From Publishers Weekly
Collins, a pioneering medical geneticist who once headed the Human Genome Project, adapts his title from President Clinton's remarks announcing completion of the first phase of the project in 2000: "Today we are learning the language in which God created life." Collins explains that as a Christian believer, "the experience of sequencing the human genome, and uncovering this most remarkable of all texts, was both a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion of worship." This marvelous book combines a personal account of Collins's faith and experiences as a genetics researcher with discussions of more general topics of science and spirituality, especially centering around evolution. Following the lead of C.S. Lewis, whose Mere Christianity
was influential in Collins's conversion from atheism, the book argues that belief in a transcendent, personal God—and even the possibility of an occasional miracle—can and should coexist with a scientific picture of the world that includes evolution. Addressing in turn fellow scientists and fellow believers, Collins insists that "science is not threatened by God; it is enhanced" and "God is most certainly not threatened by science; He made it all possible." Collins's credibility as a scientist and his sincerity as a believer make for an engaging combination, especially for those who, like him, resist being forced to choose between science and God. (July 17)
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Head of the Human Genome Project, Collins is one of the most famous and important scientists working today. And he is a former atheist. Collins came to faith slowly, after giving it much thought and, surprisingly, while practicing his scientific profession. In his view, scientific and spiritual worlds aren't antithetical. Rather, belief in God can be completely rational and complementary to the general principles of science. The son of "freethinkers" in rural Virginia, Collins was homeschooled by his unconventional mother. He studied physical chemistry at Yale and there shifted from doubtful agnosticism to full-fledged atheism. But later, as a medical student in North Carolina, he read C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity
and reconsidered. He addresses important questions--How can a loving God permit suffering? How can a rational person believe in miracles?--and explores such topics as the origins of the universe, Darwinism and human evolution, DNA, creationism and intelligent design, and, in the appendix, the morality of bioethics. His stimulating book should provoke much conversation and may change some minds. June SawyersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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