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Friday, November 24, 2006

Book review: The Language of God and the language of men - genome mapper Francis Collins on his faith

A review of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins (Free Press (Simon and Schuster), New York, 2006).

Introduction

Part One:How genome mapper Collins became a Christian
Collins owes his conversion to C.S. Lewis, but he typifies the petering out of Lewis' legacy. Too many people have relied on Lewis and too few have followed in his path of rigorous argument.

Part Two: Does it matter that genome mapper Francis Collins became a Christian?
Now, if Collins did not claim to be a Christian, none of that would be any problem at all. He could safely dismiss it all as rot. But he is claiming to be one, and therein lies the difficulty with all these acres of moral squishiness.

Part Three: The key weaknesses, as spotted by reviewers
The country that Collins would like to roam with Lewis no longer exists.

Part Four: The scribbling tribe of reviewers divides into several parts
Collins' book was very widely reviewed, as might be expected, and reactions fell into three broad predictable camps - but also one quite interesting fourth one.

Part Five: But, in the end, what choice did Collins really have?
In the event, here is what he did: He avoided courting the disaster that would ensue if he found design in life forms. He did not find it there, where he works. He says he found it in outer space, where he does not work and will not really be expected to defend the proposition seriously. He is a loyal follower and deserves well of the people who will find no legitimate reason to attack him for anything he has said.


Next: Part One: How genome mapper Collins became a Christian
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

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