When Francis Collins was appointed director of the National Institutes of Health last year, he stepped down from leading the BioLogos Foundation, which “explores, celebrates, and promotes the harmony of modern science and the Christian faith.” But the position won’t stop him from releasing a new book with HarperOne next month, entitled Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith. Here’s the publisher’s blurb:
“Is there a God?” is the most central and profound question that humans ask. With the New Atheists gaining a loud voice in today’s world, it is time to revisit the long-standing intellectual tradition on the side of faith. Francis Collins, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of God and renowned physician and geneticist, defends the reason for faith in this provocative collection. Collins is our guide as he takes us through the writings of many of the world’s greatest thinkers—philosophers, preachers, poets, scientists—both past and present, including such luminaries as C. S. Lewis and Augustine, and unexpected voices such as John Locke and Dorothy Sayers. Despite the doubts of a cynical world, this essential companion proves once and for all the rationality of faith.
Atheist biologist and blogger Jerry Coyne argues that this book is an abuse of Collins’ position as one of the country’s highest-ranking scientists:
Enough is enough. Collins is director of the NIH, and is using his office to argue publicly that scientific evidence—the Big Bang, the “Moral Law” and so forth—points to the existence of a God. That is blurring the lines between faith and science: exactly what I hoped he would not do when he took his new job.
And to those who say that he has the right to publish this sort of stuff, well, yes he does. He has the legal right. But it’s not judicious to argue publicly, as the most important scientist in the US, that there is scientific evidence for God. Imagine, for example, the outcry that would ensue if Collins were an atheist and, as NIH director, published a collection of atheistic essays along the lines of Christopher Hitchens’s The Portable Atheist, but also arguing that scientific evidence proved that there was no God. He would, of course, promptly be canned as NIH director.
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