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on 12 September 2015
This is a truly excellent book. It takes a prominent scientist at the top of his profession to explain his journey from atheism to belief in Jesus Christ. He bases his journey on scientific principles of investigation. I would recommend this book to everyone to read. Atheists read it if you dare!
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on 18 February 2010
This book is truly fascinating and it certainly helps to stimulate a philosophical mind and encourage healthy debate.

The book is ideal for the following groups of people:

Atheists who wish to read a counterbalancing argument put forward by a well respected scientific Christian in response to some of the points raised in `The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins.

Christians who struggle to link their faith to cutting edge developments in the sciences, which involve the origins of the universe and the subsequent evolution of mankind.

I found the book deeply interesting and was amazed at the level of fine tuning and detail within our universe which has allowed life to become established and develop. The book has a series of questions, which are answered by the author using an approach which emphasises a harmony between scientific development and faith.

For those people who are interested in this subject area, I would recommend you read the following books, which I found particularly challenging:

`A Brief History of Time' by Stephen Hawking
`The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins
`Is God a Delusion' by Nicky Gumbel

I'm not going to use this review to preach my own views to the public, as that would be unfair. This book fits into the category of scientists who use scientific evidence to support their belief that God created the universe and allowed life to develop through the mechanism of evolution.

A healthy interest in both science (particularly biology) and theology are necessary to fully enjoy this book.

This is a controversial subject matter which can raise the temperatures of both scientists and theologians. I found by taking an open minded and balanced approach to the book enabled me to fully appreciate and acknowledge the arguments stated within.
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on 5 July 2009
A great insight into the complexities of the human genome project.
Also great to see that belief and science are compatible.

Mike
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on 1 November 2009
As a UK reader the marketing for this book is not its most attractive feature. The title overstates the author's position and as pointed out by others it would have been better to have used 'reasons' rather than 'evidence for belief' in the subtitle. His testimony or witness in defense of his views is evidence of a kind, but not in a scientific experimental sense. The book's value lies in authorship by a modern scientist with impeccable credentials in the world of genetics and includes a lucid update on his area of special interest. This is placed alongside a clearly presented case for acceptance of the 'theory of evolution' without requiring any compromise with a biblical understanding of God. This synthesis is called 'Theistic Evolution' and follows gentle dismissals of the alternatives of Atheism/Agnosticism, Creationism and Intelligent Design. Philosophical and logical considerations abound and there is clearly a debt to the writings of C S Lewis. Dawkins populist a often emotional writings are considered in their place as the antithesis of the faith position.

