Collins vs. Dawkins

Last month, my Wired subscription came bundled with an add-in magazine: Geekipedia, claiming to be a complete compendium of “people, places, ideas and trends you need to know.” Whatever. Corny premise, but it’s actually a pretty good read, covering topics from artificial intelligence to the Hadron collider to Zillow.

Coming to the “F” section over a plate of curry the other day, was surprised to find an entry titled “Faith Smackdown,” wherein ex-atheist Francis Collins (former head of the Human Genome Project) and biologist Richard Dawkins (“aka Darwin’s Rottweiler”) go head to head on a few key logic points.

Faith Smackdown

Round 2
Collins: “God is outside of nature, at least in part. Science is only really valid in investigating nature. So science is essentially forced to remain silent on the subject of whether God exists or not.”

Dawkins: “Here we have a beautiful explanation for how life comes about… and then Francis Collins and others want to smuggle God back in and say, ‘Oh, well, natural selection was God’s way of doing it.’ He chose the method that made him superfluous. Why bother to postulate him at all, in that case?”

The inclusion of this embarrassingly brief summary of theist/atheist arguments in the Geekipiedia seems to imply that the recent popularity of public conversation about atheism is somehow attached to geek culture – something I would not have guessed (I thought it was more a Salon thing). Wired has reduced the discussion even further by hooking up a hokey JavaScript voting mechanism that lets readers click the thinkers’ heads to vote on who won each round. Puh-leeze.

Interesting debate – but would love to see it extended to a few thousand words.

Music: Electrelane :: You Make Me Weak at the Knees

4 Replies to “Collins vs. Dawkins”

  1. awww, c’mon. i was making art, not argument. and i don’t know what a nonsense basket is. although i do smell the sulfurous stink of a false dichotomy….(speaking of eggs)

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