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Wow! My son and I got more than we bargained for with his story that delves into thesearch for meaning in life through science, religion, humanism, etc. I thought the bookgot off to a slow begin and my son thought it "rambled". However, over all, we wereimpressed that the book took on these lofty subjects in a fun and entertaining way.
What a terrific book. I read it aloud to my 5th graders and they were spellbound. They tell me there's a movie, but there is no method it could live up to the novel; the characters are so quirky and do such a amazing job of explaining themselves. No aliens or vehicle crashes, but you won't be dissapointed! I want Mass's next novel was available on Kindle-- Pi in the Sky. Only the preview is!
I really loved this book! At first I thought I was going to hate it but it turned out to be one of my favorite books ever! My favorite hero in Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life was Lizzy, I liked her because she is daring and she doesn't really care what other people think about her. I would recommend this book to Jacqueline because she loves books with adventure and mystery in them.
This was a quirky, enjoyable book. Some of the scenarios are a small far fetched. I mean, they could definitely happen, but for them to work out just exactly as they do is a small out there. Honestly though, I have to say that this book is worth overlooking that minor flaw. There is a lot of amazing to be gotten from this book. The characters are ... interesting and, in most cases, beautiful odd. They are fun to read though and, overall, beautiful likable. The notice is a amazing one and it’s delivered in a beautiful attractive way. My 13 year old son read this for a book report. He was a small unsure at first, but he ended up really liking it. He kept saying how awkward the main hero was. He’s about my son’s age and I thought it was funny to see how he felt about the odd things the main hero would do, compared to how I felt. I found them funny and quirky. He, being that age, found them funny, but embarrassing and thought that he was “so weird”. If you’re thinking of reading this, I’d say go for it! It really was a amazing book. I think it was a amazing book for a preteen/teen to read too. It’s one that I’m actually a small surprised that I don’t know any teachers where I live that have decided to read it to the class or have it as a needed read. It really is a amazing one. Also, if you’re interested, I really like the audio version. At first I was unsure about the person they have performing the audio, but as the story went on I realized he was beautiful perfect.
I read this book aloud to 6th graders. I loved it and they were into it too (there is one chapter that gets a bit long for everyone). It was such a amazing story I cried as I read the end (yes in front of a room full of children :) I bought the book on tape to play to another group of kids. It doesn't keep their attention like the read aloud did
Very interesting! I never had a powerful interest in science or philosophy but the method Dr. Laitman explains things puts the whole thing on its head and makes it actually interesting! The best thing is that he combines it with spiritual concepts which should interest anyone who wonders about the true meaning and purpose of life. A must-read (even for skeptics!).
The dictionary describes Kabbalah as a "medieval and modern system of Jewish theosophy, mysticism" etc. etc. This is interesting considering that the book attempts to deny a connection to any religious belief. Clearly, to this reader, it is firmly tied to at least one of the Abraham(ic) religions considering it refers consistently to "creator and creature". Just one creator is the belief of at least three religions that I'm aware of. It refers very loosely in a number of chapters to Quantum Physics/Mechanics. I did view "What The Bleep Do We Know" and it impressed me about as much as this book. Some theories are utterly ridiculous. I refer in particular to the theory that an indigenous Shaman could not see the ships of Columbus because the Shaman and his peoples had never seen a European ship before. My opinion on this is that it is cloaked racism considering that Jos. Banks the popular Botanist aboard Captain Cooks voyage referred (in his writings) with amazing indignity to being ignored by the Australian aborigines. The Australian natives apparently ignored their amazing and magnificent ship but did not ignore the Europeans when they decided to set foot on their shores. That was when they were clearly noticed and the Aborigines prepared to defend. Being ignored is quite various from being attended to. Meditation also appeared to this reader to be a foundation of Kabbalah for obtaining communication of some sort with the "creator". And this as we know is common in nearly every belief and religious system. No one truly knows for sure how a lot of Creators there are if any. It is all private opinion, belief and private attachment. The studies and theories of particles, matter, and energy are always ongoing, but those studies are not really answering questions (for now at least) on what/who the Creator is. In my opinion, attempting to marry Quantum Physics with Kabbalah or any other belief system is a stretch to say the least.
If you are interested in science, quantum physics and philosophy, but also love spirituality and wish to know the meaning of life and our existence, this book is for you. The author Dr. Laitman info the essence of the wisdom of Kabbalah and spirituality in thought provoking scientific detail and simple to follow diagrams that clearly explain our purpose in life. Loved it and highly recommend this book!
I sense people's energy. Laitman sounds not trustworthy. He is not a Kabbalist. He is a delusional fraudulent writer. I conjecture he has plagerised his writings. He is not an independent thinker outside of the box. Everyone should be independent thinker. He is not.
It doesn't go too deep in to a Kabbalah study, just enough to present connection between Kabbalah and Science and how it connected to our every move and thought. If you love scientific facts and asked a question about Meaning of Life then you'll have fun this book.
Rav Laitman wrote a very approachable work where he outlines some of the parallels with the emerging theories of quantum physics and the thousands of years old theories of Kabbalists. The book itself is broken into four distinct sections - a discussion of Kabbalah and Quantum Physiscs - which is about a third of the book. THe next section is a brief discussion on the Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah. The third part discusses our perception of reality and the limitations of the senses. The final section discusses the "spiritual gene" and the pathway of spirituality and nature and how they intertwine. A amazing book for anyone interested in the topic.
A concise insight into the wheel of life. & wonderfully illustrated & explained by His Holiness Dalai Lama and how its all intertwined with our own actions & karma. When there is birth, there is bound to be suffering. Therefore we must aspire to reach the deathless state. Explanatory in modern context. A definite must have for all readers, regardless of religions. & also the detailed explanations of the 3 roots of poisons, 6 realms of existence,12 dependent originations & Enlightenment.
Who doesn't wish to know what the Dalai Lama has to say about life? Some of the ideas he presents are not familiar to me and I found that part difficult to read. But, in the end, he goes on to confirm that kindness and doing no hurt are truly the way.
Perfect and challenging read!Zachary does a amazing job of unboxing deep philosophical problems surrounding Atheism, Agnosticism, Humanism, Theism, was refreshing to see this done from a logical perspective rather than an emotional diatribe.#kitten
This is a book of philosophy. I felt as though I learned a amazing about both atheistic and theistic philosophy, and whilst the author was honest about his perspective, I felt as though he was particularly honest about presenting the strengths and weaknesses of each system of thought, rather than relying on the help of "preaching to his own audience". This is a book that caused me to think a amazing deal, and I appreciate the care and consideration given to the presentation of such necessary subjects. I very much look forward to reading any of Mr. Broom's other work.
Though there are some similarities and some crossover between this book, Oxygen and The Vital Question, this book is still a amazing read for people who are into science. Amazing tidbits about the mitochondria and its ability to support control various aspects of organisms and metabolism. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys books about science or who is a Nick Lane fan.
At first, I must be honest, I thought that I had created a mistake in the of this book. I've developed a fascination for the study of Kabbalah. I wasn't too clear on the variances as far as the method the word is spelled (Kabbalah, Cabala, and Qabalah). I figured that they were simply various ways of expressing the same thing. This is why, at first, I wasn't too excited about reading this book, as it didn't have a diagram of the Tree of Life nor went into it in detail. Yet, the further I read, the more it pulled me towards the latest page!I ended up loving this book! The author has a clear method of explaining things that my soul recognized as higher truths. It wasn't complicated at all. I loved, most of all, the explanation of how God wants to give us what we desire, in abundance, but that through our Spiritual development we come to a point when our desire must expand to where we derive our highest pleasure in becoming more like the Creator and "bestowing." As the Creator bestows all we have, including our physical form, subjective forms, and even our sense of and individual self, when we realize that there is no actual separation, our bestowing our love and gratitude for all that has been bestowed upon us, we are bestowing, ourselves, and are more like the Creator. He explains it so much better, of course.I really enjoyed this book and I wanted to bestow my thoughts, appreciation and gratitude through this easy and short review. I already bought another one of this author's books entitled "Unlocking the Zohar." I am enjoying it just as much! There is amazing power in simplicity!
Generally I'm an extremely sceptical person and I dive for info that is usable /practical in day to day life. This is a very amazing logical book and one of the few that I actually read because it actually makes sense !
If you're interested in a thought-provoking look into debunking some of the most common arguments versus the existence of God, do yourself a favor and give this book a roughout the book, the author carefully cites and explains several historical and modern atheist viewpoints, then dissects them to prove that they too, just like religion, are seeded in faith. You may search yourself initially agreeing with some of these positions (as they seem fairly logical at their core), but as Zachary breaks them down, you'll soon realize that they suffer from some of the very same criticisms their authors use versus religion and God. By the end of the book, you'll realize that a lot of of these arguments boil down to the same debate on both sides: both require faith, so which seems more likely?The book is a fast read, and the author does a amazing job presenting both sides of the argument while referencing credible sources on each side. As you read through it, it'll challenge you to rethink your worldview regardless of where you stood before you picked it up.
Full disclosure: Like Broom, I consider myself a thoughtful theist, firmly grounded in an evangelical Christian globe view. So it's not surprising that I might give this book a positive review. Having said that, this is is the first book I've reviewed on Amazon, and wanted to add my little voice to his by method of a recommendation to read this book. To the Christian or theist struggling to understand the perspective of an atheist, Bloom explains well and with fairness some foundational assumptions which underlie atheism. He outlines a lot of of their key critiques of theistic thought. To the atheist, he does the same in reverse. And most significantly, he does so without rancor, ugly name-calling, or belittling beliefs or perspectives various from his own. He shows honest respect for those who might disagree, even as he clearly embraces some arguments as is is not an in-depth treatise on these topics. It's a clear and concise survey of a rich body of theological, apologetic, philosophical, and atheistic thought. Each of his chapters are multi-volume books in their own right, with a rich tradition of theistic and secular authors wrestling with the subjects he discusses. It's clear that he has read and digested much of this literary library, and not just from authors who keep beliefs that match his own. He quotes and references authors extensively but not in a highfalutin and inaccessible way. His discussion is logical and clear.Even though this book is primarily a bringing together of ideas, I think that Broom's voice adds something meaningful and fresh to the conversation. If you've read or been exposed to a amazing bit of that library like I have, you may search this book to be a unbelievable synthesis of thought. I found it helpful to me in this way. If you haven't read much atheists and theologians, or are trying to sort out your own understanding, I would recommend this book as one of the very best aids I've encountered. Very nicely done.
these teachings are like drops of pure nectar each time I listen to them. Meditation instructions that are so informative, I have been a meditator for over 30 years and I still felt like a beginner which is so amazing for me. The Wheel of Life is a fascinating teaching and incorporates everything to improve our lives, should we but listen and practice.
I like understanding the meanings behind the symbols, or what the symbols represent. Art, particularly old religious art is a language. In cultures where in most did not read the method to teach was through visual art. This book opened a door for me into beginning to understand the language of the symbols of some of the Buddhist works of art.
