• April 7th, 2016

James Watson vs. Francis Collins Reflective Essay

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James Watson vs. Francis Collins
Reflective Essay –

James Watson is a Nobel Laureate for his role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. He recounts that experience in the video of a talk he recently gave at a conference in California that is posted on BB. Note that until 2007, he was still very active as a scientist. However, at about that time he made some racist comments that alienated him from the mainstream scientific community and several organizations denounced him for his comments and released him from official positions he held at the time. In December 2014 he made an even more controversial move of auctioning off his Nobel Prize medal – no one had ever done that before!

E.O. Wilson, with whom Watson is interviewed in the clip from the Charlie Rose program (on PBS) is another very distinguished biologist who has been on the faculty at Harvard for over 40 years. In the posted interview clip, one of six segments posted from the hour-long program, they discuss Darwin and the juxtaposition of science and religion.

Francis Collins has taken our understanding of human genetics to a new level through his direction of the Human Genome Project. Interestingly, Dr. Collins followed Dr. Watson in that role in 1992 when Dr. Watson resigned from the position. In the clip posted in which Dr. Collins is also interviewed by Charlie Rose, he describes his conversion to Christianity and addresses the apparent conflict between his views and those of Watson and Wilson.

More important to this course, especially because Wayland Baptist University is a Christian institution, Dr. Collins has written a book entitled “The Language of God”. In the videos posted of Dr. Watson’s talk, the Watson and Wilson interview, and the interview of Dr. Collins, the differences in the basic precepts of their respective life’s work is highlighted.

Reflective Essay:
In this assignment, you are asked to view the posted videos of Dr. Watson’s talk and/or the Wilson and Watson interview; and the interview with Dr. Collins (each is about 10 – 20 minutes long). Then you are to write a 1-2 page reflective essay on the message you take from these two very prominent scientists.

The content of your essay is wide open – go anywhere you want with your thoughts. BUT – your essay must be well organized, well written, and original. Your comments MUST CONVINCE ME that you viewed the posted videos and gave the issues discussed serious consideration. AND – let’s not play games with margins, spacing, and all that. The effort you put into the essay will be very clear. I am not grading on length, but on the quality of your thoughts and how well you organize and express them.

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