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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief » User review

Good but not essential

  • Oct 11, 2010
Rating:
+3
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."
Good but not essential

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More The Language of God: A Scienti... reviews
review by . July 31, 2006
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 …
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Bonnie McEwan ()
Ranked #130
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
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Collins, a pioneering medical geneticist who once headed the Human Genome Project, adapts his title from President Clinton's remarks announcing completion of the first phase of the project in 2000: "Today we are learning the language in which God created life." Collins explains that as a Christian believer, "the experience of sequencing the human genome, and uncovering this most remarkable of all texts, was both a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion of worship." This marvelous book combines a personal account of Collins's faith and experiences as a genetics researcher with discussions of more general topics of science and spirituality, especially centering around evolution. Following the lead of C.S. Lewis, whoseMere Christianitywas influential in Collins's conversion from atheism, the book argues that belief in a transcendent, personal God—and even the possibility of an occasional miracle—can and should coexist with a scientific picture of the world that includes evolution. Addressing in turn fellow scientists and fellow believers, Collins insists that "science is not threatened by God; it is enhanced" and "God is most certainly not threatened by science; He made it all possible." Collins's 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.(July 17)
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ISBN-10: 0743286391
ISBN-13: 978-0743286398
Author: Francis S. Collins
Publisher: Free Press

First to Review

"Intriguing"
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