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View Full Version : Collins, Gene-Mapper, Said to Be Choice for U.S. Research Head



Ballet Mom
05-23-2009, 11:43 AM
I thought this was a very interesting article to share, seeing as Orthopedics seems to have its share of controversies over research. It shall be interesting to see what the future holds in the field of research with him as head.

I was especially interested in Collins' comments on Science and Religion.


Science and Religion

“The study of the human genome has completely transformed medical research and is on the way to transforming clinical practice,” Collins said in May, when he announced he would step down as head of the genome institute.

Collins grew up on a small farm in rural Virginia and was educated at home until the sixth grade. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, in 1970. He received his Yale doctorate in 1974 and a medical degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1977.

A guitar player known to be fond of motorcycles, Collins is also a one-time atheist who wrote a book in 2006 about his Christian beliefs. He took the title, “The Language of God,” from comments Clinton made at a 2000 ceremony, “we are learning the language in which God created life.”

“God is most certainly not threatened by science,” Collins wrote in the book. “He made it all possible.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ahk6wVZisv9Y&refer=home

Pooka1
05-23-2009, 12:57 PM
Scientists of this high stature who are are also theists are very rare. There is a well shown correlation between educational level and rejection of theism. Some 93% of the cream of the cream of the scientists in the US, the National Academy members, reject the idea of a personal god. That is no coincidence... the more scientific facts you have under your belt, the more religious beliefs become optional and even counterfactual. And scientists are exercising that option to be rational.

These theistic scientists are one of the only lifelines of reason to the religious folks who deny scientific facts. Many religious folks will not accept scientific facts like evolution and a few billion year old earth from atheistic scientists but they might eventually accept them from theistic scientists.

Collins would be a good choice in that regard for the same reason Ken Miller is always the star witness at these creationism in public school trials. Miller is a practicing Catholic who demolishes young earth creationism and Intelligent Design creationism with facts and logic. He's one of the good guys fighting on the side to protect innocent school children from getting nonsense jammed down their necks by young earth creationists.

Ballet Mom
05-23-2009, 06:10 PM
Or, it could just be the prevailing dogma of this era... :)

Ballet Mom
07-08-2009, 08:38 PM
Well, it's official. Francis Collins has been named Director of NIH today.

"The president hailed Collins as “one of the top scientists in the world” and said his “groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease.” "

"Collins’s own research laboratory, in addition, has discovered a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, a familial endocrine cancer syndrome, and most recently, genes for adult onset (Type 2) diabetes and the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, the White House announcement said."

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=atJa8QDGj8QU

Pooka1
07-10-2009, 05:56 PM
There is some concern about Collins being head of NIH among top scientists...

Francis Collins as NIH director (http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/francis-collins-as-nih-director/)

"I won’t grouse too much about this, but do want to emphasize again that the guy is deeply, deeply superstitious, to the point where, on his website BioLogos and his book The Language of God, he lets his faith contaminate his scientific views. So I can’t help but be a bit worried." -- Jerry Coyne

Pick to Lead Health Agency Draws Praise and Some Concern (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/health/policy/09nih.html?_r=1)

"There are two basic objections to Dr. Collins. The first is his very public embrace of religion. He wrote a book called “The Language of God,” and he has given many talks and interviews in which he described his conversion to Christianity as a 27-year-old medical student. Religion and genetic research have long had a fraught relationship, and some in the field complain about what they see as Dr. Collins’s evangelism.

The other objection stems from his leadership of the Human Genome Project, which is part of the N.I.H. Although Dr. Collins was widely praised in 2003 when the effort succeeded, the hopes that this discovery would yield an array of promising medical interventions have greatly dimmed, discouraging many." -- Gardiner Harris

As for my opinion, I think the huge problem of scientific illiteracy in the United States has got to be tackled. Having a deeply religious man who also fully accepts the fact of evolution, the fact of a few billion year old earth, etc., might help chip away at this problem though it makes me guilty of countenancing accomodationism. And if he continues to let his faith contaminate his science then I don't see how he can serve competently in a top science position.

PNUTTRO
07-10-2009, 08:20 PM
As for my opinion, I think the huge problem of scientific illiteracy in the United States has got to be tackled. Having a deeply religious man who also fully accepts the fact of evolution, the fact of a few billion year old earth, etc., might help chip away at this problem though it makes me guilty of countenancing accomodationism. And if he continues to let his faith contaminate his science then I don't see how he can serve competently in a top science position.

Funny. Me defending FC, like he needs it.

1. Francis Collins is highly qualified. I am not surprised about his appointment.

2. I never saw anywhere that he doesn't believe in evolution--if that was the point you were trying to make.

3. Have you read the book?

4. Most of his greatest accomplishments in genetics and science came after his conversion at age 27.

5. Unjustified criticism.

Hey. And I didn't use the "R" word--so as not to get kiboshed.

