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The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  8,780 ratings  ·  933 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
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Richard Webb The book is full of evidence, and my review on Dec 21, 2016 provides more, page by page. For extensive additional evidence see I don't Have Enough Fai…moreThe book is full of evidence, and my review on Dec 21, 2016 provides more, page by page. For extensive additional evidence see I don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Geisler and Turek.(less)

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Manny
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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 re ...more
Ellis
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERY person of faith and every person whose reasons for not believing in God are based on science
This book was Fantastic. If it were up to me, this book would be required reading for every college freshman or senior in high school. I listened to Dr. Collins speak at last year’s scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to listen to the head of the international group responsible for sequencing the human genome. I was impressed with his clear forward-thinking mind. Probably because I'd heard Dr. Collins speak, knew his work, and had a very g ...more
Heather
Let me preface this review by saying that I read this book as part of a discussion with my intelligent and faithful (not to mention extremely good looking - its a genetic thing) family members, who are open-minded to both science and religion. I hope that I can be likewise. They asked me for my sincere opinion about this book, and here is the result of that request. If they write a review, I will provide a link to it.

Collins seems like an intelligent, decent person with a sincere desire to help
...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 m ...more
David
Jul 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Linda
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Brooke
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
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-
...more
Dave
Mar 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, listenedto
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.

Dave
♥ 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 sat 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 hi
...more
Dan
Jun 17, 2009 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 pr ...more
Sean
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Jennifer
This was a book I read for my seminary class on Science and the Christian Faith. I liked it enough that I would choose to read it again in the future when I'm not needing to speed through it for class. I think it is an important book in the conversation regarding Science and Christianity and how the two do not need to be at odds with one another.
Lynn Hay
Jun 20, 2007 rated it did not like it
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.
Paul
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, theology
As someone with a deep skepticism for Christian apologetics, I wasn’t sure how much I would like Francis Collins’ apologeticy-sounding Language of God, though it came with high recommendations from people I trust. Thankfully, Collins spends much less time trying to convince his readers that God exists than in trying to convince his readers of the more modest argument that science and faith can coincide.

To that end, Collins – director of the National Institutes of Health, head of the project that
...more
Dawn
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 pe ...more
Joey
Jan 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Ahmed
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I read the arabic translated Copy,
And i feel sorry to say it was an unpleasant experience.

This book failed to match my expectancies, judging from the title and the cover, you expect some answers or explaination to the the question of: does science contracts Religion? Regarding intrinsic points such as the evolution theory, But not even scratches were stripped to come close the answer.

The second half of the book, However, did deliver some good and important informations about the Human Genome
...more
John Wiswell
Sep 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Rachel C
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Worth reading, if you're interested in hearing a fourth option of belief outside of Young Earth Creationism, Atheism and Intelligent design. Francis Collins introduces Theistic Evolution, or what he prefers to call, "BioLogos".

BUT... I was hoping for more out of this book. I completely disagree with the subtitle, "A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief". I just finished the book, hoping for this, so-called, evidence to turn up. Still waiting. What the reader does get is a lot of regurgitated C
...more
Kent
Jul 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Angelo Marcos
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Davyhong07
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Julie Reed
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Kaethe Douglas
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.
Jennifer
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
My interest was captured from first pages of the introduction and my discovery that the origin of the book’s title came from a speech by President Clinton, "Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by humankind…Today, we are learning the language in which God created life. We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty, and the wonder of God's most divine and sacred gift." From politics to science to theology, from the oval office to the laborator ...more
Genni
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Obama nominated Collins for NIH director in 2009 where he has been ever since. Before that, he led the Human Genome Project. He has, no doubt, made many important contributions to science and medicine. The parts of the book that covered those areas were quite strong. Unfortunately, he also attempted some philosophical chapters that did not work as well.

I think this was the biggest problem with the book. He tried to cover too much ground. An all-caps proclamation on the front of my cover says, “
...more
Eric
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
3.5 Stars

The Language of God was a solid book that for the most part accomplished its goal of presenting a framework for reconciling strong belief in science with equally strong belief in God. Collins is direct and sincere in his presentation. There were a few parts that didn't resonate as strongly with me, though part of that is undoubtedly due to my own lack of scientific inclination.

This book struck me as a sort of Mere Christianity specifically geared toward scientists. In other words, it's
...more
Danielle DeVane Wells
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book (from my hubby's library [haha!]) to see how the conclusion for a Higher Being was come to by an atheist, someone from the total opposite side of myself (raised in Christianity). And I was not disappointed with this book!

From a personal opinion standpoint, I liked his conclusion: that a Higher Power was indeed the impetus to life. I also appreciated his detailed explanation (the whole book!) of how he came to this conclusion. While the author agrees that at some point, faith
...more
Kevin Stilley
The following are discussion questions for "The Language of God" that I created for the monthly meeting of of the Atheist Christian Book Club. For information on the Atheist Christian Book Club you can go to the website at http://atheistchristianbookclub.com/ or seek us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AtheistChris... .

CHAPTER 1: FROM ATHEISM TO BELIEF

Collins says that for him agnosticism was a place of retreat where he wouldn’t actually have to seriously consider the evidence for or
...more
Henry Stoltzfus
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time deciding on a rating for this book.

On the one hand, the author really fails to deliver on the promise in the subtitle. There is little "evidence for belief" here, and I think most people who have seriously engaged with the god question will have already encountered the main arguments elsewhere.

That being said, it was an enjoyable read and I came away with renewed respect for Dr. Collins and his work. Even though his attempt at reconciling the scientific and religious worldviews
...more
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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
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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.”
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“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.” 22 likes
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