Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, is one of the world's leading scientists, yet he is also a man of unshakable faith in God and scripture. Dr. Collins has resolved the dilemma that haunts everyone who believes in God and respects science. Faith in God and faith in science can be harmonious, not separately but together, combined into one worldview. For Collins, science does not conflict with the Bible, science enhances it.
The Language of God makes the case for God and for science. Dr. Collins considers and dismisses several positions along the spectrum from atheism to young-earth creationism, including agnosticism and Intelligent Design. Instead, he proposes a new synthesis, a new way to think about an active, caring God who created humankind through evolutionary processes.
He explains his own journey from atheism to faith, and then takes listeners on a stunning tour of modern science to show that physics, chemistry, and biology can all fit together with belief in God and the Bible. The Language of God is essential for anyone who wonders about the deepest questions of all: Why are we here? How did we get here? And what does life mean?
©2006 Francis S. Collins. All rights reserved; (P)2006 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
"Collins' credibility as a scientist and his sincerity as a believer make for an engaging combination, especially for those who, like him, resist being forced to choose between science and God." (Publishers Weekly)
The key "so what" of this book is that the scientists and theologians need to collaborate rather than agitate, and for that the author should be commended.
I think that his christian apologetics were less strong than his scientific apologetics, but his language is that of a scientist and this is not surprising. I am thrilled that people who think clearly about both topics make an attempt to speak about both at the same time.
This is not on my list of best books I've ever read, but it should be on the reading list of those who want to enter into the faith-science debate with some level of understanding of the contemporary arguments.
By the way... the discussion in the appendix is some of the most interesting, and disturbing of the whole book.
in Dr Collins views. His perplexity on the general public disconnect with the reality of scientific evidence mirrors my own. What he says about the ages-long animosity between science and religion is spot on, and rightly much to the discredit of religion. His repudiation of young Earth creationists and ID'ers almost perfectly aligns with my views although I never considered the interesting argument that these folks may be their own worst enemy and eventually will do more harm to the very faith they seek to protect than good.
I liked much of what I read, but I didn't find his arguments for belief in God compelling. Moral law, desires must have a means to fulfill them, an inner yearning to commune with God - none of these strike me as reliable evidence. A thought provoking listen though.....
This is actually a quite interesting book.
Mr. Collins shares his achievement and tells mesmerizing stories about the human genome, Darwin and the cosmos. As an expert in Biology, he cannot support intelligent design and debunks it with very good arguments. His expertise in Biology will pick your interest and you will probably learn a few things.
However, his knowledge in other fields seems very sketchy and using rather illogical explanations, he tries to reconcile his religious faith to his scientific knowledge. One of his arguments is: For every need, there is an answer, men need food, there is food around, they need sex, there are females; they need a God, therefore there must be one. He is saying intelligent design supporters are using God to fill the gaps of their ignorance and then shares his believe of the creation of the world and use God to explain every detail that are not explained by science yet like certain constants in Physics. He gives harsh criticisms to some atheists like Richard Dawkins but he is not able to articulate any reasons they could be wrong. It is quite sad to see such a brilliant biologist be such a poor thinker when talking about subjects he obviously does not know or understand like morality and psychology.
If anything, this book, will damage considerably your faith and the songs in the audio book won’t help!
Philosopher Poet Pragmatist
As a Christian and a long time observer of Science I found this book disappointing. The author glossed over many of the difficult problems with evolutionary theory as it exists today; he cites the Urey Miller experiment as a credible attempt to explore the origins of life when it is now known that, that experiment was flawed postulating a Hydrogen Ammonia based atmosphere when it is now known the atmosphere was a N2 CO2 atmnosphere. Other discussions of Evolution indicate that his knowledge of the subject is out of date and rather simplistic. He states that 'No Biological Scientist Today doubts the truth of the Theory of Evolution' when in fact there are many Scientists who if not doubters are at the very least extremely agnostic aboiut evolution as any search of the Internet would show.
