As the executive director of the non-profit BioLogos Foundation, biologist Darrel Falk struggles daily to strike a delicate balance between two forces: science and religion
At a young age, Darrel Falk found himself living in two worlds.
"Growing up in an evangelical Christian household in western Canada, I used to think to myself, 'how did it happen that I was just born into the right religion?'" says Falk, now a professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene University and executive director of the BioLogos Foundation, a Christian advocacy group founded by now-National Institute of Health director Francis Collins in 2007. Critical of intelligent design and running contrary to creationism, the organization promotes a theory of theistic evolution -- that God creates through the natural sciences, like evolution, and the Christian faith need not be in conflict with mainstream science. The foundation started as a resource for people like Falk, who "knew there was a discrepancy between what they were experiencing in church and what other people believed."
To many (like, initially, myself -- a lapsed Reform Jew from Massachusetts with a very liberal upbringing), the foundation may sound like yet another agent fighting in the perpetual culture war between science and religion. The Biologos Foundation declares its mission to be "a spirited and gracious dialogue and a confidence in the harmony between science and faith." And it aims "to help the church develop a worldview that embraces both of these complex but complementary belief structures." The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, strictly prohibited from lobbying or making political contributions. While its funding comes primarily from a number of individual donors, the largest and most questionable cash infusion came from a $151,920 grant from the John Templeton Foundation (often referred to as "God's Venture Capitalist" or a "conservative sugar daddy") in 2008, shortly after the organization's founding.