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Purpose-Guided Universe: Believing in Einstein, Darwin, and God Hardcover – 20 May 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Career Press (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601631227
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601631220
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 16.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,054,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. LLOYD on 24 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
"The Purpose-Guided Universe" is a beautifully presented tome that is relatively concise at just over 200 pages of text. Although I have not had the pleasure of reading Bernard Haisch's book "The God Theory", this new book appears to be something of a sequel to that best-seller. I can see why his books are popular - he writes very well, and adroitly covers some mind-blowing concepts in modern science, with apparent ease. His style is authoritative, but not arrogant. In essence, he comes across as being the perfect science teacher - an accolade for which he is suitably qualified.

The book's scientific slant is balanced by a terrific spirituality, too. This is profoundly important, I think, because the notion behind the book is that the universe has intelligent purpose behind it. That, of course, is not in itself a spectacularly controversial statement. But coming from a scientist it might court some eyebrow-raising, particularly among the vociferous atheists of science whose books sell in the millions, like Richard Dawkins. Bernard Haisch offers a gentler vision of the universe where an impersonal God lies behind Creation, setting up the rules by which the universe is run. The fine-tuning of these rules appears to provide a perfect environment for complexity and life to flourish, and Haisch argues that this is no mere coincidence. The Universe could easily be a very different, and deader place. Much too easily, Haisch argues. The laws underpinning the fabric of the Universe are fine-tuned to create complexity to a degree that is phenomenally statistically improbable.

