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The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Francis S Collins
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 July 2006
Dr Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, is one of the world's leading scientists, working at the cutting edge of the study of DNA, the code of life. Yet he is also a man of unshakable faith in God. How does he reconcile the seemingly unreconcilable? In THE LANGUAGE OF GOD he explains his own journey from atheism to faith, and then takes the reader on a stunning tour of modern science to show that physics, chemistry and biology -- indeed, reason itself -- are not incompatible with belief. His book is essential reading for anyone who wonders about the deepest questions of all: why are we here? How did we get here? And what does life mean?
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (11 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743554310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743554312
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 16.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,131,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Francis Collins, one of the world's most distinguished scientists, treats the relationship of science and religion with reason and reverence. Collins's mix of clear technical exposition and personal reflection is infused with an intellectual and spiritual honesty. Everyone who questions how religious faith could be reconciled with scientific knowledge, everyone who fears that modern science attacks the heart of religious faith, everyone interested in an enlightened discussion of a crucial issue of our time should read this book."-- William D. Phillips, 1997 Nobel Laureate in Physics --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, as far as it goes. 19 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
This book is both interesting and frustrating. It is interesting because as a prominent theistic scientist (who took over leadership of the Human Genome Project from a prominent atheistic scientist) Collins has a unique vantage point from which to contribute to the science / faith debate. It's frustrating because, in this reviewer's opinion, Collins should have gone so much further in engaging more fully in the wider Christianity / Atheism debate.

The book's subtitle "A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" is misleading. The pro-belief argument rests almost exclusively on the Moral Law whilst evidenced-based reasoning fills relatiely few of the book's pages. The reliance on philosophical argument is odd as one might expect the main evidence for belief from such a prominent scientist to be scientific in nature (Collins does touch on the Cosmological and Fine Tuning Arguments but these do not come across as central evidential pillars). However this reflects the thrust of the book - science doesn't land blows for theism or atheism - science should not even be in the fight.

Consequently I would say that this book does not add a great deal to the Christian / Atheist debate. Collins surveys that battle and seeks to pull back science from the front line. However I struggle to see how that is consistent with the worldview of someone who believes that the entire natural world has been created by the agency of a personal God, in order to declare his glory (which Collins must believe, as a self-confessed Evangelical). Science, as the study of God's creation, should be a powerful apologetic tool for those who have eyes to see, and thus I would recommend the book of another evangelical Scientist - John Lennox's "God's Undertaker" - above this book.
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179 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science & Faith: What Conflict? 20 Jun 2007
Format:Paperback
As a Christian trained as a physicist, I have always been drawn to books that tread the road between science and faith. "The Language of God. A scientist presents evidence for belief" by Francis Collins is one of the best. Dr Francis S Collins is head of the Human Genome Project and one of the leading scientists working on DNA, the code of life. He is also a man whose unshakable faith in God is clear throughout this book.

If you have been drawn to "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins then I would urge you to read Collins too. How can two men with such similar backgrounds and similar scientific interests come to completely opposing conclusions? Indeed Collins admits that in his student days and for sometime afterwards he was an atheist himself.

"The Language of God" is part autobiography, part layman guide to DNA and evolution theory; cosmology and quantum physics (though I can think of better introductions than Collins) making an interesting comment on Einstein's famous phrase "God does not play dice". It is also a profound analysis that fully endorses evolution theory as explored by science whilst fully upholding faith in the Christian God of the Bible, including the miraculous. These two worldviews are not incompatible in Collins' mind, and he builds some important bridges: "It is time to call a truce in the escalating war between science and spirit. The war was never really necessary."

Along Collins' road he tackles the main alternative positions including the atheism of Dawkins that he challenges on several grounds, concluding that atheists must find some other basis for taking their position, evolution won't do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another voice in the origins debate 7 April 2010
By P. M. Fernandez VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
We are assured by Richard Dawkins and others of that ilk that no self-respecting intelligent person, let alone scientist, could possibly believe in a God. Their case is undermined by the fact that scientists like Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project not only believe in God but can make the intellectual case for their position, and with substantially more force than the case against God made in "The God Delusion".

In this book, Collins charts his own journey to faith, guided largely by C.S.Lewis (Mere Christianity), and then outlines his own intellectual position on the issue of origins. He identifies three main positions - atheism, creationism and intelligent design - correctly showing that ID is a distinct intellectual movement - but also identifies what he considers weaknesses in all three. His own position is "Theistic Evolution", or "BioLogos" to use the term he coins. He argues that the evidence suggests that the history of the universe does not show evidence of external agency (unlike the position of creationism or ID), but that there are aspects of the universe which are not adequately explained by purely naturalistic perspectives (unlike the position of atheism). He also argues that the culture wars, which have little to do with science and much to do with philosophical presuppositions, are damaging both science and faith, by firmly scribing an unnecessary line between the two. In this regard, Collins adopts the reciprocal position of Stephen Gould (Rocks of Ages), who advocates a complete separation into non-overlapping magisteria.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I first had the print version, but had to have this on Kindle as well
This is a very important book for me. I am a scientist by education but I know when an author has the ability to explain a concept using story so that a layman can understand it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by G. R. Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just as described :-)
Published 1 month ago by Gemz Sobah
5.0 out of 5 stars Francis Collins wonderfully marries his intense and lifelong passion...
I was a bit reticent at first but that soon faded once i passed the first few pages. Francis Collins wonderfully marries his intense and lifelong passion for the sciences (not just... Read more
Published 2 months ago by raf23
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely changed my paradigm
An excellently written book by a hugely qualified author that shows that Science vs Religion isn't the real choice. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dr. M. Currie
3.0 out of 5 stars God and the scientist
Not so much a scientist explaining belief as one explaining belief through the eyes of a Christian. Still, it did present some interesting ideas.
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. R. J. Steiner
5.0 out of 5 stars Science v religion
A present for someone studying physics at University. I hope it doesn't remain unread on his bookshelf. Looks good from the chapter titles
Published 4 months ago by Tim Buckley
5.0 out of 5 stars Language of GOD
Very interesting and well written book, would advise anyone who may have doubts about God's existence to read this book
Published 6 months ago by enid lyle
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, easy to understand language
This book shows -with an easy to understand language- how rational the belief in God can be.
Francis Collins is one of the greatest modern scientists in the world, and a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Corrado Ghinamo
2.0 out of 5 stars Another Scientist who is a Christian justifies his faith
Collins' involvement in the human genome project is supposed to lend weight to his argument that there is a god. It does not. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A great piece of writing
This was well presented and accessible to the layman. I'm not trained in the sciences, but in Theology and pastoral theology, but I could follow his logical thinking happily. Read more
Published 10 months ago by G. T. Hughes
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