Dr. Francis Collins is probably best known as the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008. But there is another distinction in his biography that is equally unusual.
That distinction is the fact Collins was appointed to head the National Institutes for Health (NIH) by President Barack Obama in 2009 and then re-appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017. How many people in the public eye these days can say they drew such solid support from politicians as opposite one another as Obama and Trump?!!
What is less known about Collins is that he is a man of deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was not always so because for much of his early adulthood, Collins was a convinced atheist.
But that all began to change, as he explains in the following video from Biologos, when a woman dying of heart disease asked “what do you believe, doctor?”
Daniel Bell, the great American sociologist of the 20th century, once declared that “the essence of modernity is that nothing is sacred.” Dostoevsky put it a little more precisely: “If God is dead, then everything is permitted.”
Just how right the sociologist and novelist were was foreshadowed by a brilliant and prophetic novel written in 1945 ago by C.S. Lewis that, unfortunately, never achieved the same level of popularity as the author’s monumental apologetical work, “Mere Christianity.”
Lewis’ obscure masterpiece is “That Hideous Strength,” a fictional vision of what happens when science is abused: Think racism, eugenics, and the devaluation of human life. Yes, it is a close relative to his “The Abolition of Man.”
This Discovery Science video reminds us that Lewis was not merely a supremely imaginative writer and deeply perceptive thinker, he was also gifted with a prophetic vision of where Western civilization appeared to be headed (which, by the way, my Capitol Hill friends, is where we are rapidly arriving today, it seems):
To counter the otherwise overwhelmingly convincing evidence for Intelligent Design (ID) of our universe, critics often claim that there are actually millions of universes and it just happens that one of them has all of those characteristics cited by ID advocates as evidence for the guiding hand of a designer.
Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace tackles the multiverse theory in the following video produced as part of his lecture series based on his book, God’s Crime Scene.
The crime scene refers to Wallace’s prior career as a cold-case detective who was so good at unwinding decades old homicides that he made multiple appearances on NBC’s “Dateline” show.
The headline above no doubt strikes more than a few of its readers as impossible to prove or, worse, just plain non-sensical and therefore not worthy of serious consideration.
But, as Erik Manning asks in a recent post, which of the following two statements put forth by Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland would you say is more certain to be the Truth?
Torturing babies is always and everywhere wrong.
Before you answer, did you know that there was a time not that long ago when the way electrons were described by reputable scientists would make no sense to today? Now ask yourself how that compares to the certainty that it is always and everywhere evil to torture babies?
Why should somebody working on Capitol Hill for a senator or representative ponder this stuff? Because you are part of the law-making process in this country and it is crucially important that those who make the law understand the nature of reality as fully and logically as possible.
So take a few minutes to read and ponder Manning’s analysis. It may even help you resolve the issue the next time your boss asks you “how should I vote when this issue comes to the floor?”
You may have heard of Enrico Fermi. He’s the Italian physicist who invented the first nuclear reactor. He also asked a rather pointed question that ought to challenge the best thinkers among advocates and critics of intelligent design.
That question — AKA “Fermi’s Paradox” — is simply this: If the universe is infinitely old, or billions and billions of years old, and there are multiple life forms out there, why haven’t they found us yet? Why haven’t we turned up at least a little evidence of their existence? (Yes, I know, maybe they/we have and we just don’t know it).
Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace explains the significance of Fermi’s Paradox in the great debate between those who claim the universe’s marvelous perfection is accidental and those who argue that it’s that way because its Creator designed it like that:
Being a journalist by trade, I am a right-brained person. That’s why I never did well in mathematics in school, except for Geometry where the spatial relationships seemed to make intuitive sense to me. Maybe if I had studied more …
Anyway, you may not know this but mathematics is the foundational blueprint for reality. This is no recently discovered fact. As Galileo put it, “the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics.” Remember that the next time you bite into a delicious ear of Silver Queen corn on the cob and wonder what the formula is for such deliciousness.
In the following video from Philosopher William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith outfit, a succinct case is made for the proposition that the direct relationship between mathematics and the universe is powerful evidence that the blueprint didn’t just happen:
It’s among the most basic questions of all and how we each answer it shapes our thinking on everything else, often in ways we don’t realize. And it involves the most basic law of logic, non-contradiction, as well as the law of cause and effect.
In the following video, Kyle Butt of the Apologetics Press analyzes the claim of materialists that the universe (the effect) had no non-material cause. Pay close attention to the explanation offered by Stephen Hawking, who surely was one of the smartest men who ever lived:
Read the following two graphs. If you, like me, are not a Ph.D. in computer science or quantum physics, odds are you won’t fully understand the implications for the God question:
“We now know that three quantum fields undergird physical reality — the electron, the up quark and the down quark. These ‘particles’ are in fact tiny clouds of pure energy. And somehow, they encode digital information for establishing what is known as a particle’s quantum state.
