George Church is a well known molecular geneticist who helped design the first “direct” method of DNA sequencing, and played an important role in initiating the Human Genome Project. He has an appointment at Harvard University and consults for several companies. His latest endeavor is the Personal Genome Project, designed to get DNA sequences from many individuals with the aim of curing genetic maladies.
Church also has a Reddit page in which he answers readers’ questions. Sadly, there he shows a chronic and debilitating sympathy for religion:
Is there evidence of God in science?
Some people feel that science and faith have nothing in common. But a considerable amount of faith drives everyday science — and frequently religion addresses scientific topics (e.g. the physics/biology of miracles, ancient gods, Galileo). If faith had no impact on our physical brain, then by what mechanisms does it impact our spoken conversations. Billions of humans (in a very real scientific sense) have faith. The overlap is vast and fertile. As we learn more about nature, for many of us, this greatly strengthens rather than lessens our awe.
Sad, isn’t it, that a really smart scientist makes an assertion that “a considerable amount of faith drives everyday science.”
Let us once and for all make the distinction between the scientific and religious notions of faith—before they’ve become deliberately and permanently conflated by the faithful:
FaithSCIENCE : Confidence, based on mountains of experience, that answers to questions about reality are best derived from a combination of evidence and reason.
FaithRELIGION : Confidence, based on no experience (indeed, even contrary to experience), that answers to questions about “reality” are best derived from personal revelation, authority, scripture, and dogma.