Two Scientists, Two Standards
For those of you not familiar with the name, Francis Collins, he is a titan in the field of science, heading the Human Genome Project.
The New York Times recently warned its readers about a wacky scientist in the Obama administration. But the fish wrap of record let the real nut job off the hook.
Reporting last week on the president's choice to head the National Institutes of Health, Times writer Gardiner Harris noted that praise for Dr. Francis S. Collins "was not universal or entirely enthusiastic." The geneticist is causing "unease," according to the Times, because of "his very public embrace of religion." Stomachs are apparently churning over a book Collins wrote describing his conversion to Christianity.
It's called — gasp! — "The Language of God." Harris intoned: "Religion and genetic research have long had a fraught relationship, and some in the field complain about what they see as Dr. Collins' evangelism."
And … that's it. Yes, the mere profession of Collins' faith is enough to warrant red flags and ominous declamations. A quarter of all Americans identify themselves as evangelical Christians and "publicly embrace their religion." But to the Times, Collins' open affiliation with 60 million American believers in Christ is headline news.
The rationality police in the newsroom have not, however, seen fit to print the rantings of a radical secular evangelist now serving as the White House "science czar." John Holdren, Obama's director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, co-authored the innocuously titled "Ecoscience" in the 1970s with population control extremists Paul and Anne Ehrlich.
Earlier this year, Ben Johnson at the online publication FrontPage Magazine provided quotes shedding light on Holdren's embrace of "compulsory abortion" for American women "if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society." In "Ecoscience," Holdren and the Ehrlichs also outlined their desire for "a comprehensive Planetary Regime (that) could control the development, administration, conservation and distribution of all natural resources."
Mrs. Malkin goes into more of the frightening opinions of Holdren at her website:http://michellemalkin.com/2009/07/15...mad-scientist/
Marty Peretz, the Jewish, liberal editor of the New Republic wrote about Collins in a post titled: "Christian Believers Would Be Excluded From Government If The Left Liberals Had Their Way."http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_s...their-way.aspx
In any case, as you could tell from the news dispatch by Gardiner Harris in Thursday's New York Times, not everybody is pleased by Collins' designation. And some praise grudgingly given is faint praise, indeed. Now, I'm in no position to judge the brilliance of a medical scientist... or any scientist, for that matter. But I know with whom I can check, and there are many. So here is the consensus:
Collins is a magnificent scientist, methodical, to be sure, but uncannily insightful, even intuitive in experimental mapping. His brilliance dazzles other brilliant scientists.
This was proven when, as Harris wrote, Collins and "a team at the University of Michigan ... discovered the gene for cystic fibrosis."
But Harris exaggerates when he suggests that the discovery did not fulfill its promise and prospects. While the discovery did not "lead to a quick cure"--what discovery really does?--there are several transformational drugs that descend from the Ann Arbor scientific breakthrough and these drugs are helping patients, patients who are mostly children, every day.
As it happens, one doctor to whom I spoke (he is a professor at the Harvard Medical School and vice president for research at one of its teaching hospitals) compared the Collins group's identification of the errant gene that causes cystic fibrosis to the discovery of one disabled bulb in the entire American electric web. No mean piece of work.
So what's wrong with Collins?
He is a practicing and believing Christian. It's odd--isn't it?--that this fact should make a scientific designee unfit or unsuited for a job. Soon we will hear the same about judicial nominees. The establishment mounted a sustained campaign in the Senate (and outside) against President Wilson's nomination of Louis D. Brandies to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the candidate was Jewish, although some of his critics tended to be euphemistic rather than direct about their objections. Not so those who are against Collins.
"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."
--Hugh Latimer, October 16, 1555