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on 30 August 2013
I have been a Christian for many years, organist, youth worker, occasional preacher, etc. Professionally I am a scientist (physicist) so that the links/boundaries between science and theology have always been an interesting area for me. The difficulty is that many authors who tackle this area are either theologians with some limited science or vice versa. This is not so with Francis Collins. Throughout the book he demonstrates his extensive knowledge in both fields with authority. He does not shirk the difficult issues nor ridicule those of a different standpoint. A book of sufficient rigour to be useful to those with professional knowledge in these areas, but at the same time it should not be over the heads of those reading for general interest.
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on 19 July 2014
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. The "Language of God" he is referring to is DNA and the book contains many insights into the benefits that will accrue from genetic analysis of the human genome. It also includes the story of the author's story of why he changed from being an agnostic/atheist to a Christian. I strongly recommend it.
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on 21 May 2017
Well worth reading as he sets the scene very well for the non specialist, and has the authority of his expertise to examine the issues. He doesn't demand that everyone share his personal conclusions but does ask effectively for people to acknowledge that the existence of a personal creator is as plausible a possibility as 'creation' by impersonal forces -- and, of course, an exciting one. He also shows that evolution as a concept is a scientific issue, not a theological one and that Christians have nothing to fear from it.
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on 16 May 2017
Some good scientific background as well as personal experience.
I wish he put a bit more detail on the human genome aspect but I guess is quite complicated and difficult to read. Nevertheless the book is full of good questions and powerful background.
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on 28 December 2015
My husband heard this mentioned on a television programme and said he'd like to read it. I bought it for Christmas and he couldn't put it down. Absolutely loved the perceptions, explanations and depth of thought. Highly recommend.
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on 4 June 2014
An excellently written book by a hugely qualified author that shows that Science vs Religion isn't the real choice.

Young Earth Creationists got to me in my early teens, causing years of doubt. I wish that eminent scientists with genuine beliefs would step up to the debate more, as Francis Collins has.

This book puts forward the centre ground which I suspect is held by most believing scientists. It's well worth a read whether you're an atheist or a believer.

Having a real scientist in a relevant field (director of the human genome project) explain why he converted from atheism & how science lead him to God is hugely refreshing.
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VINE VOICEon 7 April 2010
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.

At the very least, this is a thoughtful contribution to the debate from an intelligent and informed voice. He hopes to soften both anti-science Christians and anti-faith scientists to one another, and as somebody with an understanding of both camps, has a chance of achieving this.
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on 22 June 2017
This book is ideal for those spiritually seeking or spiritually skeptical. Debra Rufini - Author of 'The Artist's Page.'
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on 3 June 2017
Collins may be a brilliant scientist, but he’s no author. I was very much looking forward to a rivetting explanation of an intelligent person explaining how and why he changed his mind on such a significant issue, especially as this book kept being referenced in other books.

This tale of coming to accept the idea of God is dispatched with very quickly in the short Chapter 1. As far as I can see, one awkward question from an OAP (p20) and a smattering of C S Lewis (p21) and that’s it. Really, *that* is it !

The ‘proof’ consists of the anthropic principle available elsewhere and nothing special added here (Chapter 3), a refutation of the ‘God of the Gaps’ (Chapter 4), a much better written section on genetics (presumably because he’s on home ground) that’s supposed to say genetics and God aren’t mutually exclusive (he may say that, but why should people change their minds because he says so ?) in Chapter 5, a weak refutation of Dawkins in chapters 6 and 7 (done better elsewhere), a critique of Creationism and Intelligent Design in Chapters 8 and 9 (done better elsewhere), and a very weak explanation of his own preferred ideology ‘BioLogos’ in Chapter 10 that appears to be simply holding both ideologies at the same time. Chapter 11 is a bit more autobiography where he struggles to understand why he went to Africa, only to be told by the recovering patient after he’s performed a difficult piece of surgery that Collins was sent by God to save that person: well, that shows there’s a God then, right ? Not really, no. The Appendix is on the ethics of stem cell research and is actually worth reading because he does explain, quite well, how this is not as black and white as it might first seem.

