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The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World Paperback – 5 Mar 1993

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; 1st Simon & Schuster Pbk. Ed edition (5 Mar. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671797182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671797188
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,063,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The Washington Post"

Intellectually cordial and wonderfully lucid...Meanders through dozens of current concepts and findings...and then observes how they illuminate the ancient quandaries encountered by Plato and Pythagoras, Spinoza and Kant...a mind-bending experience.



"The New York Times"

Re-examines the great questions of existence...and in the process it also provides an entertaining and provocative tour of recent developments in theoretical physics.



"The New York Times Book Review"

Stimulating and enlightening...Shows how scientists, like the ancient philosophers before them, continue to struggle with reconciling the eternal and the ephemeral.



Timothy Ferris

"San Francisco Chronicle"

Provide[s] cogent explications of some of the most interesting ideas to have arisen from contemporary physics, mathematics and

philosophy...full of ideas...mighty nourishing.



"Re-examine[s] the great questions of existence...and in the process it also provides an entertaining and provocative tour of recent developments in theoretical physics." -- Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Intellectually cordial and wonderfully lucid.... Meanders through dozens of current concepts and findings...and then observes how they illuminate the ancient quandaries encountered by Plato and Pythagoras, Spinoza and Kant.... [A] mind-bending experience." -- The Washington Post

"Provide[s] cogent explications of some of the most interesting ideas to have arisen from contemporary physics, mathematics and philosophy...full of ideas...mighty nourishing." -- Timothy Ferris, San Francisco Chronicle

"Stimulating and enlightening...Shows how scientists, like the ancient philosophers before them, continue to struggle with reconciling the eternal and the ephemeral." -- The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

PAUL DAVIES is Director of the Beyond Center at Arizona State University and the bestselling author of more than twenty books. He won the 1995 Templeton Prize for his work on the deeper meaning of science. His books include About Time, The Fifth Miracle, and The Mind of God.


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Format: Hardcover
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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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.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great product, thanks.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 80 reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is indispensable reading for truth seekers. 23 Oct. 1999
By Kenneth Matheny (kmatheny@webtv.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With lucidity and wit, prolific writer Paul Davies, aprofessor of mathematical physics, surveys the history of science, philosophy and mathematics to try to answer the human race's deepest questions. While acknowlegingthe possibility that the universe might be a meaningless fluke, Davies convincingly argues that the existence of consciousness in the universe cannot be "a byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces." Though he is not religious in a conventional sense, Davies believes that the rationality of the universe, the fact thathumans can understand how the universe works, is evidence ofpurpose and meaning. Particularly fascinating is Davies' meditations on mathematics. Davies points out that the fact that the universe's deepest laws can beexpressed mathematically strongly suggests that thereis more to our world than meets the eye.Anyone who has ever looked at the night sky and wondered if our lives have a purpose should read this book. Thoughtrained as a scientist, Daviesis as familiar with Leibnitz, Kant, and Aquinas as he is with the latest developments in quantum physics. He also provides a fun and thought-provoking chapter on Virtual Worlds and Real Worlds. Truly a delight to read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mind of Davies 18 Sept. 2008
By Michael L. Gooch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading God and the New Physics, I added Paul Davies to my list of fantasy dinner guests. After reading the Mind of God, I decided to invite only him so we could have a one-on-one conversation.

Throughout my life, I have, as others surely do, wonder what it is all about. In addition, while science seems so cold and calculating, it appears that other forces were at work in mysterious and unknown ways. While the answers are not contained in Mind of God, they certainly point the way to a better understanding. I particularly enjoyed the way this book weaved in the writings of the great philosophers.

If you want nourishment for the mind, I would highly recommend this book. I hope you find this review helpful. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR Author of Wingtips with Spurs
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Ideas on Life, the Universe and Everything 18 July 2002
By JM Gustafson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the ideas in this book to be quite interesting. There were so many ideas about the origin of the universe that I've never heard before. The author does a good job of making them understandable to the non-physicist. I bought this book to try and answer some of my own questions about the meaning of life. However, I walked away from it with more questions than answers. The universe is such an enigma that the more you study it the less you realize you know. This is a pretty good book if you're into this sort of thing. I thought it seemed to end quite abruptly though without making some conclusions, so I give it 4 stars.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Definite: Man Cannot Find Out Why He Exists 30 Sept. 2009
By Regis Schilken - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paul Davies begins The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World with a number of interesting discussions. He calls the discoveries made by man using the methods of science: miracles. Yet from the very first pages, Davies doubts we will ever answer ultimate questions through pure inductive logic alone: Questions like what caused the Big Bang; why are we here?

