When author Francis Collins uses the phrase "the language of God" he is talking about DNA, the genetic material that allows life to reproduce itself. As former head of the Human Genome Project, Collins knows a lot about DNA and about genetic science, and the portions of the book that focus on genetics are very well written and easy for a serious reader to follow. And the connections that Collins makes between his scientific study and his belief in God are lucid and plausible.
Where he loses me is that he often equates belief in the idea of "God" with religion, particularly liberal Christianity, and this is where his arguments break down. I have nothing in particular against Christianity. In fact, I was raised in the Methodist Church and have an abiding respect for the lessons given through scripture. But I don't subscribe to the beliefs of any religion and so for me it's not helpful to entangle belief in God with man-made rules and dogma.
Collins does a decent job of refuting the claims of Biblical literalists, as many others have done before him, so this is nothing new. But if you haven't read much in this area his arguments might be of interest. Overall, I would say that The Language of God is useful, but certainly not a "must read."
You have to hand it to Francis Collins, he is no fence-sitter, though some may mistakenly so perceive him. Some may think he is trying to win friends and influence people of all types--those who love science and those who love Scripture. In reality, a book like this is sure to displease more die-hards than please them. Evangelicals are sure to get squeamish about Collins' support for the big bang and evolution and his beliefs in a non-literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. On the … more
I own a communications consultancy in NYC called MAKE WAVES, which serves nonprofit organizations and foundations. I also hold a Visiting Lecturer position at Milano: The New School for Management & … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.