I have been asking around as to why intelligent people have such stunted theist beliefs that are less developed than, for example, their job skills. The answers I have had are :-
1) when people do their religion, they are relaxing from their jobs and don’t want to think, they need to receive,
2) the parts of one’s personality used by religion are different from the ones used for the job, and the job bits get used more so are more developed,
3) in the sciences, ‘sensing’ and ‘thinking’ are preferred, whereas in religion ‘intuiting’ and ‘feeling’ are preferred,
4) people can not necessarily convey adequately with words the religious experience: it’s a fatuous remark but it needs to be said; it’s the religious ‘experience’, not the religious ‘being told about it’.

Despite the claims of other reviewers, religious faith is a lot more prevalent in the sciences, especially in astronomy and physics in my experience, than one would believe, but such people keep their heads down. They can be found if you’re a theist and meet them at religious events. There are two in my own family, and another three of my own personal acquaintance: and I, by my own admission, don’t get out much (disabled, introvert, happy to stay home). The world needs a proper explanation, but this is not it. I have marked several pages, but mostly for the names of theist scientists.
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on 14 June 2012
In his introduction, Collins says "But science is powerless to answer questions such as "Why did the universe come into being?", "What is the meaning of human existence?", "What happens after we die?" One of the strongest motivations of humankind is to seek answers to profound questions, and we need to bring all the power of both scientific and spiritual perspectives to bear on understanding what is both seen and unseen."

And yet these questions are neither profound, nor answered in any satisfactory way. They are not profound because they presuppose an answer. Why SHOULD there be a reason for the universe? Why SHOULD there be a meaning to life? Why think that anything might happen to us other than decay after we die, and why suppose that there is an 'us' which is separate from our body and could have an existence after death anyway?

These of course are questions which those who ask them need to justify, yet Collins never does. He simply accepts that the assumptions behind the questions are valid and that answers are required. The questions are not only not profound; they are not even shallow.

Collins approach is to simply fit the god he was inculcated with as a child into what he sees as gaps in the science, by implicitly concluding that a gap means the questions is unanswerable, therefore the only feasible explanation must be the god his parents told him about. This is intellectually dishonest and especially so from someone who earned his living closing gaps in scientific knowledge using the scientific methodology which we now need to believe is inadequate for the job when it comes to the gaps which best fit his gods.

And there lies the final piece of dishonesty: if, as Collins admits, the 'spiritual', or 'supernatural' are beyond the reach of science, how does he know about them and how can they interact with the natural world? Clearly they cannot. To interact with, and so to influence the natural world, is to be part of it. Anything which is exerting any influence in the natural world would be detectable by measuring this effect. If it cannot be so measured it is not doing anything and we would have no knowledge of it existence. As a man of science, Collins SHOULD be aware that this principle unpins all of science.

If science is powerless to answer his questions, and powerless to examine his assumed 'spiritual' world, how does he know HIS answers are the right ones? Clearly, he deems them to be the right ones only because they confirm the assumptions behind the questions in the first place. Hence this book is nothing more than a lengthy apologia for Collins' own superstitions, just as those of C.S.Lewis (whom he cites as some sort of authority figure) were for C.S.Lewis superstitions. Inevitably these books always arrive at the same conclusion - it is the locally popular god that did it! Strangely, no one these days ever rehearses these same old answers to these same old questions and concludes that it was Zeus, Ra or Wotan that did it, even though the 'logic' would still stands. Of course, an Islamic apologist will conclude that it was the god Mohammed described and a Sikh will conclude that it was the god revealed by Guru Nanak or a Hindu will conclude that it was one or more of the Hindu pantheon. The conclusion is always the one which best supplies the local market in religious apologetics.

Collins is very clearly trading on his scientific background and yet he has abandoned science in what is nothing more than a book intended to trade on the market in self-affirming satisfaction for those who derive it from reading about how a 'real scientist' agrees with their superstitions and evidence-free preconceptions, and who like to think that there are still plenty of gaps in the science in which their unintelligently designed, locally popular god, so perfectly fits.
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