I admit it. I am a geek. I like  history and politics and mechanics and physics and theology and cosmology, etc, etc,etc.  I listen to a variety of geeky podcast about these things and read about these things. I confess one of my favorite weekend rituals is to cut my grass while I listen to a fella pretending to be the 3rd President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. (http://www.jeffersonhour.com/) It’s awesome !!

Another weekend ritual we enjoy is soaking up the sun,” hanging on the hook” in our skiff. Reading and chillin.  Typically the question comes,

“Hey Bop, what ya readin?”……..My answer is  Usually received with  eyes rolling , false dyspepsia and the finger down the throat gesture by my boats’ crew.

Their responses are so rejective, it  naturally  occurs to me to add a book review of my weekly reads in a  recurring post , to share their pain.

THIS WEEK WE PRESENT:

Steven Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow ask basic questions like….. Why do we exist ? Why is there something instead of nothing ? Why does this particular set of laws govern our universe and not some other set?

It starts with a history of scientific Knowledge from the Ionian Greeks to modern cosmology. Goes into quantum mechanics and special relativity with a treatment not overly  scientific and very understandable. It may take a second read of a concept at times but that’s the reward in reading such information. It educates the reader.

The bombshell in this book is an elegant explanation of how  theories about quantum mechanics and relativity came together to shape an understanding of how our universe and possibly other universes formed……….. out of nothing.

Their best explanation of this event is their  M-theory, which predicts not just the universe we live in, but many others. Of all the possible universes, some must have laws that allow the appearance of life. Others dont. Other space-time dimensions exist and operate under laws specific to that particular universe.

Some deeper thinkers have claimed the motivation of the authors is to advance their atheism. That the book is  trying to “prove” the universe needs no creator. I’m not so sure Hawking and Mlodinow were  saying that  . Actually, some of the treatment of the very coincidental combination of factors that has to be in alignment for life to survive seem to argue just the opposite. They dont say it but  A good analogy is that of a great watchmaker.

Throughout recorded history, science has demystified the physical world and thereby demystifying “god” in the process. Things that were attributed to god by earlier civilizations are now explained by science. Thats a good thing. If there is a great watchmaker, i would like to think such intelligence would be encouraged in how far we have demystified our universe and uncovered the rational operation of nature.

Heady stuff, indeed. All packed into 198 pages..