Pooka1
07-11-2009, 08:41 AM
FC's conversion was when he saw three waterfalls on a hike that put him in mind of the trinity. That's it folks.

One wonders if he saw eight waterfalls that he would become a Buddhist given how "deeply, deeply superstitious" he is. ;)

There is a reason some top scientists have concern about him. It's not random.

PNUTTRO
07-12-2009, 09:06 AM
FC's conversion was when he saw three waterfalls on a hike that put him in mind of the trinity. That's it folks.

One wonders if he saw eight waterfalls that he would become a Buddhist given how "deeply, deeply superstitious" he is.

So you did read the book?
Who says he is "superstitious"?
Who says he doesn't believe in evolution?

There is a reason some top scientists have concern about him. It's not random.

The reason is the same for anyone who achieves a high rank in their field. Personal attacks are commonplace Francis Collins, Donald Trump, Oprah, or James Watson.

Pooka1
07-12-2009, 12:45 PM
So you did read the book?

No. I quoted the pertinent part though. This conversion tale has been the source of some derision in MANY scientific circles ever since the book came out. Collins paid a price in terms of credibility with many of his colleagues for having written that though it obviously didn't disqualify him from the top job at NIH (to my amazement).


Who says he is "superstitious"?

Well, I provided a quote from Jerry Coyne above. Others may not use that word but they level the same criticism that he lets his faith contaminate his science.

Now we have to wonder if he thinks "souls" live in petrie dishes and is he therefore against embryonic stem cell research. There is no rational reason to be against this research... all arguments against it are non-scientific and or blatantly irrational.


Who says he doesn't believe in evolution?

Nobody I assume. I have never seen that said about him, have you? Why did you ask?

He clearly accepts the fact of evolution but he contaminates this fact by saying there was a divine intervention somewhere in hominid evolution where the soul was inserted. Of course he never says exactly when that occurs. And he thinks it is possible for diving intervention at the quantum level. The only reason he holds these views is not because there is a lick of evidence but because his faith requires he make up this stuff.


The reason is the same for anyone who achieves a high rank in their field. Personal attacks are commonplace Francis Collins, Donald Trump, Oprah, or James Watson.

No. He isn't attacked mainly for those reasons. It is NOT the same.

He has the added burden of being one of the EXQUISITELY RARE theists among the top ranks of scientists and he lets his faith contaminate his science. That is worthy of intense criticism, if not disqualification, if he is running a Federal science agency BY DEFINITION.

PNUTTRO
07-12-2009, 02:42 PM
First, I am quite certain that BalletMom started this thread to bait us into this discussion.

Second, without actually reading the book, you don't really know what FC believes. I am pretty sure that I don't believe what he believes.

Third, Jerry Coyne in his blog (http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/collins-may-be-nih-director/) says FC is a "good administrator, but. . . ".

I have actually heard of an example where his faith "contaminated' his science. I haven't read that any of his peers and co-workers have a poor opinion of him. I have heard/read about scientists whose egos contaminated their science.

Pooka1
07-12-2009, 02:51 PM
Second, without actually reading the book, you don't really know what FC believes. I am pretty sure that I don't believe what he believes.

Don't be so sure. I have read elsewhere what he has said on this subject and listened to audio of him saying it. I have heard him in a debate and read another debate he was in. It all happens to match what folks say he claims in the book. More than a coincidence?


Third, Jerry Coyne in his blog (http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/collins-may-be-nih-director/) says FC is a "good administrator, but. . . ".

I have actually heard of an example where his faith "contaminated' his science.

Yes I mentioned two... where the divine messes around in the natural world on a quantum level and the inevitability of human evolution. Both patent nonsense.

Do you have a third case?

Does he sound like the best candidate out there or does he sound a touch wacky?

Ballet Mom
07-13-2009, 02:08 PM
"First, I am quite certain that BalletMom started this thread to bait us into this discussion."

Wow, now I'm an evil genius. How funny!

Pooka1
07-13-2009, 02:12 PM
"First, I am quite certain that BalletMom started this thread to bait us into this discussion."

Wow, now I'm an evil genius. How funny!

Well, first it's not evil and second it definitely requires no geniusry. And third, it's really not a funny situation with Collins.

I think P was irrationally exuberant in saying she thought you were being provocative for the sake of it.

Ballet Mom
07-13-2009, 02:35 PM
And third, it's really not a funny situation with Collins.

Personally, I think it's extremely funny to watch scientists stamp their feet because they can't ostracize anyone they want with the "wrong" views. It's very refreshing. I hope global warming propaganda takes a hard hit with him as the head also.

