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Surprising Science

The Politics of Science

The director of the National Institute of Health is a Christian who supports accelerating embryonic stem-cell research. The New Yorker profiles the man who draws fire from all sides.

“When the geneticist Francis Collins was named director of the National Institutes of Health, last summer, he became the public face of American science and the keeper of the world’s deepest biomedical-research-funding purse. He was praised by President Obama and waved through the Senate confirmation process without objection. There also came a peer review of a sort that he’d never experienced, conducted in the press and in Internet science forums. Collins read in the Times that many of his colleagues in the scientific community believed that he suffered from ‘dementia.’ Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard, questioned the appointment on the ground that Collins was ‘an advocate of profoundly anti-scientific beliefs.'”


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