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?
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.
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.