing we can conclude from my inquiry is that whether someone is a theist or an atheist is not based on scientific evidence.

      • john zande says:

        I think you have to brush up on your science history, Mel. General relativity explained the orbit of Mercury. Newton could not. Without that, we wouldn’t have GPS systems, or computers. But you’re half-way correct. Until we understand quantum gravity we’re still missing an awful lot.

        And you’re still missing the point. The only thing we can conclude from my inquiry is that whether someone is a theist or an atheist is not based on scientific evidence.

        Absolute nonsense. 97% of biologists are atheists. 93% of all higher scientists are atheists. Care to explain that without citing the EVIDENCE?

      • Mel Wild says:

        I think you have to brush up on your science history, Mel. General relativity explained the orbit of Mercury. Newton could not. Without that, we wouldn’t have GPS systems, or computers.

        I think you should understand the difference between describing laws of gravity and explaining what gravity is. You are only describing the laws of gravity, not explaining gravity itself. All relativity did was refine the laws; it did nothing to explain what gravity is. The law of gravity does not cause gravity, it’s only describes its regularities. We still have no idea what gravity actually is. And quantum gravity does not escape the problem of causation.

        Absolute nonsense. 97% of biologists are atheists. 93% of all higher scientists are atheists. Care to explain that without citing the EVIDENCE?

        Your connection is fallacious and unfounded. There are many reasons people decide to be either be theists or atheists. Your sweeping generalization is just that. I could just as easily say it’s because they have an a priori materialist worldview that constricts their understanding and prevents them from considering anything beyond their myopic worldview. So their argument against anything outside this worldview just becomes circular.

        As Eugenie Scott rightly said about science itself: “Science neither denies nor opposes the supernatural, but ignores the supernatural for methodological reasons.” It’s only when science becomes a worldview (scientism, materialism) instead of a method of inquiry that there is contention.

      • john zande says:

        Your sweeping generalization

        Oh, and what you call 97%?

      • Mel Wild says:

        Okay, I will use your same faulty logic. 100% of atheist scientists are materialists, which is why they don’t believe.

      • john zande says:

        What faulty logic?

        I’m citing facts, and the numbers are overwhelming.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Your conclusion, not the facts, are what is in question.

      • john zande says:

        Oh, you don’t think one can draw a pretty good conclusion from 97% uniformity?

        Really?

        And FYI, the same survey of scientists done in the early years olf the 20th Century found that the splt was about 50/50 concerning belief amongst the higher sciences. Of course, science has progressed hugely since then, and that accumulated knowledge now gives us 93%/97% not believing.

    • John Branyan says:

      I see no evidence that 93% of scientists don’t believe in the gods.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Yes, and 73.2% of statistics are made up on the spot (including this one).

      • john zande says:

        Unlike you, I don’t have to lie.

        From Catholic Answers: “Does It Matter That Many Scientists Are Atheists?”

        One fact that concerns some Christians and elates some atheists is that 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences

      • john zande says:

        Apologies, complete quote from Catholic Answers article is:

        One fact that concerns some Christians and elates some atheists is that 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most elite scientific organizations in the United States, do not believe in God.

  3. Wally Fry says:

    This is a great question, Mel, and anyone who answers honestly will admit the reason is one heart is willing to surrender, and one is filled with pride. You won’t get an answer, though, but will only get pride filled declarations that your question is “framed” wrongly. Since every question you ask is simply the wrong question worded the wrong way, the scoffers release themselves from any obligation to defend their particular view.

    • john zande says:

      So, you’re saying 93% of all scientists (the higher sciences, not dentists) are pridefilled?

      Interesting.

      • Wally Fry says:

        That is exactly what I am saying.

      • john zande says:

        Yep, and climate change is a hoax.

        Got it.

      • Wally Fry says:

        Huh? What? Did I fall into a parallel universe where there are multiple meanings? Um…we aren’t talking about climate change here John, and that has nothing to do with anything. Ugh, now I remember why you are a colossal waste of time. But, you do illustrate the point quite clearly. You are not only so full of yourself that you choose to reject the one who made you, but you assign things to another you cannot possibly know to be true. Pride, pride and more pride. Thanks for supporting my argument.

      • john zande says:

        Thanks for demonstrating that you are the reason why shampoo bottles come with instructions.

