Decoding the Language of God: Can a Scientist Really be a Believer? : a Geneticist Responds to Francis Collins

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Prometheus Books, 2010 - Religion - 269 pages
2 Reviews
In his bestselling book, The Language of God, Francis Collins—the new director of the National Institutes of Health and the scientist who led the Human Genome Project—attempted to harmonize the findings of scientific research with Christian belief. In this response to Collins’s work, fellow geneticist George C. Cunningham presents a point-by-point rebuttal of The Language of God, arguing that there is no scientifically acceptable evidence to support belief in a personal God and much that discredits it.
Written with admirable clarity for the nonscientist, Decoding the Language of God covers much of the same ground addressed by Collins in his book:
• Do moral behavior, altruism, and similar moral standards across cultures indicate that humans are somehow in touch with a divine lawgiver, as Collins argues? Cunningham cites data from behavioral genetics that suggest a purely naturalistic explanation for morality.
• The existence of evil, both natural and human-caused, has always been a major stumbling block for religious apologists. Cunningham points out how Collins fails to adequately address this issue and the difficulty of reconciling belief in a good God with the existence of evil.
• Collins refers to the origin of the universe and anthropic coincidences as evidence of God as creator of all of reality. By contrast, Cunningham notes that there are naturalistic interpretations for the big bang and the fine-tuning of the universe, which adequately explain this evidence. Cunningham also devotes chapters to the unreliability of the Bible as a basis for belief; the conflict between naturalistic explanations of reality, which are anchored in scientific research, and supernatural interpretations, which are not; and the many difficulties in conceptualizing the origins of the universe in terms of a personal God. Unlike recent hostile attacks on religious belief, Cunningham’s respectful, well-reasoned discussion will appeal to open-minded people across the whole spectrum of belief and unbelief. As Collins’ appointment once again casts a spotlight on the ability of a individual who publicly promotes his faith to serve the best interests of science, this response to his work is more timely than ever.

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User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

How to write a bestseller in the busy atheist market? Simple. Inform your readers that this is going to be different (more respectful) than books by Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, or Dennett. Then, write ... Read full review

Review: Decoding the Language of God: Can a Scientist Really Be a Believer?

User Review  - Baal Of - Goodreads

A solid point-by-point refutation of Francis Collin's claims about his faith in a personal god being compatible with science. Thorough and easy to read, with only minor mistakes. I did find the author ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
13
From Belief to Atheism
29
Evidence
37
Copyright

17 other sections not shown

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About the author (2010)

George C. Cunningham, MD, MPH (San Francisco, CA), now retired, is the former chief of the Genetic Disease Branch of the California State Department of Health Services. He has published more than 150 articles in scientific publications, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, the American Journal of Human Genetics, and Pediatrics.

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