Over at New Scientist, Andy Coghlan takes on BioLogos (Francis Collins’s new accommodationist website), and its theistic assertion that God can act through the “uncertainties” in quantum mechanics. (This is also an argument made by Kenneth Miller in Finding Darwin’s God.) Coghlan quotes BioLogos and then dismantles the argument:
“With quantum mechanical uncertainty and the chaotic unpredictability of complex systems,” Collins writes, “the world is now understood to have a certain freedom in its future development.”
This means, he goes on:
“It is thus perfectly possible that God might influence the creation in subtle ways that are unrecognisable to scientific observation. In this way, modern science opens the door to divine action without the need for law-breaking miracles,” says Collins.
“Given the impossibility of absolute prediction or explanation, the laws of nature no longer preclude God’s action in the world. Our perception of the world opens once again to the possibility of divine interaction.”
So, because God somehow tinkers in a quantumy type way, it’s worth praying for divine guidance and intervention. To me, and to other scientists and commentators, Collins is straying into pseudo-scientific speculation simply to keep God in the earthly frame. Believing in God in the first place is by definition a leap of faith, and one that many scientists and many non-scientists are, after careful and reasonable thought, unwilling to take. For those who have trouble accepting that we’re a product of pure chance, there is the option of believing that God set everything in motion.
Larry Moran brings up the same issue over at Sandwalk. This is precisely the problem of strenuous accommodationism as typified by Collins’s website. It just can’t help insinuating itself into real science. It is embarrassing to see a scientist straying into this kind of territory, and it smacks of desperation.