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The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  6,320 Ratings  ·  732 Reviews
Does science necessarily undermine faith in God? Or could it actually support faith? Beyond the flashpoint debates over the teaching of evolution, or stem-cell research, most of us struggle with contradictions concerning life's ultimate question. We know that accidents happen, but we believe we are on earth for a reason. Until now, most scientists have argued that science ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 17th 2006 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Oct 08, 2014 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in science and faith
Francis Collins comes across as such a nice guy! He's clearly a very good molecular biologist - he led the Human Genome Project to a successful conclusion, no mean feat - and he has strong Christian ideals that he's thought about a lot and tried hard to realize in practice. Here, he outlines his philosophy, a kind of theistic evolutionary creed which he calls BioLogos. It's intended to combine his scientific and religious beliefs into a harmonious whole; although it appears to work for him, I ...more
Anand Patel
I have no doubt in the sincerity of Dr. Collins's beliefs, but I found this book insufferable. I picked it up at the store, hoping to catch a glimpse of how an established (and wildly successful) scientist reconciles his faith with the tradition of scientific rationalism. Instead, I found a lot of C.S. Lewis fan-dom mixed with a clumsy rehashing of pretty tired theological arguments hinging on a mysterious intrinsic "Moral Law". To be honest, it reads like Collins is trying to convince himself ...more
This is a long review, so here’s the shorter version first. There are atheists who believe science is inconsistent with religious belief. There are religious people who don’t believe in science. There are religious people who do believe in science, compartmentalizing the two and judging them by different standards. Okay, fine. I don’t want group two allowed on any boards of education, but aside from that, fine. Collins is in group three, but the thing that really irritates me is that he won’t ad ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listenedto, faith
It was very refreshing to hear a reasonable person discuss these issues without trying to overemphasize controversy. There are two portions of the book: Collins personal story of how he came to faith in God, and his views on a number of controversial issues in the overlapping worlds of science, ethics and faith. The first is particularly intriguing to scientists who are interested in faith. The second portion is more technical but valuable to anyone who wrestles with these issues.

Jan 11, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
While I am not usually a big fan of non-fiction (takes too long to read) this book really affected me. As a scientist I was ready to disagree with the ideas of this evangelical Christian, but his arguments were well, scientific. His rational arguments struck a chord with me and he convinced me that theistic evolution is a valid possibility as to where we came from.
Apr 17, 2014 Sean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I didn't read this whole book, as I was principally interested in Collins's arguments against Intelligent Design, so that and his arguments against atheism were the only two sections I have read so far. I will therefore confine myself to addressing those two sections.

Collins is a world-renowned scientist, a geneticist who headed the Human Genome Project, and as such his words carry a great deal of weight. In the cases where he gets it right, this is a good thing; where he gets i
Sep 04, 2010 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is now my recommended first read for anyone who is asking the question, "Can a scientist be a Christian or even believe in God?" Collins, best known for being director of the human genome project, has impeccable credentials in the scientific world. He began as an agnostic. Feeling that agnostics who have not really tried to find God have no basis to defend their position or criticize others, Collins endeavored to see whether belief in God is possible. He leads the reader through the ...more
Lynn Hay
Dec 16, 2009 Lynn Hay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think they can't believe in God and Evolution
This book was a disappointment to me, i did not gleam any new insight from it. It was the old circular 'I believe because I believe' argument meets an ode to C.S. Lewis. This guy obviously LOVES C.S. Lewis! He quoted him so often it started to feel a bit plagiarised.
Sep 06, 2010 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
I picked this book up because I thought it would be interesting to read about the religious views of the head of the Human Genome Project. What does someone who has his scientific credentials think about God and spirituality? Some of the reviews on GR attempt to attack perceived fallacies in his arguments and prove him “wrong,” but I was less interested in that than I was getting inside his head and listening to his personal story, whether I agreed with him or not.

The Language of God is a well-
Jan 23, 2010 Joey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Good: Collins at least encourages fellow evangelicals and other fundamentalist believers to leave behind the bronze age science of religion and cross over into the 19th century. As the head of the Human Genome Project, he dispels the myth that science is a godless, liberal conspiracy to destroy religion.

The Bad: Collins' arguments for god are lacking. Human morality has a perfectly legitimate, natural explanation. Collins feels the desire to reach out and help that starving African child on
Sep 13, 2013 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cr-book-group
I highly recommend this book! Francis Collins is a well known, highly respected scientist. He is a medical doctor and also a research scientist. He was head of the Human Genome Project and is now the director of NIH. Collins tells the story of his conversion to Christianity as an adult. He is brilliant and he truly loves science. But he also finds vital meaning and, indeed, salvation in religion. The point of his book is to show that science and religion are not opposed to each other, as some ...more
Sep 19, 2007 Kent rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those not threatened by theistic evolutionists.
Very easy read considering the science involved in the subject matter. Collins develops his view of theistic evolution and gives it the name, "BioLogos."

