Francis Collins, Barack Obama and the Envious

By now you may have been made aware that Barack Obama has nominated Francis Collins for the position of director of the National Institutes of Health.

A search for “Francis Collins” in Google News returned 270 hits for the past week alone. It is fascinating to read some of the news related articles which cannot seem to help mentioning that he, hold your breath now, believe in the three letter “G” word and is a “C” word that rhymes with “histian.” Many, for some odd, un-contextual and utterly irrelevant reason, mention that Francis Collins was/is a musician and is oft seen looking cool man, cool:

He plays guitar and rides a motorcycle
but I hear that he is also, like, a scientist and stuff

Francis Collins accomplished more in one single project—as the head of the Human Genome Project—than those activist atheists who are questioning his scientific credentials by committing the ad hominem about his faith commitments will in a lifetime or ten. Yet, this is no reason to get all envious about his nomination.

Sam Harris, of course, got into the act which is fascinating considering that Harris has admitted that he is becoming a scientist in order to seek evidence for his particular and peculiar atheism—he is merely seeking soft science confirmation for his preconceived notions.

I wonder what would happen if an atheist or otherwise evolution = God is superfluous at best adherent were to be nominated. Would they be racked? Would they be caricatured to the tune of, “So, you believe that life came into being when lightning struck a swamp! How could this guy be trusted as the head of the National Institutes of Health?”

I even heard a radio show interviewee who referred to Francis Collins as a “creationist” and defined Collins’ creationism as something to the likes of denying that bio-organism’s change. Yet, Francis Collins has his own views on creation and evolution and could not easily be forced into the “Creation scientist” nor “Intelligent Design theorist” mold. In fact, and for example, Jonathan Wells (the black listed biologist) wrote a review of Collins’ book “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief” which is entitled “Darwin of the Gaps” and takes Collins to task on various points.
My only point in writing this post is not note that it is simply fascinating to note just how vitriolic the “news” is on this point—and I am not even mentioning individual websites and blogs.

Atheism is Dead has previously made reference to Francis Collins in the following posts:

The New Atheists on Francis Collins - Soteriological Chain of Causation

John Horgan and Francis Collins - The Scientist as Believer


Also, of interest may be, P.Z. Myers: Christianity is Bad; Crimes Against Humanity are Very Very Good


  1. Why do you people refuse to listen to a damn word us evil evolutionists or godless say? No, we don't CARE about Collins being a Christian. NO-ONE DOES. What we DO care about, the reason for which we DO dislike him as a choice for the appointee, is that he keeps inserting God-talk and evangelical matter into everything he does.

    If he was able to separate his faith from good science and could actually run on a secular level, as any head of a science organization is supposed to, then we'd have nothing but praise for the man (presumably). It's his knack for putting God everywhere, specifically where it doesn't belong (in a secular system), intentionally and deliberately, that we see as unworthy.

    It would truly be amazing if you even know what you were talking about before you launched attacks. Totally serious here.

  2. RE: Francis Collins comparable to Albert Einstein, in their respective works and spiritualities!?

    Yet, Francis Collins has his own views on creation and evolution and could not easily be forced into the “Creation scientist” nor “Intelligent Design theorist” mold.

    I certainly would agree to that statement; in fact, I had compared “Collins to Einstein” as one modern biologist, who has had devoted his curiosity and integrity to solving human diseases through biomedical sciences (especially genetics), while without being sidetracked or dictated by his own faith or belief in Christianity!?

    I first came to know Collins in 2006, when I tried to analyze the renowned “Dawkins vs. Collins” debate in the Time magazine here: “Let's begin the Dialogue and Reconciliation of Science and Religion Now!” (PhysForumEU; November 11, 2006); and more recently here: “Let's begin the Dialogue and Reconciliation of Science and Religion Now! -- RE: Self-irrationalism (Scientism) vs. someone else’s Self-rationalism (Religionism or Faith)!” (PhysForumEU; May 10, 2009).

    Best wishes, Mong 8/9/9usct1:10p.

  3. I have only one problem with Collins.
    Hes an aweful singer

  4. Collins has many interesting views on a great many subjects which are interesting and have the potential to provide genuine insight to life, matter and everything.
    The common stupid notion that being "pro science" is synominous with materialist verificationist paganism is the only thing pushing this current wave of sentiment.

  5. Joé,

    Being a real Christian means putting God 1st in everything, b/c God is in fact the creator of the universe. It is irrational to remove God from arenas of life.

  6. @Rhology:
    Collins is corrupting the very institution – Science – that's supposed to be free of (and from) religious influence. So, no, it certainly is not irrational to remove God from Science. If anything, it's mandatory, for the sake of keeping an open mind and allowing any freethinking without any preconceived notions to reign through. There is no point to any science if one goes in thinking "In the end, it all lies with God".

  7. @Joé,

    allowing any freethinking without any preconceived notions to reign through

    You did a poor job of it in your comments, b/c your thinking is governed by your naturalistic presupposition.
    The solution - it's impossible to rule out all preconceived notions. Data is just data, but when interpreted thru a worldview grid, it becomes an argument. You interp data thru a naturalist grid. The big problem for you therefore is that naturalism is false. I interp data thru a Christian grid. It's a great place to be b/c Christianity is true. Collins mostly interps stuff thru Xtianity, sometimes thru naturalism. So you're throwing stones at the true position from a false one; you'll get nowhere. Good luck with that.

    if one goes in thinking "In the end, it all lies with God".

    This comment is meaningless. On Christianity, God created nature, and man can discover a lot about nature and about reality thru nature. But one must have the right worldview in place, or else one will arrive at bad conclusions.

  8. @joe
    as Collins is a Christian and you believe his beliefs corrupt his research, are you saying we should throw out the Genome project?