      • Wally Fry says:

        LOL. John. Look. I am pretty sure there is universal agreement, at least among your crew that I am a fundamentalist moron. No prob, as I frankly don’t care what you or anybody else thinks. However, that conclusion does nothing to answer the question posed. Did you know they actually say the instructions twice? Wash, rinse….and repeat. Yet, the question remains, and you continue to hide your no answer in a cloud of diversions and insults. LOL!!

      • john zande says:

        No, no, I heard you the first time. You believe 9.3 out of every 10 scientists on the planet are pridefilled idiots.

        Thanks for your opinion.

      • Wally Fry says:

        No, they aren’t idiots John. I am sure they are quite smart. Again, that is exactly the point. Faith in God is not a factor of one’s brain power, it is a factor of one’s heart. How did they divide that 9th guy up anyway? LOL!

      • john zande says:

        Faith in God is not a factor of one’s brain power

        Exactly! Which was preciserly what I was pointing out to Mel. Collins is NOT a believer in Yhwh because his science informs him of that belief, but rather he is a believe for emotional reasons.

        Thanks for conforming my point, Wally.

      • Wally Fry says:

        So, anything not informed by science is not valid?

        Wow…okay.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Wally, I think you already know that it’s going to be a very frustrating endeavor to get JohnZ to honestly answer a question. He will just do his diversionary tactics and demean what you believe instead of actually having an honest answer to the question.

      • Wally Fry says:

        Too late, Mel….but thanks for the warning!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Great point, Wally. I won’t hold my breath on an honest answer. I’m sure I framed the question wrong. 🙂

  4. It’s an interesting question, Mel. For me, Wally’s answer resonates, “one heart is willing to surrender, and one is filled with pride.”

    Speaking from experience here, smart people can be some of the dumbest people too, mostly because we tend to rely on our own understanding. So yes, pride. To really observe the evidence without bias as a scientist might, requires some intellectual humility and some wide eyed curiousity and wonder. You have to be open to possibilities. So, “come unto me like a little child” or “become as little children” is a great way to phrase it.

  5. ColorStorm says:

    hey mel-

    To be fair, there are mistakes in both camps, both Dawkins AND Collins.

    Dawkins for saying ‘there is no God,’ and Collins for saying God’s word cannot be trusted as to the creation of one pair of humans as the federal head of the human race, Adam as the first complete male, and Evee as the mother of ALL living, as the good book states with full confidence.

    People putting their faith in Collins findings which DISAGREE with scripture, is not too smart.

    Dawkins is clueless as to pure beginnings and science which always, Always, ALWAYS agrees with scripture, and Collins while wrong about Mr. And Mrs Adam, at least gives God the courtesy of existing. In this, Dawkins is egregious, while Collins is only wrong about interpretation; in this he is not alone. Heck, how many so called Christians think the flood is a mere tale?

  6. Rebecca says:

    John, my two cents for what it’s worth…:) I’ve studied one of Dr. Collin’s books, and have also visited the site, BioLogos. I think science does inform Dr. Collin’s belief. I think it is partly his work and knowledge as a scientist that has led him to conclude that there is a creator. He feels that the structure of the universe, itself, contains signposts that point toward God. I definitely don’t feel that he is engaging in cognitive dissonance, either.

    Also, how can we know that Dr. Collins had death anxiety, at all, or that this explains most Christian conversion? I came to faith as a relatively young person, and was not even thinking about death, really, let alone to have a deep concern around it.

  7. Nan says:

    … why did these two scientists make opposite conclusions about God?

    Because we’re not robots. We each experience life differently and these experiences tend to dictate how we live our lives … and how we interpret events and circumstances.

    The point being … none of us is more “right” in our view of the world than the next person. The only constant is we’re all human beings..

    • Mel Wild says:

      I would totally agree with the first part, Nan. We are not robots. We are not disinterested and unbiased observers. And how we interpret experiences and evidence will greatly affect our decisions. We all have a worldview and bias that we bring into our view of things.

      I might partly disagree with the second part. If you mean there is no right or wrong view, then I would disagree. Someone is right and someone is wrong about these things. But what I think you’re saying is that it’s a matter of whether we can prove which one is right or wrong that’s questionable. So, in that sense, I do agree that our perspective may be unprovable, which is why we should respect each other’s views, even if we disagree with it. Again, as you said, we’re not robots. We must make up our own minds.

      • Nan says:

        Someone is right and someone is wrong about these things … it’s a matter of whether we can prove which one is right or wrong that’s questionable. “Proof” has nothing to do with it … it’s personal interpretation based on, as I said, life

        Moreover, what we as a “civilized society” consider right or wrong may differ considerably among the more primitive peoples that live on this earth, not to mention differences among people living in other countries.

        Based on your profession, it seems likely your personal standards of right and wrong are based on a centuries old book. But not everyone uses this same criteria. Why? Because each person’s life experiences are different.

      • Mel Wild says:

        “Proof” has nothing to do with it … it’s personal interpretation based on, as I said, life’

        Yes, Nan, but in the end, someone is right and someone is wrong about the existence of God. That will not be based on experiences or opinions. Furthermore, the laws of nature do not care about our experiences or opinion, they just are. Not everything is relative.

        Based on your profession, it seems likely your personal standards of right and wrong are based on a centuries old book.

        Yes, that’s true in a sense. There are some things that are relative and change with culture. But that would also miss the point of what is being said in that centuries old book. Justice and injustice, right and wrong, really don’t change in human relationships that matter. For instance, it’s still wrong to murder, rape, steal, or lie. These are timeless truths that are independent of our particular worldview of things. And my “profession” is based in the central tenet of other-centered, self-giving love. And that tenet never becomes irrelevant.

      • Nan says:

        but in the end, someone is right and someone is wrong about the existence of God.

        In what end? Life? And if then, who’s to say … 😉

      • Mel Wild says:

        Well, we will see, won’t we. But you cannot say that both are right. That’s irrational. Either God exists or He does not exist.

  8. ColorStorm says:

    To zande and nan

    So what if 95% are godless. It was you who claimed that 90% of rabbis said Moses never lived…….

    Seems to be a pattern here. lol

    It’s a good thing that truth is not a democratic process that relies on votes or popularity. Admit it folks and be honest. It’s not that you do not believe the testimony of scripture; it’s just that you do not like what the scriptures say about the beginning of life, its history, the distinct earth, people, and the temporary arrangement of the sun and the moon. Then there are those lights called stars which so called scientists are equally clueless as to their purpose.

    But what should concern you is the few ‘scientists’ who know Degrasse, Nye, Dawkins, are missing a few crucial ingredients in their determination.

    But it’s the same old story: the created sitting in judgement of the Creator while being oblivious that they have been given dominion and gifts to create, so unlike the prairie dog. But majority rule? No thank you.

  9. keithnoback says:

    Why the divergent views?
    Because the mound of words upon which people declaim “God”, supports any position.
    What most all speakers advocate is a set of attitudes, attached to a word which does not represent a concept.
    Evidence is irrelevant.

  10. John Branyan says:

    “What most all speakers advocate is a set of attitudes, attached to a word which does not represent a concept.”

    This is incoherent.
    Do you have an example of what you’re talking about?

    • keithnoback says:

      No, that’s just non-cognitivism.
      “God is love. Allah is merciful.” = feelin’ good.
      What do you think someone who says, “God is love” is thinking about? A general condition of the universe? A person’s emotional state (in which the person is that state)?
      Is it a metaphor which refers to …what?
      No, it is a declaration of the speaker’s attitude.

      • John Branyan says:

        Oh.
        I guess I still don’t understand your gripe. Does it annoy you when someone says “love is a river” too?

      • keithnoback says:

        Oh, not a gripe, really. I just get the sense that Collins’ religion is a devotional practice, like most people’s.
        It doesn’t make sense to say that there is evidence for or against a devotional practice.
        Is love a river? What the hell is that supposed to mean?
        Ok, maybe that does annoy me. Just a little bit

      • john zande says:

        I just get the sense that Collins’ religion is a devotional practice,

        Exactly.

      • John Branyan says:

        Religion is a devotional practice. Got it.
        What makes your atheism different from Collins’ religion?

      • Wally Fry says:

        Keith Hi.
        So, you have independently made the assessment that a fellow’s faith is nothing but a devotional practice? I assume you made that assessment after much personal contact and perhaps personal friendship? Otherwise, it seems pretty presumptuous to evaluate a fellow’s faith when you don’t even know him, or even know a person who knows him. It’s actually odd in general when people who believe absolutely nothing in regards to faith issues, other than they refuse to have any…..evaluate the quality of the faith of those who have it. In effect what you are doing here is just what John Z does. You don’t actually provide anything to refute what was actually said in a post or answer the question. First John Z says the question posed was invalid, therefore no answer required. Now, you seem to be asserting Francis Collins faith is not real, again rendering the question invalid.

