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)
This book's greatest attribute is that it provides the current nonbeliever with reasons to consider and ultimately acknowledge the existence of god Because of this, it is best read by non believers or at least those 'on the fence' re: belief in god. The negative reviews by others appear to be from people who believed in god prior to reading the book and were dissappointed that the author did not touch upon discussions that resonated with them. It is not clear why they take a negative view toward the approach of someone else who also has strong belief in god, but this is another matter. I take the target audience to be those like the author in his younger day...someone who does not believe in god because it 'cant' be proven' or have no opinion on god because it is a safe position to take. This book provides reasons why it is reasonable for 'even a scientist' to believe in god. As a scientist myself, I found his arguments to be very understandable and plausible and worthy of thought and consideration. I don't know what more could be said of a book on this topic. The author gives much credit to CS Lewis for guidance, however, I found this book much easier to read than Lewis' essays.
If you are someone who would like to have logical arguments and actual evidence of God, then you will find the book at least interesting and you might even find it convincing.
"The Language of God" is thought provoking. The author shares some stunning insights into the DNA research he has led in the Human Genome Project. He links these biological insights to the "bigger picture": religion, evolution and metaphysics.
The parts of the book that I really enjoyed were the insights on DNA, the theistic evolution paradigm, and the excellent section on ethics (which strangely enough is a mere appendix in the book). What disappointed me is that the author has a hard time to get started, which might put readers/listeners off. He quotes excessively from C.S. Lewis, whereas he would have done much better by sharing more key insights from the great "traditional" philosophers. Also, the part on "I found Jesus and it changed my life" was a bit too much for me, and it clouded the excellent thinking that is behind most of the book.
All in all, very worthwhile, a 4 out of 5 for me. Looking forward to have this author publish another book on those parts he truly excels in: biology and ethics.
I found this book to be extreamly thought provoking. It made me seriously recosider some of my beliefs about how the world came into being and it gave me some insight into the inner workings of nature.
As a believer and someone with a solid grounding in science this was something I highly anticipated.
This one is worth two listens for me. A lot of the subject matter needs more contemplation than the timing of an audio book allows. I would have preferred to have this book in print so that it would be easier to stop, re-read a area and think about it further.
The content was wonderful - I just don't think it was a good fit for the audio book format.
I'm an agnostic who enjoys occasionally picking through other peoples' theories and writings about their beliefs. I found this book to be highly informational, although a very large chunk of this book *is* dedicated to evolution, which might be old hat to you if you remember your biology lessons from school. The background information on evolution was necessary, though, for those who aren't intimately familiar with the details, and also for a better understanding of the author's secure belief in the system, and how he can see through evolution and into where he perceives God's position in he grand scheme of things.
There are a couple of points that he touches on but doesn't go into any great detail about, such as his belief in miracles, or a brief mention of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and a short venture into quantum mechanics. Although I'd like to have seen more written about either subject I didn't find the text lacking because of it. Great read all-around, and a good look into a scientific mind, using numbers and scientific research to explain his views.
This was a very intriguing book. I enjoyed hearing a perspective on God and Religion from a very intelligent, well informed scientist with excellent credientials and deep experience in science. This is a very balanced and intelligent view of modern religious thought through the eyes of a keen scientific mind. His personal struggle with the co-existance of God and Science is very interesting. This is a great listen for anyone who is interested in both science and religion.
Overall this book was both interesting and informative. The topic is very relevant today given the tensions between the religeous right and other groups regarding evolution versus creation. There was, however, a bit too much 'me' (author) in the book and I felt it fell short of helping me find a rational basis for seeing God's hand in the wonders of science. Despite this, it was thought provoking and helps frame this very complex subject.
I'm not a traditional theist by any means, but this presentation by a Christian believer who is also a world-rank scientist (the author headed the public Human Genome Project) deserves reading/listening by anyone fustrated by the harmful "culture wars" put on by extremists of both sides.
Francis Collins presents his case for belief with an accessible presentation of how science is no threat to those willing to go beyond a literalist view of religion. As a Christian, he also does not go into a mere polemic for only Christianity, he is open to all forms of belief in God. For Collins, theism is a mature position to take, and that one can be of a scientific viewpoint and still respect religion.
For this Humanist, a good case for faith, and a good book to suggest to religious people who have a hard time with biological evolution and current scientific cosmology.
This book dives into some pretty touchy subjects and some extremely technical and scientific theories - but the author managed to break most of it down into digestable chunks. My grasp of Gnomes and the Big Bang has improved considerably.
But the real beauty of this book is that it's not about judging anyone. The author respectfully points out the strengths and weaknesses of both extreme Atheist and Fundamentalist arguments, and moves past them into the amazing things that science is discovering. The author does devote an entire chapter on his personal journey from atheism to believing in the existance of God, but he also forewarns you and tells you which chapter to pick up on if you want to skip that section. It's simply so refreshing to get such an informative viewpoint without the politics - I'll be buying this book for many people for Christmas this year...
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.
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