I cannot exprese the gratitude I feel towards Nick Lane after reading this book. This is the best science book I've ever read in my life. (I'd like to study biology but don't have the means to)Everything: The format the book is written (it's divided in little sub chapters that you can read very quickly if you don't have time, i.e. in the morning instead of a newspaper article), the method Lane explains concepts (I even learned primary biology ideas I was never able to grasp), the method he presents the ideas itself...Power, Sex, Suicide gives me the same sense of awe and admiration that Cosmos gave me the first time I saw it. I'd really want Lane was as popular as Sagan in terms of popularizing science.He (Lane) even presents ideas he doesn't agree with, which I really loved.I'm looking forward to buying Oxygen and of course as you can see now I'm a really huge, large Lane's fan.
This is the second book by Lane that I've read (the first was Oxygen, the Molecule that Created the World), and I've found both to be informative and simple to read for someone with a technical, but not intensive, knowledge in the topic material. He covers the history of molecular biochemistry and evolutionary theory with amazing clarity. Lane does have a tendency to "lead you down the garden path" with a fascinating theory, only to present why it's probably wrong. I have a disproportionate number of bookmarks on my Kindle for his books, because I'm always marking passages to search that they are only a preamble, not a conclusion. After setting up and knocking down a dozens of straw man arguments, he tends to nicely pull together the disparate bits and pieces of theory to give a cogent overall summation. For example, he discusses the theories regarding the evolution of eukaryotes and makes a final amazing case for the Hydrogen hypothesis. He does a amazing job of not making claims with adamantine certitude and his opinions as opinions, leaving pointers for the reader to further research a subject and create his or her own judgement. Overall, an perfect read for scientifically minded lay readers who do not have a degree in biochemistry and the ability to wade through the scientific journals on their own.
The teachings that helped me with the understanding of what Kabbalah is and how it could support me is nothing less than astounding. It doesn’t matter what your background is the info is timely and applicable
Zach Broom did a superb job of opening up the true globe of the skeptic. By guiding the reader through this field of thinking he is able to show the pros and cons clearly. As you progress he gently brings to light the real answers to the difficulty that every skeptic faces. What is the real meaning of life?
This book is the second volume of a trilogy written by HH the Dalai Lama. The first volume is The Buddhism of Tibet and the third one is The Middle Way–Fait Grounded in actitioners consider Buddhism either a religion, or a philosophy or a science (first–person science). This trilogy, in my opinion, describes Buddhism as a technology similar to the mind. It shows the conditions to achieve enlightenment: accumulation of merit and accumulation of wisdom. In to understand the deep meaning of Buddhism, the reader needs to study the trilogy, a superficial reading is not e Meaning of Life describes the twelve links of dependent arising and gives necessary info about the foundation of the practices concerning with Tibetan Buddhism.HH the Dalai Lama, in this book, recommends that the practice of Buddhism by Westerners must be adapted to West. Buddhism practiced by Tibetans was influenced by Tibetan culture; it would be a mistake for Westerners to practice a Tibetanized Buddhism. It is a amazing practice to remain amazing citizens in their own communities. Isolation is unnecessary.
I hadn’t studied much biology since my college days 50 years ago, so this exciting book was a true eye opener. How did life actually obtain going on earth? Why did it take a couple of billion years before all higher forms of life got their start, and how are mitochondria the key? Why would most life in other parts of the universe likely not obtain beyond the level of bacteria? What do mitochondria have to do with aging, and how do we age more slowly than rats but faster than birds?Renowned British scientist and author Nick Lane explores all these questions and a lot of more, explaining the recent research, controversies, and speculations. Lane does a very amazing job of explaining the primary findings and arguments to educated readers who are not trained in biology but are keen to understand what’s going on inside the life they see all around and experience in their own interests had been more in the physical and mathematical sciences, but there’s nothing like encounters with aging that will say “Whoa – What’s Going On Here?”, especially when your doctor says, “Don’t worry, that’s just normal aging”. A heart attack, a detached retina, loss of balance – “just normal aging” - SURE! It’s like a SYNDROME, a name for something they don’t understand or can’t do much about. Or could they? - if they thought more like curious scientists exploring the universe and less like authorities stuck in the ruts of past Lane explains why all the anti-oxidant therapies in the globe have failed to extend our life spans, despite the destruction wrecked by radicals on mitochondrial DNA. Yet birds, with only a few changes to their DNA, avoid most of this hurt and live disease-free to ripe old ages (relative to their body size). There is even a group of humans in Italy who live to 100 quite easily due to a easy genetic mutation. He identifies “uncoupling” as the possible mechanism as it causes the “respiration chain” in mitochondria to produce heat instead of radicals when the mitochondria is at rest (not producing ATP to power the cell). The implication is that there may be better prospects for gene therapies than drug therapies in our future (at least if humanity somehow manages to survive the wrath of Gaia versus the wanton destruction of a civilization drunk on fossil fuels).
Fascinating book about the evolution of cells and the role of mitochondria in allowing huge eukaryote cells and multi-cellular organisms. Extremely clear descriptions of how things work, and an perfect framework for understanding problems in evolution, how in single-celled eukaryotes led to apoptosis in multi-cellular organisms, problems in tracking evolution using maternal mitochondrial DNA, why Aubrey de Gray's suggestion that we move mitochondrial DNA into our cell's nucleus as part of an anti-aging protocol won't work (when we can do the in-vivo gene manipulation), and how cells use reactive oxygen species as e book explains a number of things I've wondered about:(1) Why does a mother's environment affect the kids of her daughters? It's because the unit of growth is the cell, not just DNA, and the daughter's eggs are formed in-utero. So if the mother is stressed nutritionally early in the pregnancy, it affects her daughter's kids by reducing the robustness of her daughter's eggs.(2) Why don't antioxidants increase longevity? It's because the cell uses ROS as a signal for proteins required by the mitochondria and to grow more mitochondria, and needs a finely tuned level of internal anti-oxidant machinery in to hear the signal, yet not be damaged by it. So taking additional Vitamin C or E reduce the internal signaling, and might cause premature apoptosis of the cell because it degrades the health of your mitochondria. This ties into studies showing that Vit C and/or E reduce the benefits of exercise, by shutting down the internal ROS signaling pathways.(3) How can we improve our own longevity? It looks like the major factor is the rate of leakage of ROS from mitochondria. So things that reduce this leakage create a huge difference: (a) where possible, have your cells run on fat instead of glucose, because that reduces electron leak from complex I, and (b) create sure you have balanced levels of omega-6 and omega-3 PUFA, as that appears to also create a significant difference (at least in mice...)There is much more, and I have a much better framework now for my research on how to optimize my health. Highly recommended!Two other books in the same class are The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor, and Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life.
Since the beginning of recorded history one of the most enduring issues faced by scientist and philosophers alike was the origin of life itself. Some thought (and still think) that only some sort of supreme being could be responsible for that first spark of life. Others feel the respond may be rooted in biochemical reactions that occurred in some primeval ocean. In Power, Sex, Suicide author Nick Lane, being a biochemist himself, focuses on the scientific side of the argument. It wasn't till the 1840's that the first intercellular structures were observed and later, in 1898, the term "mitochondria" was first coined. So the quest for origins was expanded to contain the nucleus, mitochondria and other organelles. Over the intervening years a lot of various scientist have addressed this problem resulting a dozens of ideas as to how life got started and then bridged the gap between bacteria and eukaryotic cells. Lane covers a lot of of the theories in some detail, giving the reader an inside look on how science works. Concepts like the Hydrogen hypothesis, the Oxygen Bottleneck and the Latest Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) are just the hint of the iceberg. Proton Pumping is another problem that lies at the heart of the eukaryotic cell. How did that come about and how does it work? Of course the main focus of the book is the Mitochondria: What exactly is it? What is its function? And where did it come from? All show day eukaryotic organisms are similar through DNA. But was it always that way? Some scientist think that at first there were a lot of "kinds" of eukaryotes but "ours" was the only one that created it through the Oxygen Bottleneck. Others think the Amazing Historic Rendezvous between two various prokaryotic cells happened only once and the possibility of it ever event again is virtually nil, and the possibility of it event on another planet is just as remote. And finally, what is the identity of of the two organisms that created this historic joining? Like most science writers, Nick Lane provides his own theories and ideas on the subject, that's why he wrote the book in the first place. You may or may not agree with him on all points but that's what science is all about. At the very least this opens the door to other books and other authors who will give you their take on the Mitochondria and its origin. While Lane does a amazing job of making this complex topic accessible to the interested layperson there are parts of the book that are somewhat more difficult for the "non chemist" reader. On the whole though, anyone who got through High School Biology and/or Chemistry shouldn't have a issue with this book. Hold in mind that biochemistry is a quick changing field of research with fresh findings and fresh theories popping up all the time. A lot of of the conclusions reached in this book may have been modified or invalidated in the in the intervening years since publication. That being said, this is one of the best science books I've ever read so if you're up to the challenge -- go for it. I had no technical or formatting problems with this Kindle stRanger
I discovered this book right when I was really struggling with my faith. I had a traumatizing experience and any doubts I had seemed to be amplified. Broom does a amazing job at facing these doubts, some that he has themselves, and provides logical reasoning that helps the mind create sense of all the huge questions. He is thorough and cites lots of atheist and theist scholars and does side by side comparisons.I was a small skeptical about the book, because it focuses on the philosophical arguments the most, where I have always been more historical. But this had an simple to follow flow to it. it is not an endless circle. he will say "here are 3, 4, or whatever sides to an argument, and here is why I feel this one makes more sense"another thing I like about it is that his thoughts and reasoning are geared more towards people going through an internal struggle. this helped me restore my faith internally. so a lot of other apologetic books out there speak about how to argue with an athiest and how to answer to non believers. I am not looking to argue with anyone, I am looking to settle some doubts I have and this book has done it better than any others in latest memory.I never heard of this author before, but he seems honest and genuine. he doesn't regurgitate reasons to believe, but looks at it from all angles, including athiest views. he also shares private experiences at times when required to support create a connection. he is very relatable and I will follow him for more if he ever makes another book
This is a must read from His Holinest the 14th Dalai Lama. He explains the Buddhist principle of dependent arising in a very down to earth method. He is the master at taking a very deep theroretical Buddhist topic and breaking it down and showing how it applies to our daily life. Taken from a series of teachings His Holiness gave in 1984 in London, the book is a lightly edited transcription by Jeffrey Hopkins, who was the translator for His Holiness at these lectures truly makes this a must read if you wish to understand the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising.
