Discovery Institute creationist and lying liar Stephen Meyer now claims that I think Francis Collins should be disqualified as head of the National Institutes of Health (or indeed, of any “scientific organization”!) because of his religious beliefs. This piece contains a quote from Meyer:
Dr. Stephen Meyer is the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.
“Jerry Coyne from the University of Chicago [is an] evolutionary biologist and thinks it’s inappropriate for someone who believes in God and who further believes that science and God are compatible to be the head of a scientific organization,” he notes. “But the double-standard involved in that condemnation is kind of breathtaking because Coyne is an outspoken atheist – and atheism is every bit as much a worldview as theism.”
. . While Collins has never supported the idea of intelligent design, Meyer contends the idea that he should be disqualified to head an organization such as the NIH because of his religious beliefs amounts to bigotry.
Chalk up another lie to Meyer and the Discovery Institute. For the record, what I said about the matter is this:
I’ve been chewing over what I think of Obama’s picking Francis Collins as head of the National Institutes of Health. (See the New York Times piece here, which includes some reactions by other scientists.) I guess my first reaction would be to give the guy a break, and take a wait-and-see attitude towards his stewardship of the NIH. After all, he doesn’t seem to have let his superstition get in the way of his other administrative tasks, and he doesn’t seem to be the vindictive type, either. (I do have an NIH grant!) I won’t grouse too much about this, but do want to emphasize again that the guy is deeply, deeply superstitious, to the point where, on his website BioLogos and his book The Language of God, he lets his faith contaminate his scientific views. So I can’t help but be a bit worried.
Collins may indeed be a good administrator, but this appointment is a mistake. At the very least, Collins must remove himself as director of the BioLogos foundation, as holding both posts would represent an unwanted incursion of religion into the public sphere. I call for him to resign from BioLogos if he’s appointed as head of the NIH. (That, of course, has the attendant benefit of putting the ever-amusing Karl Giberson in charge of BioLogos!)
Yes, I think the appointment was mistaken, but I do understand why Obama did it. And I certainly don’t think Collins should have been disqualified because of his faith.