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Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:38 PM

Sam Harris rips the head of the National Institute of Health for pushing religious ‘bullsh*t’

Neuroscientist Sam Harris had some harsh words for one of the nation’s top scientists during a recent podcast.

The outspoken atheist said that Francis Collins, the current head of the National Institute of Health and the former director of the international Human Genome Project, was an example of an intelligent person who peddled religious “bullshit.”

--snip--

“Now, this is not to say that people don’t have great experiences that they want to capture in religious language,” Harris said. “But when you look at someone like Francis Collins, who is running the NIH, who is a medical geneticist and obviously a very smart guy who has made real contributions to science — but he is also a bit of a Bible-thumper, he’s an evangelical Christian. He believes in evolution, thankfully, but he also believes that immortal souls and free will were just downloaded onto the hard drive of only one species of primate at some point in history by an almighty God.”

“And when you ask him about the resurrection, he believes in the resurrection (of Jesus) and he believes in the coming resurrection of the dead, and he, I think, is sensitive to how unseemly it is for the head of the NIH to talk about these things, so when you ask him for details, he says, ‘Well, this is all very complicated and you should consult the work of John Polkinghorne and N.T. Wright.’ And when you consult their work, you get just pure madness. It is just a word salad, which is foisted on scientifically illiterate people by scientifically literate people for reasons that are patently emotional.”

“I think we should be even more critical in some sense of people like Francis Collins, the so-called nuanced religious person,” Harris concluded.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/atheist-sam-harris-rips-the-head-of-the-national-institute-of-health-for-pushing-religious-bullsht/

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Reply Sam Harris rips the head of the National Institute of Health for pushing religious ‘bullsh*t’ (Original post)
cleanhippie Dec 2014 OP
COLGATE4 Dec 2014 #1
Act_of_Reparation Dec 2014 #5
rug Dec 2014 #2
cleanhippie Dec 2014 #3
rug Dec 2014 #4
cleanhippie Dec 2014 #6
rug Dec 2014 #7
cleanhippie Dec 2014 #8
Jim__ Dec 2014 #9
cleanhippie Dec 2014 #10
Jim__ Dec 2014 #11
trotsky Dec 2014 #12
cleanhippie Dec 2014 #13
Jim__ Dec 2014 #14
cleanhippie Dec 2014 #15
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2014 #16
Jim__ Dec 2014 #18
Prophet 451 Dec 2014 #17

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:24 PM

1. Collins is a very smart guy who is unfortunately a real Fundie with

a verneer of Scientist which will fool lots of people.

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:53 PM

5. I wouldn't say it is a veneer.

I can't speak to whether he's a good scientist or simply a good administrator, but he finished the Human Genome Project ahead of time and under budget. That's worth something.

Like any PhD, he's very intelligent, but very specialized. He's imminently qualified to speak of genetics, but no more qualified than you or I to speak of theology. Apologists don't seem to realize this, or simply don't care.

I've read his conversion story. It's absolutely laughable.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:04 PM

2. Harris is pissed because Collins is a better scientist and is also religious.

 

He's a buzzkill to his spiel.

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Response to rug (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:09 PM

3. Yeah, I'm sure that's it.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:12 PM

4. It's a better explanation for Harris' emotional meltdown than a smiley.

 

To paraphrase him, reason and emotion are incompatible.

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Response to rug (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:56 PM

6. It's neither an explanation or an "emotional meltdown"

It's ignorant drivel deserving of every smiley that can be used to ridicule it.

Go on, feed that last word compulsion. You know you have to, you need to.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 07:30 PM

7. This is eminently rational:

 

And when you consult their work, you get just pure madness. It is just a word salad, which is foisted on scientifically illiterate people by scientifically literate people for reasons that are patently emotional.

I'm not surprised he's gone over the bend on things besides Islam. After all, I'm sure you remember his famous quote that if he could choose only one, he'd prefer to eliminate religion over rape.

What's that, you don't recall that? Well, here you go:

If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion.

Saltman, Bethany (September 2006), "The Temple Of Reason", The Sun

Ignorant drivel indeed.

Oh, and speaking of a last word compulsion,

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Response to rug (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 07:36 PM

8. I swear, I'm not clairvoyant.

I just know you and your last word compulsion to well.

Go on, feed it some more.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:46 PM

9. Francis Collins was nominated for Director of the NIH by President Obama and ...

... unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

Sam Harris doesn't even have an official nomination to the thought police - although it appears that he thinks he does.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:36 PM

10. Does any of that invalidate his points about the Director of the NIH being a Creationist?

No, it doesnt.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 05:03 AM

11. He doesn't raise any points about the Director of the NIH being a Creationist.

And, of course, the Director of the NIH is not a creationist.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 11:32 AM

12. Collins advocates "theistic evolution."

He rejects naturalistic evolution (the only kind we have any evidence for) and believes instead that his god intervened in the evolution of life on earth. He's even criticized the revamped creationism - "intelligent design" - but only in the way that he thinks IDers are making the mistake of taking a "god of the gaps" approach, claiming god is responsible for everything unexplained. He says that only when he determines a problem is "unsolvable" should it be attributed to his god

This Slate interview from 2009 contains a lot of info.

This is the area where Collins' religion is most in danger of intruding on his science. He believes that it's possible to see evidence of the divine in things like physics equations or patterns of human behavior. While Collins would never suggest that science could furnish any final proof for the existence of God, he's fond of mentioning that the Bible occasionally uses the word evidence. That is to say, he thinks the presence of the divine can be directly observed, even if it cannot be measured and tested.

This is an audacious claim for any scientist to make, and Collins does not deserve a free pass on this from the scientific community.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 12:01 PM

13. Well of course he is.

Are you reading a different article? Did you even read the article? He may not be a young earth creationist, but his answer for how we got here is "God did it". He also believes other wildly absurd religious things, like people coming back to life as other supernatural claims.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #13)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 01:42 PM

14. Your claim directly contradicts what the article explicitly states.

“Now, this is not to say that people don’t have great experiences that they want to capture in religious language,” Harris said. “But when you look at someone like Francis Collins, who is running the NIH, who is a medical geneticist and obviously a very smart guy who has made real contributions to science — but he is also a bit of a Bible-thumper, he’s an evangelical Christian. He believes in evolution, thankfully, but he also believes that immortal souls and free will were just downloaded onto the hard drive of only one species of primate at some point in history by an almighty God.”


Creationists deny evolution. Harris explicitly states that Collins believes in it - as does Collins. Your claim is nonsense.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #14)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 04:31 PM

15. Evolution guided by the hand of God. And miracles.

Please, just stop. Harris is right, the director of NIH shouldn't be one that believes that supernatural miracles are real. Period.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #15)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 07:57 PM

16. That article says it's just altruism that he thinks comes from God

and he accepts there's some altruism in non-human animals too. Plus he believes God humans a soul, of course, but they don't exist, so they didn't evolve.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #15)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 05:14 AM

18. Evolution as in the scientific theory of evolution.

Metaphysical beliefs are outside the scope of science.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 02:15 AM

17. So we have to swear atheism before doign any science?

I think Harris goes too far. This guy's beliefs don't seem to be affecting his work so they are, bluntly, none of Harris's business.

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