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Monday, November 20, 2006

A fair introduction of Francis Collins and Richard Dawkins

This addendum is simply to present a fair and balanced introduction for the two men who are debating in the God versus Science article. Both of these summations are from that well-beloved online resource, ha ha, Wikipedia! (The reader will note that Dawkins is described as a scientist, but that is of course a matter of viewpoint. Dawkins has studied, opinined, and written about scientific fields of study, especially concerning genetics and origins. Only Dr. Collins is actually degreed in a scientific field and working in an actual field of science.)

Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is an eminent British ethologist, evolutionary scientist, and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University.

Dawkins first came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene which popularised the gene-centric view of evolution and introduced the term meme into the lexicon, thereby helping to found the field of memetics. In 1982, he made a major contribution to the science of evolution with the theory, presented in his widely cited book The Extended Phenotype,[1] that phenotypic effects are not limited to an organism's body but can stretch far into the environment, including into the bodies of other organisms. He has since written several best-selling popular books on evolution, and has appeared in a number of television and radio programmes on evolutionary biology, creationism, and religion.

Dawkins is an outspoken atheist, humanist, and sceptic, and is a prominent member of the Brights movement. In a play on Thomas Huxley's epithet "Darwin's bulldog", Dawkins' impassioned defence of Darwinian evolution has earned him the appellation "Darwin's rottweiler".

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Francis S. Collins (born April 14, 1950), 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).

As head of NHGRI, Collins has overseen the HGP, the multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, international effort to map and sequence all of the human DNA and then determine aspects of its function. The goal of the effort is to improve human health.

With Collins at the helm, the HGP has attained several milestones, while running ahead of schedule and under budget. A working draft of the human genome was announced in June 2000, and an initial analysis was published in February 2001. HGP scientists continued to work toward finishing the sequence of all three billion base pairs by 2003, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Watson and Crick's seminal publication of the structure of DNA.

Collins's commitment to free, rapid access to genomic information helped to make all data immediately available to the worldwide scientific community. With these data sets of DNA sequence and variation in hand, researchers around the globe work on the process of understanding the connection between genes and disease. Collins envisions as a new era of individualized, prevention-oriented medicine.

14 comments:

Juggling Mother said...

"Dawkins is described as a scientist, but that is of course a matter of viewpoint"
and
"Only Dr. Collins is actually degreed in a scientific field "

Ummmm, no misrepresentation there then Radar:

Richard Dawkins has a degree, Masters degree and Doctorate in Zoology, is a professor of Zoology at Oxford University (generally considered to be a reasonably good establishment!), and a fellow of the same. He is widely recognised as a leading scientist in his field, and regularly attends and gives lectures at some very prestigous places. He is a member of the Royal Society - and that is pretty damn hard to get onto!

He may well be an obnoxious, opinionated, and arrogant scientist, but he is most definitely a scientist by any definition of the term!

And excuse me if I sound confused, but isn't Dr collins view that the world is some 14billion years old, evolution does exist and does not require God's intervention (just him to start of life in the first place), and that humans are part of the evolutionary process sharing an ancestry with the great apes? (all taken from your cited wiki articles)

How then can you expect us to take him seriously as arguing for your vision of a 5000 year old earth created exactly as it is now by an intervening God? It is precisely his viewpoint that we all keep pointing to, saying that belief in God and evolutionary theory are NOT incompatable!

highboy said...

You're going down radar.

Anonymous said...

When someone says they are fair and balanced, they usually wait at least a paragraph to show their true colors.

highboy said...

Anonymous: noun; 1.pitiful excuse for a Frenchman;
2.coward that’s afraid of his own name;
3.a simple minded troll who has nothing to say of substance,
but would rather spend his/her time playing juvenile games;
4.Spineless moonbat (see also Dumocrat)
5.Proud defender of that which has no logical defense

adjective;1.spineless; 2.cowardly;
3.yellow (not to be confused with the color); 4.weak;
5.without couth; 6. of French origin;
7. disguised as French but actually German

radar said...

Juggling mother - scohen pointed this out to me and I agreed, if you look at the comment thread of the previous post, that Dawkins qualifies as a scientist. His bio in wiki didn't include that information but I hadn't dug very deep into that yet. I just grabbed the first two paragraphs in wiki for both people to add into the mix. We will dig deeper, trust me!

As to Collin's viewpoint and its compatibility with mine, since I haven't posted what he said or made my comments alongside you don't yet know what either of us will say. Therefore the preemptive strike misses the mark. Wait until we get there...

radar said...

highboy has beaten me in fantasy football this week, for those who wonder what he meant. Blah!

cranky old fart said...

"As to Collin's viewpoint and its compatibility with mine, since I haven't posted what he said or made my comments alongside you don't yet know what either of us will say."

What? Are we supposed to be working in a vacuum here?

creeper said...

"His bio in wiki didn't include that information but I hadn't dug very deep into that yet."

What are you talking about? It's right there, under Career. That's some very shallow digging indeed.

Say... Radar wouldn't make rash, unsupportable statements without checking the facts, would he?

highboy said...

"highboy has beaten me in fantasy football this week"

Keyword: fantasy. At least you didn't have an all-star quarteback leading the league in so many categories go down for the year and maybe his career. Shut up cranky, don't say a word.

So we have a "selfish gene?" You mean I can blame it on genetics? Awesome.

creeper said...

"So we have a "selfish gene?" You mean I can blame it on genetics? Awesome."

That's not exactly what "selfish gene" refers to.

highboy said...

"That's not exactly what "selfish gene" refers to."

I was only kidding. I don't have the first damn clue about any selfish gene.

radar said...

"Say... Radar wouldn't make rash, unsupportable statements without checking the facts, would he?"

I stated clearly exactly where I got that information when I posted it, as the beginning of a discussion of the relative merits of both parties to the discussion. More info on both sides has come in and likely more will still come. Got a problem with that?

Tony F said...

I just don't get Francis Collins. He heads up the genome project, decodes the human gene sequence, and then, despite all the evidence in front of him, defaults to the ridiculous God/designer hypothesis. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.

Anonymous said...

Now any man in there right mind that knows what good and evil means. Richard Dawkins book and his documentary is escaping the true and refuses to listen and learn more about christians. And theres no point even watching his documentary called "The Root of All Evil - The God Delusion"... because if you are an atheist such as these negative people you would not use the words such as "EVIL" to title there product. Theres no such word in the non believers vocabulary. Therefore Mr Dawkins is still testing the waters of his own belief.