This book was recommended to me by several AP Biology teachers as a amazing background to support prepare students for the AP Biology try and college. It's NOT a test-prep book. Instead, it delves into the mitochondria and the evolution of the eukaryotic cell. This is a key concept in biology, and this book uses lots of current research to explain evolutionary probabilities. It is a dense read - lots of complex huge science words, however not as poor as a textbook. Perhaps not the best-seller for the mainstream folk. I do think you'll need an interest in biology or evolutionary histry to create it through the book. If you are interested in biology, then I greatly recommend this book because it helped provide me with a deeper understanding of the cell's evolutionary history, cell respiration (and photosynthesis, by default), cell signalling, and how the cell works together in the body (including some very colonial ideas, like apoptosis and dying for the amazing of the whole).
There are a lot of layers to this book. I must admit when I first read this book there was a lot I didn't understand, and the book felt kind of dry. After a latest retreat I've had a fresh interest in re-reading this book. It is not as dry as it was before. In fact, it is very exciting now. So my tip to anyone having a hard time with it is to place it away for awhile and then hold coming back to it!There are a lot of instances in the book of just one or two sentences having a wealth of information. It is simple to miss this info if you are use to reading something like Harry Potter.I am most familiar with Theravada. More accurately: I don't know much about Tibetan and/or Mahayana Buddhism. This book can shed light on some of those subjects. For example, in one or two sentences of the book I search pointers to things that I would have just glossed over at an earlier scene of my practice. In particular: my understanding of non-self and the nature of consciousness vs. the book's discussion of Mahayana views on non-self and the nature of is book has a lot of information on dependent origination. Each of the 12 links is given an exposition. For example the 3rd link is broken into two forms of consciousness; cause consciousness and result consciousness. The name and form link is described in terms of the five clinging aggregates. In addition, the whole chain is place into context; how it relates to lifetimes, how there are multiple chains occurring during one lifetime, e 12-links are begin to various interpretations. I search this books treatment of them very informative. The book can give the bhavacakra a fresh found meaning to you.
Apart from the evaluation jargon, the book is a unbelievable read on origin of life and the necessary role mitochondria plays. After symbiosis of Mitochondria, installment of ATPase to generate ATP is the single most evolutionary change. Otherwise, the purpose of Mitochondria wouldn't have existed. Yet the author spent couple of lines, stating that the Eukaryotic cell plugged in ATPase to take advantage of Mitochondria. Other missing evolutionary note is about chloroplasts. Otherwise, it is a attractive read on the historical thought process gone into our current understanding of life.
I really wanted to like this book, but hoo boy, it can create your brain hurt. The best thing I guess I can say is, you have to be into and perhaps a student in this arena in for it to be an simple read. Sadly, it wasn't for me, but I will not let that to detract from the book. My one star detracted was really more of a, "buyer beware".
This is a thoughtful memoir not about baseball so much as a man coming to terms with his chosen craft and achieving some level of peace with himself. Most of the narrative concerns what the players do off the field or in the bullpen while not playing -- or what goes on in their interior globe as they struggle to create it in an exceptionally competitive and unforgiving world.Hayhurst does his best to take a lot of the romance out of the life of a baseball player, and you'll never ask for an autograph or a ball after you read this. On the other hand, Hayhurst admires the amazing San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman, who becomes a model for handling oneself with dignity and perspective while achieving amazing on-field any professional struggling for success, Hayhurst at times hates his calling and resents its demands. He fears failure, and that fear has a vicious method of turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Hayhurst also has some poignant things to say about alcoholism, and the book is perfect and moving in this ch of the book is very funny and reads a bit like Ball the end, Hayhurst learns to embrace his profession and to defeat his fear of failure. He also, more importantly, learns to place some balance in his is is very unusual baseball memoir, and the author succeeds in connecting emotionally with his reader. I highly recommend it, even to the non-fan.
While baseball is the constant throughout the book, it isn't a book about a 90 mph fastball or a sabremetric geek making it to the dream of the huge Excel sheet. It is a book about humanity, and the raw emotions involved in success, failure and e book eloquently talks about what brings people of various walks of life, sometimes from various countries, to the same common spot at the same common time. Why do they all present up at a baseball field in Texas on a 104 degree Sunday afternoon?It is the hope provided through the game. It is the magic pain relieving powers of a jersey to an ill fan. It is the hope and healing power of baseball that brings thousands of fans together on any given summer evening, in any given Town where the best restaurant is an Applebee's and the best motel has roaches.And at the same time, it is about identity and not liking one's own profession. Hayhurst debates becoming someone else throughout the book. But there is something about that jersey that just won't allow him hang it 's a fascinating read. It is one of the best books I have ever read.
"Well, baseball is a lot of things, but it's not everything."When I was a young lad, baseball was everything to me. Becoming a Major League Baseball player was the only dream I ever knew. I remember clearly the day I found out that the huge leaguers actually obtain to play. And not only did they obtain paid, they obtain loads of money. My little kid brain could not comprehend why someone would me to play baseball when I would do it for free. Heck, my parents were playing the town league so I could play.Quickly we all grow up, we start to understand the dirty reality that is professional baseball. Though our dreams persevere, the street to the majors - both literal and metaphorical - is long and arduous. Dirk Hayhurst is the quintessential minor league veteran. He hops from city to town, bus to bus, level to level trying to search his main purpose. The Bullpen Gospels beautifully intertwines the absurdity of minor league baseball with life's most significant problems. In the moment a relief pitcher dealing with a full count with men on base appears crucial, however couple this moment with the tragedy of dysfunctional family and everything gets a fresh perspective.Dirk Hayhurst is an wonderful communicator. Once you begin this book, it is nearly impossible to set down. A amazing book.
I thought that this book would just be a look at a guy trying tosurvive in the minors, and that would have been fine, but it's more thanthat. It is also about Hayhurst's growing up in a dysfunctional familyand his private struggles, all of which lead to a amazing ofphilosophizing (hence the name of the book).The info about life in minors--training camp, hostfamilies, rude fans, bullpen antics--are interesting and fun to Headley is one of the few players that he identifies by name--therest are nicknames or pseudonyms (it really doesn't matter).There's a lot of detail, perhaps too much, on bathroom habits and"Spidermanning" (don't ask) but that's not what is at the heartof the book. It's about his trying to come to grips with whatbaseball is for and why he is playing. He's a small too in love withhis thoughts, and it sometimes slows the book down, but much of whathe says is at worst, interesting, and at most, important.I highly recommend "The Baseball Gospels."
This book is by turns real, insane, funny, and sobering. It's about one mans journey to create it to huge league baseball. It's an inside look at the grind that is minor league baseball it's about self discovery and a stick to itness again all odds. It's about over coming obstacles and achieving your goals as much as it is about finding out who you really are and where you're headed. If you like an insiders take on baseball then you'll love this book. I certainly did. More Please.
I loved this book. I just finished listening to the audio version, and promptly ordered it in print for my boyfriend. I know a lot of reviewers scoffed at the tales of the male bonding, but hey, did you wish a real story of baseball, or a glossed over one? Would films depicting life in a frat house be real if they didn't contain scenes involving genitalia and beer? Yeah, probably is is a *true* story of what it's like to live and travel with men and play a sport. As a woman, some of the scenes were a small nauseous making, but I felt like I got the real experience of what it's like to be in the minors. Nothing is what we think it is when we just see what's on the r me, this was the excellent book to read in the off season. I got my baseball fix. I also was blessed to witness the transformation of a boy into a man, who was sometimes a boy again. I love that about baseball, when the celebrations happen and men celebrate like boys.If you're expecting a book about stats and salaries and how squads are built, go read 'Moneyball'. If you wish a truly entertaining and touching book that will create you laugh and then bring tears to your eyes, read 'The Bullpen Gospels', which is just as amazing as 'Moneyball', just in a completely various way.Put down your expectations and sit back. You'll be in for a wild ride if you can only begin your eyes and have fun every part of it, even the parts that aren't what you thought they should be.
This was a very enjoyable book, and well written. The book covers about one years worth of life lessons as seen through the prism of minor league baseball. The story provides a very candid look at the "clubhouse fraternity" and much of what goes on as a squad bonds, and much of the material is very humorous. Some of the antics might be offensive to the thin skinned though, not much is hidden!But at the same time there are some amazing life lessons described here as the author struggles with his baseball career and family life. The lessons are really not specific to baseball. This is a amazing read for anyone who was or is an athlete and a core theme is how difficult it can be to be successful at a particular sport at any level while realizing how strange it can be to work so hard at something which is just a nsidering this book was written by an athlete, apparently without a ghostwriter, I found the writing to be excellent. The book flows well and is divided up into well encapsulated chapters which each describe a particular episode within the baseball season. There are a few proofreading errors here and there. The book is simple to read but not too simply written. While this book is a quick read, at some points I felt like I was just reading it quickly to obtain through it and see what ridiculous thing was going to happen next.
It's strange to search a book that's wholesome and raunchy and poignant at the same time, but I guess that's the life of a sensitive, mild guy who has thrown his lot in with big-time athletics. It's a amazing read for anyone who loves baseball and enjoys descriptions of life on the street among stunted adolescents. There's not much baseball wisdom and no baseball tactic or statistics, but it's full of wonderfully funny descriptions of players, ballparks, and that unique feeling of being a competitive athlete (and of the kinds of things that happen that can bring you down off your pedestal, too).The author, Dirk Hayhurst, is part of the Animal House atmosphere that pervades any male college or pro locker room in any sport, but he's a bit uncomfortable with it and a bit aloof. You obtain the feeling that he does a lot of watching and a lot of quietly returning to his hotel room or apartment, while the guys go out and party. And you obtain the feeling that the guys think he's okay, but none of them really consider him a amazing friend. (It's how I've aleays felt when I've been thrown into locker room situations.)First, the raunchy. It's mild by baseball tell-all standards, but there's all sorts of things about players farting in each other's faces, talking about how huge their "packages" are, etc. Hayhurst does a amazing job of showing how humor pervades the clubhouse and brings together guys from various backgrounds and cultures --- and guys who are, ultimately, competing versus each other for the attention of the major league general en, the poignant. Early in the book, after a couple of chapters about the silliness of spring training speeches, Hayhurst gives a glimpse at why he's sticking it out in Class A minors after four years of not doing very well. First, there's black humor about living with his crotchetly grandmother, who makes him sleep on a plastic-covered mattress in a junk-filled room and tells him "Go to hell" whenever he suggests that she actually throw out some junk. The next chapter describes his family, which can only be called hellish: A father who's fallen into depression due to a accident 20 years ago that left him mostly incapacitated; a drunk brother who beat up Hayhurst repeatedly throughout their teen years; and a mom burned out by caring for the two deadbeats. The trio of losers lives on welfare, and Hayhurst visits them as rarely as possible, as all he gets from them is anger and indifference that he has actually tried to create something of en, the wholesome. Hayhurst is a rules follower, which makes him an anomaly in baseball circles (and in his own family culture). He is a meek guy. He doesn't drink, and he's a virgin late into his 20s. This comes out about midway through the book, as he gives a glimpse into his hope for a pristine life without alcohol-fueled violence and with a lovely, caring wife. As the book chronicles a season in which he had his most significant success in the minors and moves up to AA for a squad that wins a championship, he gets into the wholesome, cliched baseball writing that went out of style in about 1960's kids' books. Needless to say, I didn't like the part about "the squad came together ... one for all, all for one," etc. But those are likely to be genuine feelings, so you can't argue with e book ends on an even more upbeat note. I won't spoil it.
