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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index C > Francis S. Collins Quotes

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Francis S. Collins
(14 Apr 1950 - )

American geneticist and physician who became the director (1993-2008) of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. government.


Science Quotes by Francis S. Collins (9 quotes)

Are we using science in ways that it wasn't intended to, in which case we should be a little careful, or are we using faith in ways that faith wasn't really designed for? There are certain questions that are better answered by one approach than the other, and if you start mixing that up, then you end up in … conflict.
— Francis S. Collins
From video of interview with Huffington post reporter at the 2014 Davos Annual Meeting, World Economic Forum (25 Jan 2014). On web page 'Dr. Francis Collins: “There Is An Uneasiness” About Evolution'
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As you kind of get over the anxiety about [science and evolution], it actually adds to your sense of awe about this amazing universe that we live in, it doesn't subtract from it at all.
— Francis S. Collins
From video of interview with Huffington post reporter at the 2014 Davos Annual Meeting, World Economic Forum (25 Jan 2014). On web page 'Dr. Francis Collins: “There Is An Uneasiness” About Evolution'
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Amazement (16)  |  Amazing (35)  |  Anxiety (30)  |  Awe (43)  |  Evolution (593)  |  Kind (557)  |  Live (629)  |  Science (3880)  |  Science And Religion (310)  |  Sense (770)  |  Universe (861)

I took biology in high school and didn't like it at all. It was focused on memorization. ... I didn't appreciate that biology also had principles and logic ... [rather than dealing with a] messy thing called life. It just wasn't organized, and I wanted to stick with the nice pristine sciences of chemistry and physics, where everything made sense. I wish I had learned sooner that biology could be fun as well.
— Francis S. Collins
Interview (23 May 1998), 'Creating the Code to Life', Academy of Achievement web site.
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It is certainly true in the United States that there is an uneasiness about certain aspects of science, particularly evolution, because it conflicts, in some people’s minds, with their sense of how we all came to be. But you know, if you are a believer in God, it’s hard to imagine that God would somehow put this incontrovertible evidence in front of us about our relationship to other living organisms and expect us to disbelieve it. I mean, that doesn't make sense at all.
— Francis S. Collins
From video of interview with Huffington post reporter at the 2014 Davos Annual Meeting, World Economic Forum (25 Jan 2014). On web page 'Dr. Francis Collins: “There Is An Uneasiness” About Evolution'
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Science is the way—a powerful way, indeed—to study the natural world. Science is not particularly effective—in fact, it’s rather ineffective—in making commentary about the supernatural world. Both worlds, for me, are quite real and quite important. They are investigated in different ways. They coexist. They illuminate each other.
— Francis S. Collins
From transcript of interview by Bob Abernathy with Francis Collins on PBS TV program 'Religion and Ethics'(16 Jun 2000).
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The problem [with genetic research] is, we're just starting down this path, feeling our way in the dark. We have a small lantern in the form of a gene, but the lantern doesn't penetrate more than a couple of hundred feet. We don't know whether we're going to encounter chasms, rock walls or mountain ranges along the way. We don't even know how long the path is.
— Francis S. Collins
Quoted in J. Madeleine Nash, et al., 'Tracking Down Killer Genes', Time magazine (17 Sep 1990).
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What more powerful form of study of mankind could there be than to read our own instruction book?
— Francis S. Collins
From White House Announcement of the Completion of the First Survey of the Entire Human Genome Project, broadcast on the day of the publication of the first draft of the human genome. Quoted in transcript on the National Archives, Clinton White House web site, 'Text of Remarks on the Completion of the First Survey of the Entire Human Genome Project' (26 Jun 2000).
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[Decoding the human genome sequence] is the most significant undertaking that we have mounted so far in an organized way in all of science. I believe that reading our blueprints, cataloguing our own instruction book, will be judged by history as more significant than even splitting the atom or going to the moon.
— Francis S. Collins
Interview (23 May 1998), 'Cracking the Code to Life', Academy of Achievement web site.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Atom (358)  |  Blueprint (7)  |  Book (394)  |  Catalog (5)  |  Genome (15)  |  Going (6)  |  History (675)  |  Human (1470)  |  Human Genome (12)  |  Instruction (91)  |  Judgement (7)  |  Moon (238)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1729)  |  Mount (42)  |  Organization (114)  |  Reading (133)  |  Science (3880)  |  Sequence (68)  |  Significance (113)  |  Significant (74)  |  Splitting (3)  |  Splitting The Atom (4)  |  Undertaking (16)  |  Way (1216)  |  Will (2354)

[Locating, from scratch, the gene related to a disease is like] trying to find a burned-out light bulb in a house located somewhere between the East and West coasts without knowing the state, much less the town or street the house is on.
— Francis S. Collins
Quoted in Philip Elmer-Dewitt, et al.,'The Genetic Revolution', Time magazine (17 Jan 1994), 46-53.
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See also:
  • 14 Apr - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Collins's birth.
  • The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine, by Francis S. Collins. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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