I get the impression that Sam Harris didn’t like Francis Collins’ book:
If one wonders how beguiled, self-deceived and carefree in the service of fallacy a scientist can be in the United States in the 21st century, “The Language of God” provides the answer. The only thing that mitigates the harm this book will do to the stature of science in the United States is that it will be mostly read by people for whom science has little stature already. Viewed from abroad, “The Language of God” will be seen as another reason to wonder about the fate of American society. Indeed, it is rare that one sees the thumbprint of historical contingency so visible on the lens of intellectual discourse. This is an American book, attesting to American ignorance, written for Americans who believe that ignorance is stronger than death. Reading it should provoke feelings of collective guilt in any sensitive secularist. We should be ashamed that this book was written in our own time.
Just out of curiousity, has anyone seen a positive review of this book? The closest thing to it I’ve seen is David Klinghoffer’s, which is an interesting example of conflicted evasion: he tries so hard to praise Collins’ piety, but at the same time, Collins rips into ID…and Klinghoffer is a Discovery Institute fellow. His response is to get all soppy about the religion, but at the end to recommend some other book that tangles up religion and science, presumably without any ID bashing.
I’ve said it a few times now: I’m with Harris. Collins’ thinking is very unimpressive and embarrassingly shallow, and yet he’s trading on his reputation as a scientist to evangelize for theological nonsense. Personally, I think he’s setting back the idea of reconciling faith and reason a few centuries—I just don’t see how you can read his tripe without seeing it as clear evidence that religion rots your brain.