Talk:Francis Collins

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Copyright Status[edit]

It appears that the information from the genome.gov site is in the public domain per the site copyright page located at [1]. Database 01:05, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

removed copvio tag.--Duk 22:56, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, all US Government work is Public Domain. –Wulf 19:16, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Denomination of Christianity?[edit]

I've heard it mentioned before that Dr. Collins found god during a hike in nature, namely by Christopher Hitchens, but that's heresay. Reference 22 mentions nothing about a hike, a walk or anything else during the season of fall. Consider removal unless a direct quote or source can be found, and replace 22 with that. 10:11 AM 4th January 2013 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.53.144.240 (talk) 15:12, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone know what denomination of Christian Dr. Collins practices? I briefly Googled, but didn't come up with anything. Ejectgoose 21:40, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

No specific denominationSfterry 01:36, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Is he a christian then? At the moment the religion section doesn't even say that. It currently says that he believes in God and rejects creationism... so he could be a muslim or a sehki for all I know... perhaps we should be a bit less ambigious. We shouldn't assume the reader knowns these things.217.155.32.111 19:20, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, he is a Christian.Sfterry 01:12, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
He was a cultural Catholic before he became an atheist, but I his denomination is now unknown. The article shouldn't list him as evangelical if it can't be cited. 209.33.17.180 (talk) 07:28, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
He was never a Catholic, cultural or otherwise, before he became an atheist. He sang at an Episcopal Church while growing up, had conversations with a Catholic priest at the time of his conversion, and is no denomination.Sfterry (talk) 00:53, 7 January 2009 (U
If he is not listed as having any denomination, then why not say "non-denominational"? 69.229.212.165 (talk) 04:06, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I also have never seen his denominational affiliation published. I removed "Evangelical." "Non-denominational" is certainly different from "unknown denomination"— he may very well belong to a denomination. BBdsp (talk) 09:16, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

In a speech he gave at UC-Berkeley, he said that he isn't a regular church attender (mainly due to his travels). But I haven't been able to locate a reference to his particular "flavor" of Christianity, if any. Any mention of his denomination or personal religious practices should be thoroughly documented before being added to the article. Senator2029 | talk | contribs 04:44, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

He does not belong to any church, nor claim any denomination - nondenominational is correct.Sharon F. Terry — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sfterry (talkcontribs) 01:49, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

The criticism section needs to be completely rewritten, or at the very least references added.

Cowboyathlete 03:37, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

Is it just me or is this article misrepresenting both Dawkins and Collins by quoting Dawkins ("the mother and father of all cop-outs" and "an incredible evasion of the responsibility to explain") out of context - as if Dawkins had no proper arguments... and then leaving it at that - as if Collins did not have a proper response? Why the emphasis on this - IMHO probably least enlightening - part of the otherwise interesting 3-way interview anyway? Mira Gambolputty 19:02, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree. After reading the complete Times article, this looks like a disingenuous quote selection to me. As the section title states, this section ought to be about Collins' "Religious Views" and this paraphrase and out-of-context quote seems to be largely about Dawkins' criticisms of Collins. I think a quote like this much more enlightening and fair (it is in response to a attack by Dawkins): "But I do object to the assumption that anything that might be outside of nature is ruled out of the conversation. That's an impoverished view of the kinds of questions we humans can ask, such as 'Why am I here?', 'What happens after we die?', 'Is there a God?' If you refuse to acknowledge their appropriateness, you end up with a zero probability of God after examining the natural world because it doesn't convince you on a proof basis. But if your mind is open about whether God might exist, you can point to aspects of the universe that are consistent with that conclusion." Anybody object to using this quote instead? (BBdsp (talk) 00:44, 25 January 2008 (UTC))


I have also read the complete time magazine article and i agree that this quote (provided by User BBdsp) is far more appropriate. It is an article on Collins not Dawkins. SO the last say should go to Collins. Similarly on an article about dawkins i would expect Prof Dawkins to have the last say. ITs a biographical article, not a critique. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.179.58.219 (talk) 11:15, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Extensive Removal of External Links[edit]

