A Vote For Science

i-68d825cc1c15a48da1c7b158b3b2a730-francis-collins.jpgFrancis Collins, the former Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and lead on the Human Genome Project has just published an opinion piece in the Virginian Pilot endorsing Barack Obama. Unfortunately the Pilot does not post their guest opinion pieces online, but a good friend in Virginia scanned a copy in for me. It is not a great quality scan, but it is good enough to read.

What is striking to me about it is not just that a rather apolitical scientist of his stature came out to endorse Obama, but that he did it in a Virginia paper with far less profile than he could have gotten. He rationalizes it by explaining that he is from Virginia, but I thought that was particularly cool. I was also struck by the fact that it is perhaps the most reasoned and dignified explanation of a political endorsement that I have ever read. He focuses on the strengths of the Obama plan for science and technology rather than beating up on McCain and Palin. Although he makes it clear that he considered both carefully.

“Sen. Obama has provided a detailed plan for his science technology and innovation agenda, which lays out how advances in science can provide solutions to many of the big problems that face us.”

He makes it clear that McCain’s plan is rather inferior.

“As I have examined the positions taken by the current Presidential candidates on these critical issues, I regret to say that I have found little comfort in Sen. John McCain’s plan.”

Add this to the 63 Nobelists who have now endorsed Obama. The McCain campaign has really missed an opportunity here and really ought to do everything they can to give more details on his plans for science. I really don’t want this to be a partisan blog, so PLEASE, anyone who knows of any serious scientists endorsing McCain, please let us know. In the mean time, check out Francis Collins OpEd HERE.

Related Stories:

Francis Collins steps down from NHGRI

Marty Chalfie endorses Obama

Comments

  1. #1 bumblebrain
    October 10, 2008

    I think the link in “check out Francis Collins OpEd HERE.” is not right since it only brings me to a photo of him. Thanks.

  2. #2 Michael Stebbins
    October 10, 2008

    Thanks. I fixed it.

  3. #3 Reginald Selkirk
    October 10, 2008

    The McCain campaign has really missed an opportunity here and really ought to do everything they can to give more details on his plans for science.

    He’s given me enough information by using the presidential debates to mock a legitimate wildlife study (bear DNA) and a planetarium star theatre projector (“overhead projector”). To John McCain, science and science education are objects of ridicule.

  4. #4 jeremiah
    October 13, 2008

    I agree with Reginald. McCain has not only provided no clear plan for advancing scientific research and science education, but has shown complete disdain for science. He has chosen to side, instead, with the growing anti-intellectual movement that is taking over the conservative far right. We cannot afford more of the same with regard to science in this country.

  5. #5 Mike
    October 13, 2008

    He may have chosen the VA paper given the fact that MD is already likely to go Obama, while VA is considered a “battleground” state

  6. #6 Ron Pumpkin
    October 12, 2009

    Should Francis Collins’ religious beliefs have disqualified him for appointment as Director of the NIH?

  7. #7 boy uzatma
    October 20, 2009

    McCain has not only provided no clear plan for advancing scientific research and science education, but has shown complete disdain for science.

  8. #8 Fertility Calculator
    January 27, 2012

    This Mr.Collins seems to know what he’s talking about. I’ve read his article and support it!