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Vox Populi, Vox Dei

Readers of the New York Times wrote in to the paper to add their two cents' worth about the nomination of Francis Collins as NIH director, particularly relating to Sam Harris' op-ed. (For those of you tired of reading about Collins, we give you this blog post from Scientific Blogging on the sport of cheese-rolling to hold your attention.)

Brown's Ken Miller says that the op-ed "demonstrates nothing so much as Mr. Harris' own deeply held prejudices against religion." Miller goes on to say that "the suspicion that Dr. Collins's faith would lead him to suppress research is sharply contradicted by his administration of the genome project and the profound scientific curiosity that has marked his entire career."

John Haught, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, adds that it is "too bad Mr. Harris wasn't around to teach Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Boyle, Maxwell, Dobzhansky and countless other scientific luminaries that their theological understanding was an obstacle to their science."

And the Rev. Joseph Herring from Alpharetta, Ga, writes, "From a scientific perspective, it is essential that research into unsolved problems not be short-circuited by conclusions already reached through unscientific methods."

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.