Genetics expert Francis Collins wins major religion prize

Genetics expert Francis Collins wins major religion prize

Physician and geneticist Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health since 2009, has been awarded one of the world’s leading religion prizes for demonstrating how religious faith can motivate scientific research.

Collins, who led the acclaimed Human Genome Project to completion in 2003, was announced Wednesday as winner of the 2020 Templeton Prize.

The honour from the John Templeton Foundation and two affiliated philanthropies comes with an award of 1.1 million British pounds ( $1.345 million).

The foundation said Collins, 70, was selected as the winner late last year, but the announcement was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He will formally receive the Templeton Prize in a virtual ceremony later this year.

In recent months, Collins and his NIH colleagues have shifted major parts of their work to accelerating treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Throughout the pandemic, the foundation said, Collins has urged faith communities to trust science while debunking various internet conspiracies.

In a statement released by the foundation, Collins said: “As I write this, almost my every waking moment is consumed by the effort to find treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19.”

Collins said while the complexity of human biology leaves him awestruck, he grieves “at the suffering and death I see all around, and at times I confess I am assailed by doubts about how a loving God would permit such tragedies.

“But then I remember that the God who hung on the cross is intimately familiar with suffering.”

From 1993 to 2008, Collins directed the National Human Genome Research Institute, guiding the Human Genome Project in its mapping and sequencing of the three billion DNA letters that make up the human genetic instruction book.

In 2006, Collins published his first book for a general audience: The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

It details his journey from agnosticism to atheism to Christian belief and details his belief science does not conflict with the Bible.

Previous winners of the Templeton Prize include Mother Teresa, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Religion

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

OTTAWA — The federal government must do more to help provinces prepare… Continue reading

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate… Continue reading

Israeli, Chinese policies ‘concern’ Canada, undermine freedom, says Trudeau

Israeli, Chinese policies ‘concern’ Canada, undermine freedom, says Trudeau

Solidarity together: Central Albertans protest in Red Deer against racism

There’s no such thing as a little bit of racism. Even one… Continue reading

Nunavut RCMP order probe after video shows suspect hit by police vehicle door

Nunavut RCMP order probe after video shows suspect hit by police vehicle door

Joint federal-provincial inquiry into N.S. mass shooting a good option: top expert

Joint federal-provincial inquiry into N.S. mass shooting a good option: top expert

As U.S. boils over, calls for Canadian justice ring out in House of Commons

As U.S. boils over, calls for Canadian justice ring out in House of Commons

How proceedings in the House of Commons during pandemic differ from normal

How proceedings in the House of Commons during pandemic differ from normal

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Ontario mulls collection of race-based COVID-19 data; some argue it’s essential

Ontario mulls collection of race-based COVID-19 data; some argue it’s essential

NFL tells teams they must hold training camps at home

NFL tells teams they must hold training camps at home

Most Read