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The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning (Penguin Press Science) [Paperback]

Paul Davies
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Feb 1993 Penguin Press Science

Paul Davies' The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning explores how modern science is beginning to shed light on the mysteries of our existence.

Is the universe - and our place in it - the result of random chance, or is there an ultimate meaning to existence? Where did the laws of nature come from? Were they created by a higher force, or can they be explained in some other way? How, for example, could a mechanism as complex as an eye have evolved without a creator?

Paul Davies argues that the achievement of science and mathematics in unlocking the secrets of nature mean that there must be a deep and significant link between the human mind and the organization of the physical world. In this quest for an ultimate explanation of the universe, he examines the origin of the cosmos, the possibility of other universes and the claim that we inhabit a kind of gigantic computer. The universe is, he concludes, no mere quirk of fate but a meaningful place for thinking beings. Through science, we can truly glimpse the mind of God.

'Makes us re-examine the great questions of existence'
  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

Paul Davies is Director of the BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, and co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative, both at Arizona State University. An internationally-acclaimed physicist, writer and broadcaster, Davies is the author of some twenty award-winning books, including The Eerie Silence: Searching for Ourselves in the Universe, The Goldilocks Enigma: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life? and About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution.


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The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning (Penguin Press Science) + The Goldilocks Enigma: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life? + God and the New Physics (Penguin Science)
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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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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.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mind-blowing exploration 27 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Paul Davies' writing style is a perfect at explaining philosophically complex arguments in a way that almost everyone can understand. Have you ever wondered who created God? What existed before the Big Bang? How man has contrived a system called mathematics, which remarkably describes the universe we live in? Are we really living in the best of all possible worlds? Are there other worlds and other universes that we don't know about? If you have asked yourself any of these questions, this book is for you. A fascinating insight into the interface of science and religion. I would give it 5 stars, but some concepts are so obtuse, even Davies has trouble describing them. Nonetheless, the book is a real mind-opener.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turtle trouble? 29 Jan 2009
By Dennis Littrell TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Can one know the mind of God? 1 Mar 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Does God only mean Unexplained 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this
The whole Paul Davies books are full of crap, very out dated. No point purchasing
Them.
Published 3 months ago by S Hussain
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good delivery and item as expected
Published 3 months ago by Alastair Fensome
5.0 out of 5 stars helpful analogies for the lay person
I used to teach an A' level Religious Studies course on religion and science and found this book immensely helpful; to my understanding. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. D. P. Jay
4.0 out of 5 stars simply superb
A marvellous book that is a page turner.The author keeps things as simple as possible, which is a task in itself.You wont find all the answers but you will be rewarded immensely. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Prof.Del
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read!
Paul Davies systematically examines the big question of existence. It is generally accepted that the entire universe came into existence abruptly in a gigantic explosion. Read more
Published on 15 Oct 2011 by kclam
5.0 out of 5 stars Can science contribute to the search for meaning in life?
The Mind of God: Science and the search for ultimate meaning, by Paul Davies, Simon and Schuster, 1992; Penguin, 1993, 304 ff. Read more
Published on 6 Jan 2010 by Dr. H. A. Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit heavy going
Very interesting, but a bit heavy going for a non-scientist like me, which makes it hard to follow at times. Some fascinating stuff though.
Published on 7 Mar 2009 by Clive Harper
4.0 out of 5 stars Argument by lack of imagination?
This book is the intellectual equivalent of those training scenes from Rocky IV, where Sylvester Stallone prepares to fight the steroid-pumped Russian guy by running up vertical... Read more
Published on 17 April 2007 by Chris
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