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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

I will admit that I find it awkward reviewing non-fiction books. This problem stems from the fact that such
books generally do not possess the criteria by which I may judge works of fiction, such as characterization, dialogue, pace, art if it's a comic book, and other such things. Thusly, it helps when I'm familiar with the subject matter of the book in question. In this case, I am.

In The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, scientist and head of the Human Genome Project, Francis S. Collins, lays out his view of evolution. He advocates a philosophy of theistic evolution, or as he calls it, BioLogos. As the title says, a scientist presents evidence for belief while simultaneously insisting on an evolutionary world view. To put is simply, Collins believes that the process of evolution was directed by God. He starts the book with his own story of how he became a Christian, followed by him addressing various questions about Christianity, origin of life science, and genes, before examining the various world views concerning the origin of life, concluding with an appendix on bioethics.

His credentials aside, Collins, I believe, is a failure as both a theologian and a scientist, despite paying extensive lipservice to C.S. Lewis. He fails to provide convincing or meaningful answers to the most common objections to Christianity that he addresses, with the exception of "How can Christianity be trusted if so many bad things have been done in its name?" Furthermore, he completely loses any credibility with me when he cites the long-outdated Stanely-Urey Experiment. He then proceeds to misrepresent and insult Creationism and Intelligent Design, each of which has exactly one chapter devoted to it.

The one chance at redemption this book may have is that it is rather technical, so I may have misunderstood some of it, but I still believe that I have grasped Collins' main idea. That said, I think that it is complete nonsense. For a much better alternative, I would recommend The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel, who adeptly consults a wide variety of experts on many of these same subjects.

RATING: 4/10