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The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief Paperback – July 17, 2007
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-- The New York Times Book Review
"The Language of God is a powerful confession of belief from one of the world's leading scientists. Refuting the tired stereotypes of hostility between science and religion, Francis Collins challenges his readers to find a unity of knowledge that encompasses both faith and reason."
-- Kenneth Miller, Brown University, author of Finding Darwin's God
"What an elegantly written book. In it Francis Collins, the eminent scientist, tells why he is also a devout believer....A real godsend for those with questioning minds but who are also attracted to things spiritual."
-- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
About the Author
- Item Weight : 9.9 ounces
- Paperback : 305 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1416542742
- Product dimensions : 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.44 inches
- Publisher : Free Press; Reprint edition (July 17, 2007)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The writer is openly a believer in evolution. At great part of the book is about his strong believe in evolution, and the ugly part is that he "drags" God into the theory. "God controlled the evolution". The writer is convinced that humans and apes/baboons share the same ancestors. It is clear that he is an admirer of Charles Darwin.
He also believes in the "Big Bang" and convenieantly drags God again into that and says that God was behind the Big Bang.
While reading the book I could not wait to see if he talks about the Genesis flood. Well eventually he did. He refers to people who believes in the Genesis flood as "Young earth creationists". He mentions that there is with that a believe among some Christians that Genesis 1 started at 4004 BC. That was very interesting for me to read for this reason: I have a KJV of the Bible (it actually a set of 3, because it's too big to put it all in one book) which was printed in the UK in 1839. After Revelation, it has a "time line" of the whole Bible, containing several pages, starting at Genesis 1 all the way thru to Revelation. It gives approximate times which year was which part written. According to that information, Genesis 1 refers to the year 4004 BC. Collins gives clearly the impression that he thinks that is crazy to believe. Somewhere he refers to other "believers" who believes that the creation was as "recent" as 10000 BC and he also think they are crazy. (I have never heard of the 10000 year idea) On page 177, quote: "Thus, by any reasonable standard, Yong Earth Creationism has reached a point of intellectual bankruptcy, both in it's science and it's theology"
In my life I noticed several times that so called "educated / learned people" misuse that to try to convince people they consider uneducated / unlearned / less educated, to believe what they believe, while using their education to impress.
I found 10% of the book interesting. I wasted my money buying this book, but I learned again what I mention in above paragraph, and it reminded me again that Biblical wisdom is the most valuable asset.
He wrote in the Introduction to this 2006 book, “for me 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. Many will be puzzled by these sentiments, assuming that a rigorous scientist could not also be a serious believer in a transcendent God. This book aims to dispel that notion, by arguing that belief in God can be an entirely rational choice, and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complementary with the principles of science.” (Pg. 3)
He continues, “here is the central question of this book: In this modern era of cosmology, evolution, and the human genome, is there still the possibility of a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews? I answer with a resounding YES! In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in God who takes a personal interest in each one of us… I will argue that these perspectives not only can coexist within one person, but can do so in a fashion that enriches and enlightens the human experience.” (Pg. 5-6)
He asserts, “The Big Bang cries out for a divine explanation. It forces the conclusion that nature had a defined beginning. I cannot see how nature could have created itself. Only a supernatural force that is outside of space and time could have done that.” (Pg. 67)
He suggests, “Much has been written about the potential theological significance of the discovery of life on other planets… Would the existence of life on other planets make a creator God involved in the process less likely? In my view, such conclusions do not really seem warranted. If God exists, and seeks to have fellowship with sentient beings like ourselves… it is not clear why it would be beyond His abilities to interact with similar creatures on … a few million other planets. It would, of course, be of great interest to discover whether such creatures … also possess the Moral Law, given its own importance in our own perception of the nature of God.” (Pg. 70-71)