This is a conundrum for scientists, and leads to a number of solutions. Either there are many, many (many!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 36 reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
The Purpose-Guided Universe 20 May 2010
By Swami Abhayananda - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Bernard Haisch has written a beautiful book in the tradition of other respected scientists, such as Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder and Dr. Hugh Ross, who have written of the scientific evidence for the Divine as source of and immanent presence in our world. And, while the Judaic and Christian biases are evident in the works of Schroeder and Ross, Dr. Haisch approaches his subject, not from a bias toward a singular scripture-based religious tradition, but from the mystic's perspective, citing the perennial philosophy that embraces a universal experience-based perspective on spiritual knowledge. His focus is on the inescapable conclusions of current empirical science, and the recognition of the many `finely-tuned' physical constants that allow for a universe where life is capable of evolving. Science does not seek metaphysical implications, but when all empirical evidence points to a metaphysical conclusion, there is a moral imperative to acknowledge that fact. Dr. Haisch writes knowledgeably and eloquently of the pertinent science, explaining some of the most complex issues of contemporary physics in a refreshingly comprehensible and original manner, and leads the reader to the inexorable conclusion that `in Him we live and move and have our being'. If you need convincing, or just wish to see the evidence from the vantagepoint of an able and thoughtful scientist, you will greatly enjoy and profit from a reading of The Purpose-Guided Universe.
--Swami Abhayananda
109 of 124 people found the following review helpful
a huge disappointment 3 Sept. 2010
By billglas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I had been looking forward to this book with great anticipation ever since I read (and reread twice) Bernard Haisch's The God Theory, for which I wrote a very positive review for Amazon. I am sorry that I can not do the same with Purpose Guided Universe.
I wholeheartedly embrace most aspects of the Dr. Haisch's God Theory having to do with:
- the Goldilocks universe vs multiverses
- the intellectual dishonesty of the "new atheists" in their thinking that their debunking of traditional versions of God effectively debunks the possibility of any "reasonable" conception of the Divine
- the absurdity of writing off the possibility of a Divine Reality/Godhead reality in light of the discovery of dark matter/energy making up the greater part of the matter/energy of the Universe and the
admission that there is no scientific basis for defining it
- the dead-end of string theory
- the likely truth of the Perennial Philosophy as a result of the scientific method applied to mystical experience = subjects placed under the same conditions have universally the same results
(culturally skewed, of course) in their experience of the Divine.
My main problem with The Purpose-Guided Universe is the arrogant and dogmatic assurance with which Bernard Haisch proclaims the ABSOLUTE TRUTH of his interpretation of quantum mechanics and for which he quotes selectively chosen expert confirmation, as if the matter is closed. The categorical, absolute nature and tone of his statements regarding human consciousness creating reality are scarily similar to that of the proclamations of fundamentalist Christians on one hand or new atheists on another.
I recently read The Quark and the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Mann. His discussion of interference, consistent histories, and decoherence casts very reasonable doubt on the traditionally accepted MEANING of Schroedinger's Cat and the experiments that Dr. Haisch cites as PROOF that consciousness creates reality. And sorry, Dr. Gell-Mann cannot be cavalierly written off as a just another materialist reductionist. Murray Gell-Mann, the Nobel prize winning developer of the concept of quarks has continued to elaborate this alternative understanding with James Hartle (co-discoverer of the Brill-Hartle geon and co-developer of the Hartle-Hawking wavefunction of the Universe), both now of the Santa Fe Institute, hardly a hotbed of material reductionist convention.
Just as Christian fundamentalists would have us believe that THEIR interpretation of the Gospels is the ONLY valid interpretation and that the conclusions they draw are the ONLY valid ones, so Dr. Haisch would have us believe that his interpretation of quantum mechanics is the ONLY possibly valid interpretation and the conclusion that human consciousness creates reality is the ONLY valid conclusion.
The question is by no means closed.
Why must the question of the nature of reality be framed as another black and white, either/or zero sum game: namely, either the Universe is entirely classically Newtonian or entirely Copenhagen quantum. It is reminiscent of Dawkins et al who argue that since the God of the Old Testament is obviously wrong, there is no GOD at all. Just as there are reasonable conceptions of God that the new atheists ignore, so there are other reasonable interpretations of quantum theory that Dr. Haisch ignores.
Dr. Haisch is certainly right in rejecting material reductionism and its assumption that things, systems, etc are nothing more that the sum of their parts, especially in light of newer understandings of chaos and complexity, particularly complex adaptive systems. Perversely, his argument ends up being a mirror of materialist reductionism, only it is morphed into quantum particle reductionism = if particles exhibit quantum effects and therefore lack classical reality, all of reality MUST share the same attributes! Why? Because reality consists of particles? It's the same reductionist type argument, only this time in the service of his insistence that quantum theory supports his "human consciousness creates reality" position.
I had hoped for more from Bernard Haisch.
68 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Holistic and concomitantly - gestalt. 17 May 2010
By Matthew J. Schimpf - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After finishing this book, the titular lyric as sung by Louie Armstrong: "And I think to myself, what a wonderful world" went coursing through my mind. Bernard Haisch, whom is a well respected and published astrophysicist; copiously quotes from sources as wide and varied as The Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, The Bible, Einstein, Schrodinger, James Jeans, Aldous Huxley, Freeman Dyson and the list goes on; with the premise that all these sources are explaining or at least expounding upon the same thing, that is: Consciousness creates matter, not -repeat, not - the other way around. Citing Bell's theorem and Legget's inequality (or is that Bell's inequality and Legget's theorem??) it is now an empirical fact that consciousness directly impacts, even creates, matter! This insightful, illuminating work purports that God, Einstein and Darwin are not mutually exclusive, but naturally interdependent. This book is not dogmatic but accommodating, not religious but spiritual, not scientistic (i.e. reductionist) but scientific - that is looking at the evidence that is starring one right in the face.

Dogmatists, reductionists and fundamentalists will not like this book because it has the power to turn their world on its head. Dr. Haisch argues that we are all part of an indivisible, interrelated, interdependent whole that was/is born of consciousness. It logically follows then that our individual and collective borders are arbitrary at best and illusory (and delusive) at worst. Thus we have good reason to stop blaming, maiming and killing each other; we have good reason to stop making others wrong; we have good reason to "let it be" and "give peace a chance." Sadly, too many people cringe at those thoughts. As Dr. Haisch illustrates in this piece, science has a wonderful knack for exposing the "how's" of the universe but the "why's" are just as untenable and elusive as ever. And although science may never be able to prove the existence of God, or The Source, it certainly can point the way.

