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Reveals the philosophical gap between science /non-science
on 14 November 2002
This is an unusual book because firstly, it explains clearly the implications of some difficult scientific concepts, but does so from the perspective of one not versed in science, who learnt them to see what they had to offer to her own areas of interest. This means that she comes to the subject with an honesty and an innocence that is both refreshing and open. It means that we can be assured that the ideas explained will not be tarnished with the prejudices common to many science writers publishing books for the general public who look over their shoulders for the critical approval of authority, and their subsequent warrant.
But this makes the book both charming and disarming. Certainly science is predisposed to caution while harbouring unspoken prejudices of its own, but the leaps of imagination from the notion of a zero point field to an all-encompassing theory that explains faith-healing, brain functions, collective memory, as well as offering theories of warp drives for interstellar travel among other things is too loose and generalised to exclaim ‘Eureka!’ but maybe a quiet ‘there may be something in it’.
The reason is simple. The notion of working from the quantum small towards the classical large overlooks the fact that there is already an aspect of the small present in the large which is this: the more we know scientifically, the less we know non-scientifically. To try to turn the concept of the zero point field into something graspable as a scientific concept in the large scale would require science to incorporate something of the existential as a working principle, which is excluded from science by its very nature and first principles. In short, the book is methodical and makes its case extremely well as far as it goes, but it lacks the underlying philosophical underpinning that could lend it greater weight.
Even so, it is worthwhile to collect in one volume all those disparate areas of concern to us at the frontiers of thought which collectively demonstrate that we may well have reached the edge of our understanding of the nature of reality with the classical line of approach symbolised by science, but it will require the involvement of thought from other areas apart from science to go further. Unfortunately, as this book ably demonstrates, funding and serious interest in such projects is scarce and limited. Even so, this book is a welcome addition to the growing chorus of dissatisfaction with the rather tired ideas that do nothing more than affirm their own faith in an outworn 300 year old philosophy that is now well past its ‘use by’ date.