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August 19, 2009

Francis Collins Resigns from Faith and Science Foundation

National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins resigned from the BioLogos Foundation, the foundation he started in May as a way to reconcile faith and science, USA Today reports.

"I want to reassure everyone I am here to lead the NIH as best I can, as a scientist," Collins said, noting concerns.

The author of The Language of God: 'A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief has been outspoken about his faith in the past.

''The NIH director needs to focus on science,'' Collins told the Associated Press on Monday. ''I have no religious agenda for the NIH.''

The AP reports that Collins resigned from the Web site the day before assuming his new job, but was proud of its work.

"I do think the current battle that's going on in our culture between extreme voices is not a productive one," he said. "The chance to play some kind of useful role in that conversation by pointing out the potential harmony was something that seemed to be making some inroads."

Update: Family Research Council's David Prentice responds to Collins, who supports using embryos for research and helped Obama craft his policy for the NIH. "Saying that one is a devout evangelical Christian while promoting embryo and cloning experiments, is a bit akin to claiming to be a devout Druid while promoting clear-cutting of forests," Prentice writes.

Comments

I think Collins is his own man. I hope this is not the beginning of a metamorphoses (evolution?) towards a "company man." He must have felt pressure from somewhere. The rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say, may be the most interesting part.

I'm so sick of prominent people speaking for the rest of us. So, so sick.

Matt, who are you referring to - Collins, Prentice, or both?

I'm tired of morons who in the 21st century actually believe in an invisible man who lives in the sky, and think a dead carpenter floated up to the sky because a couple of scared women said so.

Religion, dumbing-down America for two centuries. Dumbing-down the world for a lot longer.

America is filled with idiots, who successfully hold down jobs and have families, even with such diseased minds. It's a miracle.

Well, Ted, at least you believe in miracles!

Sorry you feel as you do Ted. Unfortunately, the tone you strike in neither productive or effective. If you want to persuade perhaps you should present something other than disparaging insults. Believe it or not many who believe in God are from moronic. Search your history and you'll find that many great thinkers and scientists were theists. Francis Collins being not the least.

Yes! I know of two great scientists who were Christian in their beliefs: Galileo and Einstein!
Both believed in God as Creator of the Universe and all that is in it. Today a great Physicist at NASA Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA founded "Reasons to Believe" church, where many scientists are coming to believe in Christ Jesus -- Dr. Hugh Ross.

Max Planck, the founder of quantum mechanics and a peer to Einstein, was a very devout Christian. He led an active and heroic prayer life. He was dismissed from his positions by Hitler after defending Jewish scientists from persecution.

The approximate equivalent German institution to our AAAS is named in his honor, The Max Planck Institute.

Allan Saunders, Jocelyn Bell's doctoral advisor, and the world's leading observational cosmologist, became a Christian believer, after reflecting on the significance of what his student had discovered (The Big Bang).

I'm retracting the third paragraph about Jocelyn Bell's advisor. I seem to have had suffered a brain storm. Her advisor was Antony Hewish.

I recall reading about his conversion in a commentary in Chuck Colson's Breakpoint series about the conversion of England's greatest atheist, but now, I am not certain about anything that I'm remembering.

I apologize for the rash posting and the inaccuracy of my recollections.

I thanked God when I read on Jul 9th that Pres. Obama appointed Francis Collins to the top Job at NIH (where he previously lead the Human Genome Project). Dr collins' selection is clearly a case of "the best qualified person was picked". Resigning other positions should be viewed as a desire to dedicate oneself to the fullest as head of NIH and not as some compromise of principle. Prentice and the politically biased FRC should be ashamed of themselves.

Congrats, Dr. Collins! Very appropriate to bow out from one job to focus on another, of course still holding onto his faith as strong as ever, since science and faith have no tension whatever. All truth is God's truth.

Since the Bible doesn't lay out exactly what stance to take on embryonic stem cell research, nor indeed the beginning of life, it is intriguing that Prentice regards that particular political position to be as essential to the Christian faith as trees are to the Druid faith. By the way, I wish Prentice could explain the relationship between Druids and trees? I am tempted to make a jibe about his familiarity about his extensive experience with false religion, but that would be below the belt. I agree that stem cell research should be limited to adult cells (for ethical, economic and medical reasons), but it might be wrong to presume that those who think as Dr. Collins do are not in a right relationship with Christ, or are necessarily sinning in their position. Let us always be careful to seek to conform more and more to God's views, rather than presuming that He shares ours.

Believe it or not many who believe in God are from moronic.

Is that the planet in the Cognitive Dissonance system?

many great thinkers and scientists were theists

Your point being? How do you explain the fact that, in an era of widespread scientific knowledge and much-diminished church hegemony, nearly all modern great thinkers and scientists are nontheists?

Yes! I know of two great scientists who were Christian in their beliefs: Galileo and Einstein!

Einstein, in a letter of March 24, 1954: "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

As for Galileo, we can be glad that he was not afraid to be a heretic.