Also, the human mind and brain constitute one of the frontiers of biomedical science. Cutting-edge research treats intelligence, morality, and religious belief as products of evolution and neuroscience. The idea that there is divine design and teleology behind these functions, on the basis of Iron Age and medieval dogma, is antithetical to this vibrant research area. How will Collins preside over the allocation of research priorities if he believes in ““the certainty that the claims of atheistic materialism must be steadfastly resisted”?
Pinker seem to connect the atheistic materialism with Science. Is it? Neuroscience has validated Religious experience in the work of Andrew Newberg and others. While Neuroscience has not proved religion, it has disproved the old Enlightenment bias of "God as explanation theory." People have and continue to have religious experiences. God is more than what material atheists assertions of God being an explanation for unknown phenomena or simply the God of the gaps. Again Pinker from the same letter:
Collins has said that he came to accept the Trinity, and the truth that Jesus is the son of God, when he was hiking and came upon a beautiful triple waterfall. Now, the idea that nature contains private coded messages from a supernatural being to an individual person is the antithesis of the scientific (indeed, rational) mindset.
Dr Collins did not offer his experience as proof or evidence of God, rather he was sharing his Religious experience. Pinker reaction is not with a scientist's
What bothers Mr. Harris is that Dr. Collins is a Christian, and a vocal Christian to boot. Further, Dr. Collins apparently commits the sin of claiming to be both a scientist and a Christian. That Dr. Collins sees no conflict between science and faith clearly offends Sam Harris’ belief that faith and science do not belong together. For those who believe faith and science are at war, there are just four logical conclusions to Dr. Collins’ work as a scientist: A) Dr. Collins is not a true scientist; B) He can compartmentalize his work from his beliefs; C) His faith will sooner or later pollute his science; D) The premise of science in conflict with religion is mistaken.
Dr. Collins’ work already eliminates option A. Few are questioning his previous work. Mr. Harris chooses option C, and yet Mr. Harris fails to give any evidence of polluted science in Dr. Collins’ work, only the possibility of it. If there were such evidence, it would have emerged in Dr. Collins’ already long career. It seems logic would dictate that only B or D are compatible with the facts, and with either conclusion, Mr. Harris has nothing to worry about with Dr. Collins’ appointment.