Poor Francis Collins. 48 hours ago, dude was just hanging out, minding his own business, and then Dr. Fr*mer got it into his head to make a post on Collins, and now the poor guy is in the new 'Topic' on SciBlogs. The Topic can be summarized thusly:
I dont want him for an official presidential/political adviser either. And not just because he was dumb enough to be impressed by C.S. Lewis.
Scientifically-- Maybe it was/is because he is working through government channels, but he was/is always playing second fiddle to someone else: Craig Venter. Venter sequenced the human genome faster and with less money. Venter is the driving force behind sequencing microbiomes of the human body, sequencing everything we can find in a bucket of seawater, sequencing more and more human genomes to better define/identify/treat human diseases-- Hack the Planet-- Sequence Everything. As a scientist, I admire innovation and ballsiness. I dont see that from Collins.
Politically-- Does anybody see anything wrong with this statement?
SUSAN DENTZER: For all of the wonderful things that could come out of knowing one's genetic makeup in terms of being able to identify diseases in the future and perhaps new therapies for them, obviously many people remain concerned that their genetic material will be used against them.Hey, Collins, I got an idea for ya! Hey, what about universal health care?? Say we find a genetic marker for juvenile diabetes or breast cancer. If you dont have to worry about insurance dropping you, you can keep an eye on your 6 year old daughter to watch for signs of diabetes before she goes into diabetic shock at the park. You can start giving a patient mammograms earlier, just in case tumors do develop, and maybe save her breasts. OMG! Happier, healthier patients! Suddenly, better diagnoses and healthier patients arent a SCARY thing because youve taken 'insurance' out of the picture.
FRANCIS COLLINS: Yes. So, I think we all have a sense that genetics can be pretty powerful stuff. Powerful in a good way in the sense that we could use this approach to unravel mysteries of diseases and come up with cures for conditions that we currently don't really quite know how to treat. But potentially powerful in a more frightening way, where this kind of information might get used against you to discriminate, to take away your health insurance or your job, or perhaps used in other ways that violate privacy...
Why didnt Collins think of this?
Why was his reaction "OMG STOP SCIENCE!!" and not "OMG STOP PRIVATE INSURANCE!!"? I do not ever want someone in the White House who thinks the answer to a political problem with science is STOP SCIENCE. Ever.
Which leads to my final reason why Collins should not, cannot, be in a political position for science: he is afraid of science. Let me finish the above quote for you:
But potentially powerful in a more frightening way, where this kind of information might get used against you to discriminate, to take away your health insurance or your job, or perhaps used in other ways that violate privacy...or in some way begin to lessen what it means to be human in the full sense of the word by moving us in the direction where everything about us is viewed as being hard-wired as part of our DNA, taking away all of the wonderful aspects of who we are as human beings.DO NOT WANT.
We cant sequence everyones genome because people might start being materialists? Everyone might stop with that 'Mind-Body-Spirit' crap? What?
We cannot have a science adviser who is afraid of genetics. We cant have a science adviser that is afraid of embryonic stem cell research. We need a science adviser that understands the publics fears about these topics and can address them accordingly, like we did in Missouri with our stem-cell initiative in 2006. You would think the birth-mother of the fr*ming crap would understand that.