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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Genome mapper Francis Collins vs. evangelical atheist Richard Dawkins: Why is Collins in religion section but Dawkins in science?

A friend tells me that in the wacky world of book classification, genome mapper Francis Collins' book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief is classed in the "Christian inspiration" section, and Richard Dawkins' anti-theistic tract The God Delusion is shelved in the "science" section.

My friend worries that the move was an attempt to denigrate the contents of Collins' book. Well, maybe, but perhaps works that entirely lack rigorous science content may be shelved in science sections if they attack traditional religions, and works that have lots of science content may be shelved in religion sections if the scientist is a Christian. And nonetheless people wonder why there is an intelligent design controversy ...

Of course, one reason that Collins' book ended up where it did is its title and back cover endorsements: (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Judd, Bill Phillips (a Nobelist who talks a lot about God on the back jacket), and Robert H. Schuller.)

Still, Collins' book should have been in science - autobiography. But maybe his publisher (Free Press) hoped to make more by flogging it on the "inspiration" shelf. Shame.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

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