languageofgod - Francis Collins' book The Language of God...

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Francis Collins’ book The Language of God is a book about melding religion and science. With a dark past of run-ins, and a modern era where the two subjects seem to be more strongly polarized, it is easy to separate the two realms in what Stephen Jay Gould calls “Non-Overlapping Magisteria.” Francis Collins tells in his book how he came into both science and religion, and how he culminated a “richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews, (pp.6)” in a way that he believes everyone can utilize in life. The first chapter is a biographical background on Collins in academia and religion. Collins explains how religion was not imposed on his life, and he initially accepted what C.S. Lewis called, “willful blindness.” His marriage and first daughter made him a more social person and made interaction with, and helping out others even more important. With these shifts he moved into the field of Medical Biology, and there found his future in the DNA code, with its “elegance” as well as its implications for helping humankind. In medical school he was thrust into the care of patients, which was intensely intimate and enlightening. In these conversations he began to run into, “numerous cases of individuals whose faith provided them with a strong reassurance of ultimate peace…” His atheism was brought into light by these encounters, and he was thrust into a questioning of his beliefs. A Methodist minister from who he sought guidance recommended the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Since Lewis’ path was one of a scholar who turned from Atheism to religion, Collins felt that they shared that. He was especially convinced by Lewis’ argument about Moral Law. Collins proceeds to explain the importance and universality of Moral Law, helped along by the writings of Lewis. Collins calls the situation of Moral Law, “very peculiar: the concept of right and wrong appears to be universal…(though its application may result in wildly different outcomes)…Yet in this instance, it is a law that…is broken with astounding regularity.(23)” Collins supposes that this Moral Law is a special feature of the human species, set apart from other animals. He questions whether this is intrinsic nature or a sociological effect of cultures. Collins argues strongly here that the Moral Law is conflicting with the postmodernist philosophy, which he says, “argues that there are no absolute rights or wrongs, and all ethical decisions are relative(23).” Collins says this stance would defeat post-modernism, and the study of ethics altogether. His next opposition is the idea that Moral Law is evolutionary. Collins counters this argument with Lewis’ argument on agape, or selfless love, which unlike lesser reciprocating love, have not been explained by science. Referring back to Lewis, the argument is made that if a god, or controlling power existed in a realm beyond us, Moral Law would represent this controlling influence within us. Collins goes beyond to say that it is not the hands-off
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course R/ST 301 taught by Professor Hughes during the Spring '07 term at CSU Long Beach.

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languageofgod - Francis Collins' book The Language of God...

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