Going to major league android games and paying a week's salary for you and your family to watch millionaires play a children game, it is simple to forget about the minor league struggles the players overcame to create it to the huge leagues. Dirk Hayhurst does a amazing job of describing the self-doubt and tournament that permeated his time in the minor leagues, while interspersing hilarious anecdotes. In its journal structure, it is like a minor league ver of Ball Four (albeit shorter and without the recognizable names of Bouton's classic) but it is much, much funnier. Hayhurst is also like Bouton in that he does not really fit in with his fellow players and, while he wants to succeed, he contemplates the societal value of an athlete. This is a unbelievable book but it would be a mistake to think all minor leaguers are like Hayhurst; he is significantly more introspective than the minor league baseball players I know and have known. Finally, it is worth noting that this book has a significant amount of foul language so parents should consider reading it before letting even their teenage children read it.
This was a mostly enjoyable baseball book, with its focus on the life of a minor league bullpen pitcher. But the author spent too much time regaling us with sophomoric tales of sometimes rowdy, sometimes raunchy capers of his teammates in locations such as Lake Elsinore, California, and a few Texas League oases. Sometimes the anecdotes were funny and the dialog humorous, but for the most part, they were flat. Apparently baseball players are just like college frat rats when they're not on the field. Probably the reader could spin tales as amazing or even better from his or her past. I would have liked to have read more inside baseball. I would have like to know more about what it's like to be out on the field and not so much about the locker room or the squad bus. There was some of that, but not enough. Hayhurst is a beautiful amazing writer, but I think he was trying to do too much in this book: create it interesting, create it humorous, create it poignant and still create it a amazing baseball book. It's not a poor baseball book -- it gives one a fair taste for what it's like to be a perpetual minor leaguer -- but it could have been better. As I say, it's a amazing -- but not amazing -- baseball book.
This book presents a dialogue between a French philosopher and public commentator and his son, a bio-scientist who chose to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. It is enlightening, as befits its topic and the father-son protagonists. Primary ideas of Tibetan Buddhism are expounded, compared with Western monotheism and both speakers more or less agreed on the fundamental need to support people become more moral by mind-training. However, the philosopher and monk alike missed the true issues of ‘evil’: they do not consider adequately real believers who regard killing of non-believers as a moral imperative; and the time and culture dependence of value systems. Also, they ignore the fateful question, as well place in a book on Rene Girard, Can We Survive Our Origins? Novel global problems are mentioned. But the monk stated ‘Perhaps in the tribal context of prehistoric times ther e was some underlying evolutionary reason for the formation of groups that exterminate each other […] but in the context of modern society it’s a totally irrational form of behavior’ (p. 211). This is an awesome statement for a highly qualified molecular biologist. How could he think that the brief history of modern humanity displaced genetic traits rooted in deep history?!The monk continues to stick to the foundational Buddhist belief that ‘The ultimate nature of all living beings is perfect. That perfection is always there, deep within us, even when it’s hidden from sight by ignorance, desire and hatred […] ‘ignorance, the very source of evil and of suffering, is an accidental misunderstanding, a sudden forgetting that makes no difference to the ultimate nature of the mind’ […] However tragic suffering might be, in the final analysis only one single thing is always present, and that’s innate perfection […] violence isn’t part of man’s deep-seated nature’ (pp. 205- 208). The philosopher failed to confront this very doubtful statements and thus the discourse does not examine the primary assumption on which Buddhism is e book correctly notes that ‘one aspect of what we could call the crisis of modern democracies is that in our own state of law the citizens feel that they have more and more rights and less and less responsibilities toward the community (p. 282). But, all in all, their handling of politics is inadequate. Thus, ‘The contributions of La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère, or Chamfort to our knowledge of human psychology are among the finest […]. They see how angry everyone is – there are only people blinded by ambition, politicians demented by their lust for power, senile courtesans following them to extract whatever advantages they can, vain hypocrites who think they’re geniuses, or who to get some derisory honor or other would stop at nothing’ (p. 224). Fine, but then the philosopher pins his hopes on ‘building a just society’ (p. 224). This is inadequate when the existence of the human species is endangered by the powers suppled to immature humanity be science and technology. This fateful challenge is no confronted as needed, neither by the philosopher, nor the monk. Similar is the focus on moral betterment of humanity, with a lot of statements on ‘the need for individuals to work on improving themselves, through values coming from wisdom or from the spiritual path’ (p. 226). This is honorable but not realistic in the foreseeable future. It would have been better to create what is important less impossible by recognition the top priority of upgrading the morality of those who have most leverage in shaping the future through collective choice and action, namely political leaders. The discourse states correctly ‘extremely few people are really concerned by others’ needs. The same applies in the political domain. Those whose task it is to watch over the general well-being often see their mission as a career, at the center of which their own person occupies pride of place. Under such conditions, it’s difficult for them to disregard the immediate term – especially their own popularity – and consider what would be best for everyone’s amazing in the long term’ (p. 226). This crucial insight should be followed by seeking ideas on upgrading political leadership – but the authors fail to cross the Rubicon. This is a pity. However, the main parts of the book presenting and discussing Buddhism are well worth reading and in part essor Yehezkel DrorThe Hebrew University of Jerusalem
This is the best brief digest of the principal trends in 20th century intellectual life in the West, and in France in particular. The dialog format has been a format for philosophical give-and-take since Plato, and the ease with which Revel and his son navigate the amazing ideas is very engaging and satisfying.
I wanted an introduction to Buddhism, this book is a back and forth between a father and his son and they are both so intelligent. It took me a while to read because I learned about so a lot of things, also about the situation in tibet. It's really all the questions you can imagine asking next to a great, concise and very explained answer. It makes you wish to be a better and more altruistic person.
I really liked this book at the start. The more I read, the harder it got to understand. The latest half is like a philosophy textbook. I struggled to finish reading this book. I am fascinated by the Monk. I would like to meet him and obtain to know him as a person. The Philosopher is the father of the Monk. I think the Dad is asking questions to his son and trying to understand the son's thinking. The Philosopher is an academic from a university setting and the Monk is siting on a bed bug infested cot in a cave up in the mountains meditating for 14 hours a day. They are radically various in every method possible.
I can respect the passion both men have for knowledge and life. One could clearly accept that these two men are related. Their personalities are very much alike despite the contrast of belief systems. I learned a lot and glad I purchased it!
The dialogue between Revel & Ricard are meaningful & intellectually provocative. Their open, critical & coherent discussion not merely enabled me to learn more about meaning of life, thru the lenses of both Western philosophy & Eastern Buddism, but also guided me to see things in a more lucid perspective. I look forward to exploring, learning, & experiencing more about the path to enlightenment introduced by Ricard.
Two brilliant but down-to-earth people discuss the meaning of life -- one is a knowledgeable, highly regarded French novelist, the other, his son, a well-educated scientist who decided to become a Buddhist monk. Their discussion flows easily and touches every imaginable aspect of life and religion. there's nothing obscure, no unnecessary words; it's a pure delight to read it. Both of Ricard's books, The Monk and the Philosopher, as well as The Quantum and the Lotus, are two of my favorite books. They are brilliantly written, clear and simple to read, and full of wisdom and knowledge. Thank you, Roswitha Mcintosh
This dialogue between Matthieu Ricard and his father Jean-Francois Revel is related to Ricard's other East/West philosophical dialogue (The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet), but with more depth, rigor and intimacy - thus true communication and exchange. Ricard and Revel are both well qualified for this exchange in two necessary respects - first is their philosophical/intellectual and experiential qualification. Revel is a respected thinker and author of both classical and post-modern Western philosophy. Ricard was raised in this mold (in France), but went on to embrace Tibetan Buddhism after completing his PhD in molecular biology to live with and translate for some of the greatest Tibetan Lamas of the 20th century (from 1972 to present). As a effect he is perhaps the most qualified and able representative of the Buddhist tradition in a Western e second qualification these two share is the love, respect and comfortable rapport of being intimately bonded as father and son. Revel's role here is primarily as the scholar interlocutor with a list of predetermined points designed to draw out Ricard's understanding of Buddhism. He is the clear thinking Western materialist and skeptic. Often he relates his son's responses to European philosophy and psychology from ancient Greek to the modern sciences, and appears genuinely surprised and delighted to learn of Asia/Buddhism's theoretical contributions (to human thought) long before Europe's. He is also fast to point out when Buddhism is merely covering old ground that European philosophy has mined extensively as well. Yet he consistently does this with passion and heart. It is especially touching to see his genuine appreciation of his son's deep and clear r me this dialogue is very relevant (as a Westerner with longstanding involvement in Tibetan Buddhism). These materialistic questions are just the kind that I come up with on my own, or field from mates and family (and are probably related to the ones Ricard would pose to his teachers in his role as the Western 'devils advocate'). The fact that Ricard is so well informed (and steeped in Buddhist culture) makes his responses especially instructive and reliable. (At times the two tread on very subtle ground, and Ricard's lifetime of learning and private experience support hold it clear and on point.)As in The Quantum and The Lotus there is a decided advantage for the Buddhist side, as Ricard concedes no ground, while his father's more begin and dualistic point of view is gradually and steadily worn down by the gentle yet relentless presentation of the Buddha's Middle Method (yet in the end Revel too concedes small ground). My only criticism is that Ricard sometimes is too safe by presenting only the 'party line', with very small private flavor. He also glosses over some of the Tibetan cultural traits which have contributed to their current situation (loss of national sovereignty and promotion of an easily misunderstood religious tradition steeped in magic and mystery). The effect is that this book stays on safe and sometimes superficial nerally though this makes for a amazing intellectual beginner's book to Buddhism, the essence of the path and not the form of the traditions, as well as a comparative overview of it's universal notice (vis-a-vis Western science, philosophy and religion). What makes this book special and valuable is the combination of the range of inquiry, depth of clarity and genuine warmth of the dialogue.
