After many years of service as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), Francis Collins resigned from NIH last year. His reasons for quitting were widely reported in the media. Here's the press release from NIH [Francis S. Collins to Step Down as Director of National Human Genome Research Institute].
Dr. Collins explained that his decision to step down as leader of NHGRI came after much personal deliberation. "My decision was driven by a desire for an interval of time dedicated to writing, reflection and exploration of other professional opportunities in the public or private sectors," he said. "The demands and responsibilities of directing an NIH institute do not allow the time commitment necessary for this. In addition, I may need greater latitude than my current position allows to pursue other potential positions of service without encountering any possible conflicts of interest, whether real or perceived."We now know that the "real or perceived" conflict of interest relates to the creation of The BioLogos Foundation. Here's the mission statement.
Dr. Francis Collins established The BioLogos Foundation to address the escalating culture war between science and faith in the United States. On one end of the spectrum, “new atheists” argue that science removes the need for God. On the other end, religious fundamentalists argue that the Bible requires us to reject much of modern science. Many people - including scientists and believers in God - do not find these extreme options attractive.It's pretty obvious why running such a foundation is not compatible with a leadership role at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
BioLogos represents the harmony of science and faith. It addresses the central themes of science and religion and emphasizes the compatibility of Christian faith with scientific discoveries about the origins of the universe and life. To communicate this message to the general public and add to the ongoing dialog, The BioLogos Foundation created BioLogos.org.
Funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Web site is a reliable source of scholarly thought on contemporary issues in science and faith that highlights the compatibility of modern science with traditional Christian beliefs. BioLogos.org features responses to a myriad of questions received by Collins, author of The Language of God, Karl Giberson, author of Saving Darwin, and Darrel Falk, author of Coming to Peace With Science since the publication of their books.
That's what makes this report in Scientific American so disturbing [Former Human Genome Project leader Francis Collins likely next NIH director].
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.Fortunately, we can be confident that the rumor isn't true. With Barack Obama as President of the United States, the appointment of someone like Francis Collins should never happen. Things are going to change in Washington.
The agency, which has been run by acting director Raynard Kington since October 2008 after Elias Zerhouni stepped down, is in late stages of screening Collins, noted Bloomberg.
Wouldn't it be ironic if the rumor were true and the new head of NIH did not have the enthusiastic support of most scientists? That's the sort of thing that happened under the previous President.