The Attempted Murder of God: Hidden Science You Really Need to Know Hardcover – 10 Jan 2010
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Arousing suspicion from the early pages, i started to wonder if this book was meant to be something as defined by Poe's law:
"it's hard to identify a parody of a crackpot, since they seem equally insane"
and having read the book completely, I can honestly say I am no more enlightened as to which it is.
If it is a parody of creationist reasoning, half truths and extremely non-objective observations, then it is indeed a comprehensive, albeit, pretty annoying one.
If it's meant to be a serious statement as to god/a creators existence, then I can only hope this does not reflect the best we can come up with; the use of heavily contorted maths and science to fit into something many people merely hope is real.
whichever the case, it is not a book of answers you were hoping for, be they for gods existence or agin, and you will no doubt have to put down the book occasionally to ponder (as I did) whether it's meant to be a parody or not, often hoping that it is.
There's not enough hours in the day to reproduce every glaring omission or frankly scary misinterpretation of certain observations, but since they're exceedingly numerous, I'll list a few.
"We can all agree that Carbon-14 has a half life of 5730 years. So in other words, the last molecule of Carbon-14 on earth disappears in 11460 years."
Umm... No, anyone who studied basic chemistry in school could tell you what a half-life is.
So, a book which "uncovers hidden science" by someone who either doesn't understand (science at all) the half life of a radioactive isotope, or doesn't want YOU to.
I suspect however that this is the latter, intentional lying, since the author shows he understands the concept of infinite halving in another ridiculous statement which goes along the lines of:
"If you take any measured distance between two points, halve it, then add half that, then add half that, you will never cover the original measurement.
This means that the distance between these points is infinite."
No, the measurement is finite, but as maths allows, you can perform a function on it that will keep recurring infinitely without achieving a definite end.
Well you'll see for yourself if you read it, the author has to contort maths as well as science to make the views he has, seem to hold weight.
But it gets a lot more desperate.
A long drawn out contortion of logic in this book, can be shortened to:
"what exists between nothing and something (anything) is god.
God is 0 thing and N-E thing.
God is ONE."
yeah ok, it works in THIS language, but you probably deny the obvious evolution of language as well, in favour of "the tower of babel" story as told in the bible.
through use of more contorted maths-
"god is the reflection of us; he is 01 and we are 10.
I just realised, we have 10 fingers and toes, coincidence?"
Well yes, but if you want to get as childish as that, lets run with your "god = 01" idea and observe:
"well I only have 01 head/brain/mind, surely then that's the place outside existence where god 'exists,' in our minds."
Since there are so many thousands of concepts of who/what god is/has done, it's actually surprising just how many people don't recognize god is just that - a concept.
"God is real."
It might be because such people refute the evolution of their own religion, and the numerous branches it has spawned at various dates in history, that then causes some to then refute the evolution of anything - "it was created that way; it didn't evolve."
Yeah, Ok then... just ignore the other branched off religions or denominations of, just as you equally ignore the evidence (including the ERV sequence in our DNA) that our ancestors branched out into our species and chimps.
The author comments on various coincidences like this, including one in which he has just turned 42, when 42 is the number regarded as "the meaning of life" in the book; "Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy," written by the late atheist Douglas Adams.
Scrooby then writes "as if a number in itself could explain everything."
I'm sure it was apparent to most people that Douglas Adam's actual point in this matter was - if you ask a nonsense question, you will of course get a nonsense answer - ike asking "what was the name of the fairy that farted out our sun?" but of course it seems this message was missed by Scrooby.
(another reason I suspect the book is a parody)
"What is the meaning of life?" is a typical question of the self-reverence, and overestimated significance we'd like to think we have in the universe.
"I'm special - I must have a divine purpose to exist."
yeah OK, does the fungus that grows deep in the woods that no one's ever seen have a special purpose other than to survive?
Do the thousands of ants in an entire colony have a special god given purpose, other than to survive?
No, and all life is the same. If you want a purpose, maybe because you can't find one yourself, (I'm sure the reason desperate/dying people turn to god) consider it "to survive," something every living thing does, and something the human race seems to excel at overall.
We just class ourselves above the rest (as I suspect most creatures with a brain do) and think the world exists to provide for us. (as I suspect any creature that might ponder existence and significance of anything and other life forms would)
Comments on evolution.
I'd hoped for some fresh arguments, I was again disappointed.
The usual tactic was right at the start; "scientists don't understand abiogenesis, that means evolution is wrong."
