Scientists

Audio Interview with Francis S. Collins

 

Francis S. Collins has long been known in the science world for his leadership of the Human Genome Project, an ambitious 13-year joint endeavor by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy to identify all of the approximately 20,000 to 25,000 genes in human DNA. The project ended successfully in 2003, guaranteeing Collins' place in history as a vital contributor to the progress of genetic research.

 

 

More recently, however, Collins has been making a name for himself in a different realm--that of religion. As an evangelical Christian and advocate for the peaceful coexistence of faith and science, Collins is a controversial and puzzling figure for many. Conservatives call him a heretic for suggesting that Darwinian evolution is not just truth, but God's truth, and liberals protested his appointment last summer as head of the National Institutes of Health, claiming his faith makes him unfit to be the director of a major scientific organization. In this interview with Sojourners assistant editor Jeannie Choi, Collins addresses the concerns from both sides, and shares how studying DNA sequences is not just research for him, but worship.

 

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Sojourners Magazine February 2010
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Interpreting the Language of God

Francis S. Collins has long been known in the science world for his leadership of the Human Genome Project, an ambitious 13-year joint endeavor by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy to identify all of the approximately 20,000 to 25,000 genes in human DNA. The project ended successfully in 2003, guaranteeing Collins’ place in history as a vital contributor to the progress of genetic research. More recently, however, Collins has been making a name for himself in a different realm—that of religion. As an evangelical Christian and advocate for the peaceful coexistence of faith and science, Collins is a controversial and puzzling figure for many. Conservatives call him a heretic for suggesting that Darwinian evolution is not just truth, but God’s truth, and liberals protested his appointment last summer as head of the National Institutes of Health, claiming his faith makes him unfit to be the director of a major scientific organization. In this interview with Sojourners assistant editor Jeannie Choi, Collins addresses the concerns from both sides, and shares how studying DNA sequences is not just research for him, but worship.

Jeannie Choi: How did you come to faith?

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Sojourners Magazine February 2010
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Earth, Science, Climate Change

Leading evangelicals and climate scientists met on Capitol Hill in November to urge policymakers to tackle the issue of climate change. The briefing, which opened with a prayer to the “God of the Bible and the genome,” was the latest effort by the Scientists and Evangelicals Initiative, a program of Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. The alliance offered a model of cooperation on a subject that sometimes stymies politicians. “The threat of climate change has become a weapon in a political and partisan battle in Congress,” Center founder Eric Chivian said at the press briefing. “We are squandering the possibility of our being a responsible leader among nations.”

By fusing facts with faith, the group aims to strengthen the case for swift environmental action. Renowned marine biologist Nancy Knowlton from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography told Sojourners that “the science on climate change is in,” but stressed the need for faith leaders to translate scientific truths into moral imperatives. Deborah Fikes, executive adviser to the World Evangelical Alliance, is one such leader. “It’s not popular for me to be on this side of the issue,” she said at the briefing. “But as a matter of conscience, I don’t have a choice.”

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Sojourners Magazine February 2010
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