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The story of Pan Narrans - the story telling chimp.
on 7 September 2015
A very deep and thought provoking book on Science and a bit on religion.
I read a lot of the reviews about how this was an atheist rant and thought oh well they have gone all Richard Dawkins. I will get around and read it sometime and so I put it on my shelf and read other things. It got to this summer and I had finished all the other Terry Pratchett books as so I just had this one to go. So I decided it was time to read it and to my surprise I found that the reviews had been exagerated.
WhileiIt isn't that light a read although it is a lot easier than Brian Cox's recent efforts. As well as being more accessible than the current BBC science pin-up it is also much more measured and rigorous. The authors take a very cautious approach to presenting the case for atheism and they do not go on banging a drum and shouting in your face like Dawkins or Hitchens. It is all done very gently and politely and what is more they also point out the weaknesses of scientists. They in no way say that Science and religion are enemies and state that many scientists have personal views and perspectives (for example the many worlds nonsense that Cox is so keen on, they also debunk - see also the Quark and the Jaguar by Gell-mann for another rigorous debunking). They are not strident and shouty. They just point out that humans like to think of themselves as the centre of the universe and are very good at making stories to fit this. While the Universe itself pays us very little attention as it goes about its business following rules we keep trying to find, but failing because we fall into the story telling trap every-time. They point out how that is not only religion but dumb science such as the Anthropic Cosmological Principle as well. So give it a read if you want to go to the deepest layers of understanding and try not to tell yourself stories.