The Huge Picture by Sean Carroll is an perfect book for anyone who wants a concise, understandable, and we'll written overview of modern science, with an emphasis on quantum mechanics and the philosophy of Poetic Naturalism. In this review I will focus on the philosophical side of his work and particularly his treatment of problems similar to Carroll puts it, "Naturalism” claims that there is just one world, the natural world... (while) “Poetic” reminds us that there is more than one method of talking about the globe . He describes these various ways of talking about the globe as an "interconnected series of models appropriate at various levels". From this perspective, physics, chemistry, biology, and even psychology and sociology are simply various but useful ways of talking about the same om a scientific perspective, the most fundamental method of talking about the globe is quantum field theory and, more specifically, the Core Theory, a term coined by Nobel Laueate Frank Wilczek. The Core Theory may be viewed as quantum field theory within a "domain of applicability" that contains most of the universe in which we live but excludes certain phenomena (e.g. dark matter, the huge bang and black holes). Though the Core Theory is not the elusive Theory of Everything, it has been validated by so much data from so a lot of experiments that it may be as close as we ever obtain to scientific certainty. As Carroll puts it, "We can be confident that the Core Theory, accounting for the substances and processes we experience in our daily life, is correct. A thousand years from now we will have learned a lot more about the fundamental nature of physics, but we will still use the Core Theory to talk about this particular layer of reality". That is an audacious claim, but Carroll supports that claim with rigorous scientific roll views higher level or "coarse grained theories" such as chemistry and biology as "emergent" and describes them as "... speaking various languages, but offering compatible descriptions of the same underlying phenomena in their respective domains of applicability". For example, chemistry and biology are emergent models of the universe, compatible with each other and the Core Theory, but with special utilities in their particular domain of applicability. He briefly mentions supervenience, the view that emergent theories exist in an ontological hierarchy where higher level theories rest on more fundamental theories. For example, there could be no change at the level of biology without there being a change in the underlying chemistry. Similarly, there could be no change at the level of chemistry absent a change in the more fundamental physics. All of the models are interconnected and interdependent. Though each model has its own special utility and coherence, that utility and coherence ultimately rests on a consistency with other more fundamental models.Unfortunately, Carroll's treatment of how various emergent models relate to each other alternates between autonomous or semiautonomous utility on the one hand and consistency with more fundamental models on the other. Though he warns readers not to start a sentence in one model and end it in another, by moving between these two criteria for the validity of those models, he committs a very related error. He frequently refers to consistency or compatibility among various models as essential, but also writes, "Within their respective domains of applicability, each theory is autonomous—complete and self-contained, neither relying on the other". This is just one example of where he suggests that the soundness of a model can be evaluated by its utility and internal coherence, and without reference to consistency with more fundamental models. In my opinion, when this level of credence is given to utility, one has entered a slippery slope that can lead to invalid ontological conclusions. Now, the criteria of utility does have its own domain of applicability, namely when the theory does not create ontological claims. For example, there are languages or ways of talking about everything from hair styling to stamp collecting that do not create claims about fundamental reality. Even Newtonian physics has its utility within its particular domain of applicability. In these areas, utility is a perfectly reasonable criteria. But when it comes to any model that claims to reflect, at some level, an underlying reality, utility by itself is an inadequate criteria.Another example is theism, a globe view that Carroll does an perfect job demonstrating why it is not only unnecessary but a method of looking at the globe but one that is ultimately inconsistent with the Core Theory. But if one evaluates the validity of theism, and particularly the theism embodied in major globe religions such as Jewdaism, Christianity, and Islam, from the perspective of their utility, one is headed for an ontological train wreck. Who can deny the comfort (i.e. utility) that faith in a loving god and a blissful after life has given millions if not billions of people? But does that mean that such a globe view is true in the same sense that the Core Theory is real? Of course e same logic applies to the role of consciousness in human behavior. Though there may be private or social utility in the belief that conscious intent is responsible for human behavior, such a position is inconsistent with everything we know from cognitive science and everything we know about how the globe works according to the Core Theory. Behavior emerges from complex brain activity, not inner experiences. The fact that our brain is responsible for both behavior and consciousness, at approximately the same time, gives rise to the illusion that conscious intent causes behavior. It is no more reasonable to claim that consciousness is responsible for behavior than to claim that a god is responsible for behavior or that a roosters crowing causes the sun to roll tries to obtain around this by claiming that consciousness is just another method of talking about brain activity and the deeper layers of chemistry and physics. Unfortunately, reducing consciousness to a method of talking about experience fails to solve the Hard Problem. Consciousness is more than just a method of talking about brain states. It is dependent for its existence and form on those states, but is not identical to them. I do not claim to know what consciousness is, but whatever it is, it is more than us, poetic naturalism fails as a satisfactory philosophy of mind on two counts. First, it fails to give an adequate understanding of inner experience and secondly, it provides credence to the idea that consciousness is responsible for behavior. The first failure is understandable; the Hard Issue is hard for a reason and no one has yet come up with a satisfactory solution to it. As David Chalmers has said, that may take a hundred years. But Carroll should have seen the second failure coming. By allowing for the claim that consciousness can be responsible for behavior, he is opening the door for a fresh element in the Core Theory, an element he has argued persuasively does not exist. If it existed, this fresh element or property, somehow similar to connsciousness, would create David Chalmers a very satisfied camper, but for the Sean Carroll who describes the Core Theory with such reverence, not so conclusion, The Huge Picture is an perfect book on the current status of science and his portrait of Poetic Natualism as a unifying philosophy. For those reasons, I highly recommend it to interested lay readers. However, I also urge those readers to be very careful in analyzing his treatment of consciousness. I believe he created a significant error in that analysis, though the error could very easily be my own.
I endured around 20% of it and gave up. Why would a physicist waste his time and energy on endless sophomoric disputations about banal subjects like reality versus illusion. The academy is already overflowing with sinecures for phonies in philosophy, political science, social science, victim studies, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
BEGINNINGAfter reading several books about astrobiology finally I started to read 'The 5th Miracle' from Paul Davies. In the past the words 'The Miracle' have been very deceptive for me, because these words somehow hided the true content ' The Find for the Origin and Meaning of Life'. But luckily I got around these words and could dig into the MMARYI will not talk about all the rich content of this book here, but only about my private resume at the end of the ILL VERY INTRIGUINGAlthough the scientific discussions have clarified some of the info in chemistry, biochemistry etc. during the years, the 'bigger picture' which Davies the reader is still breathtaking and somehow unique. Beyond the a lot of info in the field of astrobiology Davies introduces a lot of theoretic concepts like 'information', 'self-organization', 'autocatalysis', 'complexity theory', 'algorithmic computability', 'quantum theory', 'gravity theory', 'thermodynamic' (and more), which on their own are not really fresh but in this context of the emergence of life they shed some fresh light on the whole scene. You see some fresh possibilities how to look at the phenomena but at the same time Davies stays critical and points to the still begin TO PROCEED FURTHER?Davies himself is unclear at the end of the book how to proceed further. The final impression is, that there are several necessary concepts in the air which altogether are true, but what is missing is the 'key' to create them 'interacting' in the right way. This is intriguing, challenging. Personally I think that the observation of Davies, that the emerging structures beyond the parts reveal a logical structure, a kind of information, is fundamental. Additionally we have the fact that the info stored in DNA/ RNA molecules has the format of a 'random' structure although it works 'against' randomness. Both things have to be brought together. This leads to the assumption, that the structure of matter has to be re-thinked. Something we probably have 'overseen'. As I see, Davies has published meanwhile two more books with exactly these themes. Perhaps there we can search some more answers which will produce further questions. I have not yet read tem.
This is a brilliant book. The father is a learned philosopher and a skeptic. The son believes in Buddhist philosophy (after much analysis). The discussion spans multiple religions and philosophers, and the arguments are very logical, reflecting the analytical brilliance of both participants. A very amazing read.
I’ve read only a handful of books that have changed my life, and Sean Carroll’s The Huge Picture counts as one of these rarities. Throughout my adulthood I have looked for a thing to call myself, and now at latest I can feel at home with the designation, “aspiring poetic naturalist.” If you read this book, it’s possible that you’ll become one too. I worried at first that my nonscientific background would prevent me from appreciating Carroll’s work, but as other reviewers have mentioned the author’s prose is lucid and layperson-friendly. I even finished the book wondering how long it would take me to read fluently the path-integral quantum equation. (Yes, I grappled with Carroll’s explanation of it in the Appendix, like the apes in Kubrick’s 2001 casting rocks at the monolith.)Until I read Carroll’s work, I hadn’t appreciated our current knowledge of the natural world. After all, 96% of the universe is created up of energy and matter we don’t understand and can measure only by inference, so how intelligent can we really be? But it turns out that our species has advanced enough to be able to describe every necessary physical feature underlying our existence. Oh, there are very probably more particles and fields to discover, but their forces are either too weak or too short-lived to be of any consequence to our physical reality.When I meditated on this remarkable fact, a deep, calming satisfaction came over me. Here we are, movies of consciousness roiling on spume cresting atop churning quantum waves in Vishnu’s bathtub, and we figured it out—down to the quarks and gluons, all the method back to an instant before the singularity. Sublime is the word we use to describe this kind of supremely human e most challenging part of the book comes at the end. How is the poetic naturalist to walk in this world? How does one cope with the estrangement, when 95% of humans believe in supernatural entities? What of meaning and purpose? What of the amazing moral truths?Carroll assures us that our moral compass is no more harmed by asserting the naturalness of reality than is the solidity of the earth we continue to stand on even after we’ve discovered it’s not really solid.But Carroll still leaves this budding naturalist with urgent issues to consider: In light of setbacks to the advancement of our species such as the 1995 controversy Carroll mentions concerning the “Statement on Teaching Evolution,” poetic naturalists must confront the necessary challenges of educating our youth. Carroll understands that the method we use language conditions in part our understanding and attitudes. He knows that the invention and infusion of transformative metaphors into our cultural consciousness provides one avenue of creating decent chances for social the end of his work Carroll us an example of one move he has created in the zone of moral constructivism, but the solution with the greatest promise comes earlier in the book, where he uses fresh metaphors that describe human reality but also reflect a deeper understanding of the nature of things. For example, a poetic naturalist declines using metaphors that imply foundational truths, because she knows solid ground is an stead of divine law or eternal forms, Carroll uses phrases like “planets of belief” to describe ethical and other types of local-space worldviews. Our moral epistemology, Carroll shows us, doesn’t require supernatural origination to justify a sacred put in our societies. Murder is no less abhorrent because we’ve found no evidence of a god telling us it’s so. Our moral truths abide—they continue to keep sway like gravitational fields (another transformative metaphor) Carroll asserts, because we continue to care. And caring is the one thing that matters in this universe.
I just couldn't obtain any further than page 103 and had to abandon it. Rehashing known facts without any apparent purpose or theme became excruciatingly unbearable. Life is too short to spend time reading books that don't resonate with the reader. I have a science background and I'm begin to philosophical considerations rather than just hard facts but there was no discernible connection or point to the method the subjects were being discussed.