Now the (pretty blatant) clue to what evolution is, was in big letters on Darwins book on the subject; "The Origin Of SPECIES," but of course as ever, a creationist has to misrepresent evolution as "the origin of LIFE" to bring it into the realms of "what no one fully understands," before they stand a chance of refuting various theories on 'abiogenesis,' not evolution, then try to associate the two again.
"well if you dont understand abiogenesis, then that means you don't understand/are wrong about evolution."
That's precisely how desperately lame the creationist argument is.
Like any creationist I have yet seen, the only way one (anyone in fact) can refute or deny the fact of evolution is by either:
A - not understanding it
B - pretending to not understand it, thereby making it easy to misrepresent, then refute the misrepresentation.
I personally am convinced Scrooby comes under the B category, which is surely worse than being deluded, (A) it's being intentionally deluding.
The rest of the "evidence" for god, was (to no surprise) exactly as Richard Dawkins describes it; "god of the gaps" evidence, in other words, because humans cannot explain certain things, this is therefore direct evidence (and proves to us) that god did it.
I have already touched on this and cannot over-enphasize how inaccurate and wrong this kind of argument is.
"science cannot explain something, that means god did it."
The level of arrogance in such logic frankly bowls me over, and I had to put the book down no less than 50 times because I was amazed that anyone should have such confidence in what humans do, or should know.
If there is one lesson over history that science has told us, it's that not understanding something, doesn't mean "god did it," it simply means we don't understand something.
Does exactly as it says on the tin - no "god did it" added.
I'd hoped that Scrooby would avoid things we DON'T understand as if they were evidence for a creator/god but no, he goes down this avenue multiple times, eg:
"where do stars come from?"
"Ok, where did the first star come from?"
We don't know.
"AH HAA...!!! Proof!! That means god did it!"
No... it just means 'we don't know.'
How did the first chlorophyll evolve?
In fact, fit any question you might like into this space; if the answer is "we don't know," you'll always find someone willing to plug the "unknown" with "god."
"god explains that."
There's no reasoning with such logic as it leads to the ultimate cop out that believers in god have:
"God made everything the way it is."
which begs the question (and the second part of the copout)
so if he made everything, why has he undeniably made it look like he had zero influence on anything, and his existence is non demonstrable?
"aah, because he's testing your faith."
and the copout is concluded, leaving you with very little, if any come back.
Of course this argument works equally well with the true creator of the universe and life on earth, the invisible undetectable dragon in my garage, the one which no can prove does not exist, who is testing everyone's faith so I must spread word of his existence, and I shall always accept as real because as i said, nothing can disprove his existence, existent or not.
That's right, using this method, you can prove to anyone that not only does a dragon exist in your garage, but because he's undetectable, no one can disprove his existence, and because he made everything as we see it, seemingly creatorless, he's merely testing your faith in him.
If you're response to this is along the lines of "get real," you may now have some insight as to how an atheist may view your belief, and maybe with it an idea of the very sealed box you've built round yourself so that no one can touch or disprove your concept of god.
I now come to the biggest shortfall in the book, the "age vs size of the universe" argument.
Indeed, this argument is so crucial to the book, since the author returns to it in many later arguments, it almost seems a pity to point out the many holes in it.
Scrooby states, NASA has observed two things in cosmology; that the universe is:
47 billion light years in size (minimum)
14 billion years in age.
Now lets not beat about the bush; this observation is used repeatedly throughout the rest of the book, as if it were scientific proof that god did something.
So what does scrooby infer from this data?
Well, assuming the universe started from a single point (this being the first assumption, since the "space" it moved into didn't exist before, so this argument is void from the word go) then if the age of the universe has been calculated as approx 14 billion years, how then can we observe something that's 47 billion light years away from us, unless it travelled out faster than the speed of light?
As far as I can see it, these are (most of) the options:
- we don't actually know the size of the universe
- we don't actually know the age of the universe
- we don't understand what happened at the origin of the universe
- we dont know why the universe appears to be "bigger than it's boots"
- god made it that way
I've no doubt Scrooby could rule out at least one of the first two, since he refers to it as a "NASA observed fact," but the last 3 are viable options, and guess which one he went for?
Yup, the "god of the gaps," plugging an unknown with god, because if it was possible to understand as having nothing to do with god, we would right? We know lots of things, don't we?
