Medical ethics

American Scientific Affiliation (
Thu, 16 May 1996 15:39:23 -0400

Dear all,

Paul Arveson posted a personal note of mine on the Listserv. I noticed
something that I said that is not clear and before I get too many responses
I thought that it was necessary to clarify. The note states that I think
that Francis Collins got into his position because he was a person of faith.
I do believe that but it is only ONE of many reasons. He is a top-notch,
competent genetic scientist as well with many other things to offer. Of
course my belief about the spiritual part is only SPECULATION since I never
heard that directly. My reasoning is that surely the search committee must
have known about his overt statements of faith. A few years ago such
commitment would probably have axed anyones chances to be appointed to such
a high level position or at least caused raucous in the scientific
community. With even the AAAS sanctioning a discussion on science and
religion at their February 1996 meeting, it seems to me that there is great
hope on the horizon. Which element of the religious community takes
advantage of this slight opening remains to be seen. While we communicate
on the internet, others are moving into position to fill these faith/science
gaps -- many who would not want or be able to sign the ASA statement of faith.

Furthermore, I am not saying that scientists are all jumping on this
bandwagon. There is still much prejudice again the faith/science interface.
I did serve recently on a panel on faith/science as sort of the token
Evangelical at Tufts Univ. It was a good experience with fine interchange
but, of course, many differences of opinion. I do not write too often to
the Listserv because I am doing so much other writing to individuals and for
publications so I will probably not be answering any retorts to what I say.
I will just stand with what is said above and see where the chips fall. I
did want to correct what I saw as a possible misconception. I have great
respect for Francis Collins as a researcher, administrator, and Christian.
I do read or skim whatever you write. A special note to one of our prolific
Listserv writers, Glenn Morton -- welcome aboard. I just signed your
membership letter today. If there are any ASA nonmembers left out there
(even lurkers), I hope that you will see your way clear to join us in our
quest. Just send your snail mail address to me at -- P. O. Box 668,
Ipswich, MA 01938. We will send you materials about the organization.
Take care and God bless!

In His service,
Don Munro
Executive Director, ASA