Fri 16 Jun 2006
The scientist who led the team that cracked the human genome is to publish a book explaining why he now believes in the existence of God and is convinced that miracles are real.
Francis Collins, the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, claims there is a rational basis for a creator and that scientific discoveries bring man "closer to God".
Collins was an atheist until the age of 27, when as a young doctor he was impressed by the strength that faith gave to some of his most critical patients.
He decided to visit a Methodist minister and was given a copy of C S Lewis's Mere Christianity, which argues that God is a rational possibility. The book transformed his life. "It was an argument I was not prepared to hear," he said. "I was very happy with the idea that God didn't exist, and had no interest in me. And yet at the same time, I could not turn away."
Collins believes that science cannot be used to refute the existence of God because it is confined to the "natural" world. In this light he believes miracles are a real possibility. "If one is willing to accept the existence of God or some supernatural force outside nature then it is not a logical problem to admit that, occasionally, a supernatural force might stage an invasion," he says.
Previously, in 2004, well known atheist philosopher Antony Flew changed his mind and became a theist (ie a believer in God) due mainly to scientific evidence that suggests creation. Read an interview with Flew here. A good book that I read recently is Case for a Creator, which describes some of the scientific evidence Flew would have considered before making his decision.
Often science is seen as diametrically opposed to faith. Although the two may have different concerns (one with this world, the other with the things ultimately not of this world) it would be an oversimplification to say there is no relation between the two; as the above examples show, science can often lead to deeper faith.
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