        You guys make my head hurt.

      • keithnoback says:

        “What makes your atheism different from Collins’ religion?”
        I imagine it has much less personal importance, for one thing. I answer to the name because it fits close enough. Really, I’m more ignostic: when people start making propositions around the word, “God”, what comes out is internally inconsistent…with maybe one exception, which yields a little-‘g’-God. So, I stand by my position, with a small caveat.
        ” …is nothing but a devotional practice…”
        Really? That is a consistent and respectable way of going about things. And, I thought I made it clear that I got the impression (from what Collins has said and written).
        Maybe he would tell me I got it completely wrong, in person.
        It wouldn’t change the current issue, but would raise a new one.

  11. Ry Summers says:

    [Comment edited for length and relevance]

    Going into why Dawkins, a Christian turned atheist, and Collins, an atheist turned Christian, could have such opposing views with the same evidence available, I’ll point to something Collins related in a story he was telling in his talk (and I’ll be paraphrasing): “The woman told me about her beliefs and illustrated the hope and courage and faith she feels for what’s to come.”

    I took “what’s to come” to mean death. Religion satisfies our fear of death, if one is burdened by such fears. I was Christian. I remember fearing death, and fearing going to Hell if I wasn’t saved. But as I learned more and more about my faith, and actually read the Holy Book of my faith, I began understanding more and more that my place in God’s Kingdom would not be dictated by works or even by faith in his son, but by a whim (this is illustrated in the Book of Romans).

    I lost my faith when I realized death is a fact of life, and nothing to fear. In fact, a scientist asked a moderator, “Do you remember what it was like before you were conceived?” I’ve thought about this, myself. The answer is, no, I don’t remember what it was like before I was conceived. I don’t know what it was like not to exist prior to 1982.

    Collins is a Christian because, in his words, it satisfies his spiritual hunger. I can only imagine how lost he felt in such an uncaring universe: that there was no purpose, no reason to do anything, no reason to live, and nothing for him after he dies. His fear is the thing I believe motivated him, the suffering in his gut at the prospect of not existing. I’d be of the assumption that Dawkins has less of a fear of death than does Collins. I’m not saying that atheists, in general, are not afraid to die. For my part, I’m only afraid of the manner by which I will die (I’d prefer not to suffer through to the end). But I’m excited at the prospect of lending my body to the world to continue life’s circle.

    This is all conjecture, mind you. I doubt anyone can give you a satisfactory answer to your question without being able to know what is actually in the minds of Dawkins and Collins, and without actually knowing the entire body of evidence with which they’re working (though Collins seems pretty forthright with respect to his beliefs being based on the four points he addresses). I’m of a mind that while people tend to say what they believe, people don’t always tell the full story, so the question you ask about the thing that led the two to wholly different conclusions will likely not have a legitimate answer from any of us commenting on your post.

    It’s a great question, all the same. Thank you for writing this.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Ry. Thank you for your comments. I had to edit your comments because they were very long and you went into argumentations that have been discussed at length in apologetics and not relevant here. For this post, I’m more interested in your answer to my question, which you have given here. I will respond to a few of your comments here.

      I took “what’s to come” to mean death. Religion satisfies our fear of death, if one is burdened by such fears.

      It’s true that fear is a strong motivator, and certainly a factor for some conversions. Unfortunately, Western evangelists often trade on fearmongering (escape hell, tribulation, etc.). But these are poor substitutes for the Gospel, which means “good news that brings great joy.” The Gospel is not about fear but finding life in a transformational love that drives out all fear. Paul said we’re compelled by love. There is no fear in love or God. And the only axiomatic terms for God in the Bible are that God is love and that He is light. Both are transformational. So, the Gospel is an invitation to know God the way He knows Himself. And from that intimate relationship we are changed from the inside-out. Eternal life is not about a place you go to when you die; it’s about knowing God in Christ, now, tomorrow, and forever.

      Collins is a Christian because, in his words, it satisfies his spiritual hunger. I can only imagine how lost he felt in such an uncaring universe: that there was no purpose, no reason to do anything, no reason to live, and nothing for him after he dies.

