8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Not very good
, November 22, 2011
I suppose one could take this book as a reasonable story depicting what happens when clueless people decide to do something for which they are unequipped and untrained, in spite of advice given by those who are equipped and trained to deal with such situations. Guess what? You do that and you are nearly guaranteed to make a mess.
In a situation as complicated as an alien society, even the trained are going to have trouble deciphering what is going on. At least they will know there will be complicated issues to decipher before interfering.
The really silly part of this book is when the merry crew of clueless folks also claim their decision to rush in and be stupid was an act of faith and had to be sanctioned by God because hey- they managed to do it. The negative results are simply part of God's mysterious ways. How ridiculous.
God ain't gonna force you to NOT do incredibly stupid things. Free will and all that. If you insist on doing stupid things in spite of reasonable information that you should not, there will be consequences. Such consequences are not great tests of faith orchestrated by God. God is wishing you hadn't been such a bonehead and caused yourself such misery. He allows you free will to choose, meaning you are permitted to choose badly.
If a bunch of non-scientists, without any experience or background, without the willingness to find out anything about the situation before they dive in, so completely naive and out of their depth, do something like this- they are going to end up in some kind of a pickle.
The author made their pickle as over-the-top as possible and then made the reaction of the religious types back home over-the-top too.
Scientists using logic really are the best-trained to engage in scientific endeavors, not earnest, untrained amateurs with a narrow personal agenda. If the book's point was to show that, well it succeeded.
However, non-scientifically trained people and people of faith aren't generally such complete idiots. Most know what they are qualified to do and when they should defer to someone with a different skill set. For example, one doesn't see Catholic priests trained in say, literature, out in their driveways banging on their car engines with hammers and praying that their faith will make the hammer start the broken car. If they don't know about engines they take their broken cars to the mechanic, maybe even a Catholic mechanic, with the skill set needed to fix it.
It wasn't very believable to see so many behaving in such a ridiculous way. It was even less believable to try and equate their decisions with great faith. Their behavior was born of lack of intelligence.