Home » Expelled » Baylor Prez Spins Expelled Worries: The God of the Bible is the God of the genome … but not of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab

Baylor Prez Spins Expelled Worries: The God of the Bible is the God of the genome … but not of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab

Taking a break from “Imagining” no heaven, no hell, no Yoko Ono, and no delay till the Expelled DVD comes out, I note where John Lilley, Baylor’s president, has seen fit to defend his institution in the light of the unflattering portrait in Expelled.

Except he doesn’t exactly. In the form letter – apparently written to people for whom, in his words, Expelled has been a “source of concern” - he manages to say nothing at all.

Unless, that is, you believe faith and science are in conflict, in which case he reassures you that they aren’t.

But if you do believe that, why would you want to attend or fund Baylor – or any religiously affiliated university? And why would you care what Lilley says about it, given that he is hardly a disinterested witness?

The bulk of the letter is actually a quotation from The Language of God, by genome mapper Francis Collins, on why we need both faith and science, and why God can be worshipped in a cathedral or a laboratory.

No disrespect is meant to Collins when I say that the world is not queueing round and round the block for a dose of anodyne. And in fairness, Collins didn’t write the quoted material  with Lilley’s future use in mind. That makes me wonder what Collins does think of the university shutting down Bob Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab? That specific incident brought the Expelled crew to Baylor, not a chance to hear that “the God of the Bible is also the God of the genome.”

In short, in his letter, Lilley doesn’t address the “source of concern” at all. He is apparently gambling that the waves created by Expelled will just subside. And anyway, if Baptists don’t give to Baylor, who they gonna give to? The Biologic Institute?

Oh, wait… maybe that’s not such a bad idea, actually …

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7 Responses to Baylor Prez Spins Expelled Worries: The God of the Bible is the God of the genome … but not of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab

  1. Lyrical prose cannot mask the fact that Darwinism adds nothing—absolutely nothing—to the “alleviation of suffering and betterment of mankind.” Anyone who believes this kind of apostrophizing knows nothing about what actually goes on in medicine.

    Clue: most of the most useful drugs were discovered by accident, and usually when looking for another kind of drug altogether. When this is not the case, they are almost always analogues—new chemical structures for proven entities, created entirely by ingenious tinkering.

    Darwinism plays no role in a modern R&D operation. Industry chemists don’t sit around speculating about evolutionary mechanisms. They can’t afford it—they have to produce something of value. Their work has nothing to do with Theory. In fact it’s more like a sophisticated version of roulette.

    And wouldn’t it be nice of Mr Collins to connect the dots between “beauty” and the genome? It’s not enough to mention them both in the same paragraph, as if merely putting them together makes all of the philosophical issues go away.

    This we know: man cannot create anything as beautiful as what is already found in nature even by conscious effort; in fact can only aspire to its greatness by simply taking pictures of it. Where does this overwhelming beauty come from? Blind material processes?

    Dear Mr Collins—show us the genome of beauty.

  2. 2

    Off Topic;

    Neanderthals were separate species, new study finds;

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20.....anderthals

    excerpt:

    PARIS (AFP) – A new, simplified family tree of humanity has dealt a blow to those who contend that the enigmatic hominids known as Neanderthals intermingled with our forebears.
    ADVERTISEMENT

    Neanderthals were a separate species to Homo sapiens, as anatomically modern humans are known, rather than offshoots of the same species, the new organigram published Sunday by the journal Nature declares.

    The method, invented by evolutionary analysts in Argentina, marks a break with the conventional technique by which anthropologists chart the twists and turns of the human odyssey.

  3. Collins’ position is indeed curious. In his judgment the genome is “the language of God,” yet he apparently thinks that this same language was not meant to be interpreted by humans. Inasmuch as Collins is anti-ID, I guess he is proposing that God would communicate only in Darwininian dialect, which is a purposeless, mindless, unconscious communication that doesn’t really want to communicate at all. Welcome to the wacky world of theistic evolution.

  4. —–”allanius: “Clue: most of the most useful drugs were discovered by accident, and usually when looking for another kind of drug altogether. When this is not the case, they are almost always analogues—new chemical structures for proven entities, created entirely by ingenious tinkering.

    —–”Darwinism plays no role in a modern R&D operation. Industry chemists don’t sit around speculating about evolutionary mechanisms.”

    Very true and well stated.

  5. 5
    PannenbergOmega

    Thank God, I thought I had been banned from this website because I had been having trouble logging in.

    If you are like me and a little bit neurotic, you start to think over what you have possibly done to have banned.

  6. PannenbergOmega, many of my posts have disappeared into the great Nullity of some unknown WordPress problem. If you knew as little as I do about how these systems work, you would worry less. It is more likely that the system isn’t working than that anyone is out to get you. ;)

  7. StephenB (3): “Collins’ position is indeed curious. … Welcome to the wacky world of theistic evolution.”

    Among the many problems with Collins book, there is an internal inconsistency that runs right through to the cover.

    If one noticed that the subtitle for “The Language of God” is “A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief” and that the cover illustration is the double helix portrayed as stained glass, one might be reasonably tempted to suppose that the language in the double helix is meant to be understood as being not only “of God” but also as an example of “evidence for belief”. However, one would be completely wrong.

    Collins is insistent that one must not make biological inferences to design, since that might fall into the dreaded error of a God-of-the-gaps in his view. (Nevertheless, it may be argued he is willing to risk his own God-of-the-gaps arguments elsewhere in the same book — just never with biology, the field his career rests upon.)

    Ergo, in the final analysis, Collins actually denies there is objective evidence that leads to belief that DNA is the language of God. He braces for the expectation that fully natural explanations for DNA may be forthcoming someday. In his use of the term “Language of God”, therefore, it is actually more honorific than a claim to demonstrable relationship to God’s designing activity. Any relationship between God and DNA is reduced to an act of faith, not one of evidence for belief.

    BTW, he includes the fact that former atheist Antony Flew became a “believer” (actually a deist, not a theist). But somehow Collins never finds a reason to let the reader know that the biological evidence for design figured prominently in Flew’s abandoning atheism, despite the attempts of Dawkins to dissuade him. Flew, the long-standing atheist who is now scorned by his former peers, found strong evidence in biology for belief whereas Collins, the theistic evolutionist, steadfastly refuses to go there.

    So, you are quite right to call it a “wacky world” especially as Collins presents it.

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