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The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning (Penguin Press Science) Paperback – 25 Feb 1993


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (25 Feb. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140158154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140158151
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

`Makes us re-examine the great questions of existence' -- The New York Times The New York Times

`The greatest achievement of the book is to provide an insight into the
nature of science itself and the uncertainties that lie in the physical
realm' -- John Gribbin, Sunday Times

`For those brought up on a diet of Adam and Eve, The Mind of God
will make surprising reading'
-- Independent

About the Author

Paul Davies is an internationally acclaimed physicist, writer and broadcaster, now based in South Australia. He is the author of some twenty award-winning books, including About Time and The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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HUMAN BEINGS have all sorts of beliefs. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Paul Davies is perhaps the most prominent of a nouveau species of scientist: the philosopher physicist. Here in The Mind of God he goes all out in an attempt to "trace the logic of scientific rationality back as far as it will go in the search for ultimate answers to the mystery of existence." (p. 223) And yes he runs into "turtle trouble." (You'll recall that the world is a flat plate resting on the back of a giant turtle... And what is the turtle resting on? It's turtles all the way down.)

I think it's fair to say--and this is my belief--that the human mind cannot fully grasp the whole of which it is a part, nor can it see beyond a certain distance, either out into the cosmos or into the very small, instead only to somewhere near the Big Bang, and only tentatively into the future, to the Planck limit perhaps. Clearly the mind of any God worthy of the appellation is far, far beyond our reach. And as for a theory of everything? Well, someday there may be a broken statue in the sand like that of Ozymandias, only this time it won't be that of an emperor drunk with self-importance, but of a humble physicist looking for a TOE.

Davies who is a recipient (1995) of the Templeton Prize which is given to people whom the judges think foster human understanding of divine creativity. Typically they like to give it to a scientist who believes in God, although the Rev. Billy Graham and Charles Colson of Watergate infamy have been recipients. After reading this book, and just from what is in this book, I believe that Davies does believe in God, but in a God that is a bit removed from the personal gods of the major Western religions. (But you might want to Google "Paul Davies" yourself and get a more definitive statement--or not, since what he writes in this book speaks for itself.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 1 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
Paul Davies book, `The Mind of God', is a follow-up to is book, `God and the New Physics.'
Davies explores in more depth and detail the philosophical implications of modern physics and how the theories and ideas of modern physics can help in the understanding (and occasionally, deepen the confusion) of ideas that have been in the traditional purview of philosophy and theology. In this respect, science has a basic question that comes to the root of all systems of thought -- why?
`Scientists themselves normally take it for granted that we live in a rational, ordered cosmos subject to precise laws that can be uncovered by human reasoning. Yet why this should be so remains a tantalising mystery. Why should human beings have the ability to discover and understand the principles on which the universe runs?'
Davies discusses certain conceptual principles that are essential to the discussion. The division between rational and irrational, particularly in light of 'common sense' -- not too long ago science held itself to be rational because it more conformed to 'common sense' than did 'irrational' religion; as science edges toward the irrational (defined in common sense terms) it loses the ability to use that argument against religion.
`It is a fact of life that people hold beliefs, especially in the field of religion, which might be regarded as irrational. That they are held irrationally doesn't mean they are wrong.'
Davies admits his bias toward rationalism, but leaves room open for discussion. He discusses metaphysics in terms of Kant, Hume, and Descartes, drawing into question the very idea of rationality and the terms of existence in which the scientific universe operates.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By J. P. Horlock on 3 July 2003
Format: Paperback
I have to be honest, but I found this book pretty difficult to get through. But some things are worth labouring over.
It wasn't exactly as I thought it would be. I expected more of a discussion about science versus specific religions. However, it certainly made me think and question my beliefs (and my belief in myself, and the things that I thought I already knew).
I must warn you that since reading this book I have become something of a party bore, attempting to discuss philosphical concepts with anybody still coherent at 2 in the morning.
Still, an excellent read and extremely insightful. Highly recommended.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "nnarten" on 12 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
The book raises one of the most debated issues of our times? Will the progress of science and the extension of human knowledge eliminate the mere concept of a being above and beyond nature? Is the structure of our universe the pure result of the hazard? Is God just another name for the unknown?
Pr Davies' sensitive and flexible approach of the subject, backed by his extensive mastering of modern physics, leads to unexpected conclusions. Mandatory - although not easy -reading.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
The Mind of God: Science and the search for ultimate meaning, by Paul Davies, Simon and Schuster, 1992; Penguin, 1993, 304 ff.

Can science contribute to the search for meaning in life?
By Howard A. Jones

The book takes its title from the final paragraph of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. Hawking says that if scientists could unravel a unified field theory, it would inform `the question of why it is that we and the universe exist . . . for then we would know the mind of God.' Davies revisits this issue a decade after his book God and the New Physics, but is no nearer finding a solution. Professor Davies is currently at the Arizona State University.

The opening chapter is as much philosophy as physics dealing as it does with the differences between Reason and Belief. Davies states the existentialist and materialist `leitmotif of science' that consciousness is merely an insignificant happy accident and that `there is no significance in human life beyond what humans themselves invest in it'. He then briefly surveys some of the religious and philosophical views of creation before describing some of the scientific views, including the Hartle-Hawking Theory. The ideas of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes and Leibniz are skilfully woven into a discussion of the Laws of Nature and the difference between Real and Virtual Worlds in constructing scientific models of the universe. There is an interesting discussion about whether mathematics is invented or discovered and the status of the laws of nature: Has the human mind invented mathematics and physical laws or are these eternal Ideas, `objective truths about the universe', as Plato suggested, and more recent mathematicians like Kurt Gödel and Roger Penrose and most physicists like Davies believe.
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