He points out, “Now that the origin of the universe and our own solar system has become increasingly well understood, a number of fascinating apparent coincidences about the natural world have been discovered that have puzzled scientists, philosophers, and theologians alike. Consider the following three observations: 1. In the early moments of the universe following the Big Bang, matter and antimatter were created in almost equivalent amounts… But the symmetry between matter and antimatter was not quite precise; for about every billion pair of quarks and antiquarks, there was an extra quark… if there had been complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, the universe would quickly have devolved into pure radiation, and people, planets, stars, and galaxies would never have come into existence. 2. The way in which the universe expanded after the Big Bang depended critically on how much total mass and energy the universe had… if the rate of expansion had been grater by even one part in a million, stars and planets could not have been able to form… 3. … If the strong nuclear force … had been even slightly weaker, then only hydrogen could have formed in the universe… Altogether, there are fifteen physical constants whose values current theory is unable to predict… The chance that all of these constants would take on the values necessary to result in a stable universe capable of sustaining complex life forms is almost infinitesimal. And yet these are exactly the parameters that we observe. In sum, our universe is wildly improbable.” (Pg. 71-74)
He states, “No serious biologist today doubts the theory of evolution to explain the marvelous complexity and diversity of life. In fact, the relatedness of all species through the mechanism of evolution is such a profound foundation for the understanding of all biology that it is difficult to imagine now one would study life without it.” (Pg. 99) Later, he adds, “for those like myself working in genetics, it is almost impossible to imagine correlating the vast amounts of data coming forth from the studies of genomes without the foundations of Darwin’s theory.” (Pg. 141)
He observes, “it is fair to say that no human knows what the meaning of Genesis 1 and 2 was precisely intended to be. We should continue to explore that! But the idea that scientific revelations would represent an enemy in that pursuit is ill conceived. If God created the universe, and the laws that govern it, and if He endowed human beings with intellectual abilities to discern its workings, would He want us to disregard those abilities? Would He be diminished or threatened by what we are discovering about His creation?” (Pg. 153)
Later, he adds, “by any reasonable standard, Young Earth Creationism has reached a point of intellectual bankruptcy, both in its science and in its theology. Its persistence is thus one of the great puzzles and great tragedies of our time… Young Earth Creationism does even more damage to faith, by demanding that belief in God requires assent to fundamentally flawed claims about the natural world.” (Pg. 177) He also observes, “Intelligent Design fails in a fundamental way to qualify as a scientific theory… A viable scientific theory predicts other findings and suggests approaches for further experimental verification. ID falls profoundly short in this regard.” (Pg. 187)
He suggests, “If God is outside of nature, then He is outside of space and time… God could in the moment of creation of the universe also know every detail of the future. That could include… all of the chemistry, physics, geology, and biology that led to the formation of life on earth, and the evolution of humans… In that context, evolution could appear to us to be driven by chance, but from God’s perspective the outcome would be entirely specified. Thus, God would be completely and intimately involved in the creation of all species, while… this would appear a random and undirected process.” (Pg. 205) He concludes, “I find theistic evolution… to be by far the most scientifically consistent and spiritually satisfying of the alternatives.” (Pg. 210)
He concludes, “Seekers, there are answers to these questions. There is joy and peace to be found in the harmony of God’s creation… It is time to call a truce in the escalating war between science and spirit. The war was never really necessary… Science is not threatened by God; it is enhanced… So let us together seek to reclaim the solid ground of an intellectually and spiritually satisfying synthesis of ALL great truths… Our hopes, joys, and the future of our world depend on it.” (Pg. 233-234)
This is a heartfelt, compelling book, that will be “must reading” for anyone interested in the relation between science and spirituality.
Top reviews from other countries
As someone who is still agnostic on the mechanism and timescale of creation, I found his arguments against both atheism and YEC to be solid and compelling, and his arguments against ID to be less so, yet I was impressed by his generally charitable approach to the views of those he disagrees with.
Recommended reading for anyone, believer or not, who wants to know how one of the world's top scientists remains fully committed to both his faith and his science without compromising either.