I suppose personally I was happy enough to see some of these links taken out to sit prettily with my glowing view of Dr. Collins, but at the same time, I was astonished at the chutzpah of it. Someone volunteered considerable time to put them in; they aren't in the middle of the text getting in the reader's face; and for a reader or scholar who really wanted to understand what conservatives and the evangelicals etc. said and wrote about Collins and his faith, it would all be helpful. Collapsing this rich, messy, diverse load of information to the sterility of an official government biography strikes me as unwiki. I would like to read some further justification for the removal of the following external links. If there is none, I plan to put them back in. Thanks, Celia Kozlowski (talk) 09:08, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry if you also dislike my having removed the list of links from the talk page here, but it messes up the formatting and makes it hard to respond; it also wasn't necessary because anyone can go see them (and copy them) from the article history. Thank for the message on my talk page. There are actually a few issues with what's going on here: 1) You're opining a lot on Francis Collins and his views, less on the article -- no need of talk about evangelicals and conservatives and their views -- on the talk page here, just focus on what we need for a good encyclopedia. 2) It doesn't matter how bold it was to remove the links because a) Wikipedia encourages editors to be WP:BOLD when fixing things, b) the long list of links violated WP:EL, and c) no one WP:OWNs the article, thereby making the "considerable time" volunteered entirely irrelevant. 3) The long list really is against Wiki policy, despite what you may see as "unwiki" -- in fact, if you consider the information worthwhile reading, then those sources must instead be used to contribute and verify the content of the article. 4) While government biographies obviously aren't the only links used at present, they were added because the government has been among Collins' notable employers and were the first bio pages I came across --. I'm not sure why you felt the need to mention that unless you aren't assuming good faith. Therefore, in summation, if you want the links back in the article then you'll need to use them properly, as one would find encyclopedic content (in the form of information and citation), WP:NOT re-create the directory-like list of links that you claim helps readers understand the subject of the article. Hope this clear things up. --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 15:44, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Converison[edit]

The article currently tells a great story of the man's conversion, but mentions nothing of when it happened. Surely this would be iimportant? Masternachos (talk) 03:15, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Laudatory comments[edit]

I'm rather concerned with some of the praise Dr. Collins is receiving in this article, such as "one of the most accomplished scientists of our time" and "a scientists' scientist." I agree that he is a good scientist, but it's getting a bit over the top; the article on Albert Einstein is far more humble than this. I will be removing the "scientists' scientist" because it was a statement by one person and I will be adding "by the Endocrine Society" to the other comment. -- Talono (talk) 11:54, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Your changes seem appropriate. See WP:PEACOCK for more examples of how to turn empty praise into definite, verifiable statements. - PhilipR (talk) 04:13, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

NYT article on Collins[edit]

This graf:

In October 2009, an article about Collins in the New York Times alleged that many scientists regard outspoken religious commitment as a sign of mild dementia.[26] The article prompted a defense from journalist/blogger Brad A. Greenberg, who called the accusation baseless and likely fabricated,[27] as well as from James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal editorial board.[28]

doesn't really make any notable assertions about Collins. It seems like an interesting tidbit about faith and science that probably belongs in some Wikipedia article, but the only relation to Collins seems to be that it was in an article primarily about him. Can someone suggest a better home for this text? - Regards, PhilipR (talk) 04:04, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Two Questions[edit]

1. I think there should be a citation for whether or not Collins is technically an "evangelical" Christian, as this term is rather specific and I see upthread some discussion regarding this distinction. It is entirely possible to be a Christian and remain unaffiliated with any particular sect or denomination. I personally believe "non-denominational" should not be used in this case, as it carries a connotation of traditional, Protestant evangelical Christianity - specifically of the American variety.

2. Citation #15, the brokenscience link, is broken. It's the only citation supporting the "played out on blogs" statement. I couldn't find a mirror of it, it should probably be removed until something else can take its place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.40.255.207 (talk) 15:11, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

The God of gaps[edit]

85.11.23.12 has linked the phrase "Collins stated that God is the explanation of those features of the universe that science finds difficult to explain" to the page God of the gaps. My impression is that it is not an appropriate link. "God of the gaps" would more or less be equivalent to "God of the ignorance", while Collins refers to the God that provides sense or purpose to the universe, "God of meaning". So my proposal is to revert the edition, suppressing the link.--Auró (talk) 21:33, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Promoting wording?[edit]

I think the two labels about promoting wording are not founded. In some sense most of Wikipedia articles are promoting, the very Wikipedia could be considered as a promotion of knowledge. This article is about Francis Collins, and describes the very facts that have promoted him to high positions in the scientific world, so what?--Auró (talk) 06:02, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

I have to recognize that I made some mistakes in the above statement. The principal is to consider that a defect that afflicts others in the same or bigger proportion is a justification for own defects. I admit that the article can be improved regarding promotion wording, or unsupported content. I offer myself for this task, and encourage the main editors of this article to join in the effort.--Auró (talk) 13:50, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
I have been doing what I proposed in my previous note. I think the article has been corrected in the sense of eliminating unsupported praising wording, and I have searched for authoritative independent references. I have been especially careful with the information about the scientific work of Francis Collins. In this area, if there was a doubt, I have preferred to err on the safe side. It is my opinion that the warnings at the beginning of the article may be safely removed. As I am judging the results of my own work, it could happen that I was wrong. I therefore will appreciate other opinions.--Auró (talk) 15:56, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
I believe it is much improved in this area and that the labels could be removed. I would like to see the editor's opinion who added the labels though. Ward20 (talk) 16:58, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Considering that 10 days have elapsed since I posted my last notice, with no negative opinion expressed, and one positive, I will proceed to remove the warning labels. I think that the two main objections to the article, namely that it used promoting wording, and looked like a press release have been corrected.--Auró (talk) 07:47, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Evangelical?[edit]

Here is a bit from The New Yorker (fourth line). Biologos is certainly evangelical but they don't talk much about Collins anymore. Still, I think that the strongest statement is that the New Yorker described him as an evangelical Christian.

