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Archive for August 2012


Titlu original: The Language of God – A Scientist Evidence for Belief
Autor: Francis S. Collins
Traducător: –
Editura: Free Press
Anul apariţiei: 2006
ISBN: 0-7432-8639-1
Preț: 10 $

   

 Recenzie de Valentin Teodorescu

Francis Collins is one of the greatest scientists of our times. As specialist in medical genetics at Michigan University, he contributed to the discovery of the genetic errors that lead to the apparition of cystic fibrosis, of neurofibromatosis, and of Huntington’s disease. In addition to that, as director of Human Genome Project, he had the great merit of leading the team which – for the first time in world history – mapped the Human Genome.  And even more interesting (for the Christian community), is the fact he also is an engaged evangelical Christian, a Christian who believes that between science and faith there is no contradiction. On the contrary, between them is harmony; we need both of them: we need to know how to integrate them if we hope to build a reasonable and satisfying worldview.

So, what is Collins’ motivation for writing another book – The Language of God – having as its subject the much debated relation between science and religion? Are not enough books written on this topic?  Surely there are. But – we guess – Collins is concerned that in this respect there is – in the public opinion – a false image of the science-religion relationship: the idea that between these two domains is an opposition: this motivates him of writing his book.

 On the one side, we have the new atheism perspective (represented by people like Richard Dawkins), which suggests that religion is the enemy of science – that a honest and intelligent person cannot accept neo-darwinism and embrace in the same time Christian faith.

 On the other side, we have the Young Earth Creationism position (represented by people like Henry Morris), which – in Collins’ perspective – suggests the opposite idea: that science is an enemy for religion (although the YEC proponents would deny such an affirmation, Collins still considers that, once they have refused to accept evolutionary theory as true, they have refused in fact the truth of science – because neo-darwinism is, for Collins, real science). In contrast with these two opposite (and extreme) views, Collins suggests that there is a third way, a way which successfully reconciles neo-darwinian evolution with Christian faith – a view which affirms a full reconciliation between science and religion.

But is this reconciling perspective plausible? – one might ask. What we will try in this review is to weight Collins’ arguments in this respect.

Before starting our analysis, it is important to observe that, in many respects, Collins is extremely qualified to write such a book. First of all, he speaks with the authority of a great scholar: this fact is by itself a strong argument for his position. What better support for the harmony between science and religion than a scholar who fully (and knowledgeable) embraces both domains? And secondly, he brings some arguments from an area which few other people would know better than him: the human genome. This should be, by itself, a motif of humility for us, as reviewers: any critical argument brought by us to this book needs to be backed by serious data and bibliography – if it is to have any trace of plausibility.

I would like, in the beginning, to start by appreciating many of Collins’ arguments for his case. If one would refer only to his ethical-theological arguments, they are intelligently and elegantly formulated; in many respects he uses in treating these matters ideas from serious Christian thinkers as C.S. Lewis (his most admired spiritual mentor), Saint Augustine, John Polkinghorne, Ian Barbour, Allister McGrath, etc. These kinds of arguments have even greater power as he combines – when stating them – reason with passion: that is because they played a key role in his conversion; as a result, he is “experientially” attached to them (not just intellectually).  (Collins started, as C.S. Lewis, Allister McGrath and others did before him, with being an atheist; and finished as they also did, by becoming a Christian – after the encounter with the moral argument and with the fascinating figure of Christ). (mai mult…)

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