Pooka1
07-13-2009, 02:54 PM
I hope global warming propaganda takes a hard hit with him as the head also.

Perhaps you are unaware that NIH funds health-related research, not earth science research.

Based on this thread, the thread with your "thoughts" on how people are recruited for clinical trials, your "thoughts" on equine husbandry and others, I conclude you are scientifically illiterate.

Ballet Mom
07-13-2009, 03:05 PM
Perhaps you are unaware that NIH funds health-related research, not earth science research.

I suspect that Collins will be a breath of fresh air throughout the scientific community with the position he will be holding, not just NIH. And it is surely needed.


Based on this thread, the thread with your "thoughts" on how people are recruited for clinical trials, your "thoughts" on equine husbandry and others, I conclude you are scientifically illiterate.

The scientific community has their belittlement procedures down cold, don't they, to try and exclude anyone's thought process they don't like. How stifling!

Pooka1
07-14-2009, 07:10 PM
Ignorance on the wing...

I am adding how the various Federal government agencies do and don't interact to the growing list of stuff you really don't have the first clue about.

Folks don't know what they don't know.

ETA: Ignorance SHOULD be stifled. I can tell this will be coming as some news to you.

Pooka1
07-14-2009, 07:17 PM
I suspect that Collins will be a breath of fresh air throughout the scientific community with the position he will be holding, not just NIH. And it is surely needed.

Your suspicions, because they are based on nothing, are not bourne out. They are your imaginations.

You need to google what some top scientists like Coyne and Pinker and others (if you had a clue who they were of course) are saying about Collins. It is anything but the thought that he is a breath of fresh air. Rather the comments are that Collins is a "deeply, deeply superstitious" man who evangelizes and lets his faith contaminate his science.

Collins paid a price in lost credibilty among scientists with his comments. It's all out there if you know how to google it.

momw/scoli
07-14-2009, 08:00 PM
All I can say it Go Ballet Mom!
Sharon where did you get your numbers? 93% I don't think so! I've read 76% of physicians believe in God and only 45% of scientists don't believe in God. 41% of scientists are believers. In fact this has changed little since 1916. Also, if you look at the top 100 scientific discoveries you will find 48 of the 100 scientists are or were Jewish, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, ect.
Like the others have said have you read the book Collins wrote? Have you ever watched a baby being born or a family member die? You expect none of us to talk about God on this forum, but you sure don't mind throwing out you are agnostic and none of us should talk about praying for our loved ones. I am so happy you are so much smarter than stupid me, a believer in Christ. I have two girls with Scoliosis just like you. I pray to my God about them almost everyday. It makes me feel better and stronger. My daughter that had surgery in May has been on the prayer list at our church for the past six months. Another statistic for you, Christians live longer. I come to this forum looking for advice and support, not to be told I'm stupid for being a believer. Oh, I forgot only non-believers are allowed to talk about God! Stupid, stupid me!
Becky

Pooka1
07-14-2009, 08:06 PM
I suspect that Collins will be a breath of fresh air throughout the scientific community with the position he will be holding, not just NIH. And it is surely needed.

Just curious... why do you think the folks in charge of climate science (i.e., earth scientists) give a crap about what Collins thinks over at a health research agency?

Moreover, scientists, more than most folks, recognize the boundaries of their knowledge. Collins would be the FIRST person to admit he doesn't know squat about climate research and climate scientists would be the FIRST people to admit they don't know squat about health research.

Isn't it funny how doubt about climate change usually correlates with certain other beliefs. That is more than a coincidence and is very instructive. Lots of "geniuses" out there!

Pooka1
07-14-2009, 08:07 PM
What can you say? Words fail.

Ballet Mom
07-15-2009, 07:16 AM
Isn't it funny how doubt about climate change usually correlates with certain other beliefs. That is more than a coincidence and is very instructive. Lots of "geniuses" out there!

Probably because we think for ourselves and aren't into "groupthink".


Groupthink occurs when groups are highly cohesive and when they are under considerable pressure to make a quality decision.
Negative outcomes Some negative outcomes of groupthink include:
Examining few alternatives
Not being critical of each other's ideas
Not examining early alternatives
Not seeking expert opinion
Being highly selective in gathering information
Not having contingency plans

Symptoms Some symptoms of groupthink are:
Having an illusion of invulnerability
Rationalizing poor decisions
Believing in the group's morality
Sharing stereotypes which guide the decision
Exercising direct pressure on others
Not expressing your true feelings
Maintaining an illusion of unanimity
Using mindguards to protect the group from negative information

concerned dad
07-15-2009, 08:32 AM
Probably because we think for ourselves and aren't into "groupthink".

