Skip to comments.Obama's Strange Appointment
Posted on 07/10/2009 4:45:43 AM PDT by SC DOC
President Obama's appointment of Francis Collins to run the National Institutes of Health is significant as a culture war statement. A devout Christian, Collins is one of the foremost advocates for the notion that science and faith are compatible. The former head of the Human Genome Project, Collins is also the author of The Language of God. He's a strong believer but he doesn't let that weaken his scientific rigor (for instance, he's been critical of Creationism and Intelligent Design).
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
From Medscape Medical News
Obama Nominates Francis Collins to Lead NIH
Jacquelyn K. Beals, PhD
July 9, 2009 (Staunton, Virginia) People here in Francis Collins’ home town had reason to be proud today, as local and national headlines announced Collins’ nomination by President Obama to lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH has operated with an acting director since the departure of Elias Zerhouni, MD, in 2008.
The director’s position is a presidential appointment requiring confirmation by the US Senate. If confirmed which most consider all but certain Francis Collins, MD, PhD, will be the 16th person to hold the NIH post.
Dr. Collins has provided numerous reasons for local pride: his research at the University of Michigan that discovered the gene for cystic fibrosis in 1989; his 15 years as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), from which he resigned in 2008; and his leadership of the Human Genome Project, completed in less time and at lower cost than anticipated. By his own assessment, one of the most satisfying achievements during his years as NHGRI director was passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
“We think [his nomination] is great, for a lot of different reasons,” Joann A. Boughman, PhD, executive vice president of the American Society of Human Genetics in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a telephone interview with Medscape Medical News. “Francis’ work as a scientist goes from the most basic research, all the way through translational to the care of patients.... He has active involvement in the full gamut from the wet-lab through the translation bench to bedside. I think that’s good for everybody,” she said.
“And anybody who brings a federal program in under time and under budget! He may have set the bar too high for himself,” she laughed. Dr. Boughman is also a board-certified medical geneticist, and she chairs the Molecular and Clinical Genetic Devices Panel of the Food and Drug Administration.
The NIH Director oversees a budget of $29.5 billion (FY 2009), 27 institutes and centers, and a staff of more than 18,000, including 6,000 research scientists. Unlike President George W. Bush, whose selection of Dr. Zerhouni took 14 months as he searched for a scientist who could support the administration’s funding restrictions, President Obama is just over 6 months into his first term.
A challenge for any NIH director is the variety of disciplines represented. “The thing about genetics, in biomedical research, is genetics is everywhere,” said Dr. Boughman. “And in that respect having a geneticist lead the NIH is a very timely and appropriate approach, because of [Francis’] experience and his breadth. He has demonstrated over the years both his visionary approach and his ability to bring together scientists, with disparate and sometimes very opinionated minds, to move ahead with something as he did with the mapping of the Human Genome.”
Dr. Collins’ nomination has received enthusiastic responses from organizations such as the American Association for Cancer Research, the Personalized Medicine Coalition, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. However, the National Breast Cancer Coalition voiced reservations, suggesting that someone outside of the NIH system might better challenge “the present stagnation.”
Another potential source of conflict is Collins’ open avowal of religion, not only in his personal life but in writings such as his 2006 book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, and in his advocating a view he calls “BioLogos,” which proposes God as the answer to questions that science cannot address.
Nevertheless, Dr. Collins has a good relationship with Congress, and he will benefit from the fact that the revised rules for broader use of stem cells in federally funded research were already in place before Collins’ nomination.
“He’s very articulate for all audiences. He is accessible to the guy on the street, and to students, and to the practicing clinicians who are not genetics experts, and to policy makers,” observed Dr. Boughman. “But one of the most important characteristics that he brings to the job is an incredible passion for science and its translation into application.”
Something smells fishy in Denmark.
I’ve not seen that Dr. Collins is critical of intelligent design, but rather is a proponent of the idea that God’s hand is explicit in DNA AND therefore the overall design of life.
I’ve read his book and some of his articles.
You must see Louie Giglio’s How Great is Our God DVD. It’s almost a jaw dropper.
I do not know why it would be surprising that a scientist can also be a devout Christian.
It is only the rabid proponents of creationism as told in the Bible, regardless of the facts, who claim that you cannot be a scientist and a Christian. Fact is, plenty of scientists who accept the theory of evolution are Christians.
When I was going to graduate school (studying biochemistry), people often put the candles with pictures of Mary on their lab benches or tricky pieces of equipment. They also tended to pray a lot. Graduate school can be quite stressful.
What this means is that Bush didn't move to replace the previous NIH director quickly, maybe because he didn't see the NIH as political and didn't see the need to kick the other guy out.
But since the previous Director resigned last October, the position is open, and has been since the beginning of the administration (there is an acting director of course). I don't see that taking six months to find someone is particularly efficient for a position that was open 2 months before you took office, that is supposed to be a non-partisan position.
It may be that he opposes embryonic research. I’m posting another comment that references a different article that suggest this.
Collins is also a strong supporter of stem cell research, and he thinks there's a way to do this that, for him, removes the moral objections to destroying a human embryo. Collins favors what's called somatic cell nuclear transfer, in which the nucleus of an egg is replaced by the nucleus of, for instance, a cell of skin.It sounds like he opposes embryonic stem cell research, which makes it even stranger that Obama picked him for the NIH when Obama is pushing to waste billions of dollars on useless research that kills children.
Of course, this could just mean that Obama has a CZAR somewhere who is actually going to run the research, and Collins will be a figure-head, like Obama tried to do with Senator Gregg.
awe of the God the creator....
amd there is where the beginning happens at which we can start a dialogue beteen Creationists/Intelligent Design and those who expouse (falsely, I believe) theistic evolution:
He clearly is correct in his assesment of God as the Creator, however even believing in a Creative Christian God presupposes God is a God of the supernatural and miracles.
He leaves unanswered, since he does believe God created the universe) How did God create it? It certainly did not spring from it’s own unorganized, and by itself— spontaneous generation or big bang, w/out God).
God presupposes a miracle to begin life, and that undermines theistic evolution because if God did create the Universe (and Mankind, and Life, and the planets, etc..), then why not just believe the events of Genesis rather than that God just “created” and then left His creation alone in nature (through evolution-and death) to create what the Bible says God said “is good”??
Just a thought to ponder!!
Let’s hope that Obama never asks too many questions. Dr. Collins holds very conservative values.
Collins is pro-life so it probably means more strict regulations.
Then you have to ask:
how did light come from the word of God, how were things brought forth from the Earth, etc?