Francis Collins is a geneticist, chemist and director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. In addition to his scientific accomplishments, he's also a Christian apologist and author. His book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief was published in July 2006.
An atheist during graduate school, the harsh reality of watching patients die led him to question his religious views. At the age of 27, primarily influenced by Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis), he became a Christian.
On his religious background and conversion:
"I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I went to church, but it was mostly to learn music, which was a good place to learn music. But I didn't learn a whole lot about theology. And for quite a while, in my early 20s, I was a pretty obnoxious atheist. Then at the age of 27, after a good deal of intellectual debating with myself about the plausibility of faith, and particularly with strong influence from C.S. Lewis, I became convinced that this was a decision I wanted to make. And I became, by choice, a Christian, a serious Christian, who believes that faith is not something that you just do on Sunday, but that if it makes any sense at all, it's part of your whole life. It's the most important organizing principle in my life."
- — PBS Interview
Responding to Richard Dawkins' argument that if God created the universe, then how come he seems to have disappeared from the universe?
"I'm sorry that God has disappeared for Richard Dawkins. He's not disappeared for me. I think you can make an argument that if God made himself so obvious, so known, so easily interpretable in daily events, then the whole concept of faith and of making a personal decision about where you stand would be pretty meaningless. You can look at many examples down through the history of faith where this lack of certainty is a critical part of how the whole enterprise operates."
- — PBS Interview
I once emailed Dr. Collins and asked him how he maintained his belief in god after an Asian tsunami killed some 250,000 men, women and children. He responded that this was indeed a difficult matter to comprehend and referred me to a book, the title of which I've now forgotten, rather than directly respond to my question. This leads me to suspect that Collins is not fully committed to his position on god and religion.