Annals of Science The Covenant Francis Collins, a fervent Christian, thought he had resolved the stem-cell debate. A federal judge disagreed. by Peter J. Boyer September 6, 2010 ... A year later, Obama’s appointment of Collins seemed an inspired choice. The President had found not only a man who reflected his own view of the harmony between science and faith but an evangelical Christian who hoped that the government’s expansion of embryonic-stem-cell research might bring the culture war over science to a quiet end. On August 23rd, however, Judge Royce C. Lamberth, of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, halted federal spending for embryonic-stem-cell research, putting hundreds of research projects in limbo and plunging the N.I.H. back into a newly contentious national debate. ...

Desoto10 (talk) 04:28, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

The article says Collins is an Evangelical Christian, what is the problem? --Auró (talk) 20:37, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Science News resource[edit]

Funding science research as a sustained enterprise by Francis Collins December 19th, 2009; Vol.176 #13 (p. 32). At the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in October in Chicago, Collins discussed National Institutes of Health funding. 99.181.140.213 (talk) 04:55, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Christopher Hichens's Doctor?[edit]

The article on Hitchens states that before he died, he was under the care of Francis Collins and his new cancer treatment. Is that important enough to be added to the article? I mean, Hitchens was an outspoken atheist and critic of religion, while Collins himself is a very religious man. (On a personal note, I find that odd due to earlier quotes by Hitchens who said he could not befriend a religious man, I know he changed he changed those views later in life, but that's not important). I figured it should be discussed first though, because while I may find it interesting and worthy of being added, I'm not so sure any one else would. 98.198.83.12 (talk) 03:36, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

I do not think this fact is important enough to be included in Francis Collins article. It seems not even clear if there was any personal encounter between them, or maybe Hitchens only went to a medical center that happened to be under the direction of F. Collins.--Auró (talk) 23:01, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Read Francis' eulogy for Hitchens and you can see that they did indeed have a personal relationship: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/in-remembrance-of-my-friend-hitch/2011/12/18/gIQAHxMx2O_blog.html Sharon F. Terry

There was a riveting segment on BBC4 radio with Dr. Collins talking about his relationship with Hichens and their discussions. Neither of them came around to the other's point of view, but it is clear that the discussions were amazing. Collins emerged with great respect for Hichens. It was brilliant radio and if I can track it down I'll add that link.Celia Kozlowski (talk) 22:24, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

I apology, because I should have answered Sharon F. Terry long ago, and I will use the opportunity given by Celiakozlowski to comment both. I read the text of Dr Collins article in link http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/in-remembrance-of-my-friend-hitch/2011/12/18/gIQAHxMx2O_blog.html, and I am convinced that what F. Collins explains reflects what in fact happened between him and Hichens. It helps me that I am also a Christian, and can understand F. Collins behaviour. But unfortunately this is a reference of something about F. Collins, written by himself, and is a kind of reference not accepted as a sound one in Wikipedia. The same can be said about the BBC talk. In order to have a neutral account for what happened, we should have some reference coming from Hichens, that till now has not been mentioned. I expect you will understand that neutrality is one of the pillars of Wikipedia.--Auró (talk) 10:39, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Hitchens talks about his relationship with Francis Collins at the end of this debate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjKJ92b9Y04&
The mention begans at 1:36:20. Hitchens says "I'm lucky to be his friend."
The title of the video is "Is There an Afterlife? - Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, David Wolpe, Bradley Artson Shavit" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.74.1.2 (talk) 15:56, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Dr Francis Collins a pseudoscientist?[edit]

Francis Collins has been classified recently as a Christian Creationist. This category is a subcategory of Creationists, that is a subcategory of Pseudoscientists. So the category Christian Creationists should contain those pseudoscientists that pretend to justify their believes in a creator God by means of pseudoscientific theories. This is not the case of Francis Collins, that like many other Theist or Deist scientists, think that evolution is the means by which the entire cosmos has been created. And in any case they do not pretend to justify their religious believes by pseudoscientific theories. I think the case is very clear, and will proceed to remove this category, unless there is some acceptable contrary opinion.Auró (talk) 21:49, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. I see vandalism. He has frequently stated his opposition to Creationism. Wikipedia is no place for the religion vs Science rhetoric to take place. 98.198.85.83 (talk) 09:32, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

A creationist believes that our universe and life were created, whether believing in Genesis or not(Mestre da Sapiência (talk) 15:10, 3 November 2013 (UTC))

When I wrote my previous comment I used the term "creationist" because it was clear from the context that it was meant "scientific creationist", that is a pseudo scientist clearly. A person that believes that the universe is the creation of God is a (philosophical or religious) "creationist", and this has nothing to do with pseudoscience, or for that matter with science.--Auró (talk) 19:46, 3 November 2013 (UTC)