Sean Carroll is a successful theoretical physicist, skilled ponderer of philosophical questions and gifted communicator of science. He brings all these qualities to bear in his big-hearted, ambitious recent book “The Huge Picture.” The book is part sweeping survey of some of the most thought-provoking ideas in modern science, part sweeping rumination on two of the most fundamental questions that we can ask: How do we gain knowledge of the world? And how do we distill meaning from an impersonal, purely physical universe?The book can roughly be divided into two parts. The first part can be titled “How do we know” and the second can be titled “What do we know”. The siren song weaving its method through Carroll’s narrative is called poetic naturalism. Poetic naturalism simply means that there are a lot of ways to talk about reality, and all of them are valid as long as they are rooted in naturalism and consistent with one another. This is the central notice of the book: we create up explanations about the globe and we call these explanations “stories” or “models” or “ideas”, and all of them are valid in their own e first part of the book explores some of the central concepts in the philosophy of science that create up poetic naturalism. Carroll starts from Aristotle and the ancient Greeks and progresses through the Arabs. He explores the investigations of Galileo in the seventeenth century. It was Galileo and his intellectual successor Isaac Newton who showed that the globe operates according to self-sufficient physical laws that don’t necessarily require external causes. One of the most necessary concepts explored in the book is Bayesian thinking, in which one assigns probabilities to phenomena based on one’s previous understanding of the globe and then updates this understanding (or “priors”) according to fresh evidence. Bayesian thinking is a strong tool for distinguishing valid science from invalid science, and for distinguishing science from nonsense: one could in fact argue that all human belief systems operate (or should operate) according to Bayesian criteria. Bayesianism does introduce an element of subjectivity in the scientific process, but as Carroll demonstrates, this supposed bias has not harmed our investigations of natural phenomena and has allowed us to come up with accurate explanations.Another thread weaving its method through the book is that of emergence and domains of applicability. Emergence means the existence of properties that are not strictly reducible to their constituent parts. Although Carroll is a physicist and holds fundamental physics in high regard, he appreciates that chemistry has its own language and neuroscience has its own language, and these languages are as fundamental to their disciplines as photons and electrons are to physics. No field of inquiry is thus truly fundamental in an all-encompassing sense, since there are always emergent phenomena that stories and explanations in their own right. Emergence also manifests itself in the form of what are called effective theories in physics; these are theories in which the macroscopic behavior of a system does not depend in a special method on a detailed microscopic description: for instance a container of air can be perfectly described by properties like its average temperature and pressure without resorting to descriptions of quarks and Higgs bosons. As long as the two domains are consistent with each other (what Carroll calls “planets of belief”) we are on firm ese ideas lay the foundation for the second half of the book which takes us on a sweeping sojourn through a lot of of the key ideas of modern science. Carroll says that the most necessary description of the globe comes from what’s called the ‘Core Theory’. This theory ties together the fundamental forces of nature and particles like the Higgs boson; it is grounded in general relativity and quantum mechanics. It can explain the entire physical universe, from atoms to the Huge Bang, certainly in principle but often in practice. If there's any one hard scientific lesson to take away from the book, it's that the universe is created up of quantum fields. Later chapters with subjects like evolution in true time, photosynthesis and metabolism, leading theories for the origins of life, thermodynamics and networks in the brain. When Carroll talks about entropy, complexity and the arrow of time he’s in his element; one necessary aspect of complexity which I had not quite appreciated is that complexity can actually effect from an increase, not decrease, of entropy and disorder if guided the right e book also dwells in detail upon Rene Descartes since his ideas of dualism and pure thought seem to pose challenge to poetic naturalism, but as Carroll demonstrates, these challenges are illusory since both the mind and the body can be shown to operate based on well known physical principles. These ideas hold appearing in the later parts of the book in which Carroll with a lot of thought experiments in philosophy and neuroscience that purport to ask questions about reality and consciousness. Some experiments involve zombies, others involve aliens simulating us; all are entertaining. A huge question is subjective experience (or “qualia”) which is sometimes regarded as some kind of impenetrable domain that’s divorced from objective laws of nature. For the most part Carroll convincingly shows us that the same laws of nature that give rise to the motion of the planets also give rise to one’s perception of the color red, for instance. This section of the book involving popular conundrums like John Searle’s Chinese Room and ‘Mary the Color Scientist’ is fascinating and highly thought-provoking, and while the thought experiments have no clear resolution, Carroll’s point is that none of them violate the primary naturalistic structure of the universe and demand mysterious explanations. His discussion of consciousness is also very stimulating; he thinks that consciousness is not really a thing per se but an emergent property of organized matter. More succinctly, it’s a useful invention, a description of a particular method in which matter behaves rather than something that is beyond our current understanding of natural law; it is what we say rather than what is. Much of Carroll’s discussion here reminds me, as cheesy as it sounds, of a line from ‘The Matrix’: words like love, care and purpose are mere descriptions borne of language - what matters are the connections they e book ends by taking us on a tour of some of the most necessary philosophical questions that human beings have asked themselves; questions of meaning, purpose, emotion and will. Personally I found this section a bit rambling but I cannot really blame Carroll for this: none of these questions have a definitive respond and all are topic to speculation. On the other hand, this small tour provides non-specialists with an introduction to well-known philosophers and philosophies, including constructivism, deontology and utilitarianism. The huge question here is how meaning can arise from the impersonal natural laws that have been described so far. Neither Carroll nor anyone else knows the answer, and the book simply makes the case that all these qualities are emergent properties that are all consistent with poetic naturalism. You may or may not be happy by this answer, but it certainly provides meal for a book as ambitious as this one there’s bound to be some disagreement, and that’s a amazing thing. Here are some questions I had: Generally speaking Carroll is on more firm ground when talking about science rather than philosophy. Quite oddly at one point, he uses poetic naturalism to argue versus opposition to marriage and LGBT rights. While his help for these problems is one I heartily share, I am not sure poetic naturalism is the best or the most persuasive reason to uphold these causes: we should help them not because of but in spite of naturalistic reasons. Also, Carroll who is a self-professed naturalist spends several paragraphs describing how all of the arguments for a supernatural God violate naturalism. However I think religion has a purpose beyond describing the true world, and ironically this purpose lends itself to the same analysis that Carroll does of human qualities like care and love. I would think that based on much of the book’s narrative, religion would be described as an emergent phenomenon that provides people with a set of stories and descriptions; these stories provide succor and and a sense of community. Are these stories real? They may not be, and they are certainly not grounded in natural law, but Carroll himself says at one point that models of the globe should be used because they are useful, not because they claim to be real. Shouldn’t one say the same thing about the positive and private aspects of religion?However, none of these concerns should detract from the sweeping scientific and philosophical journey the book takes us on. Carroll is an engaging, sympathetic and pleasant tutorial to the huge picture, irrespective of whether you agree with him completely or not. Ranging over some of the most pressing questions that humanity has unearthed and continues to unearth, the one clear notice in the book is an unambiguous one: we will always hold on searching, and this find will continue to propel humanity past unexpected and exciting horizons. More than anything else the discussion drives home the grandeur of the universe and the human mind, and this is grandeur we should all revel in. Perhaps this bit of wisdom from Carroll’s chapter on entropy where he is describing complexity in a cup of coffee sums it up best: “Those swirls in the cream mixing in the coffee? That’s us. Ephemeral patterns of complexity, riding a wave of increasing entropy from easy beginnings to a easy end. We should have fun the ride.”
I gave this book a 5 star rating because I have read other books on this topic and though every one of them was amazing in their own method coming to the same conclusion , this particular read was the easiest one for me as I was always under the belief of chapter 2 of Genesis . I recommend this ver to all those who are not sure that we have a creator.
Davies, in THE FIFTH MIRACLE, intelligently criticizes the material-reductionist model of the origin of life. According to the current (secular) notion of the origin of life, by pure possibility a conglomeration of molecules capable of duplicating got grouped together in conditions capable of supplying energy and raw materials for duplication. Somehow these molecules became so complex that they created the leap from merely being duplicated by proper external conditions to being able to encode the important info to make organs able to find for and imbibe energy and raw materials for themselves, and then the extra leap of manufacturing molecules able to repair errors in their replicating processes, to develop sense organs able to avoid danger and search something sexy to friend with, and to make works or art, literature, music, and science. All of this happened as a consequence of random errors in the replicating process, even though the overwhelming majority of those errors were detrimental or more likely fatal. These replicating errors were so successful that now zygotes, too little to be seen with a naked eye, can code sufficient info to develop into everything from frogs, dogs, humans, orchids, and redwoods. This is held to be real despite the fact that the complexity of the proteins and DNA molecules in the zygote is such that the probability that they could have formed by possibility within the lifetime of the universe is essentially zero. Anybody who doubts that this is real will be snubbed by the mainstream scientific community as simply not bright enough to understand evolutionary theory. (Of course, the famous alternative explanation, Smart Design, is even harder to believe, and no evidence whatsoever). Davies summarizes all of the current notions about how molecules might have started replicating, but emphasizes that the ability to replicate is still a far cry from the ability to encode complex information, analogous to the difference between a plastic disc and the program recorded on the disc. He does not believe that the laws of nature as we presently comprehend them can acc for this transition from hardware to ientists typically obtain @#$%ed off when people claim that evolution is an accidental process. It is not accidental because the molecules that developed into life and formed all of the dozens of existing organism did so according to chemical laws. Ian Stewart, for example, says life is no more accidental than the growth of a crystal; both form by the operation of fundamental chemical laws. Life is therefore deterministic and will form in any environment supplying the important energy and raw materials. This explanation ignores the mind-boggling improbability that chemical laws would just happen to have the deterministic ability to develop into life. The very laws of physics seem to have been fine-tuned to create life possible. If life is not intrinsic to existence, then the existence of these laws is necessarily accidental. But if they are not accidental, then what is the alternative? Davies asks, "Might purpose might be a genuine property of nature right down to the subcellular level (p. 122)." Although biological processes appear to be purposeful, they are cannot be because purpose is impossible in the material-reductionist model of reality (which cannot possibly be wrong).Chemical laws can rearrange info as dictated by genomes; they cannot make the info of the genomes. "Life works its magic not by bowing to the directionality of chemistry, but by circumventing what is chemically and thermodynamically `natural (p. 255).'" Davies suggests complexity theory as a radical solution to how nature manages this. His proposal is that "information is a genuine physical quantity that can be traded by `informational forces,'" and that complexity is a physical variable with causal efficacy. This proposal is certainly abstract, and seems, like Ilya Prigogine's notion of out of chaos, to be more of an observation than an explanation. It is also not a testable "theory," and therefore hardly a theory at all. Of course, the proposal that life arose by possibility is equally untestable, and therefore hardly a theory at all, though this is typically ignored. On the other hand, given the "astronomical improbability" of life forming by possibility -- even if one supposes that there is a multiverse to play around in -- Davies' proposal is far more plausible. Davies also speculates, from the observation that the dual wave-particle nature of the quantum corresponds to a hardware-software duality, that some sort of quantum-organizing process might be what is required to explain the origin of informational macromolecules. This sounds possible, and even very probable to those of use who do not possibility with miraculous prowess, but untestable.Davies does not delve much into the actual meaning of life, but he does imply that if it arose by possibility it can have no meaning. Human intelligence can have no significance beyond its survival value, and the cockroach has far more survival potential than humanity. One consequence that emerges from the notion that life has intrinsic existence is that Darwin was wrong (my observation, not Davies's): The driving force of evolution is not "survival of the fittest," but the development of greater complexity, with the definite goal of eventually achieving a level of complexity capable of self-reflective intelligence. The proud boast that we understand nature so well that we know ourselves to be not quite as amazing as cockroaches is puerile arrogance disguising itself as modesty.Davies introduces no tip of anything spiritual or even noncorporeal in THE FIFTH MIRACLE. Possibly this is his own inclination, but if he had, the book would certainly have been blasted by mainstream scientists. It does follow, however, that if life has intrinsic existence, then consciousness existed in some sort of primordial form from the very beginning. It is even plausible that consciousness and matter are two aspects of the same thing. If this is real then it would hardly be surprising the universe is fine-tuned for create life possible.
