Sunday, March 25, 2007

Let Colbert Decide: Francis Collins vs. Craig Venter

Well, I walked into a coleagues office and saw them watching Craig Venter on the Colbert Report. They asked me if that was what he was really like (I said no) and then they told me something I somehow missed. Francis Collins had also been on Colbert recently.

So - lets continue the public versus private fight right here on my blog.

The interview with Francis Collins is available here (

The interview with Craig Venter is available here (

I will refrain from commenting but I would like to solicit comments from others --- pretend this was a debate. Who won?

In response to Chris G's comment I am posting pictures of Ned Flanders and Hunt Willard


  1. Well, they really didn't cover the same material -- it would have been interesting if they had; I don't imagine Craig would be very impressed by Francis' book even if there wasn't already bad blood between them.

  2. Oh come on ... you can make a decision. It's not like Gore vs Bush covered the same material in any of their public "debates." I vote for Craig as the winner here ... mostly because Colbert makes more fun of Francis than of Craig. Craig seemed unusually stiff on the show - like someone told him back stage that it is funnier if he plays it straight.

  3. Well, it's pretty clear that the real Colbert (as opposed to the religious right-wing character he's playing) prefers Craig. But that's pretty understandable -- Francis is sort of a life action version of Ned Flanders and that's rather creepy.

    But Craig did seem pretty stiff - your idea that it may have been just an act is interesting; I thought he was just nervous.

  4. Oh my god that's it - Ned Flanders.

  5. Can you really compare an interview carried out in a plastic manger scene to one carried out at your average card table? The Collins interview was much more entertaining, and I think it was longer also.

  6. I just watched both videos. Craig was not his usual. I agree, a bit stiff and appeared unconfortable. He didn't do a good job at explaining what he was about. Francis Collins on the other hand appeared a bit more relaxed, he definitively "believe" in what he says! I have to give him the win (while I disagree with him on this one).
    By the way, definitively Ned Flanders!! Thanks Jonathan B. I won't be able to get this out of my mind when I meet with him later in April!

  7. Oh I know they are not totally comparable in the style or length of the interview. But it is still fun to compare

  8. No way -- everyone knows that Hunt Willard at Duke is the true Ned Flanders of genomics. Jon, I suggest you do a side-by-side picture for everyone, and they will see the truth.
    And I thought the same thing for both interviews, which was "why does anyone agree to go on this show???"

  9. Well, I will try to get the pictures.

    But why go on the show? Because all publicity is good apparently.


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