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Van Andel Research Institute Only Source Cited in GR Press Story on New Obama Nomination

July 11, 2009

On Thursday, the Grand Rapids Press reported that President Barack Obama has nominated Francis Collins as the new director of the National Institutes of Health. The Press article cites at length, Jeffrey Trent, the current president of the Van Andel Research Institute but no other sources even though Collins is somewhat of a controversial figure.

Collins is the former head of the Human Genome Project and is the founder and President of the BioLogos Foundation an organization that believes there is a harmony between science and faith, specifically Christianity. The Press story does not explore this aspect of the new Obama nominee, it only mentions that Collins spoke at Calvin College in 1999 and is the author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

According the journalist Liliana Segura, Collins belief in Science and Christianity was revealed in 2000 when Collins was standing next to President Clinton when he announced that the Human Genome Project had unlocked the human DNA code. While some elements of the Religious Right do not agree with Collins’ wedding of Christianity and Science, it is clear that he is not a secular scientist. Here is a short excerpt from his 2006 book:

“As believers, you are right to hold fast to the concept of God as Creator; you are right to hold fast to the truths of the Bible; you are right to hold fast to the conclusion that science offers no answers to the most pressing questions of human existence; and you are right to hold fast to the certainty that the claims of atheistic materialism must be steadfastly resisted.”

Collins was also one of the subjects in Bill Maher’s recent documentary Religulous where he makes some interesting comments about the “historical evidence” to support the existence of Jesus.

It seems that since Collins has some pretty strong religious beliefs that he has made part of his scientific work that would be cause enough for the Grand Rapids Press to at least present readers with some sources that expressed some concerns about this new federal nomination. If the nominee was publicly an atheist or an agnostic would the Press not seek out a religious point of view in order the provide some balance in their news coverage?

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