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Too much optimism at NIH: Opinion

One researcher's reservations about Francis Collins's nomination as head of the agency

Neil Greenspan
I am not celebrating the nomination of Francis Collins to head the National Institutes of Health (NIH). My modest level of enthusiasm does not stem from concerns relating to his scientific accomplishments, administrative talent, political astuteness, or ability to communicate with average citizens, all of which are impressive. Nor do my reservations primarily follow from his religious commitments, although I disagree with a number of his assertions regarding the relationship between science and religion as well as some of his claims about the relative merits of evolution-related science versus non-scientific belief systems in explaining human behavior.My concern about Dr. Collins assuming the leadership of the NIH relates principally to the content of his claims for the medical promise of genomics, especially pertaining to therapy, and his assertions regarding the coming era of personalized medicine, which have included a promise of what he termed "medical nirvana" in responding to one radio...

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