The Fabric of Reality: Towards a Theory of Everything (Allen Lane Science) Hardcover – 27 Mar 1997
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About the Author
DAVID DEUTSCH's research in quantum physics has been influential and highly acclaimed. He is a member of the Quantum Computation and Cryptography Research Group at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University, and now lives and works in Oxford. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I am not a trained scientist, simple a well informed non-specialist with an interest in these areas, and I would have to say that this is the best written book of its type I have come across. It deals with extremely deep concepts across an enormous range of different but related areas of study, and I found myself at times almost shocked at the superb skill with which the author is able to deliver new concepts and arguments so cleanly and simply. The chapter that deals with quantum theory and the many-worlds hypothesis alone stands out as a masterpiece of elegance and simplicity when compared with many other works that attempt to deal with this issue.
Rather than delighting and wallowing in the apparent paradoxes that quantum theory implies for the macroscopic world (as so many authors do), Deutsch simply points out that irrespective of our inability to understand and resolve those paradoxes, the conclusions at least are clear and unarguable, and this is where he starts the real work of philosophical integration that is the books theme.
The rate at which new ideas in this book are delivered can leave one stunned at times, and I must recommend this book without any hesitation at all.
The particular theories Deutsch proposes in these subjects are: the parallel universes or many worlds interpretation; Karl Popper's hypothetico-deductive model; Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, specifically in the gene-centric interpretation given it by Richard Dawkins (the selfish gene school); and, in regard to computation, the Church-Turing conjecture of universal computation, universal virtual reality based on universal computation, Deutsch's own theory of quantum computation and artificial intelligence.
A wilder application of computation to physical reality is Frank Tippler's theory of the omega point, a state reached in the last moments of the collapsing universe, where the minds of all previous people can be resurrected.
The Fabric of Reality is altogether an excellent book, marred only by David Deutsch's insistence that anyone who doubts the many worlds interpretation does not understand quantum theory properly (and his strong hint that we are retarded by lack of imagination or honesty).
1. Our intuition about reality sucks e.g. you may think you're standing still but in fact you're moving with the earth.
2. Science is all about explanations and the best explanations should be adopted even if unprovable at least until a better explanation comes along. In the famous experiment where light passing through two slits behaves like waves rather than particles, Deutsch argues there are shadow photons interacting with the real ones to produce the wave effect. This is unprovable with present technology but Deutsch argues it's the only (or best) explanation.
3. From shadow photons Deutsch moves on to assert that we must "inescapably" live in a multiple universe reality and that we interact with other "us"-es in other universes. In fact Deutsch writes as if it is a fact that every possible action I could take or should have taken in the past must be or must have been acted out by some version of me in some universe. He doesn't say if I am the one acting out something someone else in another universe chose not to do.
4. There's no such thing as mathematical proof so we shouldn't trust scientists (ok, this is harsh but that's how I read it). We should trust Deutsch instead.
5. Since it's possible to even think about time travel it must be physically possible. Then follows a long indulgence on the practicalities of time travel. Here's my take: if I eat a huge huge slice of chocolate cake which I really shouldn't have eaten and then time travel to before eating the cake to stop myself eating the cake - does the cake travel in my stomach with me?Read more ›
This is a book for those of an enquiring mind, with at least some science background from school, however distant in time, and a willingness to believe that very highly respected scientists are convinced of this stuff! On the other hand, if you enjoyed Star Trek on the telly you will manage just fine.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good overview of the many worlds theory of QM and a refreshingly clear explanation of the scientific method, how we know one theory is better than another and make progress -... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Mike Gould
The author is basically forcing unto the reader the many-worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics as "the only reasonable explanation a sensible person would come up... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ivan Korotkov
This book is quite special. A master piece in thinking differently, very detailed and well argued. Weather you agree with the points made or not, it is a must read.Published 13 months ago by SEIFU MEKONNEN TOLOSA
I thought that this book would make some difficult concepts a little clearer for the layperson to understand. I was disappointed! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Janette
This book was written as a popular science book to be compared with, and perhaps inspired by, well known favourites such as "The Emperor's new Mind", "The Selfish... Read morePublished on 11 Aug. 2013 by Geoff Sharman
D. Deutsch, quantum computing guru and effective author, delivers an interesting work that does a very good job in delivering the basic ideas of fascinating theories in research... Read morePublished on 14 Jun. 2013 by Turi Cane
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