If You Prick Us, Do We Not Have DNA?

Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project and born-again Christian is interviewed in the February 2007 issue of National Geographic on the topic of reconciling science and religion. Asked what he thinks about “Darwinian explanations of altruism,” he responds:

Many would argue that altruism has been supported by evolution because it helps the group survive. But some people sacrificially give of themselves to those who are outside their group and with whom they have absolutely nothing in common. Such as Mother Teresa, Oskar Schindler, many others. That is the nobility of mankind in its purist [sic] form.

Now, far be it from me to defend evolutionary psychology — I think that altruism is much more simply described as a self-gratification mechanism based on personal goals and beliefs — but I’d like to think that the guy in charge of mapping our DNA realizes that any human helping any other human has something in common with the object of their altruistic actions.