Although Collins makes a very interesting history of the Human Genome Project, he is unconvincing in his argument against creation as presented in Genesis 1 and 2.

I find it funny that Collins is certain that his perspective of how nature begins is something "we know," but he can not seem to know what the Bible presents. Additionally, he "knows
Angelo Marcos
Jul 03, 2013 Angelo Marcos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was excellent.

Francis Collins clearly explains how evolution and Christianity are not incompatible with each other. Coming as it does from such an esteemed scientist, this is a very well thought out and well argued position, although some of the very science-y stuff did make it necessary to reread certain parts!

Collins is also right in that it's only really those who have extreme views on either side of this debate who get the attention. Looking at the scientific data and Gen
Mar 30, 2008 Davyhong07 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: theists, atheists and everyone in between
If you are a faithful Christian but find it hard to believe that evolution is a false theory and can't accept intelligent design or the Young Earth theory on the origin-of-earth, this book is the book for you. The book makes the case for BioLogos, belief that God did create this world, but that evolution and other scientific theories and natural laws were God's method of creation.

To my fellow Christians...let's face facts here people, with the scientific knowledge we know now about life on eart
Sep 04, 2012 Kaethe marked it as stricken  ·  review of another edition
There is no evidence for belief, that's why it's "faith". I would guess that most US scientists also have faith, and no trouble reconciling their faith with their work. The only people who seem to have trouble reconciling the two are religious fundamentalists.
John Wiswell
Nov 15, 2010 John Wiswell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A better title would be A Smart Guy Discusses Briefly a lot of Topics in Science and Religion. He makes and assesses several arguments for and against belief in God, but they make up less than half the book. Justifiably tired of religious fundamentalists and anti-theists polarizing discourse, Collins sets out to harmonize and inform on a range of topics. Two sections explain the Big Bang and basic genetics in some of the clearest expert-to-laymen descriptions I’ve come across. Another addresses ...more
Scott Rachui
Aug 20, 2013 Scott Rachui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are a few claims made by atheists on a regular basis. They include the following:

- Only the uneducated become Christians. Truly educated people, especially scientists, would never accept such nonsense

- The only reason people are Christians is that they were raised to believe as they do

This book is proof that these two claims are simply nonsense. Francis Collins was an atheist prior to his scientific work on the human genome project. His career has been stellar (he led the Human Genome Proj
Aaron Barnhart
Our Sunday School class has been reading this clear, concise defense of Christian faith from an evangelical and one of the country's leading geneticists. Collins is controversial with his fellow evangelicals because he argues that evolution is an accepted scientific method, and he is controversial among atheists and skeptics because he asserts that God is both the loving creator of the universe and a being who exists beyond the reach of scientific inquiry. He is, essentially, C.S. Lewis brought ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Clint rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, science
3.0 - In this book Collins explains how he harmonizes his belief in God with his understanding of evolution and other scientific processes involved in the creation of our universe. While I don't agree with every conclusion that Collins reaches, his honest and reasonable approach make this a very interesting book. He does a good job of giving a broad-brush description of the major scientific theories involved (big bang and evolution) and evidence for them. His explanations of DNA, how it's used, ...more
May 22, 2013 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
Dr. Collins articulates the two sides of the argument (faith v. science) well - and then demonstrates how the argument really shouldn't exist at all as both faith and science are involved in the search for Truth, albeit with different tools and methods. Nothing spectacularly new, in fact he leans heavily on others' words, notably C.S. Lewis, but also many others from Copernicus to Augustine to generally good effect. Hard to judge how convincing he was since I already agreed with most of his ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Not impressed at all. In fact, he made me angry and stunned by his audacity. From the first page he talks about himself and who he knows. He knows President Bill Clinton, the president of the free world! Imagine that! And he still right next to Clinton! And for the first time, the amazing script, this amazing script, he says, the script of DNA, was available to the world, the free as well as the non-free.

Then, and as you seek to fast forward all this BS you get into chapter one. He talks about
Julie Reed
Excellent book! I found myself cheering throughout. Every believer, unbeliever, and everyone in between should read this book. In a very eloquent, gentle way, he tells believers "don't be so stupid and closed-minded about science" and to the unbeliever he says "don't be so closed-minded and think you are too smart for belief in God." In other words, he puts both extremes in their place and shows us the error of our ways. I hope there are many more Francis Collinses in the future who continue to ...more
Karen L.
I liked this book but I did not love it. Why? Well, I have to say that as other critics of this book have noted, he does quote Lewis a little too much. I love C. S. Lewis and agreed with the author on many points yet I would have rather had him quote a little more of a variety of influences.

