Aug. 19, 2009
Dr. Francis Collins has now been sworn in as the new Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), following his confirmation by the Senate and no confirmation hearings. In early interviews, Dr. Collins has laid out five main themes for NIH, and has noted that setting up a new human embryonic stem cell registry will be a high priority. An emphasis on human embryonic stem cells is expected, since Collins helped President Obama develop his new policy on embryonic stem cells. Dr. Collins supports use of "excess" human embryos, as well as cloning of human embryos for experiments, despite the fact that the scientific evidence shows that embryonic stem cells are not suited to treating patients, while adult stem cells continue to help thousands of patients for an ever-increasing variety of disorders.
While some questioned his nomination based on his religious beliefs, Collins was also quick to point out that he had no "religious agenda". Of course, that should have been self-evident. Saying that one is a devout evangelical Christian while promoting embryo and cloning experiments, is a bit akin to claiming to be a devout Druid while promoting clear-cutting of forests.