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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good, thoughtful read, September 7, 2012
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This review is from: Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story (Kindle Edition)
I liked this book. It was well written, researched, and presented to the general reader. Mr. Holt is certainly a man of extensive education who is comfortable among multiple academic disciplines. The title, however, gives the suggestion that he has bitten of more than he can chew...and this turns out to be the case. Who hasn't asked the question, "Why does the world exist?" Why is there something rather than nothing? In a real tour de force, Mr. Holt travels the globe seeking out great minds who have turned to this question in many fields of endeavor: Mathematics, philosophy, metaphysics, physics, chemistry, biology, and atheists (but only tangentially, religious). He limits the technical language and makes each proponent's arguments clear and understandable, if ultimately unfulfilling.

With that said, it appears to me that Mr. Holt, for all his wisdom and broad sweeping theories, lives in an existentially small universe. While the outer boundary of the beginnings of "stuff" appears to be closer than ever before, the rational mind simply can't get beyond the concept of what existed "before" the singularity. For all his knowledge and research Mr. Holt is not a happy man, because he can't "prove" an ultimate answer using reason and logic. As a result, he ends his story with a brooding sense of hopelessness, meaninglessness, and despair.

Without getting into a religious debate, I think that for those who do have faith in God, the knowledge Mr. Holt offers about the universe fills one with, instead, with a sense of wonder and joy. As our sense of the universe becomes enlarged, so does our sense of the God who created and sustains it. The greater God becomes, the deeper the mystery of his invitation to us to enter his presence. Since science, mathematics, and philosophy do not supply the ultimate answer to the question raised by this book...and likely never will...you may choose, in good faith, to believe whatever your conscience dictates. But since we will never know until our deaths (and maybe not even then), why not choose to believe in love versus despair...eternal life versus oblivion? Where ever his search takes him, I hope Mr. Holt can find the peace he's looking for.
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