Noted geneticist turned from atheism to faith after trying to disprove God
By Mark Ellis and Michael Ashcraft, special to ASSIST News Service
NEW YORK CITY (ANS -- April 1, 2015) -- The current head of the National Institutes of Health, Francis S. Collins, came to faith after he set out to disprove God.
“I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and
irrational arguments and was astounded to discover that one could build a
very strong case for the plausibility of God,” he noted on CNN. “My
earlier atheist’s assertion that ‘I know there is no God’ emerged as the
A geneticist, Collins was appointed director of the $3 billion
international Genome Project in 1993, which completed sequencing the 3.3
billion pairs of nucleotides by 2004. The resulting gene map offers
hope to cure genetic disorders.
It also gave Collins a spectacular view into the magnificence, order,
and finely-tune perfection of the DNA molecule, God’s software for
every living thing. Directorship of the Genome Project was touted as the
most prestigious job in science at the time.
the most fundamental level, it’s a miracle that there’s a universe at
all,” he told National Geographic. “It’s a miracle that allows the
possibility of complexity and laws that follow precise mathematical
formulas. Contemplating this, an open-minded observer is almost forced
to conclude that there must be a ‘must’ behind all this. To me, that
qualifies as a miracle, a profound truth that lies outside of scientific
He compiled his thoughts in a 2006 book, The Language of God,
which posits that biology, astrophysics and psychology all argue in
favor of faith in God. During the following year, he founded BioLogos,
an organization that brings together scientists who wish to pursue
science and faith in a cohesive unity.
“Science and faith can actually be mutually enriching and
complementary once their proper domains are understood and respected,”
he says. “There are some really important questions that science cannot
really answer, such as, why is there something instead of nothing? Why
are we here?
“In those domains, I have found that faith provides a better path to answers.”
Of particular importance to his faith is the concept of “moral law” –
the denunciation of oppression, murder, treachery, falsehood and the
injunction of kindness to the aged, the young, the weak and helpless, to
paraphrase C.S. Lewis.
“After 28 years as a believer, the Moral Law stands out for me as the strongest signpost of God,” he writes in his book.
Collins grew up in a family of agnostics in Virginia’s Shenandoah
Valley. By the time he graduated medical school, he described himself as
a full-fledged atheist. But then a patient queried him about his own
faith. Prodded thus, he decided to research the point and debunk faith.
Photo: Book cover
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