© The New Yorker Collection 2006 Arthur Geisert from cartoonbank.com. All rights reserved.

Century Marks

Not in the genes: Having mapped the human genome, Francis Collins is one of the premier geneticists in the world. He is also both a Christian and a staunch advocate of the theory of evolution. He was home-schooled and brought up on a Virginia farm with no running water by Yale-educated parents, who had returned to the land as part of a rural-community project. Collins wrote a dissertation at Yale on quantum mechanics, then earned a medical degree and moved into genetics. He came to Christianity by observing the faith of terminally ill patients and by reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. One morning, while taking a hike in the Pacific Cascades, he came upon a large, frozen three-stream waterfall, which struck him as an image of the Trinity. He “knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ” (Time, July 17, review of Collins’s The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press).


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