      Spiritual hunger and feeling lost in a sense of purposeless is a very good point, but what you said afterward does not necessarily follow. Spiritual hunger is not based in fear. While there could be angst in our souls about the meaning of our lives, spiritual hunger is more based in an intuitive need we may not even understand ourselves, including meaning and purpose and, again, love. A life in Christ makes sense of our lives and the world around us. And it is comforting to know that our life does not end with our death, we will see our loved ones again, there will be no more pain and suffering, etc., but that is only one of many side benefits.

      This is all conjecture, mind you. I doubt anyone can give you a satisfactory answer to your question without being able to know what is actually in the minds of Dawkins and Collins…

      I agree. We cannot know what actually was in their thinking during each step of the process. As I said to the others, my only point in bringing up these two scientists in contrast was to show that scientific evidence doesn’t necessarily lead someone away from God. And this is because science can neither prove or disprove God, nor is it a threat to our belief in God. And Collins proves that you don’t have to leave evolutionary science to embrace Christ.

    • Nan says:

      I personally enjoyed your refreshing comment. And agree with much of it. Of course, Mel has attempted to counter your claims with his “spiritual perspective,” but then he’s a pastor so that’s part of what he does. 🙂

      • Mel Wild says:

        Of course, Mel has attempted to counter your claims with his “spiritual perspective,” but then he’s a pastor so that’s part of what he does. 🙂

        I, too, thought Ry’s comments had merit and agreed with those points. Where I “counter” is when I feel my position (or Christianity in general) is being misrepresented (like the popular notion that we come to Christ because of fear anxiety, etc.), which I’m sure you would also do for what you believe. 🙂

  12. Rebecca says:

    Guys, Dr. Collins is an orthodox, Christian believer who affirms the concept of God as trinity. He was greatly influenced in his youth by aspects of the work of CS Lewis. Truly, he is not a deist or seeing the Christian faith as simply a meditative practice.

    • John Branyan says:

      As Keith said early, “evidence is irrelevant.”
      Francis Collins believes whatever the atheists say he believes.
      Period.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I agree, Rebecca. When people try to reduce Christianity down to a devotional practice they are showing they clearly don’t understand the difference between a religion like Zen Buddhism and authentic Christianity.

    • keithnoback says:

      “…seeing the Christian faith as simply a meditative practice.”
      Don’t you think that’s a false dichotomy? Many of the religious people that I have known, practice their religion because they think it makes them better people, primarily.
      That is one way that people can acknowledge the same set of facts and come to different conclusions (which was the original question, I think) – on the basis of their metaphysics and the perceived consequences of their metaphysics.
      And they can do that without being crazy.
      If that’s not clear enough, let’s do the reductio on your position: How many Christians do you know who are Christians solely because God appeared before them and gave explicit instructions?
      And folks currently on aripiprazole don’t count.
      The nuts and bolts typically follow, which is why apologetics is called apologetics.

      • Mel Wild says:

        “…seeing the Christian faith as simply a meditative practice.”
        Don’t you think that’s a false dichotomy? Many of the religious people that I have known, practice their religion because they think it makes them better people, primarily.

        Keith, there’s nothing wrong with your statement as long as you understand that your observation doesn’t actually describe the relationship or the experience. The problem with your statement is that it’s a superficial observation, at best. The key word you used before is that it “seems,” which is a perfectly valid observation. And certainly there are “religious” people who never go beyond the level of a social club. But that’s not actually Christianity. It would be like saying that my relationship with my wife is a domestic practice. While superficially true, it does not explain my marriage, It cannot begin to describe the experience of love, the shared life together, and the transformational nature of this shared life. Or, like a father or mother holding their baby for the first time, you cannot begin to describe the actual transformational experience of that particular kind of love unless you have experienced it yourself. To reduce it down to a simple emotional bond would not begin to describe it.

      • keithnoback says:

        My point exactly.
        So, do you think that there is some compelling, “natural theology” explanation which justifies your marriage?
        Need there be?
        Your question was, to paraphrase: if the evidence is compelling, they why doesn’t the evidence compel certain beliefs?
        My answer is that beliefs are functional or not, and that function determines the evidential base which compels the believer.
        That base may therefore differ, happily.

      • Mel Wild says:

        So, do you think that there is some compelling, “natural theology” explanation which justifies your marriage?

        My point is that evidence is more than what the natural sciences can ever tell us. Certainly, physical attraction and natural compatibility play an important part. For instance, I might try a dating service and find someone that the algorithm tells me is totally compatible with me, according to the science. We may meet and even hit it off in a friendly way, but it doesn’t mean that I will actually want this person as my wife. This is because love is so much more than the data that determines these things. We are more than our biology.

        As long as we realize that natural science can only take us so far, I think we’re fine. But when we confine our worldview to science then we’re trying to make square pegs fit into round holes in some cases. The area of consciousness and experiential evidence is a case in point, I think.

  13. John Branyan says:

    Hey Mel,

    I’d never tell you how to live your life, write your blog, or eat an Oreo but you might consider selecting another poster-boy for atheism. We should try to be charitable to the godless nitwits many of whom are embarrassed by Dawkins sophomoric understanding of religion and philosophy. I understand you were trying to compare “science to science” and I have no beef with Dawkins as a scientist. But Dawkins theology is a comedy and there are many prominent atheists who recognize that.

    I don’t even talk about Dawkins anymore unless an atheist (foolishly) brings him up. It’s just not fair to hang Dawkins theology on every atheist in the world. It’s like hanging Fred Phelps theology on every Baptist.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I totally get your point, John B, but my question is where am I going to get a good atheist example that doesn’t have an abysmal understanding of theology and rational thought? Dennett? Harris? Carrier? They’re just as bad, if not worse! Quite embarrassing as well. As David Bentley Hart points out, there hasn’t been a formidable atheist since Nietzsche.

      • John Branyan says:

        LOL
        I was thinking that as I wrote my criticism! “Who is Mel supposed to use as an example?”

        Then I thought, oh well, that’s his problem, not mine! I sort of hoped I could slide that past you without you noticing…

  14. “Don’t try and speak for all Chrsitian, Mel. You guys can’t even get your theology right.”

    All in good humor here, but I have spoken to hundreds of Christians, some who are wrong about just about everything, some who I can’t even hardly stand to be around, and yet there is still an essence to our theology that unites us all. Considering the bible is actually made up of 66 books, written across continents and centuries by all different people, that truth is actually downright miraculous. Without some major Divine intervention, our beliefs would not be so well preserved,so well understood, by so many diverse people of limited understanding. Often we really can’t get our theology “right,” but our theology is actually in the hands of a person, Jesus Christ.

    • jim- says:

      Every Christian thinks the others are doing it wrong. In this I agree with them!

      • Mel Wild says:

        Every Christian thinks the others are doing it wrong. In this I agree with them!

        The first sentence is an untrue absolutism, but I’ll give you points for being clever. 🙂

      • jim- says:

        I live in an area heavy in SDA JW Mennonite LDS and evangelical. I’ve learned “clever” in self defense. Pure evolutionary tactic.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Point taken. 🙂

      • Correct Jim. “Essence” = Open belief-system.

        An open belief-system is the antithesis of Canon or Canonical Bible, especially the 4th-century CE canonical New Testament. This explains why the Christian Apologist’s Goal-posts are always moving, contorting to various or wild degrees to fit or defend THEIR personal or denomination’s opinions of their god. It’s not only mind-boggling — or as they also postulate an absence of the Holy Spirit’s anointing — but it is also impossible to know what is also incomprehensible; another circular trait of their God. LOL 😉

    • Mel Wild says:

      Good points, IB. I think part of the problem is that we kind of lump all doctrine together and call it “theology,” when it technically is about the nature and study of God. And we must distinguish between someone being ignorant of revealed Christian theology and there actually being hopeless divergent views on theology. A careful study of the core tenets of orthodox Christianity will show that we pretty much have the same theology, or Christology in particular.

      Where the variations are have more to do other doctrinal issues outside of these core tenets.

  15. Neil Rickert says:

    Francis Collins probably values the sense of community that he gets with his religious group. Friendship and a welcoming community can be a different kind of evidence from that used by science.

    Most scientists probably find a strong enough community among their fellow scientists. But if Christian were not so anti-science, perhaps more of those scientists would participate in communities of Christians.

    • Mel Wild says:

      But if Christian were not so anti-science, perhaps more of those scientists would participate in communities of Christians.

