Basics on Having a Reasonable Conversation: Credentials

The introduction to the essay contains a few base positions which are needed in having a reasonable conversation about any topic.


            I think we can all agree that a scholar’s credentials can be very important to the reliability of the information and opinions that they express. With that said, just because someone has a masters degree, a P.H.D., and is the head of a science department, doesn’t necessarily mean their opinions are reliable. The weight of the evidence is what is reliable, not their credentials alone. For example; the reputation of Francis S. Collins is used by some Christians to support their beliefs. Collins is a leading scientist, has good credentials, and was the Director of The National Human Genome Research Institute at N.I.V. He has won numerous awards for his contributions to genetic research and he is also a Christian. His credentials as a scientist however, cannot be used to support his Christian beliefs because he didn’t use his scientific mind as the basis for his beliefs. The reason he became a Christian (as he himself states) is not through research or evidence, but his own amazement of something he observed in nature. Without any evidence, he says he instantly knew there was a god. That is not how science goes about searching for truth. It should be known that Collins himself admits that the Theory of Evolution is a fact and that humans have existed for at least 150,000 years in his book, The Language of Life (pages 166-167,215-216). If a scholar abandons their credentials in order to support their own beliefs, their credentials become meaningless. Also, if a scholar’s beliefs are quoted, it usually means that the evidence itself is absent, otherwise their opinion wouldn’t be needed. Scholars who make statements about tangible evidence is what holds the most weight.


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