“We do not understand and cannot visualize what this ghostly energy is. But we do know that it cannot be created or destroyed by any natural power. We also know that we can use mathematics to model how these tiny clouds of digital information behave as they flow through time and combine to undergird larger and larger patterns of energy and information.”
Trust me, if, like me, you are curious about how we all got here and why we live in the kind of material universe we inhabit, you gotta read “Bits and Bytes at the Bottom,” by Kenneth Pederson and Jonathan Witt. It appears in the latest issue of Evolution News & Science Today.
Whether you are an atheist, an agnostic or a believing Christian, we ought all be tremendously inspired and encouraged by the incredible progress being made possible by all those bytes!
It all started with the Big Bang, right? Billions of years ago, there was nothing of the universe but empty space. No Earth. No stars or moons. Nobody anywhere. Nothing but … lots and lots of nothing.
Then the Big Bang happened and, well, the rest is literally history, right up to this moment as you read these words. You aren’t certain why it happened but you are convinced it did.
But hang on a second, there’s an aspect of the Big Bang that you probably haven’t thought about. It makes all the difference, however, because it’s a miracle, something super-natural, beyond what we understand to be normal. Cold Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace, author of “God’s Crime Scene,” explains why:
Imagine you are walking along and a sign suddenly appears telling you that if you take one more step forward, you will instantly disappear into nothingness. And the same sign further informs you that taking one step backward will have the same result.
That’s kind of how we humans are in this incredible universe we inhabit. To begin to appreciate just how miraculous it is, consider that there are dozens of characteristics like gravity, the degree of Earth’s tilt on its axis and the DNA structure that must be as precisely set as they are in order for the universe to exist.
It is almost impossible for us to really grasp just how amazing it is that we exist. But this video from philosopher William Lane Craig’s reasonablefaith.org is a great first step towards beginning to understand:
There are those who insist Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. If that’s true, then everything else claimed about the life and significance of His life is cast into doubt.
But is it the most reasonable conclusion that Jesus was not dead when His body was taken down from the cross, based upon the available evidence? Former NBC “Dateline” cold-case expert J. Warner Wallace doesn’t think so and he makes a compelling case in the following video.
Before you click on the video, though, ask yourself if you have ever touched a dead body. Odds are most of you reading this will say no. It’s not the common experience for regular folks. But it’s a VIP question, as Wallace explains:
At first glance, I thought this was something straight out of the fever swamp section of the National Enquirer newsroom or maybe even the Midnight News, but, no, the following news report was produced and appeared on a credible Israeli news outlet.
The claim being reported is that by using 3D imaging made possible by advanced infrared technology, a team of scientists and archeologists were able to create a digital history of a storied building in the Jerusalem area where Christian tradition claims the Last Supper was held.
Do I accept that this effort has actually discovered a means of recreating the room where Jesus had the Last Supper? To be honest, I am quite skeptical. The imaging is of a room, but not necessarily the room. Watch the segment and share your thoughts.
Right up front, let me say this post is not meant to spark an evolution vs intelligent design debate. I have my views, others have theirs and odds are good we don’t agree on every point.
But one thing everybody can definitely agree on is there is an all-but-inexpressibly amazing degree of creativity, variety and fascination in the world of living things, including Beetles capable of long-jumping incredible distances, dolphins with unmatched maneuverability, and shrimp capable of seeing the invisible energy known as heat.
This intriguing trio is the subject of a new post from the Discovery Institute’s EN that I highly recommend to everybody. Yes, the EN folks are highly critical of modern evolutionary theory, but put that aside as you read. Here’s a sample:
“The apparatus responsible for this exceptional jump is hidden inside the beetle’s hind legs and is relatively simple. It contains only three sclerotised parts and a few muscles. Yet, it is, in reality, a highly efficient ‘catapult,‘ able to propel the beetle at a distance hundreds of times its body length.”
You may have heard or read recently about a team of paleo-anthropologists and other researchers who found some string-like material at a dig in Southern France from the era when Neanderthals were around.
Why is this significant, especially if you work on Capitol Hill? Well, if Neanderthals had the intelligence and dexterity to create string, that says something fundamentally important about them and modern human beings. Are we exceptional, as we think?
Reasons to Believe biochemist Dr. Fazale Rana discusses this finding and its potential significance to our understanding of human origins in the following video. It’s a half-hour video, which is a good bit longer than the norm here on HillFaith, but it’s a fascinating topic that deserves serious attention: