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Three Scientists and Their Gods: A Search for Meaning in an Age of Information

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0812913286
ISBN-10: 0812913280
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What is the meaning of life? Award-winning essayist Wright addresses this daring question in an engaging look at the work and beliefs of three leading American scientists. He begins with Ed Fredkin, a self-made millionaire and former MIT professor whose intriguing synthesis of information theory and physics leads him to conclude that the universe is a giant cellular automaton. Why does it exist? Because, according to Fredkin: "There is no way to know the answer to some question any faster than what's going on." Next Wright explores the relation between genetic evolution and the evolution of behavior by analyzing the work of Harvard entomologist and founder of sociobiology, Edward O. Wilson. He focuses particularly on Wilson's controversial views on the nexus between genetics and human cultural development. Wright ends with the eccentric economist Kenneth Boulding whose general systems theory attempts to account for the increased intricacy in a universe governed by entropy and who thinks of evolution as "a rise in complexity, control and consciousness." This is a wonderful, thought-provoking book. First serial to the Atlantic.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This is the story of three extraordinary people: Ed Fredkin, who developed the startling theory that the universe itself is a computer; sociobiologist E.O. Wilson, who searches for a link between human genes and culture; and economist Kenneth Boulding, who explores the impact of technology on social change. Each is attempting to explain the role of information at increasingly complex levels of organization: Fredkin in physics, Wilson in biology, and Boulding in economics. Their quest for an underlying unity to the world is both scientific and spiritual, leading to more profound speculations about the origin and meaning of life. Wright's lively and exciting narrative captures the creative process of scientific thought in action. Highly recommended. Raymond Frey, Bergen Comm. Coll., Paramus, N.J.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books (June 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812913280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812913286
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TQSA on February 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books. I first read it about 25-30 years ago and have since given it as a gift multiple times. I might have chosen three different scientists to write about (and have read about them and their gods as well), but Robert Wright did an excellent job describing the work and thoughts of Edward Fredkin, Edward O. Wilson, and Kenneth Boulding, and in separate sections, describing issues and concepts that concerned them. Best of all, Wright's writing is clear, engaging and an enjoyable read.

Finding the book in paperback today is a daunting task, but the hardcover edition is available for prices well below even remaindered prices.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Morley on April 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book should be read just for the fun of it! Well-drawn amusing characters and intriguing ideas.

It was my introduction to Information Theory. It inspired me to study more, even til now, 20 yrs later.

I give it 5-stars for sure!
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Stewart on February 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For me this was a case of judging a book by it's cover (and it's title). I thought it was a great idea and should be a great read.

But the book offers little insight into the search "for meaning in the age of information". A lot was devoted to the Author visiting on of his subjects private islands. This was a particularly wasted trip that offered nothing to the reader but a poorly worded travelogue.
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