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Francis Collins, Evolution and “Darwin of the Gaps”

Robert L. Crowther, II

Francis Collins is one of the world’s most prominent theistic evolutionists, and now a prominent piece of President Obama’s government.

In this clip, God and Evolution contributors and other scholars respond to Francis Collins’ defense of theistic evolution in his book The Language of God.


In his book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006) and other writings and interviews, Collins has described the paths that led him from atheism to religious belief and from an impatience with “messy” biology and a preference for the pristine realms of physics and chemistry to a fascination with DNA, RNA, and “gene-hunting.”

Much of Collins’s case for Darwinian evolution is based on so-called “junk DNA.” This is the part of the genome that does not appear to code for the production of proteins. In mammals, the vast majority of DNA has been dismissed as “junk.”

Junk DNA, according to Darwinists like Collins, gives evidence of common descent—the idea that all life, including human life, branches off from a common evolutionary tree. As life evolved, according to this view, garbled, useless genetic information accumulated and has remained fixed—like dirt swept under a carpet—even as mammals, for example, diversified from a common ancestor.

But the argument from junk DNA—also called “ancient repetitive elements” (AREs)— depends on the premise that no function will ever be discovered for AREs. Collins’s faith in Darwinian theory would be severely hamstrung if the premise were shown to be wrong. It is a faith based on gaps in scientific knowledge. Hence, “Darwin of the gaps.”

Read more about Francis Collins here.

Robert Crowther

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.

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