God Spoke Life into Us?
In what may be one of the nuttier efforts to reconcile the theory of evolution with religion is offered to us in a book "The Language of God" written by a former atheist and DNA expert, one Francis Collins. I was made aware of this "theory" in a Columbus Dispatch article. I will be honest with you: I have not and never will read this book for the title alone is so phenomenally uninformed that it cannot be other than a total waste of time. Even, and maybe especially, if you are religious.
The notion that DNA is a language, let alone that it is God's language, is even crazier than references to the language of music or the language of art which I dealt with in an earlier blog. First, to claim that DNA is God's language presumes that there exist entities with whom He converses. One might claim that God is speaking to persons like Dr. Collins, people who try to map the genomes of various species or obtain the DNA profile of a specific individual, perhaps a criminal. There are two problems with this idea that come immediately to mind. The first is that there is no known language in which there exists only one entity who speaks the language with all others being restricted to "listening" to him/her/it. Does God ask questions using DNA code? If so, He isn't getting any answers. I believe it is fair to say that He does not issue requests or commands in DNA. Or make statements. The other problem with this notion is that humans have been around thousands of years but only recently have we begun doing genetic research into DNA. This means that all the Biblical persons who have said that they spoke to God would have to be lying since they couldn't have spoken or understood the so-called language of DNA.
Collins appeared in Columbus, Ohio before two groups of people along with some other speakers having a similar perspective. He and these others made claims about DNA which are totally mind-boggling. In fact, the claim that DNA is a language is itself incomprehensible. I am anything but a DNA expert but I think I can safely claim that there are no properties of DNA that are linguistic in character. There is no signaling system and that in itself blows up the idea that DNA is a language for all languages, even made up ones like Esperanto have some sort of signaling system.
Collins said that DNA is is "how God spoke life into you and me." We might call this the "Shazam!" theory of the creation of life. "Shazam!" is a magic word that, when uttered causes some change in the world. It was used by a wizard to turn Billy Batson into Captain Marvel. From then on, Billy could turn himself into the adult Captain Marvel simply by uttering this word whenever he needed to do heroic things. Note that I have to resort to a comic book to find an instance in which a use of language can cause a material change in the world. I cannot, for instance, say, "Shazam!" and cause the house to be clean or the lawn to be mown.
Another mind-boggling use of language in these talks came from one Jeffery McKee who claimed that "God's writing is in the sedimentary rocks..." Try to imagine how you would make sense out of this. Notice that the striations in sedimentary rocks bear no relationship to DNA. I believe that those trying to reconcile science and religion need to get on the same page. Does God write in DNA or in rock striations or floods or whatever is happening at any given time. The scary thing is that Dr. Collins is the director of the National Human Genome Institute. That is like making a creationist a President of the USA. Oh, we have done that in the last two Presidential elections.