Have You Had a Hormonal Rush?

On October 5th The New York Times (NYT) reported on the new director of the National Institutes of Health.  This new director is Dr. Francis Collins.  Collins has a track record of providing leadership of the Human Genome Project.  So what would interest the readers of Pulpit 2 Pew and why is his leadership controversial?

Quoting the NYT’s article,

First, there is the God issue. Dr. Collins believes in him. Passionately. And he preaches about his belief in churches and a best-selling book.

My questions:

  1. Is it controversial for anybody to believe in God?
  2. Is it controversial for a government official to believe in God?
  3. Is is controversial for a scientist to believe in God?

A few years ago, Collins was at the bedside of a sick woman.  The woman asked him what he believed.  He didn’t really have an answer, so he started a 2 year journey to discover if God existed.  He concluded that God does exist and wrote a book about it.

Sounds like a great story.  But not according to physicist, Robert Park.  Park is a professor at the University of Maryland.  He thinks that when a scientist believes in God, it is “voodoo science.”  With regard to Collins’ faith, Parks thinks that it is a cause for concern.  He thinks that when Collins responded to the woman’s question by investigating God’s existence, it was merely a “hormonal rush.”

So, faith in God is equated to voodoo, is a cause for concern and is the result of a hormonal rush.  If that is not crazy enough, the NYT also indicates that some scientists think that religious commitment is an indicator of mild dementia.

Dementia is defined by WebMD as a:

significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning.

So there you have it.  Some scientists think that if you have a belief in God your hormones are out of whack and you’ve lost your intellectual abilities.