Wow. What a charming book. Barnes covers the mechanics of flight and feathers, myth- and symbol-making, human language and birdsongs, migration, extinction and conservation, evolution and more. I learned quite a bit about birds and have been talked into buying a nice pair of binoculars.
Oh well, I was so excited to commence reading anything this guy produced..after Paul Theroux spoke so well of him.I bought this and Falling off the Map..which I'm now hoping will have more to than this!! What a waffler...I started skipping stanzas - never a amazing sign - then pages; to search him still rambling on. Any amazing writer can victory you over with colour,nuance, emotion,texture, impressions..etc..and admittedly this is a chronicle/statistical acc and he must stick to it..but by god is it tedious. Sure; if these facts are interesting to you....then by all means lap it up. But if someone/anyone is going to such a title..then they had best at least 'hold your attention'. To be fair; Pico is very capable as a scrivener..he just has to pick his topics more judiciously. I will tackle 'Falling off the map'..soon and a critique if anyone is interested in the opinions of an aging buffoon and former global wanderer. Theroux is more my style..check him out!!!
“Life” and “consciousness” do not denote essences distinct from matter; they are ways of talking about phenomena that emerge from the interplay of extraordinary complex systems. (location 263)There is the conscious knowledge of human beings as opposed to the sense knowledge of animals. We can see with our eyes that animals can see and hear and solve easy problems. We know about the “conscious knowledge of human beings” because we can create ourselves the topic of our own knowledge. One is a scientific observation and the other is a metaphysical observation. There is a amazing track record of success with scientific questions. However, there is no such track record of success with metaphysical questions.We don’t know how life began, or how consciousness arose. (location 306)What caused life to start is a question in science. What is consciousness and how it arose is a question in metaphysics. The respond is that we can comprehend what human consciousness is because we have it. But we can’t define human consciousness. Knowing that the sky is blue means more than that light is entering the eye and a signal is going to the brain. It means an awareness of this. What is this awareness? This is a metaphysical question for which there is no answer.We can’t decide whether an individual human life actually matters if we don’t know what we mean by “human being.” (location 355)There are three equivalent explanations of what a human being is: 1) Humans are indefinabilites that become conscious of their own existence. 2) Humans are embodied spirits. 3) The human soul or form is sentially, naturalism is the idea that the globe revealed to us by scientific investigation is the one real world. (location 400)In other words, naturalism means rejecting the way of inquiry called metaphysics. According to metaphysics, humans are superior to animals because we have will. Form or soul is the principle or incomplete being that makes us equal to one another. Matter or body is the principle or incomplete being that makes us various from one another. The human soul is spiritual because we can comprehend will but can’t explain what the relationship is between our self and our body.Why does the universe exist at all? (location 428)The universe is a collection of molecules. It is not a being. The universe is a lot of beings. The universe exists only in the mind of the human who uses the word e we sure it (a unified physical reality) is sufficient to describe consciousness, perhaps the most perplexing aspect of our manifest world. (location 432)There are two worlds: the manifest globe of our sense observations and the metaphysical globe that arises from our transcendence, that is, our ability to create our selves the topic of our own knowledge.But what if the table is created of atoms? Would it be fair to say that the atoms are real, but not the table? (location 1732)If we look at a table and make an photo of the table, the photo is a mental being. The photo is not real. However, the table itself is a collection of molecules. The table is a lot of beings. To be is to be one. Unity is a property of being. I exist (cogito ergo sum) and I am a single unified may have heard that there is a long-running dispute about the relationship between “faith” and “reason.” (location 1967)Faith and reason refers to two kinds of knowledge. Faith is knowledge God gives us or reveals to us. An example is life after death. The other kind of knowledge is based on observations, questions, and theories supported by inking about God in a rigorous was is not an simple task. (location 2247)Human are finite beings. A finite being’s essence limits its existence. An infinite being (God) is a pure act of existence without a limiting r the sake of keeping things simple, let’s divide all of the possible ways of thinking about God into just two categories: theism (God exists) and atheism (no he doesn’t). (location 2259)There is an argument, not a proof, of God’s existence that is based on the assumption or hope that the universe is intelligible. There is no need to create a decision about God’s existence. Because of the historical happening called the Resurrection of Jesus, we only have to decide only whether or not there is life after death.But if that’s true, the fact that we do experience evil is unambiguous evidence versus the existence of God. (location 2285)The existence of evil is a reason to not believe in life after death. However, it has nothing to do with whether or not God exists. Human beings exist because God made us. This raises the question of what motivated God to make us. The only thing that could motivate God to do any thing is self-love. God made humans because He loved Himself as giving. But God could just as well love Himself without giving. Since we can’t understand why God made us, it makes no sense to test to understand why God made so much evil and human suffering.…God’s essence is mysterious and impenetrable to our minds. (location 2300)God is a pure act of existence without a limiting essence. When Moses asked God what His name was God said: “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you” (Exodus 3.14).And there is no immaterial soul that could possibly survive the body. (location 2423)This is correct. A lot of Catholics mistakenly think that the human soul goes to purgatory after death. However, this is just theological speculation to acc for the gap between death and the Second Coming of ter all, it seems beautiful obvious that time does exist, and that it’s passing all around us. (location 3026)It is not obvious to me. Time has to do with change and with the past and the future. Only the show is real. The past and the future are mental sentially every working professional biologist accepts the primary explanation provided by Darwin for the existence of complex structures in biological organisms. (location 3422)Natural selection just explains the adaptation of species to the environment. It does not explain common descent because of how rapidly animals descended from bacteria. It takes two decades for a single fertilized human egg to produce all of the cells in the human body. Bacteria transformed into giraffes in 100 million decades. One hundred million does not even start to describe the complexity of a mammal. Only non-biologists think a billion years is a long time and that natural selection explains common vertheless, fine-tuning is probably the most respectable argument in favor of theism. (location 4574).There is no explanation to date for why the mass of an electron is exactly what it is (fine-tuning). This is evidence that the universe is not intelligible and that God does not exist. However, the Huge Bang and fine-tuning is a reason to believe God inspired the human authors of the Bible because the bible says God made the universe from e unique feature of self-awareness, the ability to have a rich inner life and reflect on one’s put in the universe, seems to demand a unique kind of explanation. (location 4802)We have a drive as human beings to know and understand everything. The explanation for self-awareness is that humans are able to turn in on themselves and catch themselves in the act of their own existence. The explanation for why humans exist is that there is a being (God) that made humans and keeps us in existence but that itself does not need a e idea of a unified physical globe has been enormously successful in a lot of contexts, and there is every reasons to think that it will be able to acc for consciousness as well. (location 4812)Science is successful in question arising from sense observations. There is no track record of success in questions arising from our ability to create ourselves the topic of our own knowledge. We can’t even define the conscious knowledge of human beings, never mind explaining mories are physical things, located in your brain. (location 4991)Memories are mental beings. Saying they are physical things is like the guy who is collecting minerals and arranging them according to their color. He builds a chest of drawers and labels the drawers the colors of the rainbow. He puts a red mineral in the red drawer, a blue mineral in the blue drawer, and so on. One day he finds a white mineral. He goes back to his chest and says, “White minerals don’t exist.”None of this will necessarily convince a determined Cartesian dualist who wants to believe in immaterial souls. (location 5039)There are four solutions to the mind-body problem. The most irrational one is dualism because there is no evidence of immaterial substances. Slightly less irrational is materialism. Idealism, the idea that the material globe is an illusion, makes far more sense than materialism and dualism. The solution judged to be real by rational people and supported by the evidence is that the mind-body issue is a mystery with the understanding that there are no mysteries in science. In science, there are only unanswered questions.A person has knowledge of something if they can (more or less) respond questions about it correctly or carry out the actions associated with it effectively. (location 5340)Knowledge is the openness of being to the manifestation of I, at the end of the day, have will? (location 5736)It is very clear that we have will when we do something that takes a lot of will power, like sticking to a e volunteers were also observing a clock, and could report precisely when they created their decisions. Libet’s results seemed to indicate that there was a telltale pulse of brain activity before the topics became consciously aware of their decision. (location 5802)There are three kinds of causality. Free will involves a final cause. If you spend 15 mins washing your car, the final cause is having a clean car. In metaphysics, cause precedes the result in the causality, not time. If the cause preceded the result in the of time, there would be a cause not causing anything and an result not being effected by anything. In physics, a causal system is one where the energy is constant. If you know the position and speed of a mass falling under gravity at one point in time, you can calculate its speed and position at any other point in time.I believe in naturalism, not because I would prefer it to be true, but because I thing it provides the best acc of the globe we see. (location 5866)Of course it does. But the best acc of the globe finite beings know about from our ability to create ourselves the topic of our own knowledge (free will, our existence as a single unified being) is the existence of an infinite ere is no simplistic, undivided self, no little homunculus in the brain steering us around…. (location 6445)There certainly is an “undivided self.” Descartes read contribution to metaphysics is: I think, therefore I am. But Descartes was wrong to think there was a spiritual small man inside the brain that controlled the body like a driver controls a squad of horses. The driver and the horses are two beings. A human being is one being.
