However, in early responses to this scientific announcement, a vigorous debate has broken out concerning whether one of the contributions to the mixture is more important than the others. Professor Ignatius Loyola says that he cannot separate Spanish DNA from Jesuitical spirituality as the key factor in the mix. Dr Hans Kung, however, dismisses the role of Spanish DNA. He made the point that German DNA had no bearing on a recent experiment in the same laboratory which he himself thought had an unfortunate effect. From his own perspective, in keeping with his own personal life discoveries, he suggested humility was the most important part of the mixture.
In England Prime Minister David Cameron announced that, in keeping with his own approach to challenging issues (e.g. here and then in response to outrage, here), British scientists had assured him that the most important contribution to the Francis Effect was a cheerful countenance. This announcement, however, has been greeted with derision from a group of scientists known as the 'Anglican bloc'. A spokesperson for the bloc pointed out that cheerful countenance was potentially dangerous to emphasise. "What kind of disaster would befall us if we greeted, say, the Pilling Report or news that women could become bishops, with a cheerful countenance? The proper scientific method for reception of such matters is (a) Very Serious Furrowed Brows (b) Intense Debate." They did acknowledge, however, that humility played no part at all in English life, except in certain spheres such as the southern hemisphere whenever the English cricket team was visiting there.
Speaking of the southern hemisphere, a little known scientific blogger, working in the ADU laboratory, has suggested exploration of the Francis Effect on Anglican statistics (also known as 'sad stats') could be fruitful. In particular he has proposed intense and urgent (but cheerful) investigation into the following hypotheses:
(1) the Francis Effect is primarily due to the contribution of 'authentic discipleship.'
(2) Popular reception of the Francis Effect is explained as people being really, really pleased that a church leader has Jesus-like qualities.
(3) When people experience church leaders (indeed any Christian) having Jesus-like qualities they enter a zone of thinking in which they are bombarded by ideas such as 'Maybe Christianity is true after all.'
(4) The scientific problem of Anglican 'sad stats' has a complex solution (involving a string of factors we won't bore you with here) but one part of the solution can be implemented immediately: capturing and then multiplying the Francis Effect through engagement in authentic discipleship.
CODA: The really scientifically thoughtful among us will want to know the Kantian angle on the matter of the Francis Effect, helpfully brought to you here.