His Christian Apologetics are for the most part a rehash of C. S. Lewis and the discerning reader would be better served by reading the two volumes of Christian Apologetics by Lewis; 'Mere Christianity' and 'Miracles'. The authors review of the theory of Intelligent Design stops at Mr Paley in the mid 1800's and ignores significant work in this field over the last 30 years. His theology also is weak and his knowledge of the Islam, Hindu, and Buddhist religions shows it is doubtful if he has even read the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita. All in all while the author is no doubt a strong Christian and is extremely knowledgeable about his chosen field he seems woefully out of his depth as soon as he leaves his specialized field of knowledge. In my opinion the author has wasted an incredible opportunity to dig into the true issues that exist between Science and Religion today. I believe Science and Religion are compatible and any perceived difficulty between the two is a failure of interpretation on either the side of the Religionists or the Scientists. This book does little new to bridge that gap. I give him a 'C' for effort.
I was ready for a good listen when Dr. Collins started his reasoning with a discussion of the inherent good that seems to be found in each human no matter where they are located. I became significantly disenchanted with this monologue when Dr. Collins gracefully swept from the frequent and non-detrimental DNA coding errors in the "junk" area of the helix into the rare but most often disastrous and life threatening errors that occur in the active area of the helix. He did this in at most three well crafted sentences. He then summed up the inevitability of evolutionary cross species development in another three or four sentences. He clearly sees how sharing similar genes and DNA sequences inevitably leads to the conclusion that we evolved to our current state of special variety through a string of fortunate errors. While accepting the possibility of a Designer he glibly dismisses the possibility of this Designer reusing successful sections of the DNA sequence to create new species. The dismissal of "creative reuse" by a Designer was dismissed within one or two sentences. I am not a proponent of "creative reuse" anymore than I am of "fortunate error" in DNA sequencing but I am left flat by this distinguished man's elucidation during this part of the book. I was disappointed enough that it soured me on the overall message. I found his personal story enjoyable but could have done without his songs (he does have a nice voice though). My rating of two stars is based on comparing this book to the quality of science based presentation found in "Darwin's Black Box".
First of all, I am a Christian -- the quintessential church lady. Second of all, I am a scientist -- I have a master's degree in molecular biology. I'll never forget the first time I precipitated DNA as a grad student. I had the overwhelming feeling that I was looking at the face of God in that little tube. Francis Collins has merged the two facets of scientist and believer in a way that I had no words for at the time. This is a must for the believer who has no qualms at witnessing to his or her faith when facing the scientific world.
I really enjoyed this book, and found the information he presented to be very interesting.
My main complaint is that it is actually more like four books wrapped up into one, rather than just the one book that it should be, which is the evidence of God. Instead he also launches into cloning and stem-cell research, and also lots of detail on his genome work, and other topics that seem just slightly off the path of providing the evidence for God that the book is really about.
But it has lots of information to make a person think, and he explains his thoughts and conclusions clearly. I recommend this book.
If you are a Christian interested in the relationship between science and your faith, this light-weight listen will focus your thoughts and provide some new light on old subjects. It is well-thought out, logical and sensible. it is written for the lay person, not scientists, and would be particularly helpful to someone not convinced of God's existence but seeking answers. However, if you are a convinced Creationist already, you should leave this one on it's virtual shelf.
The theology is straightforward and non-aggressive, and his approach is open-minded and probing. I found this book helpful and a stimulus to further thought and reading. The crystallisation of some beliefs I have pondered for years was refreshing and liberating. I'm glad people like Collins are willing and able to put their beliefs into print like this.
However, he should stick to science and leave the singing to the professionals...
Super read. I am a believer and an engineer. Collins addresses the key questions with balance and rationality. He makes very compelling arguments for his conclusion that science and faith can be (and should be) integrated and compatible. I like his narration of his own work. I've gone through lots of books on this subject -- and this is the most on target for me.
As a Christian and a non-scientist, I have always struggled with the apparent conflict between the Bible and science. While I wanted so much to believe the Christian faith, I just could never accept that God would "trick" us by putting dinasours on earth and by putting in place such strong evidence for evolution.
This book answers all the questions, and allows me to keep my precious belief in God and also to embrace science. I wish this book had been available years ago. I can't thank the author enough for writing this--it has brought me such peace.
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