This book presents a cross section of the current philosophy of the sciences of cosmology, physics, quantum mechanics, and human consciousness. (How often does the concept of human consciousness gets tied into cosmology and quantum mechanics in famous science writing these days!).The book is very broad in its attempt to show a unified philosophy behind these very diverse sciences. The philosophy is (paraphrasing): “The universe --- from the biggest galactic megastructures to the tiniest subatomic particles to the intricacies of the human brain --- operates on mathematical principles. There are no mystical, non-physical processes at work in the Universe, including no God.”Sean Carroll presents his viewpoint in an engaging narrative that has not a trace of intellectual arrogance. However, I am a person of religious spirit, and was slightly annoyed that Mr. Carroll uses the book as a soapbox to constantly hammered home his belief that there is no God. He is looking at the globe through a physical sciences lens, and not a spiritual e main purpose of the book is to encapsulate the philosophy of science from its origins in the ancient globe to the present. There is the nagging question, going back to the dawn of man’s cognition: “How do human beings interconnect with the rest of the universe?” Carroll doesn’t believe there is any interconnection. He believes we are here as the effect of naturally occurring physical processes that generate out of chaos. He explains how he thinks this might happen despite being contrary to the “entropy” laws of thermodynamics.I gleaned small specific info from the book that I did not already know (having been widely read on physics and quantum mechanics going back to the 70’s). However, I did have fun Carroll’s interpretation of quantum entanglement. He points out that every particle in the universe is so entangled with every other particle, that the “waveform” has already collapsed. My take on that is that every particle does indeed exist at a specific point in space, with a specific velocity, that is independent of how we observe it. Every particle in the universe has already been “observed” by every other particle, so the q.m. idea that particles do not exist in any specific zone until observed seems dubious. So does the “multiverse” theory that Mr. Carroll promotes. But, that’s just my opinion, not his.I also enjoyed the tangential discussion of "The Voinych Book" which I had not previously heard of. Carroll mentions the curious book, dating from the 1400's, in his discussion of info theory. Is the book written in a code that includes info that has not yet been decyphered? Or is it just a hoax, written with meaningless scribbles? Thousands of cytologists have examined it over the centuries, and we still don't know. There are a lot of tangential stories like this that are interesting in their own right, and perhaps will prompt readers to do their own research into these fascinating sidebars of history and e only scientific negative I perceived is Carroll's discussion of the human brain. He seems to be speaking "out of school" on that subject, because he is not a neurologist. His belief that the brain's neurons are functionally equivalent to electronic devices is simplistic. A lot of laypeople have a greater knowledge of the mind and brain.Overall, a broadly-based philosophy of science, but not very deep in any field. Of course, that’s by design. Carroll does not seek to bog his readers down delving too deeply into any specific discipline. I enjoyed reading it, but did much skimming. It did educate me to more fully consider the consequences of quantum entanglement. Because it covers so a lot of subjects, it is very likely educate most every reader about one or more specific niches in the sciences that you are seeking to better understand.
Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist and a professor at Arizona State University. He is also a popular-science writer and in The Fifth Miracle, he writes about the origin of life. The book is accessible, but it left me with more questions than answers. Francis Crick won a Nobel for his work on DNA and for discovering the genetic code. Crick once claimed that the origin of life was “one of the amazing unsolved mysteries of science.” Every so often I read an article claiming that this puzzle has been solved but this book confirms that there is still much we do not know. Davies speculates on how life was made but lacks evidence for the options he discusses.We know that once life has been established, Darwinian evolution can take over. Unfortunately, before Darwinian evolution can start, a certain minimum level of complexity is required. But how was this achieved? Darwin did not explain how the first living thing came to exist. A letter to a mate indicated that Darwin believed that life was made on Earth in some sort of primordial soup or "warm small pond." This is the official ver that still appears in school textbooks, but it appears to be ler and Urey tried to make a primordial soup in a lab in 1952. They showed that amino acids could be easily produced by sending electric sparks through a mixture of methane, hydrogen, and ammonia, which was supposed to be like the atmosphere of the early earth. At the time this was thought to be an necessary advance in understanding how life began, but it appears to have been a dead end. The soup did not evolve into a cell, microbe, or anything resembling life. Just creating the primary building blocks of life does not explain how life was created. Being able to create a brick does not explain how the Empire State Building was built. However, I recently watched a PBS documentary where the makers seemed to imply that Miller had made life in a try tube. Davies is skeptical that purely biochemical forces could spark the leap from nonlife to life. Davies suggests that “something funny” must have also occurred. We seem to be missing a step in the process. However, Davies is careful not to invoke God, so it remains a mystery what that missing something e complexity of the living cell is immense, it has been compared to a factory in the degree of its elaborate activity. Each molecule has a specified function and a designated put in the overall scheme so that the correct objects are manufactured. Molecules are dumb and cannot think, so what is guiding them? Scientists have not been able to make a cell from scratch in a laboratory. The genetic code, with a few recently discovered minor variations, is common to all known forms of life on Earth. This suggests it was used by the common ancestor of all life and is robust enough to have survived through billions of years of evolution. The code is also incredibly complex, the human genome includes about 6 billion letters and 700 megabytes of data. Bill Gates has described DNA as the most complex computer program ever ick suggested that life may be too complex to have been made in such a random way. Crick said that life was so unlikely, it was almost a miracle. If DNA is like a computer program, then programs usually have a programmer to provide the instructions. It is hard to believe that DNA was a lucky accident. The human genome has 6 billion characters, while the complete works of Shakespeare have about 900,000 words. There is an urban legend that if you have enough time and enough monkeys they would eventually reproduce the complete works of Shakespeare. Mathematicians have concluded that this is impossible. However, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins employed the typing monkey idea in his book 'The Blind Watchmaker' to claim that natural selection can produce biological complexity out of random mutations. There seems to be something wrong with Dawkins’s math.Davies points out that when he was a student in the 1960s the common belief was that we were all alone in the universe and life on Earth was a bizarre fluke. In the 1970s, Crick hypothesized that life may have originated elsewhere in the universe and arrived on Earth from space, this is called panspermia. The science fiction writers on Star Trek, as well as Ridley Scott in his movie Prometheus, have used this as a plot device. The issue is that we have not discovered life elsewhere in the universe and there is no evidence of smart life anywhere other than on Earth. Davies is hopeful that smart life exists elsewhere, and therefore believes panspermia is a plausible theory.Davies believes that the discovery of rock-eating, volcanic microbes’ living deep within the earth’s geothermal vents, their temperatures rising well over boiling point, points to life existing in inhospitable environments. He believes that life probably started in a related environment somehow. Replicating this environment in the lab did seem to produce some of the chemicals important for life, but it did not produce microbes. Davies believes that meteorites found in Antarctica suggest that life could have traveled to Earth via Martian asteroids. Three and a half billion years ago, Mars resembled earth. It was warm and wet and could have supported primitive organisms. If life on Earth started on Mars, what made life on Mars? If the Martian genetic code is the same as that on Earth could that mean that there is a universal genetic code? if so, who or what made it? The laws of physics are assumed to be the same throughout the universe if so, does all life in the universe use the same genetic code? Again, we do not know.Davies ponders whether life inevitably evolves to eventually become smart life. Do microbes eventually evolve into something that achieves consciousness? Davies argues that we have two conflicting views "the nihilistic philosophy of the pointless universe" as per Richard Dawkins, while on the other hand, we have "an alternative view, … a universe in which the emergence of thinking beings is a fundamental and integral part of the overall scheme of things. A universe in which we are not alone." In other words, our scientists do not know how or why smart life evolves. Why did we suddenly become very intelligent about 40,000 years ago? Why do humans have a language gene and monkeys do not?At the end of the day, we still do not seem to know much more than Darwin about the origin of life. We still seem to be stumbling around in the dark. The media tends to over-hype how far we have come. Today's origin of life scientists need funding for research and have come to resemble used vehicle salesmen, they sound more authoritative than they are entitled to be. I recently listened to a talk where a scientist was confident he could make life in a laboratory if he was given enough money. The more we learn about the complexity of cells and DNA the more limited our knowledge seems. For obvious reasons, our scientists seem reluctant to admit that humans may not be sufficiently evolved or even intelligent enough to work out the origin of e Fifth Miracle was written in 1999. Davies published 'The Demon in the Machine' in 2019, this brings his thinking on the topic up to date. It might be a better starting point.
According to the book of Genesis, God's fifth act of creation was to make life on earth. Modern science has a various myth. In the beginning, there was a easy soup of inorganic chemicals: water, ammonia and methane. And into this soup came a bolt of lightning that brought into being the amino acids that gradually assembled themselves into peptides and proteins, and the nucleotides from which came RNA and DNA. And the DNA learned the art of becoming self-replicating and so began the ascent of this well-reasoned book, the distinguished physicist Paul Davies suggests that believing the scientific myth demands an act of faith and credulity as amazing as believing in the literal truth of the Biblical story. He is one of a lot of scientists who have calculated the seemingly impossible odds of all this event by chance. This is not some back door into smart design, but instead an exploration of some profoundly necessary ideas in biology that create us realize that there are some gaping holes in our current ul Davies starts with some questions: is life a random chemical accident, a meaningless fluke in an accidental universe? Or is the universe somehow "friendly" to biology? Are the laws of nature such that they demand the eventual appearance of life, not just on earth, but also throughout the universe? The book does not come up with a definitive answer, but it explores some very interesting ideas, including the well-known concepts of the late Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe that life may have arrived from space. It is a puzzle how life seems to have appeared so soon after the earth became a stable globe, and the remarkable adaptability of living organisms to the most astonishingly inhospitable organic processes tend to run down and become disorganized over time: they present entropy. By contrast living processes become progressively more organized, a process that requires heavy amounts of information. It is not difficult to calculate that the amount of info needed for even the simplest organism far out strips the biochemical processes of an organism. Thus the implication that life requires a fresh fundamental law of nature that is yet to be ul Davies does not shy away from discussing the consequences of these ideas or an undiscovered law or laws that would create the appearance of life inevitable. And would also imply a progressive march toward greater and greater complexity, that would eventually lead to is book does not provide any final answers, but is an perfect introduction to an exceedingly necessary topic.
A good, engrossing read. A thorough examination of the the alternative ideas & their histories explaining the origin of life prevalant at the date of the book's publication. My one complaint is that the book was published in 1999. Since than the field has advanced so I would like to see the authors revisit & modernize this text.
I loved "Video Night in Kathmandu". It was one of the best books I have ever read. Iyer's vivid anecdotes in that book let a reader to know more about the locations he visits. Reading that book gave me a true sense of life in a lot of parts of e anecdotes in "The Global Soul", in contrast, only tell me more about Iyer himself. Too much introspection, too small description. Method too much repetition. "The Global Soul" is an interesting magazine article (which I think I read somewhere) stretched into a very thin book.
This one will haunt me, leave me mulling over Le Guin's ideas for quite a while. If you are looking for a fast-paced, action-filled sci-fi story, this is not for you, but if you wish something that will obtain under your skin and leave you questioning just what is true and what isn't, pick it up. The experience of reading The Lathe of Heaven, with its dreamlike imagery and action, left me imagining myself the dreamer, recreating the globe and trying to reground myself in each fresh reality as it presented itself. In other words--this is a hard-to-describe one.
If you have ever shared your heart and soul with animals that you truly loved, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. I cried. I read it out loud to my dog and six cats during our read aloud time before bed. The illustrations are unbelievable, they will touch you deep within your heart. Give. It to mates who need it. There is a line in the book that reads "and when Angels whisper in animal ears, it is your voice that each animal hears." That line touched me so profoundly and everyone I have given a copy of this book has mentioned that specific line to me. It can be such a amazing source of comfort. Buy one for yourself and several to give to mates who deserve it. You will know who they are. God knows who we are.