I read all the time, or nearly. I always have, I guess, since I was very young ... and now, getting older, more audio than any other medium.
Robert Sawyer, the avowed and usually stridently atheistic author, reverses his previous position and writes a book proving that a theory of "intelligent creation" is not incompatible with a belief in evolution and science ... a position I have always held. I know that today's political climate demands that you take one side or the other, but I have never felt that the two positions were inherently antithetical. And so, reversing his position 180 degrees, Sawyer puts forth a fine case for intelligent creation.
I would have given it five stars, but the end of the book seemed a bit out of left field to me ... and didn't feel like it "fit" with the rest of the story. But I'm picky and maybe it won't bother you.
Regardless, I really enjoyed this a lot. It's much more of a personal essay as science fiction than any of his other books, but I loved his reasoning, his characters -- human and alien. Make sure to listen to the author's introduction.
No matter which side of the God-Versus-Science you are on, this is a thought-provoking and well-written book. Agree or disagree, it's definitely worth your time!
Literary graduate and published columnist turned glorified grease monkey.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. I was a bit sceptical at first but was quickly converted to an avid listener. I found myself sneaking away from work to continue the story. Sawyer manages to give both a subjective and objective argument on creationism versus evolution from the point of view of both a human AND an alien. I can understand there might be some ideas that could upset some people, but I loved the idea of an alien scientist bringing us some form of proof that God exists. And I'm an aetheist!!!
Yes very well written, and very well delivered.
A must read for all thinkers.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
Imagine an argument with great links missing from its logical chain. Then imagine simply inventing links of fact to fill the gaps... Links fit into place with welds blended and blurred by strong emotional distractions.
A deus ex machina is a literary or sophist trick... an ancient device that Wikipedia defines as a seemingly unsolvable problem which is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object.
Robert J. Sawyer does that here in Calculating God... quite enchantingly. He "proves" the case for diesim by... well I use the word enchantingly in a couple of its meanings. It is much like a fascinating fairy tale that absorbs and charms you. And it is also a magical yarn that fits as well into the realm of fantasy as sci-fi. Indeed, it's an ingenious blend which proves nothing yet, seems to. Uh-huh, here the "calculations" and the "proof" are just like a guy suddenly and abruptly whipping a rabbit from a hat.
He does it so well, you forget that he's contrived to bring both a certain kind of hat, baggy-sleeved jacket, and well... his own unexpected rabbit.
Sawyer's good. And while you're enjoying this "calculatiion" ignore the man behind the curtain. There's nothing to see there... Just move along past :-)
Oh, and Jonathan Davis, or whoever... reads the book ... um... enchantingly.
Easily in my top 10 favorite books, possibly top 5 so far.
It's really hard to say because it's so original and thought provoking.
Hollus was my favorite
The conversation's between the alien and atheist about religion.
My favorite quote from the book was, "Honor does not have to be defended."
I do listen to it about once a year. Very engaging characters and it comes at an issues in such an unexpected way and treats most involved respectfully.
SPOILER alert When the protagonist realizes Hollis is female.
There are some books that take me a bit by surprise. Their beginning is not what I expected, and that is true for both of the books I have read so far by Robert J. Sawyer including this one. And I have liked the endings as well. A good sign!
The beginning of this book sounds like the beginning of a joke: An alien walks into a museum in Canada...
And yes, the book has its funny moments, but that's not the central theme. Instead, we get a different kind of perspective through the eyes of a human being, whose life changes when he's face to face with a visitor from another world – with a surprise or two. Fully enjoyable and very interesting.
Some SPOILERS below.
I read some reviews of this book before I read it myself and half expected it to be Intelligent Design propaganda or at least leading the reader to believe in a god. And yes, god and design are parts of the story, but not in a way that makes in unbearable. Rather, they made sense. The only thing that bothered me was the main characters refusal to see what was obvious, as if the author wanted to show us that atheists will not accept a proof of god, no matter how scientific it is.
Does there exist a god? Did he/she/it create the (current) universe? The book implies it, but it's not a god of the Bible or the Quran. So don't mistake this book as an advertisement for any particular faith.
I am not religious nor am I an atheist. But the book gave me much to think of within the constrains of it’s Universe.
A critical thinker gets all the “facts” he demand to question whether or not there is a God in Calculating God. I really appriciated the journey and the thought experiments.
It's a good read and provokes thought in a direction I don't normally go
I enjoyed the variety of characters and dialects
Sure. It's a good topic to explore. But the whole end of the universe may be a challenge.
Aliens have come to Earth, not to destroy us but to...compare notes about God? If you think this is a crazy and untenable basis for a novel then you probably aren't familiar with Robert Sawyer. This book is a fascinating, action-packed, though-provoking romp that is simply too good to spoil in a review. Spend the credit and find out for yourself!
So a spider-like alien arrives at the door of a museum in Ontario and asks to see a paleontologist.....What a way to open a novel. This was a totally enjoyable listen. The author was able to create empathy for the aliens. I totally loved the personality of Hollus - who wouldn't? Despite the spider-like looks, what a likable being! And the other alien species, the Reeds (?), whose language sounds like tumbling rocks. Very clever. Enjoyed the premise and the story - which of course requires a "willing suspension of disbelief"- but if you're willing, it's wonderful.