Francis 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.
Francis Collins steps down from NHGRI
Marty Chalfie endorses Obama