Staying with my religious right-wing aunt has been a wonderful exercise in self-control and bottling up emotions, let me tell you. But my education is worth it.


However, since she is also a nurse, she is technically also a biologist, as she works in the lab, and while I would usually trust her with scientific information, sometimes it has the feel of a lecture regarding how God fits into the picture.


She's given me a book now, called "The Language of God" by Francis S. Collins, and it's about a scientist on the Human Genome Project who gives his case for having religion exist with science, which I think is bullshit. But "he's a scientist too!" so...I'm expected to read.


However, I would rather not compromise my studying of biology with any more information that might make me "believe" (or just get really f***ing confused), so I'm asking my fellow atheists to decipher this. I'm basically admitting that I'm still just a student and don't know too much about any of this, which is what my aunt is counting on. She's hell-bent on making me into a believer again (which I sure as hell do not want) while I'm in her house, including going so far as to compromise my education. (I say "compromise" in anger of course, I know she's not really trying to do anything accept make me "see the light".) Has anyone read this and are there logical refutations to it's contents? I'd also read it carefully and try to make my own arguments, but hell, I've got COURSEWORK to do, I don't have TIME for this! (Kidding...mostly.)


Truly, the concept terrifies me because, while I know it won't make me believe, it will definitely confuse the hell out of me considering it's beyond my range of scientific knowledge. (I am, after all, a freshman taking Principles of Bio. Not exactly top-notch.) So has anyone read it? Is it even remotely credible? (And does anyone know how to accidentally cancel Fox News? One can dream...)

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Comment by Samantha J. on August 31, 2011 at 7:28pm

That's all very true. To be honest, I'm worried I'll focus more on the book than my coursework because I don't want to offend her, and while I know nothing the book will say will make me believe, I'm afraid it will just confuse me into thinking something in biology has an effect that it really doesn't. But I'll try to look up responses on the book first, because honestly I have so much coursework at the moment that I shouldn't even be writing right now. (Heh...I have to relax my mind to focus, so I figured a blog'll do...)

Comment by matt.clerke on August 31, 2011 at 7:30pm

Good points from the other posters, I just want to add:


are there logical refutations to it's contents

I am yet to find an argument for God which doesn't have logical refutations... If any free thinkers have read this book and believes it contains a valid argument for God, let me know and I will read it too.

Comment by Rick on August 31, 2011 at 7:46pm

You have plenty of other reading to do on top of your course work. This should your priority. She should understand this if you explain it to her, she is a nurse after all. If she still insists you read it, save it for bathroom reading (where it belongs) or wait until school vacation.  

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on August 31, 2011 at 8:15pm
Comment by Samantha J. on August 31, 2011 at 8:54pm

Thanks, you guys. I'm more worried than anything about not being able to refute it well enough, but I'm also worried that she won't listen anyway, which she won't. Gahhh I'm a "bad atheist". :P Thanks for the support and summary, I will definitely gear up when my course load lessens mid-semester.

Comment by Unseen on August 31, 2011 at 10:05pm

Proving negatives is enormously difficult if not impossible. Thus, you can't "prove" God's nonexistence. Rather, you can refer to a body of knowledge that makes sense of the world without reference to any kind metaphysical being. God simply isn't necessary. The one dodgy area has nothing to do with science, it has to do with ethics. How does one determine what The Good is without God to tell us? Who makes sure that evil loses in the end without God to make sure of it? These are the problems we atheists are left with by not believing in God. Of course, if we were religious we might feel better, but it would be a delusion.

Comment by Artor on August 31, 2011 at 10:22pm

Evidence, evidence, evidence. Science requires evidence, and there is none for god. If you need to refute this book, look through it for any actual reproducible evidence. There won't be. Otherwise, try growing some thicker skin, and maybe look into other living options. If your aunt is god-bothering you to the detriment of your education, you need to get out of there. Or sign up for some debate classes next term; then you can use her for practice & homework.

Comment by Unseen on September 1, 2011 at 1:48am

@Artor   It depends upon what one counts as evidence. If one is religious you have the evidence of The Bible, the supposed "order of the universe," miracles including "the miracle of life." If someone wants to believe in God, they will find evidence that suits their rather meager standard of proof.

Comment by Matthew on September 1, 2011 at 10:20am

picture being in heaven with god (christian, i assume?), for five minutes, your happy in your eternal bliss . You and god walk to the edge of heaven and look down into hell. You can smell the billions of people burning, imagine the smell of 5 billion people burning. Imagine the shrill screams and the infinite torment. INFINITE, they could be there for a billion years and their torment hasn't even begun to begin! five billion. Imagine after looking into hell with god, you look up at him, knowing that he's the only single person that could stop all of it with the ease of snapping a finger. Try to imagine loving him then.

Could you honestly, after looking into hell and watching your fellow men, even some of your friends, your fellow species burning alive for eternity, love that god?

...I sure as hell couldn't

haa. hell puns 

Comment by Matthew on September 1, 2011 at 11:10am

true, i was just kind of going with the 'eternity' factor that the bible teaches. I know there's the pick and choose christians but the bible teaches eternity


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