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The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Pure Harmony

Over the last hundred years a battle between Christian fundamentalists and evolutionists has been greatly intensified. As more and more scientific evidence for evolution has been revealed, many Christians (including myself) started to feel that science was attacking the...
Over the last hundred years a battle between Christian fundamentalists and evolutionists has been greatly intensified. As more and more scientific evidence for evolution has been revealed, many Christians (including myself) started to feel that science was attacking their beliefs. In response to this attack, they have closed their eyes, ears, and minds to the overwhelming facts that point to evolution as the process that created mankind. In his book The Language of God Francis S. Collins, who directed the Human Genome Project, writes to both sides of the argument arguing that Christianity can, and does, work in perfect harmony with evolution. For most of my life I have included myself as a follower of young earth creationism, a group of people Collins calls a ┬┐well-meaning, God-fearing people, driven by deep concerns that naturalism is threatening to drive God out of human experience.. I, along with the rest of this group, often fill gaps in our knowledge of the formation of the world with God. When science then fills those gaps, the foundation that we have set our beliefs on crumbles, and often our faith crumbles with it. Collins urges Christians to change their foundation to science, whose rules were made by God, and will only support the argument for his presence and his creation of the earth. In a time where science seems to be attacking religion from all angles, the brilliant Collins raises a clear, intelligent voice that speaks up for believers of both religion and science. For Christians and seekers alike, The Language of God can give harmony within by showing the harmony that exists between science and God.

posted by Anonymous on June 24, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

12 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

Somehow, I missed the 'evidence'

This book is well written and does have value but its argument for belief is extremely weak. Dr. Collins' conversion from atheism to belief is clearly based on C.S. Lewis' argument that morality is proof of God. This Moral Law argument is based on very simple analogie...
This book is well written and does have value but its argument for belief is extremely weak. Dr. Collins' conversion from atheism to belief is clearly based on C.S. Lewis' argument that morality is proof of God. This Moral Law argument is based on very simple analogies, the assumption that all humans have the same moral values, and seriously flawed logic. In my eyes, Dr. Collins loses credibility by embracing the Moral Law with such enthusiasm and his failure to critically analyze C.S. Lewis' argument. The book does pose a serious threat to those that believe in Intelligent Design. Dr. Collins' comparison of the DNA of humans and animals clearly supports Darwinian evolution. He argues that the second human chromosome is a fusion of the second and third chromosome in primates, convincing him that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor - not exactly the kind of information that will be embraced by the literal readers of the Bible. This observation is clearly not the 'evidence' promised in the subtitle as it does more to advance the cause of atheists and agnostics. Dr. Collins ultimately settles on a belief system that he calls BioLogos, a renaming of Theistic Evolution. This is nothing more than Deism with more scientific understanding. It promotes the view that God 'who is outside of space and time' got the universe started, jump-started life and then evolution took over. This view has no need for theology, the Bible, a belief in Jesus, or any of the dogma of the world's religion. It is a view that has so little claims that there is no need for proof or no logic to analyze. It is, in my opinion, a very lazy approach to religion with no room for critical analysis. In summary, Dr. Collins gives much 'evidence' of evolution but does not offer any for God - nor does his belief system require any. His aim does not seem to be to prove that God exists but to say that science and faith can exist together in harmony. I agree that science has not proved that God does not exist but Dr. Collins does not give any 'evidence' that He does either. Because of this, I find the subtitle misleading. Dr. Collins may have 'belief' but what that belief relates to is not necessary the God believe in by the Abrahamic religions. For those interested in evolution, I strongly recommend Part Two. Part One and Three, however, hold little value to the believer or the skeptic.

posted by Anonymous on January 15, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2008

    Somehow, I missed the 'evidence'

