What’s the evidence for the idea that God exists or doesn’t exist?
Certainly the social biologists have put forward arguments that religion could have an evolutionary basis, that we humans are designed in a certain way to look for agency behind actions that we don’t understand. That may then relate to why various cultures over time have identified something mysterious and supernatural outside of their own experience to try to explain things that didn’t otherwise have an explanation.
The so-called ‘Valley of Death’ is where a lot of research projects die.
We are experiencing right now a remarkable deluge of discovery in terms of the causes of disease, much of it coming out of genomics, the ability to pinpoint at the molecular level what pathway has gone awry in causing a particular medical condition. And that in itself is exciting because it’s new information, but what you really want to do is to take that and push that forward into clinical benefit.
Francis Collins: we need to be prepared at any moment to defend the choices we’ve made as having had the best chance of benefiting real people out there who are counting on the NIH to use their money wisely.
Return on investment is always an interesting question when it comes to medical research. What would you call “return?” Is it that you’ve published a certain number of papers? Well, that is one metric I suppose and that they are in high impact journals, that’s another metric. But really what we’re about is trying to help people.
Dr. Francis Collins has served as the director of the National Institutes of Health since August, 2009. He is the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he led the successful effort to complete the Human Genome Project—which mapped and sequenced all of the human DNA and determined aspects of its function. The project built the foundation upon which subsequent genetic research is being performed. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2007 Collins received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, and in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Collins has also published several books about the intersection of science and faith, including the New York Times bestseller "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."