Francis Collins

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Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes, and his leadership of the Human Genome Project (HGP). He is director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

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  • The tragedy of young-earth creationism is that it takes a relatively recent and extreme view of Genesis, applies to it an unjustified scientific gloss, and then asks sincere and well-meaning seekers to swallow this whole, despite the massive discordance with decades of scientific evidence from multiple disciplines. Is it any wonder that many sadly turn away from faith concluding that they cannot believe in a God who asks for an abandonment of logic and reason?
  • I see God's hand at work through the mechanism of evolution. If God chose to create human beings in his image and decided that the mechanism of evolution was an elegant way to accomplish that goal, who are we to say that is not the way.
  • Scientifically, the forces of evolution by natural selection have been profoundly affected for humankind by the changes in culture and environment and the expansion of the human species to 6 billion members. So what you see is pretty much what you get.
  • One of the great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that science and religion have to be at war.
  • I don't see that as necessary [that they are in conflict] at all and I think it is deeply disappointing that the shrill voices that occupy the extremes of this spectrum have dominated the stage for the past 20 years.
  • I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.
  • I was very happy with the idea that God didn't exist, and had no interest in me. And yet at the same time, I could not turn away.
  • If one is willing to accept the existence of God or some supernatural force outside nature then it is not a logical problem to admit that, occasionally, a supernatural force might stage an invasion.
  • It was a beautiful afternoon and suddenly the remarkable beauty of creation around me was so overwhelming, I felt, 'I cannot resist this another moment'.
  • They had terrible diseases from which they were probably not going to escape, and yet instead of railing at God they seemed to lean on their faith as a source of great comfort and reassurance. That was interesting, puzzling and unsettling.
  • This most beautiful system could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.
  • When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery about humankind, you can't survey that going through page after page without a sense of awe. I can't help but look at those pages and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God's mind.
  • When you make a breakthrough it is a moment of scientific exhilaration because you have been on this search and seem to have found it, But it is also a moment where I at least feel closeness to the creator in the sense of having now perceived something that no human knew before but God knew all along.
  • Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things.

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