    This book is well written and does have value but its argument for belief is extremely weak. Dr. Collins' conversion from atheism to belief is clearly based on C.S. Lewis' argument that morality is proof of God. This Moral Law argument is based on very simple analogies, the assumption that all humans have the same moral values, and seriously flawed logic. In my eyes, Dr. Collins loses credibility by embracing the Moral Law with such enthusiasm and his failure to critically analyze C.S. Lewis' argument. The book does pose a serious threat to those that believe in Intelligent Design. Dr. Collins' comparison of the DNA of humans and animals clearly supports Darwinian evolution. He argues that the second human chromosome is a fusion of the second and third chromosome in primates, convincing him that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor - not exactly the kind of information that will be embraced by the literal readers of the Bible. This observation is clearly not the 'evidence' promised in the subtitle as it does more to advance the cause of atheists and agnostics. Dr. Collins ultimately settles on a belief system that he calls BioLogos, a renaming of Theistic Evolution. This is nothing more than Deism with more scientific understanding. It promotes the view that God 'who is outside of space and time' got the universe started, jump-started life and then evolution took over. This view has no need for theology, the Bible, a belief in Jesus, or any of the dogma of the world's religion. It is a view that has so little claims that there is no need for proof or no logic to analyze. It is, in my opinion, a very lazy approach to religion with no room for critical analysis. In summary, Dr. Collins gives much 'evidence' of evolution but does not offer any for God - nor does his belief system require any. His aim does not seem to be to prove that God exists but to say that science and faith can exist together in harmony. I agree that science has not proved that God does not exist but Dr. Collins does not give any 'evidence' that He does either. Because of this, I find the subtitle misleading. Dr. Collins may have 'belief' but what that belief relates to is not necessary the God believe in by the Abrahamic religions. For those interested in evolution, I strongly recommend Part Two. Part One and Three, however, hold little value to the believer or the skeptic.

    12 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2007

    Pure Harmony

    Over the last hundred years a battle between Christian fundamentalists and evolutionists has been greatly intensified. As more and more scientific evidence for evolution has been revealed, many Christians (including myself) started to feel that science was attacking their beliefs. In response to this attack, they have closed their eyes, ears, and minds to the overwhelming facts that point to evolution as the process that created mankind. In his book The Language of God Francis S. Collins, who directed the Human Genome Project, writes to both sides of the argument arguing that Christianity can, and does, work in perfect harmony with evolution. For most of my life I have included myself as a follower of young earth creationism, a group of people Collins calls a ¿well-meaning, God-fearing people, driven by deep concerns that naturalism is threatening to drive God out of human experience.. I, along with the rest of this group, often fill gaps in our knowledge of the formation of the world with God. When science then fills those gaps, the foundation that we have set our beliefs on crumbles, and often our faith crumbles with it. Collins urges Christians to change their foundation to science, whose rules were made by God, and will only support the argument for his presence and his creation of the earth. In a time where science seems to be attacking religion from all angles, the brilliant Collins raises a clear, intelligent voice that speaks up for believers of both religion and science. For Christians and seekers alike, The Language of God can give harmony within by showing the harmony that exists between science and God.

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2008

    Intelligent, well-written and thought provoking

    As a non believer, I am sort of attracted to this opposing point of view. However, this book had a greater affect on me and I am starting to reexamine the possibility that I may have been arrogant to be so certain of my position. This is a difficult realization to have as a very well established scientist myself. Congratulations, Dr. Collins.

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Misleading title (sort of)

    I assumed the tag line "A scientist presents evidence for belief" meant the author would present (or at least try to present) scientific evidence for belief. The only thing the author points to as evidence is what C. S. Lewis called the "Moral Law". While that might be compelling to some, I read this book hoping to be presented evidence informed by the author's amazing career.
    With that said, this was a fun read about genetics and it was cool to learn about the Human Genome Project and the author's own faith journey. But again, nothing new as far as evidence for belief

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    Science vs. Religion: an unecessary debate

    We continue to fight the battle of Creation: Evolution vs. the Bible. Collins in this short but thorough treatment has shown us that science and religion can reach the same conclusions, there is no reason for the constant bickering. He presents powerful scientific evidence to support the concept of evolution while at the same time giving strong support to faith and a belief in a Divine Creator. His arguments are cogent and his data lend strong evidence to his argument. He says, in effect, "Let us reason together." He gives equal weight to the values of both science and religion. Perhaps some of the most convincing evidence comes late in the book in the words of Darwin himself.
    Collins is trying to bridge the gap between the two warring factions and points out the strengths of both sides. To him, there is no reason for the dispute.
    "Blessed are the peacemakers..."

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    FANTASTIC BOOK!

