- Hardcover: 294 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (July 11, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743286391
- ISBN-13: 978-0743286398
- Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (783 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
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, whose Mere Christianity was 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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From Scientific American
A devoutly Christian geneticist such as Francis S. Collins, author of The Language of God and leader of the Human Genome Project, can comfortably accept that "a common ancestor for humans and mice is virtually inescapable" or that it may have been a mutation in the FOXP2 gene that led to the flowering of human language. The genetic code is, after all, "Gods instruction book." But what sounds like a harmless metaphor can restrict the intellectual bravado that is essential to science. "In my view," Collins goes on to say, "DNA sequence alone, even if accompanied by a vast trove of data on biological function, will never explain certain special human attributes, such as the knowledge of the Moral Law and the universal search for God." Evolutionary explanations have been proffered for both these phenomena. Whether they are right or wrong is not a matter of belief but a question to be approached scientifically. The idea of an apartheid of two separate but equal metaphysics may work as a psychological coping mechanism, a way for a believer to get through a day at the lab. But theism and materialism dont stand on equal footings. The assumption of materialism is fundamental to science.
George Johnson is author of Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order and six other books. He resides on the Web at talaya.net
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Top Customer Reviews
It may be helpful to know my background. I’ve been a Christian since I was 4 years old yet in the last several months have dealt with many doubts and my faith was shaken. I was not angry at God and did not feel that He had treated me unfairly. I just somehow stopped assuming He existed and have been begging Him to show Himself to me. Someone suggested Collins’ books and this was the first I chose to read. The book seemed to give more credibility to by doubts than my faith.
Growing up a Christian I was raised on literal Bible interpretation (including Genesis 1 & 2) and that evolution was an unproven theory. I agree with the author that the mutual exclusivity of Christianity and evolution is a paradigm furthered by both Christians and Evolutionists. This book is the first intelligent argument I’ve heard that this does not have to be the case. That being said, Collins comes off a lot more confident in evolution than the existence of God. When he argues that the term theory in evolutionary theory does not mean “unproven” as much as it means “frame of thinking,” such as ‘music theory,’ part of me was really upset. I felt the collapsing of a lot of previously blindly held beliefs. I had to digest this for a while as the acceptance of evolutionary research seemed to edge God out of the picture in my mind as I realized how much I had let both secular and Christian cultures drive a wedge between the two ideas.
I do not have a scientific background and therefore no means to argue with Collins but I was confused by his idolization of Darwin. Though I understand Darwin was brilliant and innovative, I struggle to believe how someone in that time could have every theory upheld by all the modern technology and revelation that has come since his time. Collins never seems to show any weakness in Darwin’s work.
As much as the book poked at my commonly held assumptions, I believe it would probably do the same to anyone who came in not believing in God but as open-minded as I was to the idea of the opposite being true. Collins is able to depict the detail and complexity of life and, while being very open on his confidence in evolution, is insistent that such does not negate the possibility of God. He repeatedly suggests evolution as the means God chose to use.
Beliefs in creation, intelligent design, and even life beginning at conception will be challenged in this book. Despite not holding this traditional Christian beliefs, Collins very factually and without heavy reliance on personal experiences argues that the moral conscience and human longing for God may just be the very evidence of a God who had, has and will have a part with human life.
Dr. collins makes a strong case for evolution over the past 4.5 billion years of earth's existence. Being a geneticist, he draws his conclusions from the trail of DNA that is us. He does not subscribe to the "young earth" theory espoused by those who hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible. At the same time he is a strong Christian believer, with a solid faith in God.
This book makes a strong argument for those who find conflict with their traditional Christian upbringing, and modern science, to reconcile both and still maintain a strong faith in God.