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Title: 'I've Found God' Says Man

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-06-12 16:35:25


'I've Found God' Says Man

Who Cracked Genome

By Steven Swinford

The Sunday Times



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".


His book, The Language of God, to be published in September, will reopen the

age-old debate about the relationship between science and faith. "One of the

great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that

science and religion have to be at war," said Collins, 56.


"I don't see that as necessary at all and I think it is deeply disappointing

that the shrill voices that occupy the extremes of this spectrum have dominated

the stage for the past 20 years."


For Collins, unravelling the human genome did not create a conflict in his

mind. Instead, it allowed him to "glimpse at the workings of God".


"When you make a breakthrough it is a moment of scientific exhilaration because

you have been on this search and seem to have found it," he said. "But it is

also a moment where I at least feel closeness to the creator in the sense of

having now perceived something that no human knew before but God knew all



"When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter

instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery

about humankind, you can't survey that going through page after page without a

sense of awe. I can't help but look at those pages and have a vague sense that

this is giving me a glimpse of God's mind."


Collins joins a line of scientists whose research deepened their belief in God.

Isaac Newton, whose discovery of the laws of gravity reshaped our understanding

of the universe, said: "This most beautiful system could only proceed from the

dominion of an intelligent and powerful being."


Although Einstein revolutionised our thinking about time, gravity and the

conversion of matter to energy, he believed the universe had a creator. "I want

to know His thoughts; the rest are details," he said. However Galileo was

famously questioned by the inquisition and put on trial in 1633 for the

"heresy" of claiming that the earth moved around the sun.


Among Collins's most controversial beliefs is that of "theistic evolution",

which claims natural selection is the tool that God chose to create man. In his

version of the theory, he argues that man will not evolve further.


"I see God's hand at work through the mechanism of evolution. If God chose to

create human beings in his image and decided that the mechanism of evolution

was an elegant way to accomplish that goal, who are we to say that is not the

way," he says.


"Scientifically, the forces of evolution by natural selection have been

profoundly affected for humankind by the changes in culture and environment and

the expansion of the human species to 6 billion members. So what you see is

pretty much what you get."


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



"They had terrible diseases from which they were probably not going to escape,

and yet instead of railing at God they seemed to lean on their faith as a

source of great comfort and reassurance," he said. "That was interesting,

puzzling and unsettling."


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."


His epiphany came when he went hiking through the Cascade Mountains in

Washington state. He said: "It was a beautiful afternoon and suddenly the

remarkable beauty of creation around me was so overwhelming, I felt, 'I cannot

resist this another moment'."


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