Saturday, September 1, 2012

There's No God in My Genome

James McGrath doesn't seem to understand that even brilliant people can have foolish ideas. His whole piece, "The God of the Bible and the Genome," is centered around the notion that faith must be reasonable since a notable scientist like Francis Collins thinks it is. McGrath is enamored of a particular quotation of Collins, "The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshipped in the cathedral or the laboratory."

There are two main problems with McGrath's approach. First off, it is a common and particularly idiotic logical fallacy* that he is operating from, Argument form Authority. Just because Collins is well versed in the science of genetics does not mean he knows what he is talking about when comes to other topics. An individual can be an expert in more than one field and still be completely ignorant in any number of others.

Put bluntly, the other problem is that it is a steamy pile of bullshit. There is nothing in the genome that implicates the necessity for a God. The quote itself is quite revealing. It clearly shows how disconnected Collins' ability as a scientist in the field of genetics is from his personal religious beliefs. Not only is there nothing in science to "worship" the very idea is contradictory. Science is a continuous process of investigation. If you are glorifying science you are actively allowing bias to taint and therefore negate the process.

For the umteenth time, Science and Religion are not compatible. People can reconcile them within their own minds but that does not make the institutions of Science and Religion any less the polar opposite that they are.

*I have made numerous references in the past to logical fallacies. If you're not familiar with many of them the New England Skeptical Society has a pretty good summary of the 20 most common fallacies on their SGU site.

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