Still, I did find his stories interesting and his ability to make science accessible to the non science layman very helpful. The book contains a lot of good information and most definitely could boost the fai
Chris Naylor
Mar 22, 2016 Chris Naylor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The evolutionary science in this book is fascinating and, as far as I can tell (I am not an evolutionary biologist) well-founded. Collins uses it to ruthlessly dispose of creationism in both its 'young earth' and 'intelligent design' forms - a thoroughly worthwhile exercise, since we have a mountain of evidence that creationism is false.

Where the book comes unstuck is in its attempt to show that it is rational to believe that there is a God who created the universe. Here Collins's reasoning is v
Josh Skinner
Nov 12, 2014 Josh Skinner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More and more,if you are willing to open your eyes, you will be confronted with those who have differing views and beliefs than your own. The temptation is great to simply dismiss any idea or worldview that seems contrary to the one you already hold. My brother characterizes, and to a degree caricatures, the typical Christian response to contrary ideas as that of a petulant child putting his fingers in his ears and repeating, “I CAN'T HEAR YOU” to drown out the sound of anything that might ...more
Aug 09, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I say "i really liked it" about this book because i enjoyed reading something "by the other side." I actually believe that Collins is sincere when he says that he believes proponents of Intelligent Design are sincere (whereas i do not believe that proponents of ID are sincere at all--i believe that they think they found a way to market an idea that undermines Evolution, an idea they fear/hate/want to destroy).

I really liked making notes in the margins about this book--snarky comments for myself,
Jan 25, 2015 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some people in this world dead set against the idea that science and religion could coexist. There are many more people suspicious of the other, their motivations and the consequences of surrendering some explanations to them. This book attempts to bridge the gap between those populations.

The author led the Human Genome Project to its final triumph. His scientific bona fides are beyond reproach. Raised a nominal Christian, he left faith in college for the comfort of unbelief only to re
Aug 17, 2009 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Francis Collins was the director of the human genome project, one of the greatest scientific achievements in human history. He is currently the director of the National Institute of Health (NIH), one of the most prestigious positions in the country. He is also a committed christian. How is that even possible?

In writing a book with great appeal to both believers and non-believers, Collins has accomplished a rare feat. He does so by offending both rabid atheists and head-in-the-sand religious zeal
Sep 16, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: agnostics, Young Earth Creationists, Intellegent Design Idiots
Recommended to Mike by: Richard Dawkins
First off, Collins is a very gifted writer. He can explain complex things like the creation of a protein from a stand of DNA with just enough detail to make sense, but never gets bogged down in jargon. Also, I like the moderate approach he has to religion and science, and I think it would appeal to a lot of people who are loosely religious or searching. If only every religious person thought the way he does! I love that Young Earth Creationists and Intelligent Designers are getting scolded by ...more
Sep 11, 2008 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Club selection for September. The girl that chose it is extremely excited about this book, so it makes me excited to read it, too.

****I found this book to be very intriguing and I was able to get through the whole thing. However, it is extremely scientific in nature, and in general it was hard for me to always understand all the science behind the Big Bang or Evolution. I am not a very scientific person...I remember in college staying up into the wee hours of the night with my roommates try
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Trinity Episcopal...: The Language of God (discussion) 1 5 Jul 01, 2013 01:16PM  
  • The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions
  • Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology
  • The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom
  • God's Universe
  • The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine
  • The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins
  • The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions
  • Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
  • There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
  • Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution
  • Belief in God in an Age of Science
  • What's So Great About Christianity
  • Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design
  • God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
  • Beyond the Cosmos : The Extra-Dimensionality of God : What Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics Reveal About the Glory and Love of God
  • What Paul Meant
  • Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science Theology
  • Creation or Evolution?: Do We Have to Choose?
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. is the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). On August 17, 2009 he was sworn in as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr. Collins received a B.S. from the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Yale University, and an M.D. from the University of North Carolina. Following a fellowship in Human Ge
More about Francis S. Collins...

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“Will we turn our backs on science because it is perceived as a threat to God, abandoning all the promise of advancing our understanding of nature and applying that to the alleviation of suffering and the betterment of humankind? Alternatively, will we turn our backs on faith, concluding that science has rendered the spiritual life no longer necessary, and that traditional religious symbols can now be replaced by engravings of the double helix on our alters?

Both of these choices are profoundly dangerous. Both deny truth. Both will diminish the nobility of humankind. Both will be devastating to our future. And both are unnecessary. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshipped in the cathedral or in the laboratory. His creation is majestic, awesome, intricate and beautiful - and it cannot be at war with itself. Only we imperfect humans can start such battles. And only we can end them.”
“There were long stretches of DNA in between genes that didn't seem to be doing very much; some even referred to these as "junk DNA," though a certain amount of hubris was required for anyone to call any part of the genome "junk," given our level of ignorance.” 20 likes
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