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​A Renowned Atheist vs. a Renowned Former Atheist (Turned Theist)

Posted by Daryl van Benschoten on

A comparison of Dr. Richard Dawkins vs. Dr. Francis Collins

Dr. Richard Dawkins is perhaps the most famous Atheist in the world today. He has authored several books that have sold millions of copies including The Blind Watchmaker and The God Delusion.  Through his books and lectures, he has likely influenced the beliefs of countless people. 

Dr. Francis Collins may not be as well known to the general population as Richard Dawkins, but in the world of genetics, he is one of the most famous scientists of the last century and his work could have a profoundly beneficial impact on much of humankind. He has also authored books including The Language of God and The Language of Science and Faith.

Dr. Francis Collins is renowned partly because he was the Director of the National Human Genome Project, which mapped and sequenced the entire human DNA. Many consider this the most important scientific undertaking of our time.

Dr. Collins was appointed the Director of the Human Genome Project because of his background, which included his development of methods (while at Yale for a fellowship in human genetics), that have become a powerful component of modern molecular genetics. These methods allow the identification of disease genes for almost any condition and could eventually result in prevention and cures for a wide range of diseases, including cancer and heart disease; the two main causes of death.

While Dr. Collins agrees with some aspects of Darwin’s theory (as do most people), he believes that evolution cannot explain everything. He believes that DNA is too complex and that the first life could not have happened randomly, even in a billion years. He converted from atheism (to Christianity) partly because of late 20th century science.

Dr. Richard Dawkins became wealthy and famous primarily because he's an outspoken atheist. He became an atheist while in his teens, of course greatly influenced by the 19th century science of Darwin. Though both Collins and Dawkins became atheists while teenagers, Dr. Collins apparently had an open mind and converted from atheism later in life. Whereas, Dr. Dawkins has his entire livelihood invested in his atheism.

Most people are familiar with the terms “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest”. Belief in these concepts, however, does not preclude belief in a Creator. The real question is: how did the FIRST life come about?

With all due respect to Dr. Dawkins, some might ask: if he is so confident that life can come from nonlife - from a soup of Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, etc. under the right conditions, why hasn’t he attempted to create just one simple living cell in a lab?  For a scientist approaching his late 70s, he’s had a half a century when he could've set up thousands of test reactors with different conditions, i.e., composition, temperature, pressure, voltage, etc. to prove life can come from nonliving chemicals. Others have tried and failed when using compositions and conditions commonly believed to have been present in the primordial waters of the early earth. If he succeeded, he could be one of the most famous scientists of all time. Instead, he's mainly known as a devout Atheist who's work will largely be forgotten in time. 

Dr. Dawkins’ explanation for the first life is that it came about by “a lucky chance”, “a happy chemical accident.” Are those “answers” convincing? Convincing enough to stake your eternal life on it, if he’s wrong? 

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