RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

    
  Topic: Francis Collins is not a bright guy, Atheism< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Peter Henderson



Posts: 298
Joined: Aug. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2008,12:55   

Given the gentleman that he is (although I disagree with his theology), I assume this comment by Richard Dawkins about Francis Collins was tounge-in-cheek ????:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=y7ZY1P3lVDk

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2008,16:54   

Dawkins calls Collins "a very good scientist" and "a bright guy", and affirms that Collins is "a much brighter guy than Tony Blair".

When Maher tells him that Collins believes there was an actual talking snake in the Garden of Eden, †Dawkins revises his opinion:
Quote
He does?! In that case he goes right down in my estimation. †He's not a bright guy.


--------------
And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
Peter Henderson



Posts: 298
Joined: Aug. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2008,17:20   

Could you not say the same about any scientist who believes that a human being rose from the dead or that a female virgin gave birth, since neither of these are scientifically possible either ? Certainly not any more than a talking snake.

Is Dawkins really saying that all scientists who are Christians are "not very bright" or is he just being facetious ?

  
Reed



Posts: 274
Joined: Feb. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2008,19:38   

Quote (Peter Henderson @ April 19 2008,15:20)

Could you not say the same about any scientist who believes that a human being rose from the dead or that a female virgin gave birth, since neither of these are scientifically possible either

Absolutely. To accept any of those as literal fact on the basis of some stories handed down in a 2000+ year game of telephone is not rational.
Quote

Is Dawkins really saying that all scientists who are Christians are "not very bright" or is he just being facetious ?

No, Dawkins makes it abundantly clear he isn't talking about all Christians. That's what started the whole exchange! The "not very bright" applies to those who insist the bible is literal truth, which is a subset of people who consider themselves Christian.

It seems obvious to me there was some humor involved. Clearly he thinks that accepting the idea of a talking snake is not very bright, but I doubt he'd claim that holding it prevents someone from being brilliant in other respects.

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,15:28   

hey i don't know snakes can't talk but i don't think they can.  i'm pretty sure that the way the argument is formed is the thing that we properly ridicule, not the claim itself.  Of course, when enough is known about the claim this serves as a reasonable proxy (ridiculing epistemology is not the same as ridiculing knowledge).  Prove to me that the snake CAN NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TALK.  Of course we know that is bollocks.  But saying The Bible Told Me So, yeah that is probably not very bright.  But then what does that mean.  I'm not so sure that this is a very well-thought or defensible claim, Reed.  It's easy to show that no one acts rationally, contingent upon defining 'rational'.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell.†Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
don_quixote



Posts: 110
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,16:03   

Francis Collins is a biologist. He knows that snakes don't have vocal cords. If he believes in a talking snake because of the Bible, that's petty dumb.

  
Robert O'Brien



Posts: 348
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,17:36   

As I commented on another version of that clip, it is hard to decide which one, Dawkins or Maher, is a bigger p.o.s. Their research output for the last twenty years is equivalent, though.

As for the talking snake, I see it as a literary fiction that has no bearing on the truth of Christianity, which is centered on the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

--------------
Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei

    
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,17:37   

Was this referenced by Maher to something specific that Collins said?

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,19:41   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 20 2008,18:37)
Was this referenced by Maher to something specific that Collins said?

It kinda went down like this, as they were discussing Collins.

Maher said something about Collins being a bright guy, and also being a believer.

Dawkins said something to the effect of 'he's a bright guy, I doubt he believes in a literal talking snake'.

Maher replied that he had interviewed him, and he absolutely did believe in a literal talking snake.

That's when Dawkins retracted his statement and said Collins wasn't so bright after all.

(All paraphrased.)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,20:03   

Reed, I think you're mistaken.  Dawkins has made it abundantly clear for many years that anyone who literally believes in God, in the Christian sense or otherwise, is not very bright.  This comment is nothing more then the application of his feelings to a specific individual.

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,20:13   

Quote (skeptic @ April 20 2008,21:03)
Reed, I think you're mistaken.  Dawkins has made it abundantly clear for many years that anyone who literally believes in God, in the Christian sense or otherwise, is not very bright.  This comment is nothing more then the application of his feelings to a specific individual.

You're hearing what you want to hear.  Please start paying attention.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,21:07   

I agree that Skeptic's argument doesn't connect premises and conclusion. On the other hand, Maher's interview experience doesn't seem to be directly verifiable, either.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,21:21   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 20 2008,22:07)
I agree that Skeptic's argument doesn't connect premises and conclusion. On the other hand, Maher's interview experience doesn't seem to be directly verifiable, either.

Indeed, I can find no direct verification of such a statement either.

In the last minute or so of this video, he clearly and unequivocally states he accepts that the universe is 13+ billion years old.

It's unlikely then that he's in any way a literalist.

I'd like to see the interview that Maher references, but can't seem to find it online.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,21:44   

This PBS interview would seem to suggest he doesn't take the Bible literally:

Quote
QUESTION: As a scientist, have you ever found that your faith has conflicted with your scientific work?

MR. COLLINS: I actually do not believe that there are any collisions between what I believe as a Christian, and what I know and have learned about as a scientist. I think there's a broad perception that that's the case, and thatís what scares many scientists away from a serious consideration of faith. But, unless one chooses to make an absolutely literal interpretation of the book of Genesis and the story of creation -- which I believe is not a choice that people made even before science came along in the last century to cast some doubt upon the timing of the creation events -- other than that I am not aware of any reasons why one cannot be a completely dedicated person of faith who believes that God inspired the writings in the Bible, and also be a rigorous, intellectually completely honest scientist, who does not accept things about the natural world until they're proven.


--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,21:50   

I really think you guys need to be objective about who Dawkins is.  I admit that I am biased in my interpretation of his remarks but they are so numerous and when you state that religion is a sign of intellectual immaturity and you hope that one day all of us move beyond that then its very hard to not infer the same.

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,21:54   

'nuther PBS interview

Quote

BOB ABERNETHY: Several recent best-selling books have sharpened the old debate between some scientists and some religionists over creation, evolution and, among other issues, stem cell research.

We want to re-run today a story we carried this past summer about a man who is both a research scientist and an evangelical Christian, and sees no conflict between the two fields. He is Dr. Francis Collins, who led the massive effort to discover the human genetic code. His book is called "The Language of God."

From the National Institutes of Health, just outside Washington, Francis Collins led an international team that deciphered most of the human genetic code by the year 2000.

Photo of Collins Dr. FRANCIS COLLINS (Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health and Author, THE LANGUAGE OF GOD): The Human Genome Project was this audacious, absolutely unheard of, ambitious effort to read out all of the letters of the human DNA code, all three billion of them -- an enormously challenging problem. And yet, over those next 13 years, we finished the job early, two years ahead of schedule and actually under budget, which surprised everybody, especially in Washington, D.C.

ABERNETHY: When President Clinton announced the achievement, Collins spoke about it both as a scientist and as a man of religious faith.

Dr. COLLINS (at Press Conference): It is humbling for me and awe-inspiring to realize that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.

ABERNETHY: Collins describes the decoding, for him, as both a great scientific experience and an experience of worship. Now Collins says the new knowledge of how genes work, and in disease how they sometimes don't work, is beginning to revolutionize the practice of medicine. Already, a drug based on genetic understanding is controlling adult leukemia, and...

Dr. COLLINS: Cancer is very much at the front end, because cancer is a genetic disease. Photo of Genetic codeIt comes about because of mistakes in DNA. So there are dozens of drugs now in clinical trials that are based on understanding the cancer genome. And they won't all work, but some of them will.

ABERNETHY: Not far behind, says Collins, is the development of drugs for Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease, asthma and diabetes. Collins is also a strong supporter of stem cell research, and he thinks there's a way to do this that, for him, removes the moral objections to destroying a human embryo. Collins favors what's called somatic cell nuclear transfer, in which the nucleus of an egg is replaced by the nucleus of, for instance, a cell of skin.

Photo of Collins Dr. COLLINS: Now that is very different in my mind, morally, than the union of sperm and egg. We do not in nature see somatic cell nuclear transfer occurring. This is a purely manmade event. And yet somehow we have attached to the product of that kind of activity the same moral status as the union of sperm and egg. I don't know quite how we got there.

ABERNETHY: Meanwhile, as grateful as Collins is for the healing his work will make possible, he's troubled by its contribution to the battle between some believers and most scientists over evolution -- what Collins calls the "flash point" between science and faith.

Photo of Stem Cell Dr. COLLINS: What I want to say about this I also want to say with great love and understanding for my fellow believers, who have a different view. But for me as a scientist, when I look at DNA -- our own, that of the human species -- the evidence that we are all descended from a common ancestor is overwhelming. Some might wish that not to be so. It is so. Does this conflict with Genesis 1 and 2? I don't believe it does.

ABERNETHY: The genetic code, says Collins, supports other evidence that human beings evolved from about 10,000 "founders" between 100-150,000 years ago, probably in East Africa.

Dr. COLLINS: One of my greatest heartaches is that at the present time serious believers, [who] believe that they have to defend a literal interpretation of Genesis in order to defend their faith, find themselves contradicting facts that God Almighty has given us the ability to discover.


--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,21:57   

Quote (skeptic @ April 20 2008,22:50)
I really think you guys need to be objective about who Dawkins is.  I admit that I am biased in my interpretation of his remarks but they are so numerous and when you state that religion is a sign of intellectual immaturity and you hope that one day all of us move beyond that then its very hard to not infer the same.

That's a whole different thing than saying "people who believe in any sort of god are not very bright", which is not what he said.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
  16 replies since April 19 2008,12:55 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

    


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]