      I would totally agree with you. But you should know that Max Tegmark did a UROP study at MIT in 2013 and only found that 11% of American Christians were anti-science. It’s mostly extreme fundamentalists in various faiths. So, there is common ground to be had.

      • john zande says:

        No, it found that 11% BELONGED to “churches” who had a public policy of rejecting science.

        Perhaps you should read the actual paper, Mel.

      • Mel Wild says:

        But, even so, that doesn’t change the point. Christianity, as a whole, is not necessarily anti-science, only a certain segment.

      • john zande says:

        Even so? No, not even so… You’re peddling a lie.

        The study did not interview individuals, as you try to imply, rather it classified ‘faith groups,’ and looked at those group’s PUBLIC STATEMENTS/POSITIONS on origins science. If we want to look at individuals, then as found in Gallup, repeatedly, nearly 50% of the religious in the US believe “God” created man in his present form less 5,000 years ago. YOU believe this, Mel… Maybe not the 5,000 year bit, but you believe Yhwh created man.

        That is anti-science.

      • Neil Rickert says:

        11% seems too low. And, in any case, these are among the most outspoken Christians, so their influence exceeds their percentage.

      • Mel Wild says:

        I agree on the influence part. The ones who are the most against science are definitely the most vocal. But I think that is slowly changing. At least I hope so. 🙂

  16. John Branyan says:

    Hey Mel,

    If you have a garden, you should give JZ a call. He is gifted at constructing strawmen and no doubt could build you an excellent scarecrow.

  17. Mel,

    Because of the well known Placebo-effect, peer-pressure, peer-assimilation (orthodoxy), and Mob or Herd Mentality, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Collins returned (to some degree?) to atheism, agnosticism, or some non-theistic ideology, and Dawkins returned (to some degree?) to theism or Christianity. Hahahaha! 😛

    Human neurology and emotions are a powerfully influential and finicky condition, especially under trying and/or traumatic circumstances — e.g. prolonged physical, mental, and emotional fatigue — and the human brain’s coping, like the Fight-or-Flight mechanism, can become like a pendulum. Veterans with PTSD often exhibit this fluid behavior. Hence, for me these two gentlemen exemplify several very unique, but very HUMAN attributes. Neither have sufficient weight to sway, change, or support any ‘universal’ condition or movement. Furthermore, there are a plethora of other scholars in this area and related important disciplines that can greatly contribute to an overall picture for everyone to hear/read and analyze. That is wise and highly recommended. 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      What you’re saying is true here, whether or not these were significant factors in Collins’ and Dawkins’ decisions is speculative, at best.

      As a philosopher once said, if God does not exist, then believing in God is a delusion; but if God does exist, then atheism is the delusion. 🙂

      • Which is why I am a very happy Freethinking Humanist! I deal with and prioritize what is immediately real and immediately needed. And that takes up MOST of my time & efforts. LOL 😁

  18. Ron says:

    I suppose it’s similar to the story of two Sudanese brothers raised under the same roof by a Muslim father and a Christian mother. One became a Christian minister, while the other became a Muslim. Why did they chose differently despite having ample opportunity to examine the merits of both religions side-by-side? Shouldn’t their beliefs have coalesced around one text or the other?

    While there is no authoritative definition of science, the Science Council defines it as: “the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.”

    Science concerns itself only with the natural world and profers no opinions on religious matters, so it is entirely possible for scientists to compartamentalize their religious beliefs from their academic pursuits. And if I remember correctly, Francis Collins once stated that his faith was conditioned by fears of his own mortality.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Science concerns itself only with the natural world and profers no opinions on religious matters, so it is entirely possible for scientists to compartamentalize their religious beliefs from their academic pursuits.

      I would totally agree with this statement. I think as long as we understand this, both can benefit from the other.

      And if I remember correctly, Francis Collins once stated that his faith was conditioned by fears of his own mortality.

      I’ve heard this before and I do believe he said this in his testimony. What I believe Collins means by this is that he realized his own mortality in the scheme of things, what his life was all about, and that was very humbling. This was a factor that opened the way to the idea of a transcendent God or being. This is, indeed, one factor that can play a part but it cannot be what sustains Christian faith. It also misses the main factor. Our faith can only be sustained by love. There is no fear in love, and God is love, according to our theology. As the apostle Paul said, we are compelled by love to live for Him, not fear.

      Thanks for your comments, Ron.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s