Saturday, 1 September 2012

Book Review: The Language of God

Genre: Science   
Author: Francis S. Collins    
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars  

As the head of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins' scientific credentials are every bit as sterling as Richard Dawkins' so I eagerly looked forward to reading The Language of God and expected to be presented with solid scientific evidence for the existence of God since the sub-title of this book is A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief. Sadly, the scientist in question was apparently not Collins nor was it to be found in this volume which certainly did not live up to its name nor the reputation of the author.

Collins presented ample scientific evidence for evolution, he has provided his proof that human share their DNA with every other living creature on the planet while ignoring the possibility of common design, he attempts to demolish the scientific credibility of creationism and intelligent design while never addressing their arguments and then promotes the lesser known creed of theistic evolution which, he claims, is the belief of many scientists who are followers of Christianity. Theistic evolution is, as far as I can tell, the theory that God wound everything up, set it in motion, and then has set back for billions of years and watched it unfold. It is uncertain, from this approach, if mankind was thus planned from the beginning or if we are just a welcomed result because we are intelligent and any intelligent result would have fit God's plan.

I am unsure what the opposite to a white wedding is but I suspect it is a shotgun marriage and Collins seems to be using a scatter gun to thus wed belief in God with science. In the end I suspect that even Collins knows he failed as he has to fall back on the time worn approach of the moral argument for God popularized by C.S. Lewis.

There is certainly nothing wrong with the moral argument. Even Buddhism argues that morality is woven into the fabric of the universe. But after 272 pages and the title that he has chosen, Collins owes far more than he has delivered.

I am glad I did not purchase this book. I would have been very angry if I had wasted good money on a book that delivers so very little.

(Originally posted to Multiply January 5, 2009)

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