On the one hand, we have traditional science, based on the premises of materialism, reductionism, and randomness, with a belief that reality consists solely of matter and energy, that everything can be measured in the laboratory or observed by a telescope. If it can't, it doesn't exist. On the other hand, we have traditional religious dogma concerning God that fails to take into account evolution, a 4.6-billion-year-old Earth, and the conflicting claims of the world's religions. In The God Theory, Bernard Haisch discards both these worldviews and proposes a theory that provides purpose for our lives while at the same time being completely consistent with everything we have discovered about the universe and life on Earth. To wit, Newton was right - there is a God - and wrong - this is not merely a material world. Haisch proposes that science will explain God and God will explain science.
©2006 Bernard Haisch (P)2011 Tantor
"Readable and engaging, Haisch will be embraced by those concerned with finding ways of reconciling science and religion." (Booklist)
We cannot know who was the first human being to ask the ultimate questions: What is our place in the universe and why do we exist? Currently there are two seemingly irreconcilable ontologies that claim to provide answer these questions. A panoply of religions claim to provide metaphysical meaning to life. Traditional spiritual beliefs have been faith-based and essentially untestable, despite heroic efforts over the centuries to provide "proofs" for the existence of God. On the other hand, since the Age of Enlightenment, science has increasingly sought to explain everything through the workings of only physical processes. Only a few scientists are willing to express, as Stephen Weinberg, the ultimate consequences of denying any nonphysical aspects of being, "The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless." A surprising number of scientists do continue to find ways, however, to be both scientists and believers and have put their viewpoints in writing. It might be easy to think that it's not possible to add anything new to a debate that has existed for centuries. Nevertheless, Bernard Haisch has proposed a fascinating and intriguing way to justify the existence of an intelligence behind the workings of the cosmos that he chose to call God. His arguments are presented through in the form of explorations of quantum mechanics and string theory in a way that they can be understood by a layperson. Although the "God" that is proposed is similar to the Judeo-Christian deity with which many of us are familiar, he is certainly not the bearded Jehovah painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, nor the one incarnated in the form of the Christian Jesus. I generally favor audiobooks in the range of 8 to 12 hours in length. I had downloaded this book because I found myself unexpectedly two weeks into the month and wanted something shorter than my usual selection. As it turned out, I found this book so interesting that I finished it in less than a week.
What a great listen! Haisch has written one of those rare books that despite which side of the debate you fall on, in listening to his thoughts you still learn and think. I’m going to have to buy the actual book so I can make margin notes as I read – something best not done while driving in the car.
Don’t read this book looking for an affirmation of intelligent design. You won’t find it. Neither will you like it if you are married to reductionism. However, Haisch does a masterful job of exposing close-minded reductionists for their blind faith in what they cannot see, measure, or in any way prove – their very criticisms of the close-minded Christians they so despise.
Come to this book with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed.
As a lifelong inquirer into religion, faith, and the existence/nature of God, this book appealed to me. What I found inside was an orderly exploration of The Question to which Douglas Adams insists the answer is 42. Haisch uses inquiries into the nature of light to reveal his theory on the nature of the divine. I learned a lot about theoretical physics fr listening, and the science seemed quite compelling. In particular I enjoyed his theory's application to the old Genesis saw, "Let there be light". Turns out that in our particular universe, light is required not only for things to be seen, but to even exist! Which totally blew my mind. I didn't agree with his views on biology and evolution, but he did put a disclaimer here that he is no expert in that area. In sum total, this book was enlightening but by no means a complete answer to The Question. Perhaps it was enough that it did offer a piece of the puzzle.
I enjoyed the discussion on how physics supports a God. Especially his discussion on zero point energy. That is why I got the book. His general discussion on spirituality was not what I was looking for. It got a little slow through those parts. The narrator just did not do it for me. Brought the book down a notch as far as enjoyability. Overall though, would recommend if you like to hear very bright scientists discuss God.
the worst possible audiobook, i manage to find yet one more that goes just that much further. the author explains how his insecurities over the quantum theory uncertainties drove him to find solace in the uncertainties of a divinity he can neither see, hear or experience directly, but must exist if only to provide him an alternative to the quantum and string theories who's mathematics escape him. If only they hadn't found a narrator who's voice is reminiscent of Marshall Applewhite and thus made me long for Comet Hale-Bopp.
Any theology that suggests that somehow God need us is just plan wrong. People need to get over themselves. The science is interesting but the authors view of the god-human relationship is just plan wrong. Spirituality should lead a person to appreciate this life and accept that its' end is a normal and natural part of the program.
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