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93 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something from nothing
In this book, Lawrence Krauss addresses the problem of how the complex universe we observe arose out of `nothing'. In the Preface he briefly discusses the different meanings ascribed to this word by scientists, philosophers and theologians. Not surprisingly, there is little progress to be made here. Better to leave the philosophers and theologians to their word games and...
Published on 17 Feb 2012 by Brian R. Martin

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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite informative, but nothing new
Many years ago, I read "Dr Zhivago" - TWICE. I had to read it twice once to plough through all the Russian names and relationships, and then again to actually enjoy the story.

This book was a bit like that, on a smaller scale. The narrative style is ok, but definitely a bit 'rougher' than other writers, such as Richard Dawkins, and the 'plot' doesn't always...
Published on 2 May 2012 by David E. Perkins


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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate balance sheet fix, 14 Oct 2012
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M. Woodman "hikeandbikemike" (Exeter, England) - See all my reviews
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Ask why there is something rather than nothing and the answer seems to depend upon what is meant by "nothing". To address that question, start, as the author does, by dismissing any tendentious definition of nothing put about by theologians who see this as their preserve, also consider whether nothingness should exclude concepts like laws of physics as well as those of space or time. The answer is far from clear, perhaps unknowable, and getting it wrong could mean falling into the error of those theologians and skewing any ensuing theory.

Leave that part of the question, then, and turn to the "something" aspect, where our breadth of knowledge and understanding of the visible universe, its history and future, are by contrast detailed and precise, at least insofar as we ignore the 98% of its components about which we know next to nothing (dark energy, dark matter...) but which are, in principle at least, capable of being addressed. The mutual consistency of cosmological theories covering inflation, CMB, galaxy formation, primeval quantum fluctuations, light element abundance and so on is astonishing.

The task of explaining what happened between nothing and something is relatively straightforward, once the first 10^ -30 seconds or so are out of the way. It is that first instant (as well as the "nothing" which came "before") which remains illusive and pretty much in the realms of philosophy. Krauss is determined to avoid any appeal to special conditions which might look suspiciously God-orientated but also acknowledges that multiple universes and other anthropocentric interpretations are equally unproductive when it comes to making falsifiable predictions. His treatment is by turns ontological, epistemological and pragmatic with even some speculative digressions.

An underlying question as to whether the entire universe may, on balance contain precisely zero energy is discussed, though not convincingly answered. That a flat space-time does accord with a net zero gravitational energy for the entire universe is certainly made clear, but not whether the author also regards its total rest mass energy as correspondingly balanced by the work done by negative pressure or rather as a perfectly reasonable quantum loan from the vacuum which somehow got inflated away (by a factor of at least 10^26 possibly 10^78 in some accounts).

All of it is thoroughly readable and thought-provoking. Given that the author describes how his own thoughts on this, his speciality subject, evolved even as he was writing the book, that is not so surprising.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the science, 5 Oct 2013
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Mr. Richard J. Pask (Weymouth, Dorset United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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From the scientific standpoint, I found this book extremely interesting and enthralling. It is quite obvious from the other reviews however that the same scientific evidence/argument can gives rise to diametrically opposed world views. For example, speaking as a theist, it has strengthened my world view. Clearly, for many atheists is has confirmed/strengthened their world view. I've no problem with this at all: let's respect our differences.

To be specific: if it could be shown, scientifically, that the universe could have arisen from literally Nothing (meaning the absence of anything; arguably including laws and possibilities),then I would become an atheist. In other words, my world view is falsifiable, The author is very careful not to claim this.

If, instead, it is scientifically impossible to have literally Nothing, then there must always be, and have been, something. The question is then whether one finds it easier to believe in this eternal inanimate something , or whether one finds it more convincing, as I do, to believe that there is an intelligence outside of and responsible for this something.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 13 April 2012
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J. Black "JB" (Midlands UK) - See all my reviews
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I have mow a much greater understanding of 'expansion' and how matter and the universe was formed. It makes the creationist belief seem ever more ridiculous. Have you ever considered that :-It is very strange how all the biblical miracles (parting of the waters, feeding of the 5000, rising from the dead etc etc etc..) happened before there were instruments to record them and non have happened in modern times?

Read also Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.

Thanks for reading me

James
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, shame about the typos., 23 July 2014
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I quite enjoyed the content, while for me it wasn't ground breaking stuff it was still compelling and enjoyable. What let it down was the number of typos (Kindle edition). For such a publication I would expect better, in parts it felt like something that has been OCR'd, and in that respect it was disappointing.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading if you are of scientific bent, 28 Nov 2012
By 
T. A. PECK (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
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I recommend this book only if you are capable of understanding seriously difficult scientific propositions and theoretical determinations (with a vengeance!), or willing to read swathes of such and get the gist. And you can in this book, if you are prepared to take a lot on trust, and if so, you probably should - because this guy knows his stuff.

If that is you, the information is gold. There are errors that editors should have picked up and the author is no storyteller, but he writes intelligently and with passion.

Having said that, Krauss falls into the usual trap of confusing theological and scientific understanding, and ironically (bizarrely?) seems to me to have provided the first logical proof that I have read that a deity could well exist.

Naturally, he would be mortified to know this since he spends so much time in the latter part of the book doing the usual smug 'science knows best' routine.

But how else are you supposed to accept the apparent truth of future cosmologists being forever ignorant of the reality of the Big Bang (given the way the universe is constructed) without allowing for the possibility of ourselves dwelling in similar ignorance of, say, the proof of a deity?

I am of no importance at all, but for the record I don't believe in a deity. I do, however, think (not believe) that such an entity is a logical possibility.

Krauss, to my mind, has added to this possibility, not detracted from it. I can only suppose he would be very upset by this.

That irks me. He doesn't appear to be the kind of chap who can accept that a god might possibly exist if afforded the very same logic applied to scientific postulations.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some big mind blowing statements in there!!!, 7 July 2014
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Simon Mcdonald "simon" (Sinagpore) - See all my reviews
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I found it quite confusing at times, but the book does talk about some difficult subjects. There are some great statements in there that make it worth while though. It wet my appetite for more of the same, and the same author too!

I do recommend it even if its not such a simple read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a book on cosmology, 17 Jun 2014
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Matthew Hall - See all my reviews
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A book in clear idiot/ laymans terms which sets out the hypothesis well and establishes the very latest view on the current nature of our universe. Written with wit and the necessary scorn for the religious idiots out there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 Jun 2014
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Love it. Well worth a read if you have any interest in the universe. A bit involved in some places but all the more interesting for it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but "nothing" extra if you have seen the seminar online, 10 May 2014
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If you have seen the talk on youtube with Krauss and Dawkins then you would have heard all the main points. The book dives a little deeper but is nothing new to what you can get online for free.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling and bemusing, 20 April 2014
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Mr. Michael Bilton "Charybdis" (Bathford, UK) - See all my reviews
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I thoroughly enjoyed the journey that this book took me on. The trick is to suspend everything that normal people hold to be true and just go with the flow! There are elements of normality littered through the book but I (as an atheist) can really start to understand why religion is such a popular optional for a huge number of the world's population.
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A Universe from Nothing
A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss (Hardcover - 16 Feb 2012)
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