Very well written, using data and differential diagnoses as well as humor and humility and some exceptionally uncommon sense; this work in my humble opinion is a grand slam 5 star home run, complete with a dog & a beer.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant read for anyone and everyone 17 Jun. 2010
By Lisa A. Jones - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Purpose Guided Universe is a must read novel, period. Not just for scientists, not just for agnostics, not just for athiests, or theists, but for anyone who exists in this world and has the capacity to pick up a book and read script. Bernard Haisch manages to support the existence of some "Spinozan" God with principles of quantum theory, and does so with amazing simplicity and clarity. During the 20th century, Newtonian physics seemed to paint a rather dim picture of a hard-deterministic world where our thoughts, emotions, dreams, and triumphs are nothing more than the firing of neurons in response to preceding stimuli. This was a world where Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" was written note for note when the Big Bang created our universe. Fortunatley, with the discovery of observational deviation in quantum physics, science suddenly seemed to support a world where consciousness CREATED reality, a world where things were a little more grey and had a potenial meaning. To Haisch, this fact is everything. He conceives of a world where mankind is a fruition of God's flame meant to experience and discover his potential. This book is an exploration of just that idea.

This book is also studded with riveting quotes and awe-inspiring factoids, which not only corroborate Haisch's hypothesis, but also demonstrate how connected all of the world's religions are. This connection, epitomized by the Perrenial Philosphy, is also at the core of The Purpose Guided Universe. Within the 208 pages, the author also responds to such works as "God is not Great" and "The God Delusion," lingering on the idea that human misuse of religion is far different from the existence (or lack thereof) of a God. I simply recommend this book to anyone. Even if you can't garner the slightest wisdom from its word on God and religion, at least you can benefit from the simple explanations of quantum physics, the Big Bang, anti-matter, dark energy, and spacetime curvature. Haisch writes this book so that an 8th grader can understand concepts that might otherwise seem unaccesible to the masses. Likewise, he touches on the concept of science itself; the academic discpline, the defualt method of finding truth, the "enemy" of religion. He strikes a key point that science has recieved to much credibily over the ages and is often obstinate and haughty in the face of anything that can't be proven by "scientific" means.

Read this book. You wont find anything more stimulating and credibly life-affirming of the bookshelf.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I enjoyed this book... 12 May 2011
By biletik - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All in all, I enjoyed this book, - mostly thanks to the author's optimistic worldview :)

A disclaimer: I am a physicist, but nothing related to quantum mechanics. I am not following the literature on quantum mechanics, string theory etc so I can only rely on whatever books like this tell me. I also cannot say anything for Haisch's logic: there may well be logical loopholes that I haven't noticed, not being sufficiently educated in philosophy.

The bad:
1) There are far too many repetitions! The book is designed so that you could literally pick up a few months later from where you were. Its contents could be condensed 10 times and still be readable. Not a big deal, though, since it's so easy to read anyway.
2) Haisch presents his own (subjective!) worldview. This worldview mostly relies on modern science (while keeping an open mind and reverence to mystical traditions), which is great from my perspective. I am happy to hear his personal interpretation, but I am somewhat unpleasantly surprised that he also sometimes resorts to arguments clearly based on wishful thinking.

The good:
If the author is right in his interpretation that consciousness creates reality (matter) on the quantum level, than this would have profound implications to my worldview, and I am grateful to this book for making me aware of this possibility. I had never realized that scientific experiments had been performed (or even could be designed) to test this hypothesis. I am also a believer, brought up a Christian, and I wholeheartedly embrace the mystical traditions of Orthodox Christianity, even though I can no longer associate myself with much of the other central Christian beliefs. This is my first encounter with the concept of "Perennial Philosophy", which seems to more or less summarize my beliefs about this world and our place in it. In fact, this is the first time in years when I was able to fully associate myself with anybody's understanding of God and the universe. (Well, maybe not fully, but close enough!) So I am glad I read this: it opened up a few roads of thinking for me that I never knew existed.
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