He was always very much their sort of guy; one wonders what took them so long:
“As a Christian for 43 years, I have found joyful harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews, and have never encountered an irreconcilable difference.”Media Release, “Francis Collins, Geneticist and Physician” at Templeton Prize (May 20, 2020)
That’s vintage Templeton. There was, of course, the affair of Collins and the premature infants:
Medical ethicists were appalled. “The word ‘unethical’ doesn’t even begin to describe the egregious and shocking deficiencies in the informed-consent process for this study,” said Michael Carome, MD, the director of the Health Research Group at the nonprofit (and politically liberal) group Public Citizen. “Parents of the infants who were enrolled in this study were misled about its purpose. … They were misled to believe everything being done was in the ‘standard of care’ and therefore posed no predictable risk to the babies.” Carome, who previously served in the Office for Human Research Protections in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, helped lead the effort to expose the misconduct of researchers and to ensure that the abuses did not recur…
Chief among the defenders of the premature-infant study was NIH head Francis Collins. One of Obama’s key science appointees, Collins was known for his work as head of the Human Genome Project as well as for being an outspoken evangelical Christian. Unlike most evangelicals, however, Collins had supported Obama for president in 2008, and many of his views were out of sync with those of other evangelicals. He was among the NIH officials permitted to review the OHRP’s second compliance letter, and according to Public Citizen, he led a public relations campaign to undermine the OHRP’s initial findings. Citing e-mail messages, Public Citizen accused Collins of seeking to have the second OHRP compliance letter issued the day before an article coauthored by Collins was to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine defending the premature-infant study. Public Citizen found it “disturbing” that Collins and his coauthors “essentially leaked” to journal editors “the fact that OHRP soon would be issuing a compliance oversight letter to UAB putting on hold all compliance actions related to the investigation.”John G. West, “From Science to Scientism in the Obama Era” at World
Story goes on; gets worse. But in the Age of Abortion, premature infants are only human on a technicality anyway, one that infant euthanasia will slowly remove. The matter may not have even come up when Collins was considered for the award.
Collins was a founder of BioLogos, a God-and-Darwin group that we used to hear much more about. Oddly, one of the more recent things we heard was that it was attempting to distance itself from the views of its founder. Maybe just a rumour; one wonders what they’re thinking now…
It seems as though Templeton is returning to an earlier approach here. Collins is definitely a God Squad type, having held the right positions. There was a middle period when some of their awards gave pause for thought; one thinks, for example, of astronomer Martin Rees (2011).
Now, Rees is a lot of fun (see, for example, “Astronomer Martin Rees Reacts To Suzan Mazur’s Darwin Overthrown”). We’re just a bit surprised to think of him as a Templeton type. All the odder in view of the unrelenting hostility to Templeton in some quarters: “Templeton’s Odd Position: Atheists Dump On Them For No Particular Reason.” Wonder what they’ll say now…
From the Templeton media release:
The Templeton Prize, valued at 1.1 million British pounds, is one of the world’s largest annual individual awards and honors individuals whose exemplary achievements advance Sir John Templeton’s philanthropic vision: harnessing the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe and humankind’s place and purpose within it. Collins joins a list of 50 Prize recipients including Mother Teresa (the inaugural award in 1973), the Dalai Lama (2012), and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2013). Last year’s Templeton Prize went to theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser for his writings that present science, philosophy, and spirituality as complementary expressions of humanity’s need to embrace mystery and the unknown. Other scientists who have won the Prize include Martin Rees (2011), John Barrow (2006), George Ellis (2004), the late Freeman Dyson (2000), and Paul Davies (1995).