According to Davies, the a priori methods of the ancient philosophers led to the rigid doctrine found in the religions which exist today. Countless numbers of people accept the Koran, the Bible, and other religious texts as God inspired. Accordingly, religious affiliation depends on how these alleged, ancient warehouses of God's words are interpreted. As a result, there exists a variety of belief, usually originating in myth, concerning where the world came from; what will happen after death; what lies ahead at the end of the universe.

But in The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World Davies steers clear of any irrational religious sentiment when explaining the scientific basis for our world. The hardware of the human mind, he says, makes it capable of ingesting accurate information from the outside world through sensory inputs.

It analyses this data then synthesizes laws accordingly. Once a law is believed to be a universal truth, it becomes the foundation of further experimentation with reality. Thus, all of the scientific achievements we see in the world today are built on this logical, scientific superstructure.

The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World then delves into the seemingly unreasonable question, "Can the universe create itself?" Common sense would seem to preclude that every existing thing, every event--had a cause. At the present time scientific thought accepts as a given that the Big Bang caused our existing universe.

This acceptance is not without proof. Following Max Planck's quantum theory, science has measured the size, the density, and even the time since the Big Bang occurred when the entire universe was almost infinitely small--a singularity.

Accepting this reasoning, we must conclude that our adaptive genetic makeup as conscious thinking human beings was packed into that infinitesimal singularity like every other existing thing. I'm certain Davies would admit this is mind boggling, but at this point in human development, mostly all attempts to burst the big bang paradigm have been unsuccessful.

Surely there must have been a cause for the Big Bang. But this is a moot point according to many scientists including Davies. Atomic particles act differently from objects we see in our everyday world. At the diminutive nuclear level of being, particles have been shown to pop in and out of existence.

Since they move at incredibly fast speeds, at the instant they are measured they appear to have actual being, but only because the particles are stopped. When left alone, physicists can only measure their speed or energy wave--mere shadows of their possible being. Thus, before the big bang, the singularity could just as easily pop in and out of existence.

The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World, however, tries to answer an even more baffling question. It appears that all reality--microscopic and macroscopic--is following certain laws which physicists keep discovering. Where are these laws? Are they out there in reality or are they the compromises our minds dream up to explain accidental, purposeless reality?

Davies would argue that those laws are framed as mathematical relationships. In turn, he explains that math is a reality. It exists as the language of the natural world: "No one who is closed off from mathematics can ever grasp the full significance of the natural order that is woven so deeply into the fabric of physical world."

He finds that our mental powers "... are presumably determined by biological evolution." If such is true, what environmental pressures would make us seek the structure of the atom or hunt the law of gravity or determine the laws of electromagnetism? It appears that this quest is innate in our species. Furthermore, Davies would suggest that our ability to perform scientific investigation must be traced back to some "... highly special, cosmic initial conditions."

The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World draws to a close with a discussion of mysticism. Davies admits that many scientists scorn any mystical belief in a divine creator. These scientists are content to accept existence for what it is--what they perceive through their senses and cortical machinations via experiments and mathematics. They are content to hunt for that illusive smallest particle/wave/string that might ultimately explain why things are the way they are.

Davies concludes that it is impossible for us to rationalize an ultimate explanation of existence. Yes, we have uncovered some of the hidden rules on which existence operates but we cannot answer the decisive question: "Why?" Our explorative efforts can only go so far and then as conscious, self-aware beings, we must embrace a metaphysical understanding for what is. This could be the only path to the Ultimate.

For readers obsessed with final explanations of the universe, The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World is a fascinating journey into the realm of physics, mathematics, and philosophy. The book revisits timeless inquiries about all existence, particularly human scientific history from ancient Greek philosophers up until modern times.

Although Paul Davies is a Professor of Mathematical Physics, he readily admits the limits of his subject when dealing with the hazy crossover between reality and infinity--the now and the eternal. His thoughts are easy to follow and his conclusions at the end of one chapter provide a nice bridge to the next.

This reviewer found the book stimulating and thought provoking. He tends to agree with Davies that the universe and our place within it are not just purposeless accidents. Since the occurrence of the enormous Big Bang, it appears that adaptive evolution is following a lawful path right up to our own existence.

My only problem with The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World is its title which immediately suggests an anthropomorphic concept for a deity. If there is a God, does it have a mind?

Other interesting reads:
The G.O.D. Experiments: How Science Is Discovering God In Everything, Including Us
The God Experiment: Can Science Prove the Existence of God?
The "God" Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let your mind roam 4 Dec. 2010
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A MUST for anyone who gazes into the sky and wonders.
If you accept time-honoured dogma as truth, then this is not for you. But if you've ever asked yourself "What do I understand by the word God", then here is a good start that will take your mind into new areas of discovery - and more searching beyond this book.
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