But what is a much greater problem for the author, and what was probably the true target audience for his book, is the 45% of Americans who are 'Creationists' based on a literal biblical interpretation in the belief that anything less is challenge to the entirety of Christian Faith. Dr Collins can only look on in frustration at the unscientific and even biblical misinterpretation contortions that creationists have to go through to maintain their position, knowing that it is a blind alley and when they eventually emerge, they will indeed have done much damage to their own and others faith. Dawkins and other can feed easily on such people, who are much fewer in number in the UK but not short of a voice in their own fundamentalist fringe. In the UK only a minority can be bothered with variations within the faith communities. Dr Collins challenge to them is not to dismiss God in their search for meaning in life, and certainly not to dismiss science.
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on 20 June 2008
"A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief," is the subtitle of this book. My review will assess this claim.
Collins presents 2 types of evidence. He tells us there are features of our world that need a supernatural explanation. He believes the universal longing for God means God must exist.
1. There are features of our world that need a supernatural explanation.
Collins describes a puzzle. Science cannot explain human morality, he thinks, nor the origin of the universe, nor the many coincidences that make the universe suitable for life. He has a solution to this puzzle. He proposes the hypothesis that an invisible being outside of space and time is responsible. Now, he supplies not one speck of evidence to support his claim. His hypothesis contains no process, no detail, no explanation. The analysis goes little further than, "It's supernatural and it just happened." The hypothesis relies entirely on the idea that there are remarkable things which we can't explain so a supernatural being must be responsible.
Which, of course, raises a question, who or what could create a being so extraordinary it could create a universe, life and human morality? God's god?
This we-don't-know-so God-must-be-responsible reasoning can be easily dismissed. Here's writer who manages a particularly good job:
"Various cultures have traditionally tried to ascribe to God various natural phenomena that the science of the day had been unable to sort out - whether a solar eclipse or the beauty of a flower. But those theories have a dismal history. Advances in science ultimately fill those gaps, to the dismay of those who attached their faith to them."
Quite. And the author? Collins himself. See page 193. The mystery is why he can't see that his own views on human morality, the Big Bang and the fine tuning of the universe amount to no more than what he criticises as a God of the gaps theory. He could easily have added these issues to his list after eclipses and flowers.
Of course, his claim that, "Advances in science ultimately fill those gaps," has already proved the case with human morality. It isn't a gap. Does Collins not know of the work of Marc Hauser and the many, many others who have shown there is nothing supernatural going on here? We might not have every last detail sorted but we certainly don't need fanciful ideas about an invisible being affecting the software in our skulls to explain right and wrong and altruistic behaviour.
His second type of evidence is even easier to demolish
2. The universal longing for God.
The argument here is straight forward. God must exist because the longing for him is universal. On the one hand this is another easy argument to dismiss but on the other hand cognitive scientists of religion have some interesting things to say about this type of thinking.
So, let's dismiss this one quickly. Does longing for something mean it exists? Of course not. The human imagination has evolved to dream of all sorts of things that don't exist - Father Christmas, time travel and a date for me tonight with Helena Bonham-Carter to give just three examples. But do these things exist? No. (So that's another quiet evening in then.)
But Collin's book raises bigger and more interesting questions. Why does a leading scientist - the head of the Human Genome Project, no less - fall into these elementary thinking traps? Why is he unable to apply the scientific thinking he applies in his book to the dismissal of Intelligent Design to his own, so-called, evidence? Why do so many highly intelligent, sane, sincere humans think like this? Why are the majority of our species convinced that invisible, supernatural beings exist?
We live in exciting times when the first good answers to these questions have appeared. Cognitive scientists of religion now tell us religion is created by how our minds work. It's a way of thinking, they say. It's about the unconscious assumptions we make that we don't even know are assumptions. Collins writes, "Science is not the only way of knowing. The spiritual worldview provides another way of finding truth." This statement reveals clearly two ways of thinking. We are a generation that can now choose between the two. We either try and overcome the limitations of our ape brains through the organised curiosity of science or we give in to the unconscious thinking traps of what Pascal Boyer calls our "mental basement". We are privileged to live at a time when we have this choice.
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on 3 April 2008
It is astounding how far a scientist with considerable academic achievements is ready to compromise his intellectual integrity.

Like when he argues against evolutionary explanations for moral behaviour, especially altruism, he quickly discards with "ant altruism" as irrelevant (one gene set for all relevant ants).

Other group effects are also put aside: "... evolutionists now agree almost universally that selection operates on the individual, not on the population". - Is it really that simple?

The possibility of an evolutionary aberration is not even mentioned here.

So what is interesting about the book is the evidence of intellectual compromises to reach a comforting solution - there is someone out there for me.

Flat earth theorists or the adversaries of Galileo were certainly not all stupid or mischievous people - some might just have wished for a comforting world view.
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on 18 August 2011
I had attended a genetic review of my family and a simple explanation of genetics was given. My comment was 'If I didn't already believe in a Creator, after listening to this I would become a believer in a divine intelligence at work'.I decided to find out more and bought The Language of God by F. Collins. It was so easy to read and the fact that it changed the life of a scientist does not surprise me.It may be a scientific work but it does not blind with science...actually the opposite! In a time of disharmony etc in the world, this book not only gives understanding but could suggest a way to the politicians of the world as to how they could reverse some of the evil trends brought about by ourselves.
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on 23 January 2017
Logic dictates that God exists.
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on 12 March 2009
Helpful information combining faith and science - a book to give to those who question how science an faith could possibly blend.
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on 2 February 2011
A superb book.
Especially for Christians who have difficulty in squaring what the Bible says with the findings of science.
All Christians should know that, whilst scientists get things wrong from time to time (as do Bible interpreters), the cumulative scientific knowledge about the universe, the earth, and life on earth is to be trusted. Astronomy, geology, biology, etc are reliable disciplines.
And it is possible to both believe this AND believe the truths of the Bible without being schizophrenic.
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