Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: The Language of God - A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins

Wikipidea - Human Genome Organization
The Language of God - A Scientist Present Evidence for Belief was written by Francis S. Collins and copyrighted in 2006. It is a rather awesome study of how the Human Genome Project got started, where it went, and why it's director became a believer in God. It brings to plate a high level of creditability because of the author's international reputation and skill as a physicist and biologist, particularly with respect to his work in the Human Genome project.

This is a book written to give witness to the author's path to belief in God.  His path started with the absolute disallowing for God, and ended with a "scientific" understanding of the necessary existence of a creator.  I believe he wanted to share his journey toward God.

His approach to this subject is unique in that he has first hand and unique understanding of the Human Genome project, and has spent his life explaining it to people who do not speak the "language of science."  So his approach is easy to understand and powerful.  I believe that his intended audience was non-scientifically trained readers who do not believe in God and perhaps people who already believe in God.  If you are either of these two, then this book is a must read for you, because he attacks the subject from both view points and is very clear on his conclusions.

4. Explain the method of development-the way the author supports the thesis. Illustrate your remarks with specific references and quotations. In general, authors tend to use the following methods, exclusively or in combination.

The story starts with a background study of the author's development as a scientist, physics, his academic qualifications, muti PhDs, and his clear knowledge that God was a myth explained away by rational understanding of Data and Nature.

It then spends some time on what the Human Genome Project is, and what it can do for man kind.  Finally, it goes into depth on why he believes that God existence is proved by the very nature of the Human Genome.

The pictures he draws with his life, the subject matter and his command of both the subject matter and the  English Language is by itself enough to read this book.

The downside for me is rather large, however.  My own background is physics, and in undergraduate school they beat into us the difference between science an politics.  Science uses data, math and peer review to draw its conclusions, if any.  Politics uses science to prove its conclusions.

This book is the later.  It starts with science and ends with logic.  The two forms of study generally do not work well with each other.  That separation was the big step forward that we made in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Prior to that time, Aristotle rules the world's academic study.  After that time science did.  The two approaches are not the same.

This does not retard that importance of this book.  I still recommend it.  Yet, it has entered the area that lessor studies by more obvious partisans live.  It assumes God, then demonstrates it.  I believe in God already, and he is already demonstrated for me.  Faith is sufficient, yet I seek data to illustrate my point.  I was hoping to get that data in this book.  I did not.  I got instead they type of argument that is usually used by the faithful, and requires either of scientific training to understand or blind faith.  As an example, if you start the with assumption that the world is 5000 years old, and you state that this is a biblical fact, than you will ignore any data that suggests otherwise.  For sure, you will find reasons to ignore it, well argued reasons, but ignore the data you must.  On the other hand, if you start with a premise, collect the data, and then see if the data supports the premise, you are doing science.  This book is the former, though a very good example of it.

I Rated this book 2 Stars, though I will read it again, and I suggest that your read it:

1)  If you are either a Christian looking for some scientific evidence that God exists, beyond your faith, or

2) If you do not believe in God, because of scientific evidence, but your want to be more educated.

Get One, and Get Knowledge!

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