Relating to AGW, I would agree 100%

Consensus (equipoise) is not a compelling scientific argument for or against anything.

CD AKA "Maybe the only registered democrat that thinks the theory of AGW has serious flaws"

PNUTTRO
07-15-2009, 12:47 PM
Just curious... why do you think the folks in charge of climate science (i.e., earth scientists) give a crap about what Collins thinks over at a health research agency?

I think it is equally absurd that you think FC's role at the NIH will include scientific discoveries in the areas of the "natural world on a quantum level and the inevitability of human evolution".

Maybe he will create a new division of quantum divinity.

As for his religion "contaminating his science", I think that FCs peer reviewed publications, over 400, in the field of genetics, molecular biology and cancer speaks for itself. All of which came after his conversion to religion.

PNUTTRO
07-15-2009, 12:49 PM
Wow, now I'm an evil genius. How funny!

Nope, not genius. I think you are a pawn in the glorious plan of God to convert Sharon.

Pooka1
07-15-2009, 02:38 PM
Probably because we think for ourselves and aren't into "groupthink".

How ironic that you claim to think for yourself! Precisely the opposite.

Rather than "groupthink" it's "groupevidence," something you appear to be unacquainted with and uninterested in when making your "points."

Pooka1
07-15-2009, 02:45 PM
I think it is equally absurd that you think FC's role at the NIH will include scientific discoveries in the areas of the "natural world on a quantum level and the inevitability of human evolution".

Maybe he will create a new division of quantum divinity.

I didn't say he would use that point to contaminate his science when running NIH. He uses other points.

I cite that as something dopey he is forced to say publicly as a result of his beliefs.


As for his religion "contaminating his science", I think that FCs peer reviewed publications, over 400, in the field of genetics, molecular biology and cancer speaks for itself. All of which came after his conversion to religion.

Yes, the conversion when he saw three frozen waterfalls. Clearly, anything can be symbolic of anything to a superstitious mind such as his.

Oh and I need to correct something... apparently he supports embryonic stem cell research as I understand (though still need to confirm). That is a point in his favor about NOT letting his religious beliefs contaminate his science. So he either doesn't believe "souls" live in petrie dishes or he won't admit he thinks so in public. He has some sense of not losing too much credibility I guess.

Pooka1
07-15-2009, 02:46 PM
Nope, not genius. I think you are a pawn in the glorious plan of God to convert Sharon.

Hey, I'm open to gods. Nobody proved there can't be gods though we know enough about anthropology and psychology to know that the present set of gods are human constructs.

Show me the evidence.

Pooka1
07-15-2009, 03:28 PM
I think it is equally absurd that you think FC's role at the NIH will include scientific discoveries in the areas of the "natural world on a quantum level and the inevitability of human evolution".

Wanted to add that, quantum divinity aside, I'm glad you agree that it is absurd to suggest that the head of one Federal science agency would ever give a hoot about what the head of another unrelated Federal science agency thinks on issues outside their expertise. And I certainly hope you agree that Collins would never suggest he knew enough about climate science to even try to influence the climate guys. Equally, the climate guys would never suggest they knew about health research.

It's almost like some folks think scientists (and surgeons) are complete idiots!

It is breathtaking that it was even suggested and indicates a deep, deep ignorance of how things work in the real world.

Ballet Mom
07-15-2009, 03:55 PM
Pooka,

So I assume the head of the NIH just sits there in his bubble and never talks to gov't leaders, opinion makers, FUNDERS, other scientists, heads of corporations, the press.....nope, never lets his opinion out to anyone but his direct reports. Yes, that's real world thinking. My thought was that he will cut through the BS of groupthink that is prevalent in science these days just in his regular everyday doings because he has a different perspective. But you have way to much fun trying to ridicule people...instead of trying to understand things.

Pooka1
07-15-2009, 03:58 PM
Pooka,

So I assume the head of the NIH just sits there in his bubble and never talks to gov't leaders, opinion makers, FUNDERS, other scientists, heads of corporations, the press.....nope, never lets his opinion out to anyone but his direct reports. Yes, that's real world thinking. My thought was that he will cut through the BS of groupthink that is prevalent in science these days just in his regular everyday doings because he has a different perspective. But you have way to much fun trying to ridicule people...instead of trying to understand things.

What you still don't seem to grasp is that these guys know and respect the limit of their knowledge. For you to suggest otherwise is insulting.

Ballet Mom
07-15-2009, 03:59 PM
I think it's insulting for you to speak for everybody.

Ballet Mom
07-15-2009, 04:00 PM
PNUTTRO,


Nope, not genius. I think you are a pawn in the glorious plan of God to convert Sharon.

Why me Lord? :eek: