Obama's Health Czar Brings God Into Lab

Choice of geneticist a breakthrough for evangelicals: Gerson
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2009 9:00 AM CDT
Obama's Health Czar Brings God Into Lab
Francis Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, has been nominated to lead the National Institutes of Health.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Francis Collins, President Obama's nominee to lead the National Institutes of Health, is a pioneering biologist who led the team that mapped the human genome. He's also an evangelical Christian—a rarity among scientists, only 7% of whom say they believe in God. For Michael Gerson of the Washington Post, selecting Collins speaks well of Obama and of evangelicalism, "which is starting to abandon some of its least productive debates with modernity."

Collins has written extensively on faith, detailing how religion and science are not irreconcilable systems but "ways of thinking about two very different sets of questions." His appointment should be embraced by evangelicals, who owe a debt of gratitude to Obama for selecting the best candidate for the NIH. "Obama has affirmed something important," writes Gerson: "that anti-supernaturalism is not a litmus test at the highest levels of science." (Read more National Institutes of Health stories.)

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