Cosmosapiens is a big-picture look at how human life emerged and evolved in the universe, incorporating the ideas of world-renowned experts from a wide range of intellectual disciplines.
Who are we, and how did we get here? These are two of the most fundamental and far-reaching questions facing scientists and cosmologists alike and have rested at the center of human intellectual endeavor since its beginning. They are questions that stretch across numerous disciplines. Philosophy, theology, evolutionary biology, and mathematics are just some of the fields looking to explain the emergence of human life. But with so many groups seeking answers using so many different methods, it can be nearly impossible to tell what sort of progress has been made without stepping back and looking at the whole interdisciplinary picture.
In Cosmosapiens, John Hands presents listeners with exactly such a synthesis, 10 years in the making and incorporating the ideas of world-renowned experts from wide array of fields. The book sifts the speculative from the firmly established, examining claims of all sorts, challenging the orthodox consensus in those branches of cosmology, biology, and neuroscience that have ossified into dogma. His striking analysis reveals underlying patterns of cooperation, complexification, and convergence that begin to tell the story of human emergence and consciousness. In the end, it will transform our understanding of what we are and how we evolved from the origin of the universe.
©2015 John Hands (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
John Hands has much to cover - too much - and he does not handle it well. I got some new knowledge from this book but to get there I had to be vitally interested in the topic and disciplined enough to plow through many hours of Hands reviewing the current state of scientific understanding of central issues in cosmology, evolution, and related science fields. Hands takes pains to undermine current orthodoxy on matters such as the Big Bang theory, string theory, and neo-Darwinism, and is perhaps a little too smug about this.
The amount of verbiage discussing current theories makes me worry that as our scientific understanding learns and evolves, the book will become dated.
In short there is useful stuff in here even for the scientifically literate but it might be written at too high a level for the lay person and too exhaustive to reward 31 hours of listening for someone with a science background.
This is perhaps the most complete survey of the current state of knowledge in the fields of cosmology, biochemistry, biology, and physics that is available for a lay reader. In addition to his careful attention to detail, Hands provides a uniquely critical and unbiased analysis of the mainstream orthodoxy of these fields, as they relate to human evolution. He is especially critical of mainstream cosmology and neo-Darwinian theories, but his critiques are so nuanced and evidence-based it is hard to disagree with his conclusions. In all, Cosmosapiens provides a careful analysis of how we got here, what we know, what we don't know, and what we may never know can hardly be imagined.
l'enfer c'est les autres
The author really needs to chill out, watch a Neil deGrasse Tyson video on the universe and put the wonder back in science instead of trying to tear it apart. Dark Matter, Dark Energy are not currently observable and we just have educated guesses to what they are. As Tyson says, we can just as easily call them Fred & Barney until we know more about them. They are just place holders for now. That's the way science works. The author just tries to tear apart the science. The teams that discovered the universe was expanding and hypothesized Dark Energy deserved the Nobel Prize, but this book just doesn't like Dark Energy, Dark Matter and a host of other standard science.
Science never proves anything. Our knowledge is what we consider to be 'justified true belief". Sometimes we have to use mathematics and theory to account for manifestations. That doesn't mean we are necessarily wrong, but we use every tool at our disposal to explain nature by using nature. The author seems to want to go beyond nature. He quoted Einstein twice in the book to the effect that Einstein believed in a "transcendental intelligence". The author sees that as a good thing, and he doesn't think the mathematics alone can explain the phenomena.
The author really doesn't like standard (he uses the obnoxious term 'orthodox') science. It's a pity. For within our current best understanding of science there are many awe inspiring stories to be told. Look at LIGO and its discovery of gravitational waves (ripples) through out the fabric of space-time. They measured the contraction and the expansion of space itself. They used Einstein's General Theory, known physics and mathematics about black holes, quantum theory and a whole host of other theories and used mathematical computer simulations to determine what happens when two black holes walk into a bar.... A story like that is so much more interesting then the constant picking apart of the standard science which the author constantly does in the book, and the author loses the forest for the trees because he doesn't realize that even without science being perfect we can still use what we think we know and tell incredibly interesting stories and use that to see space-time itself contract and expand.
Science will always be underdetermined, for any set of facts about nature there will always be multiple theories to explain that data. But the author doesn't seem to understand this and sees that as an opportunity to show that science is faulty.
The author would summarize our current understanding of our science about a big topic, then criticize it, and then present alternate ways of looking at it, and then present some of his usually far out conclusions.
I would say that there was almost nothing new in this book that I hadn't read elsewhere. All of the statements on matters about science or philosophy I had read elsewhere.
The author has a pernicious teleological bent to his presentation. He really seems to like Fred Hoyle. He'll quote the absurd statement that life forming randomly is on the order of a tornado sweeping through a junk yard and making a 747. The author's favored model for the universe seemed to be Hoyle's QSSC (probably stands for quasi steady state crap, I'm too lazy to look it up and I know the 'C" does stand for crap). He really thinks fine tuning of the universe is the best explanation for the explanation of some of nature's constants. He could be right, but there is a reason why we don't measure the heights of basketball players in light years. They would be the same to the 17th decimal place just as some of the 'fine tuned' constants are. He at least owes the reader the other side. The author is not a creationist but he does quote from the absurd creationist Michael Behe favorably, and I would think a host of creationist believers would love this book since he offers a plethora of criticisms on the standard explanations of science.
He believes 'psychic energy' can explain certain natural phenomena, that entropy (the second law of thermodynamics) needs a fifth force to explain how it is constantly increasing, that insight should be put back into philosophy instead of only being reason based, the start of life is a near impossible event and so on.
I have nothing good to say about this book and can't recommend it. I don't know why I finished it. It reminded me of the movie "Plan 9 from Outer Space", I just wanted to see what other disasters awaited. I regret starting this book, and definitely would not recommend it to anyone.
Though a valuable perspective and counter to what may be acceptance of false precepts by established and respected scientists, the esoteric nature of the subject and the writing style come together such that a layman is left constantly wondering what the author is leaving out.
This book it’s certainly a major accomplishment worth every penny. I think “Cosmosapiens” should be voted as the best science book of the year.
The book is eloquently and unbiasedly written with a tinge of sarcasm and humour. The author, John Hands, addresses historical concepts and current scientific orthodoxies in a clear and understandable way. This is a book that deserves to be read by anyone interested in science in general and the state of our knowledge today. I entirely agree that we need to approach science with an open mind, but J.H goes knowledgeably further. He dares to ask unapologetically scientific questions that need to be asked
Although the author John Hands feels that science is the right tool for allowing humans to understand ourselves, he is happy to highlight controversies in sciences' leading edge beliefs. He explicitly highlights the many aspects of science’s limitations. John hands' musings in logic and scientific facts, to produce a thoughtfully treaty for the eternally curious mind with emphasis on approaching science with an open mind, is not relegated by conformist trends. Science should base on tangible and proven evidence not on conjectural and speculative mathematical calculation to suit a theory. eg I like string theories but with all it's parallel universes, looped graviton, complex mathematics I feel it has become more of a conjecture than a reality
About time that a book such as this was published.
Not many this book is on its own...
the cosmology and physic bit..
A must read book
encyclopedic and anarchist in its impulse and delivery. it constitutes not only the latest report, but a manifesto of sorts. highly highly recommended
"you need the 'bonus' materials"
The absence of the 'bonus materials' - charts, tables and illustrations, makes the book unnecessarily difficult to follow - the continuing references to them is annoying cheap and insulting - don't waster your money
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