Calling conflicts between religion and science “overstated,” National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins complained Tuesday that vocal atheists are giving the U.S. public a false impression of science.

The former head of the U.S. human genome program and an evangelical Christian, Collins founded the BioLogos Foundation dedicated to “the integration of science and Christian faith,” before moving to NIH. His comments came at a USA TODAY editorial board meeting.

Asked about complaints from researchers such as Harvard’s Stephen Pinker, over an avowed Christian heading a scientific agency, Collins said, “angry atheists are out there using science as a club to to hit believers over the head.” He expressed concern that prominent researchers suggesting that one can’t believe in evolution and believe in God, may be “causing a lot of people not familiar with science to change their assessments of it.”

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