Jeff's Reviews > The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

The Language of God by Francis S. Collins
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's review
Oct 11, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in November, 2007

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, mostly, though some are serious questions where Collins manages to pique my curiosity and desire for better understanding.

The Appendix is the part of the book that i liked (most sincerely/traditionally Liked) the most because it seemed the least affected by Collins's RELIGIOUS belief system.

The fact that "Religion" is on the back cover as the major subject classification for this title says a lot about its publisher's intended and anticipated audience. I have no proof or evidence on which to base the following conjecture, but cannot stop myself from proposing it: i suspect that Collins heard about a Richard Dawkins project (which would become The God Delusion) and decided he had to provide a counterpoint; i suspect that his friends and family and fellow faithful urged him, telling him that he had to do it For The Greater Good; i suspect that he hurried it to press without adequate editing as a result of his fervor to protect the weakest of The Faithful from Dawkins's corrupting, "irrational" atheism.

As such, this book is really intended to be read by Christians. I think he wants the worst of his fellow Christians to "accidentally" absorb some knowledge about evolution and biology and science in general so they'll stop giving the intelligent Christians a bad name.

Finally, Collins attempts to embrace other religious worldviews, but it's only lip service. This is not a slam, it's just an observation. I think Sam Harris (author of The End of Faith) might lump Collins in with other "moderates," but i don't think Collins's religious relativism is fearsome in the way Harris might expect. Collins does not dislike or fear or hate non-Christians. In fact, i think he's wonderful in many ways about encouraging reasonableness despite seemingly irresolvable ideological differences. He's still preaching to the choir, though, and will certainly rankle some non-Christian theists who were hoping for a more generic resolution of the (fallacy of false alternatives) faith vs science debate (the ostensible reason for this book).
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