Here is my review of Francis Collins’ The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, New York, 2006), with a look at the other reviews.
Collins isÃ‚Â a snapshot in time: the Christian scientist reassuring everyone that materialist science is no threatÃ‚Â – on the very eve of the big blowout. Some might think I haven’t been nice enough to him. Well, if nice is all you want … next time ask Mary Poppins to write a review.
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.