The God Question

This is the trailer for a television series examining science and faith, origins and explanations. It's been put together by Iain Morris of Kharis Productions (he has been working on it for as long as I've known him, which is three years). It features probing interviews with prominent atheists, including Sam Harris, the late Christopher […]

Read More
Science, Creation and all that Jazz

This is the event at which I'm speaking on Friday evening: Related posts: CREATION tells of Darwin's war between science and love Resources for churches and communities: Creation movie Creation Creation Talking About . . . Darwin

Read More
Talking About . . . Darwin

As the world marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, his influence on the world is as enormous as ever. Whatever you think of his ideas, there’s no doubt that they have shaped science and profoundly affected many aspects of contemporary culture. Darwin’s meticulous work established the natural sciences as a serious scientific discipline for the first time. If this was Darwin’s only legacy, he would still be a towering figure in the history of science. But for most people, his name is linked only with On the Origin of Species. [...]

Read More
CREATION tells of Darwin's war between science and love

Nev Pierce has written a piece about Creation in the LA Times. . . . Darwin's continuing relevance is one reason why "Creation" has been selected to open Toronto, which usually kicks off with a home-grown picture. "It's a bit of a tradition for us to open with a Canadian film, yes," said festival co-director […]

Read More
Resources for churches and communities: Creation movie

Charles Darwin: eminent scientist, loving husband, grieving father. The film Creation explores the different sides to the man who some believe had ‘the biggest single idea in the history of thought’. Even today, Darwin’s legacy is at the centre of contemporary debate about our understanding of who we are and what it means to be human. This film explores the implications of Darwin’s theories, and the way that tragic events in his family life influenced his doubts about God.[...]

Read More
Creation

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Charles Darwin has massively influenced the modern world. 200 years after his birth, his struggles leading up to publishing On the Origin of Species are explored in a new film, Creation, starring Paul Bettany as Darwin.

The title is surprising but apt, since the film is partly about the creation of his book and partly about his doubts that God directly created every distinct species. But above all, it is the story of Darwin’s struggles over one particular aspect of creation: suffering.

Creation doesn’t tell the story in chronological order, indicating Darwin’s inner turmoil. His disquiet is partly intellectual. His meticulous explorations in the natural world have led him to conclusions that don’t mesh easily with the predominant views of his day.[...]

Read More
Angels and Demons

An article by Tony Watkins on Angels and Demons, directed by Ron Howard and based on the novel by Dan Brown.

Read More
Playing God: Talking About Ethics in Medicine and Technology

Number four in the Talking About series created problems for us in trying to find the right subtitle. The Playing God bit was easy, but trying to summarise the area of interest in just a very few words was tricky. The 'ethics in medicine' part is straightforward enough - looking at issues relating to the […]

Read More
All in our Genes?

I've just watched the film Gattaca for the second time. It's written and directed by a New Zealander, Andrew Niccol who also penned another of last year's big box-office hits, The Truman Show. This is a man to watch out for - these two films are two of the most intelligent and thought-provoking I've seen in a long time.

Gattaca is set in the "not-too-distant-future" and opens with a quotation from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:13 which says, "Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?" The film tells how our civilisation may one day attempt to do this.

As soon as the hero, Vincent, is born, his DNA is analysed and his future capabilities are predicted - including the fact that he has a 99% chance of dying of a heart disorder when he is 30 years old. As a result, he is condemned to a life of menial labour.

However, Vincent (Ethan Hawke) has a dream - to get to Gattaca Space Academy and join space missions. Through sheer determination - and the use of someone else's very superior DNA which he buys illegally - he manages to achieve his ambition.

This is a world in which "normal" children are genetically engineered to be free of significant diseases and social hindrances such as left-handedness. Those born by "old-fashioned" methods (i.e. not by IVF) are significantly inferior - they are designated "In-valid" and are the scum of society. No longer is discrimination on the basis of race or gender - it has become a science based on analysing someone's genetic code.

What's so disturbing about Gattaca is that this frightening scenario is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

When Andrew Niccol was asked why he wrote this film, he replied, "My genes made me do it. I don't know when I first thought of it, but you can open a newspaper today, and I'm certain that you'll read something about a new gene, and it became inescapable for me as a story idea."

It sometimes seems that hardly a day passes without the media reporting some new discovery in genetics. Again and again we hear that scientists claim to have isolated a gene for a certain disease. Increasingly we are told that aspects of our personality can be attributed to our DNA. Just last year we heard about genetic connections for lust, being a good parent and religious inclination and several others.

Insurance companies want to increase the amount of genetic testing they carry out in order to identify high-risk applicants for life-insurance. We are already getting to the point where our society is attempting to define us by our DNA.

This is an issue that raises extremely difficult ethical issues. The Human Genome Project (a vast undertaking to identify every human gene) is ahead of schedule and has already led to major steps forward in diagnosing and treating a number of diseases. It's something for which we should all be grateful.

But how far should we go? Should life-insurance companies have the right to know about our susceptibility to heart disease? When does treatment become meddling? How do we prevent ourselves reaching a situation where discrimination on the basis of genes is normal?

One of my concerns is that there is not enough debate going on about the ethics of genetics research - but the research continues at full speed. It is important for Christians to get up to speed on these issues and make sure that we have something to say - to our friends if not at a wider level. Otherwise things will move on regardless.

Read More
All in our genes?

DNA Abstract from Crestock Stock Photo I've just watched the film Gattaca for the second time. It's written and directed by a New Zealander, Andrew Niccol who also penned another of last year's big box-office hits, The Truman Show. This is a man to watch out for - these two films are two of the […]

Read More
Mastodon logo
Visit our Facebook
Visit our Instagram
Visit our Twitter
Find me on Mastodon, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
© Tony Watkins, 2020
The Tony and Jane Watkins Trust oversees and supports the ministries of Tony and Jane Watkins in Christian training, education, and communication. It is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 1062254.
Privacy policy
searchclose linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram