An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Dr. Francis Collins was President Obama's appointee to be director of the NIH. He's a scientist who also happens to have a religious side. Not necessarily a big news maker, except that he's not a sort of episcopalian who attends his local parish on Sunday mornings and little else, no, he's a full blown evangelical who even dares to write and talk openly about his faith. Believe me, if Bush had appointed this guy he would have been rubbed in fish chum and tossed into the waiting media waters filled with great whites. The fact that Obama has appointed him, I think, has left some who'd normally be vehement in their criticisms to pause...think of a deer staring dumbfounded into approaching headlights. Huh? There is a popular internet three word vernacular abbreviation that would fit the context here, but I'll refrain.
But of course even being an Obama appointee will not completely insulate you. The magisterium of the scientific world is unforgiving and Dr. Collins has heretical tendencies. This NYT article notes the problem thus:
First, there is the God issue. Dr. Collins believes in him. Passionately. And he preaches about his belief in churches and a best-selling book. For some presidential appointees, that might not be a problem, but many scientists view such outspoken religious commitment as a sign of mild dementia.
That's funny because I am beginning to view outspoken political commitment as a sign of mild dementia. I would perhaps argue that ANY politician these days who holds to a traditional religious faith and is remotely outspoken about it will indeed have problems. There is little doubt that this attitude (religion=dementia) is not uncommon amidst the scientific magesterium. We, the demented, just keep largely quiet.
The result of the article and the visceral condemnations heaped on the traditionally religious is typical of strict religious materialists. (e.g. Dr. Park's criticism of Dr. Collins' emotional religious experience claiming it was obviously nothing more than "hormones" and that any good scientists should know this...SHEESH...how'd you like to be that guy's wife when he offers a Valentine's Day greeting: "the chemical interactions in my body tell me I wish to mate with you!")
But most concerning for me is the criticism of Dr. Weissman who worries about Dr. Collins allowing his moral formation to get in the way of his science. Why is this concerning? Well my regular readers will know, because I have made it an ongoing point to note how science is more and more developing it's own sense of morality founded upon principals derived from a strict materialistic and darwinian worldview. This sort of moral formation is apparently fine (though skewed because a strict materialistic and Darwinian worldview rather insists upon absolute hedonism), but any other moral formation is heretical and violates the sacred teachings of the scientific magesterium.
People, we WANT our scientists to be informed by their religions in areas of morality and it deeply concerns me that we seem to be moving away from what had been a fundamental principle. There has been in the past a huge genre of books, art, and films which wrung its hand about the fears we should have if science were to develop and operate outside of the bounds of more fundamental (i.e. religious) principles. I still hear some scientifically oriented people give lip service to the notion that science does not tell us anything about morality, but at the same time one need only pick up a copy of "SciAm" or "Discover" to read about a whole litany of moral issues they refuse to be lectured about by the non-scientific. This should be very concerning.
I don't envy Dr. Collins. He's brave. The president is a big shield for him right now, but I don't think it will last. There's already an official website bent on seeing that he is fired...because, as an evangelical, he's clearly nuts.
Wonder what they'd say about me if they knew I was heading over to Vashon Island in order to pray before an ancient and wonderworking icon? Dementia.
No, dementia is what happens when you get old. They'd say you were a dangerous right-wing lunatic who should be locked far away from society so you couldn't contaminate it.
Now, as a native New Yorker, I'm wondering why you would even concern yourself with something written in the paper that we NYers love to refer to as, "All the news that fits, we print" (a parody on the old NYT slogan, "All the news that's fit to print" -- probably why they abandoned that slogan). Don't waste your time with their drivel. Just 'cause they use five-dollar words and preface people's names with titles, doesn't mean they know their bottom line from their elbow. ;->