On Francis Collins

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On Francis Collins

Postby Anonymous » Wed Jan 10, 2007 8:56 pm

Subject: Clergy Letter Project Update - Mostly Good News
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 18:19:35 -0500
From: "Zimmerman, Michael" <mzimmerm@butler.edu>
Subject: [Clergyproject] Clergy Letter Project Update - Mostly Good News

Dear Members and Friends of The Clergy Letter Project,

Although I usually don't write this often, I am doing so because I have some
positive and negative news to report. On the positive side, in just the last
week alone, the number of congregations scheduled to participate in
Evolution Sunday on (or near) 11 February 2007 has increased by about 60!
And we've added about 50 new signatures to The Clergy Letter itself during
this time.

Additionally, on the positive side, Free Press has donated 50 copies of
Francis Collins's new book entitled The Language of God to help people
prepare for Evolution Sunday. (Read more about the book at
http://www.amazon.com/Language-God-Scie ... 0743286391
/ref=ed_oe_h/105-1285793-4720432.
I'm happy to provide a free copy to the next 50 people who sign up to
participate in Evolution Sunday and who request a copy of the book. The
book should be a wonderful resource to any of you thinking of engaging
parishioners in a discussion about the compatibility of religion and
science. Because the review of this book published in Publishers Weekly is
so directly on target to the issues central to The Clergy Letter Project,
I'm going to reproduce the
short review in its entirety:

"Collins, a pioneering medical geneticist who once headed the Human
Genome Project, adapts his title from President Clinton's remarks
announcing completion of the first phase of the project in 2000: "Today
we are learning the language in which God created life." Collins
explains that as a Christian believer, "the experience of sequencing the
human genome, and uncovering this most remarkable of all texts, was both
a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion of worship." This
marvelous book combines a personal account of Collins's faith and
experiences as a genetics researcher with discussions of more general
topics of science and spirituality, especially centering around
evolution. Following the lead of C.S. Lewis, whose Mere Christianity was
influential in Collins's conversion from atheism, the book argues that
belief in a transcendent, personal God-and even the possibility of an
occasional miracle-can and should coexist with a scientific picture of
the world that includes evolution. Addressing in turn fellow scientists
and fellow believers, Collins insists that "science is not threatened by
God; it is enhanced" and "God is most certainly not threatened by
science; He made it all possible." Collins's credibility as a scientist
and his sincerity as a believer make for an engaging combination,
especially for those who, like him, resist being forced to choose
between science and God."

Finally, on the positive side, we still have some copies of Philip
Kitcher's book (Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of
Faith) donated by Oxford University Press. This book also will be available
to Evolution Sunday participants who think it might be a useful resource.

On the negative side, according to a press release just issued
by PEER - Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (read the full
release at http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=801),
"Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of
the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush
administration appointees.... 'In order to avoid offending religious
fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to
suspend its belief in geology,' stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.
'It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the
geologic age of the Grand Canyon is 'no comment.'" Clearly, we have a great
deal of work to do if the federal government is
encouraging people to accept the extreme fundamentalist position that the
Earth is approximately only 6,000 years old, or at least it is unwilling to
counter this absurd position.

You can help by participating in Evolution Sunday and spreading
the word about The Clergy Letter Project. If you haven't yet signed up to
have your congregation participate, please think about doing so. Remember
that you can participate in any way you deem most
appropriate for your congregation, a sermon on the topic (and you can read
more than 50 presented by Clergy Project members on our website:
www.evolutionsunday.org ), an adult education class, a discussion, etc. If
you haven't yet signed up and want to do so, just let me know and I'll add
you to our growing list. Additionally, please write to a friend or colleague
who might not have heard of The Clergy Letter Project and encourage them to
visit our web page.

Finally, for those of you who are members of the Christian
Church (Disciples of Christ), I am pleased to say that DisciplesWorld
magazine will be writing a story about The Clergy Letter Project and
Evolution Sunday. They are interested in contacting some clergy members who
would be willing to be interviewed. If you fall into this category, please
let me know and I'll pass your name along to the article's author when we
next speak.

As always, thanks so very much for your continued support.

Michael

Visit The Clergy Letter Project on the Web at www.evolutionsunday.org

Michael Zimmerman
Office of the Dean
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Butler University
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Tel: 317.940.9224
Fax: 317.940.8815
mz@butler.edu
Mz (at) butler.edu
Anonymous
 

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