    The language of God had a profound effect on me. As a corporate director for a fortune 500 company I continually strive to incorporate spirituality in the workplace. Not as an in-your-face endeavor, but rather as an example. With the way the world is becoming and indeed, our own nation, I find this to be an ardous task. <BR/><BR/>This book, helped me over some rough spots. Having recently read the God Delusion and God Is Not Great, I was in dire need of a refreshing view from my side of the fence. <BR/><BR/>This book will fortify what you already know and will be a great comfort to you as you live out your life in this changing time. <BR/><BR/>Now I only need for the author to continue the tread and write several more books. I can assure you that I will buy and cherish all of them. <BR/><BR/>Michael L. Gooch, SPHR

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2006

    Christian Neuroscientist

    I usually hate the Christian non-fiction selection of books, but this one was intelligent, thoughtful, and portrayed an acurate view of what science is and is not. More importantly is shows how Christians should not be afraid of science, even more, that they should encourage their children in the sciences as much as any other school subject. Dr. Collins shows that you can be an evolutionist and still a faithful, God-honoring, Biblically based Christian. Yeah!

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2007

    Not an Intelligent Design indoctrination

    This is not a book looking to indoctrinate Intelligent Design upon the reader. Rather Dr. Collins rejects the ID concept entirely. Rather he proposes the concept of theological evolution (BioLogos), which was a revelation to me and one that I was entirely unaware of. Dr. Collins offers amazing insight into the compatibility of science and faith. Dont be intimidated by the subject matter. In a world that frequently marginalizes faith as a fairy tale or mythology Dr. Collins offers hard science as a means to counter those that reject God and forces them to realize it takes a leap of faith of their own to back their own belief system. Challenge yourself no matter your belief and read this book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2010

    God is an idea, not an existing, intervening being.

    Collins is certainly a knowledgeable scientist, but he's out of his league insofar as he touts "evidence" of an existing, intervening being who observes our every move/tought. I would agree that belief in god had survival value, and that communities banded together by this belief would be strong/cohesive . . . that is no evidence for the existence of an actual being however. Authors Robert Wright (The Evolution of God), Karen Armstrong (A Case for God), and Nicholas Wade (The Faith Instinct) are far more insightful. * By the way, why did Collins' god devastate Haiti. Bill (Bevo1@mail.utexas.edu)

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    Still wondering where the evidence is

    When I picked up this book I was really excited- a book by such an eminent scientist proclaiming evidence for God's existence. Unfortunately all I got was the regular rehashing of moral code, complexity...- basically quotations by CS Lewis... I mean if I wanted to read CS Lewis I"d read CS Lewis! There wasn't even a fresh perspective. For someone whose such an esteemed scientist I was shocked at such a loose definition of 'evidence'. Besides the parts straight out of CS Lewis it read like a high school introduction to biology and genomics. I was extremely disappointed with the lack of clarity and direction and it really made me rethink my opinion of a scientist who up until now was one of my heros

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2008

    A powerful novel that will remain throughout the ages.

    This book is a very powerful novel written discussing the relationship of science and religion with reason. Collins is finally the voice of reason we have long awaited. Collins discusses how evolution and faith are compatible. Collins a former atheist, discovers god and sees his faith in a new light. He discusses the bond between science and faith. As well as the great questions of Human existence, and the origins of the universe, and our existence on Earth, and in the end lessons of the Human Genome. In the end Collins leaves you with the discussion of Faith in Science and Faith in God. A book that is a must read for anyone wishing to look deeper into their faith and believe in a new repect.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2007

    1st Rate Book from a First Rate Mind

    very good investment of your time and money. One of the best things I've ready in a long while - If you liked Blink or Tipping Point by Gladwell - you'll like this even more.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2006

    A 'Must Read'

    This book is rare. A first rate scientist relates his scientific understanding and his faith in terms which can be understood by those not formally trained in the laws of chemistry and physics.Science helps my faith walk with Christ. It does not hinder.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    A physician should not make these mistakes

    This is another of the growing list of Intelligent Design (ID)books. Collins believes that ID can be detected in the cosmological world but, ironically, not the biological world. I agreed with much written in The Language of God except for the Intelligent Design in biology chapter. Much more evidence exists for design in nature in the biological world than the cosmological world. This irresponsible chapter would not be expected because the author is a medical doctor. Of the many examples I could cite, I will discuss only four. The first is the claim that the eye is poorly designed because the rods and cones face away from the light, a design called inverted. Over a dozen excellent reasons exist for the inverted eye design. One major one is because this design allows both the rods and cones to closely associate with retinal pigment epithelial cells, (RPE) a structure that provides the retina with its nutrients, its blood supply, and recycles photopigments. This design is superior to other designs because it allows intimate association between the rods and cones with the pigmented epithelium that is required in order to maintain the photoreceptors. Rods and cones require an enormous amount of energy and nutrients to maintain their very high metabolic rate necessary for them to function, and for maintenance and repair. The RPE also forms an opaque layer to absorb excess light. In addition, due to phototoxicity damage, the rods and cones must be completely replaced approximately every seven days. Although this design forces photons to travel through the cornea, lens, aqueous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells, before reaching the light-sensitive rods and cones that transduce light signals into neural impulses, most all of these structures are highly transparent. This is shown by the fact that the sensitivity of the existing human inverted design is so great that only a single photon has been shown able to elicit an electrical response. The second claim of Collins, that back problems in humans occur because our back is poorly designed for the reason that we evolved from animals that walk on all fours is also erroneous. I know from my own personnel experience that this once common belief has caused much unnecessary suffering in back pain patients. This belief was behind the once common treatment of most common back problems with strong pain medicine, bed rest, or even surgery. The common solution now is to realize that the back is designed properly, and for this reason must be used properly to avoid problems. The problem is not that we evolved from some primate ancestor that walked on all fours, but because the back was not designed for modern sedentary eight or more hours of sitting life. The common solution is to use the back accordingly to what it was designed for, namely walking, exercise, and physical activity and avoid sitting with poor posture for hours at a time as is common in the West. As they say, use it or lose it. The fact that some animals that walk on all fours, as some dogs, also often have back problems (common examples are dachshunds and German Shepards) further underscores this point. The third claim, that the appendix is useless, is also irresponsible. For my work I reviewed two dozen anatomy books and not one single text that I consulted claimed this. Every text correctly noted the appendix's important immunological and other functions. The last example is the wisdom teeth. Studies of other cultures have found that diet is critical to cause proper jaw development. The Western soft diet does not encourage jaw development, and, as a result, we often have problems with wisdom teeth. In societies with a less refined diet problems with wisdom teeth are rare. If we abuse our body, what can we expect? We must use it according to how it was designed. If Dr Collins was a practicing physician I would report him to the medical licensing board for these appa

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended

    I really enjoyed this book. Of course it matched up pretty well with my own ideas about how religion and science co-exist. If you didn't enjoy Biology class this book might be a bit heavy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    Best book ever on religion & science.

    One of the worlds top bio scientists explains his change from an agnostic thru a wondered to a careful consideration about the wonders of all living things. He is not preaching any single religion, but shares his amazement at the complexities of DNA & what it means & implies. Very carefully thot out, should be a "must read" for all who think about life & it's meaning.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2011

    Excellent

    It seemed like it took forever to explain a christians belief in evolution through biologos but it was deeply satisfying and an excellent thought provoking read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    A great book for someone trying to relate to both scientific advances and religion

    I first saw Dr. Collins at a scientific lecture, at which time he mentioned that later that evening he would be presenting a lecture on Science and Religion. I found him a dynamic speaker and decided to buy the book. This book presents insightful and thought provoking arguments for why Science and Religion are not truly at odds with themselves as many would like you to believe. A portion of it was his journey from atheism to faith as well as the experiences of several other believing scientists, which lightens the reading to keep it from being to much like a textbook. The rest of it analyzes how the big bang theory, evolution and other hot-button topics in relation to religion. It is written so that someone without a strong scientific background can understand both the theory and the reason that the theory is not incompatible with faith. One of my favorite quotes from the book is a quote from Galileo, "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2007

    Scientific discipline lost

    I greatly enjoyed the authors description and comparison regarding Darwin's comments on evolution, atheism/agnosticism, creationism, intelligent design, and his thoughts regarding science and faith in harmony. However, it appears that Dr. Collins failed his scientific disciplinary abilities with his acceptance of the Jesus story. Perhaps a serious study of comparative religion would assist his understanding of organised religion. I suspect Dr. Collins added his conversion story to enhance this books marketing potential.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2006

    What we know down deep!

    The tears burst from my eyes, as I read this wonderful evidence for belief. Everyone should read this, and form their own opinions, or change their opinions. Life wihtout belief, is lackluster!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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