Here is an excerpt from an insightful commentary by Ken Connor on the backlash among some parts of the scientific community to President Obama’s recent appointment of outspoken Christian biologist Dr. Francis Collins as head of the National Institutes of Health. Collins was the head of the team that successfully mapped the human genome, and he has written a book called The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. He is also the founder of The Biologos Foundation, which presents a case for harmony between Christian faith and science by emphasizing the compatibility of Christian faith with scientific discoveries about the origins of the universe and life.
Connor I think makes an interesting reversal of the idea that some people have that Christians are less capable of being scientists than atheists and agnostics.
Regardless of the specifics of Dr. Collins's Christian identity, the idea that his faith impedes his fitness to serve as the head of the NIH operates on the absurd premise that only atheists and agnostics are capable of being good scientists. One might argue the precise opposite of this. If, as previously stated, the origin of scientific inquiry was based upon the belief that the physical world operates according to fixed and intelligible laws, one might ask what kind of foundation underlies a scientific worldview which denies an intelligent design or an ultimate purpose? If there's no designer, no fixed laws, no first principles, then there is no real meaning—no context in which to evaluate the value and significance of newly acquired knowledge. When there is no acknowledged moral source to draw a clear line between the permissible and the forbidden, then human curiosity and ambition are left as the only arbiters of science's use. (Ken Connor, “Science: Theists Need Not Apply”)
In other parts of his article, Connor garners my applause for accurately describing the role of faith in the lives of many “great heroes of science [who] pioneered their discoveries under the auspices of this inspiration.”
I wish that more commentators would take the time to do their history homework and gain the correct perspective on the relationship between science and faith the way that Connor has.