Francis ‘I dont need no stinkin evidence’ Collins might be the next head of the NIH:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will likely bring on geneticist Francis Collins, leader of the Human Genome Project, as its new director, Bloomberg News reported on Saturday.

“NIH is a huge enterprise, and I think Francis has very good experience with getting the best out of a huge enterprise from what he did in the genome project,” David Baltimore, who won the 1975 Nobel Prize in medicine, told Bloomberg earlier this year. “He’s also very well liked in Congress.”

Well, that should tell you something, David. Hey, guess who else likes him?


Krulwich: If a human being were to create life from nonlife, that would cross–in my view, anyway–a line that I didn’t know that we could cross. A mystery would be demystified. It doesn’t strike you that way?

Collins: We have been demystifying life for decades. Ever since we figured out “spontaneous generation” is not right, that, in fact, life comes into being from things like spores and eggs, and so forth, we have been learning that life follows certain principles and rules. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a microbiologist who would say, “There is something unscientific, some vital force about E. coli that allows it to keep going.”

Krulwich: So, really, you feel that way?

Collins: Yeah.

Krulwich: A very little, itty-bitty thing gets along because it’s just chemicals in the right order.

Collins: Right. Now does that apply to human beings? No, I happen to think human beings fall in a different category. I think we, of all the organisms on the planet, have a spiritual nature which can’t be explained by those common elements and “instruction books” and references to machine analogies. We have these remarkable features such as the understanding of what’s right and wrong, which I don’t think is something that will come out in the study of biology. Nor is it something that I think evolution can explain.

So I am a person of faith, as you might be able to tell from that last remark. But my faith is not in any way resting upon whether or not it’s possible in a test tube, at some point, to generate something that looks like it replicated and had the properties of life.

“E. coli are not magic. Humans are magic. Also, it doesnt matter if you create life in a lab. The answer will always be ‘God did it’. Im the next head of the NIH!”


So I’m not worried about God. I am worried about humans, because we have a long tradition of assuming greater importance for ourselves than we deserve. And so this does slip into the zone of hubris: “I’m no longer just an ordinary person; I am creating life. That makes me a little closer to God, and maybe a little less in need of Him, after all.” If somebody were to wrap themselves in that kind of philosophical mantle, then I think we’ve actually not upgraded man, we’ve downgraded him.




… ugh…

Collins is afraid of science. Fear doesnt make a good leader. But threatening to make him head of the NIH makes a good substitute for ipecac.


  1. #1 minimalist
    May 31, 2009

    The purpose of peer review is not to detect fraud.

    Nope, but peer reviewers are perfectly free to do so, and to report it, as that one did in the case of Collins’ paper. So what does that have to do with Prometheus’ point, Limp Willy?

    Oh, not a damned thing? You’re just flinging poo in an attempt to obscure the point, as usual? Thought so. (Shame on everyone who got sidetracked by it, too.)

  2. #2 Sigmund
    May 31, 2009

    ERV, what on earth has happened to you?
    Read your 100 post again.
    If that was the only post on this thread that anyone read they would assume the thread was filled with posts criticising the idea of mocking Collins’ religions beliefs.
    I mock Collins beliefs all the time. I see no reason to stop doing so. I think the same goes for many other atheists or non-believers that know of his professed beliefs.
    Is there even a single post within the 99 preceding your one that criticised mocking Collins’ religious beliefs?
    The argument is not that Collins religious beliefs are reasonable, any more than the beliefs of Behe or Egnor are reasonable.
    The argument is whether Collins can do the job in question and whether his religious beliefs would interfere with the job.

  3. #3 Prometheus
    June 1, 2009

    “For LanceR and Shirakawasuna, see also Wikipedia for information on peer review:”

    How about we don’t base our opinions on wikipedia and how bout you and Tom Joe go F*ck yourselves. I demonstrated pretty clearly that Collins did not conduct data review of articles he co-authored and whose synopses he read into the legislative record to extract funds BEFORE he even published.

    He then used his position and the importance of the project for damage control when they were caught and instead of addressing that massive ethical failing you are sorting through procedural chickenshit to find undigested tidbits. Disgusting and pathetic.


    “The argument is whether Collins can do the job in question and whether his religious beliefs would interfere with the job.”

    Tailor that argument to suit your delicate shoulders. It still doesn’t wear well.

    And the answer is for the thousandth time is yes!

    He has devoted every waking moment since he left the project to *Building bridges* between the scientific community and Religion i.e. a science apologetic of the most mewling and repugnant order.

    He has stated this as his reason for being and life mission.

    He used an enormous important publicly funded scientific project to advance the sale of a book reducing that accomplishment, in the mind of much of the public, to a celestial/biological version of the dead sea scroll translations.

    He’s got a mission statement! You can stop waving a fifteen plus year old academic vitae in everybody’s face as a justification for your aesthetic position or you can man up and address the fact that religious/scientific bridge building is the BASIS of this appointment.


    You can just continue to keep your eyes closed and send Frankie “don’t go chasin’ waterfalls” Collins an FTD lollypop bouquet while the NIH sends Kinoki detox foot pads to all the V.A. hospitals in lieu of antibiotics.

  4. #4 TomJoe
    June 1, 2009

    Prometheus @103: What is your major malfunction? I don’t give a shit what you said, I was responding to two other nimwits who were talking out of their asses, making fun of WW for no reason other than to make fun of him. That they did it ignorantly was just screamed to be corrected, which I did.

    That you think I was responding to you only shows your own inflated sense of self worth, which I do not share.

  5. #5 Prometheus
    June 1, 2009

    I have an inflated sense of rectitude.

    But you are probably right. I tend to think people are talking about me because of my angelic face and smokin’ bod.

    Sorry about the Cheney moment, exasperating subjects illicit knee jerk responses.

  6. #6 extigr
    July 16, 2009

    Having worked both at the NIH (while Collins was running the HGP) and at The Institute for Genomic Research (during which time Venter divorced his wife — who had run TIGR for a dozen years — took the place over — thereby prompting a mass faculty exodus — and proceeded to absorb it into the J. Craig Venter Institute), your fangirlish admiration for Craig is amusing to me, ERV.

    I would only suggest, since you’re still at the start of your career, that you try a stint working for Venter, and for Collins, and see who you end up cheerleading for afterwards.

    As for Venter’s supposed victories in the genome project wars, I suggest you read a good book on the project — which means, not one written to Craig’s order. You might be interested to find out how much Venter depended on public data from the HGP, to make *his* project work.

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