No, and we rarely concede we know next to nothing about the universe, in terms of what there is to know, we compare our current understanding with the lack of understanding that other species or our predesessors have/had, and marvel at our knowledge and understanding as if we're closer to knowing everything, so naturally in any given era, we think we're smart enough to recognize when something is natural, or when an intelligent being had some influence, which is why our ancestors thought things like:
natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, etc)
the relative complexity of life on earth
- could only be explained by things like gods. You may be one of those who still disagrees with the last one, but the first 4 WERE considered (and the last one IS) to be gods actions, because we didn't understand how they happened, but assumed we were smart enough to recognize they could not be the result of natural processes.
God was the default explanation for something not understood back then and it seems NOTHING has changed for many people even today, who still fail to learn this lesson that history should really have taught us by now.
But back to cosmology, and the universe appearing to be too big for it's boots; the thing he didnt mention, it's NOT an unknown at all; cosmologists have a relatively (and it IS about relativity) simple explanation for why humans find it hard to grasp the concept of space moving away from space, and the relative speed of light (and time itself) because of this, as described at:
Remember kids, google is your friend, and there's nowhere for creationist half truths (or sometimes outright lies) to hide anymore.
The truth is out there, and I don't mean the truth as humans invariably interpret it - either incorrectly or enitrely wrong - I mean the objective, bona fide, unequivocal truth, and to let creationists delude you with their rendition of a mythology of choice and geography, well I personally couldn't stand by and watch people actually encourage others to believe the earth was flat, because of some religious story.
It happened then, and it's happening now; a genuine fact is being systematically quashed because it denies an important part of the story as told by followers of the abrahamic god.
Rest assured though, the church (already has) will, just as the flat earth theory, be forced into accepting that creation as many people used to accept it, was "misinterpreted," and since most christians at least have already accepted it's futile to refute or deny evolution, you can already see the use of the phrase "divine evolution."
personally I suspect what we're seeing is another branch off from the ever evolving religion that will die a death because it didn't adapt to what humans know to be true, so creationism will die a gruesome death as less people become persuaded by the story.
Personally, I'm an athiest, but I'm not attacking anyone's belief in god when it comes to evolution; you can happily believe in god and equally accept evolution, as many people (understatement) do since god is something intangible and unprovable/un-disprovable, but when it comes to something like evolution, people have decided they will attempt to refute cold hard facts, which is very different from saying "god exists."
It seems to me that humans are often backwards; we don't seem to look at the evidence for and against, then come to conclusions on whether god is real or evolution is real, we instead must surely make a decision on such things, (probably based on what we HOPE is true) then often look for evidence that backs up our conclusion.
I didn't want to be one of those people, that's what a religious belief is, defending a concept regardless of things that disprove it (or "having faith in gods existence" for example) so recognizing it was pointless getting into the group mentality of 'them & us' I decided to look for something that would prove gods existence to me, thus I bought Scroobys book.
I've now read it.
If this is the reason you too are thinking of buying this book, I strongly recommend against it.
I am already slightly annoyed at having to part with cash for the, frankly, comedy contents of it's pages, and if you have even just the slightest understanding of science or maths (and I dont profess to know too much about either) then I can guarantee you'll have to put this book down at least 10 times because the writer twists things SO much, you'll be that annoyed.
If you'd like a book on the subject that instead, makes you put down the book ocassionally and go; "oh yes, I'd never recognized or observed that before," then I recommend "The God Delusion."
I will no doubt be strongly critisized for lack of objectivity in this review, but I can guarantee the above comparison in books. If you don't believe me, read this one and then The God Delusion.
(That's assuming this one isn't as I STILL genuinely suspect it may be, a satirical parody)
This book claims to be "uncovering hidden science."
What it it really does is contort certain widely known science out of all recognition, into something it isn't, and I can only assume the various contortions ( a finite distance is actually infinite, a halflife is half the time until the isotope completely irradiates, etc, there's plenty more) are intentional, and you'll be genuinely sickened at how contorted reality has to be into something else, before it could be called in any way, "proof of god."
They are written in such a way as to fool people who may not be as clued up on the intracacies of certain scientific fields into thinking that god must exist, regardless of your religious viewpoint this is deliberately deceptive.
It also relies very heavily on the God of Gaps arguement, which in a nutshell is "if it cant be scientifically proven, it must be God", I'll leave you draw your own conclusions to that.
I must point out that on a review of another product, the Aliases "Reviewer" & "C Sheridan" are proved to be the Author himself, so both the 5 star reviews are by the person who actually wrote this book, so I would ignore.
There are many good books on the potential existance of (or not) of God, this is NOT one of them.
3 stars, some funny bits.
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