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The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates Hardcover – August 24, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If Howard Bloom is only 10 percent right, we’ll have to drastically revise our notions of the universe. . . . [His] argument will rock your world."
-BARBARA EHRENREICH, National Magazine Award winner and author of Nickel and Dimed

"Enthralling. Astonishing. Written with the panache of the Great Blondin turning somersaults on the rope above Niagara. Profound, extraordinarily eclectic, and crazy. The most exciting cliff-hanger of a book I can remember reading."
-JAMES BURKE, Creator and host of seven BBC-TV series, including Connections

"Bloody hell. . . . What a truly extraordinary book. I’m gobsmacked. It’s a fast-paced, highly readable, and deeply researched thriller-documentary that grapples with the big issues of the universe. . . . Food for the brain."
-FRANCIS PRYOR, President of the Council for British Archaeology, author of Britain BC

"For those of us who do not invoke god(s) to explain things, there is a challenge—where did the complexity of the physical and natural world come from? . . . This deep, provocative, spectacularly well-written book provides some answers. . . . A wonderful book."
-ROBERT SAPOLSKY, MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" winner and author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

"Strong. Like a STEAM ROLLER. Impressive. Great."
-RICHARD FOREMAN, MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" winner and founder of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater

"A deeply engrossing and mind-bending meld of philosophy and science, written with great clarity, humor, and daring."
-CHARLES SIEBERT, Contributing writer, New York Times Sunday Magazine

"Truly awesome. . . . Bursting with insights and ideas, delivered with delightful verve and zest. . . . A tantalizing, fresh new view of the cosmos for humankind."
-DUDLEY HERSCHBACH, Winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

From the Author

There's a secret hidden in a mathematical nugget called Peano's Axioms.  Is Peano 's mystery the key to the cosmos?
The God Problem tackles the question of how a godless cosmos creates; of how a universe without a bearded and bathrobed god in the sky pulls off acts of genesis. And it pursues the riddles behind five mildly flabbergasting heresies: 
  1. a does not equal a 
  2. one plus one does not equal two 
  3. entropy is wrong 
  4. randomness is not as random as you think and
  5. information theory is way off base.
Says The God Problem
God's war crimes, Aristotle's sneaky tricks, Galileo's creationism, Newton's intelligent design,  entropy's errors,  Einstein's pajamas, John Conway's game of loneliness, Information Theory's blind spot, Stephen Wolfram's New Kind Of Science, and six monkeys at six typewriters getting it wrong. What do these have to do with the birth of a universe and with your need for meaning?  Everything, as you're about to see.
In The God Problem you'll take a scientific expedition into the secret heart of a cosmos you've never seen.   An electrifyingly inventive cosmos. An obsessive-compulsive cosmos. A driven, ambitious cosmos. A cosmos of colossal shocks.  A cosmos of screaming, stunning surprise.  A cosmos that's the biggest invention engine--the biggest breakthrough maker, the biggest creator--of all time.
One critic has suggested that The God Problem may be a great book on a par with Darwin's Origin of the Species and Newton's Principia Mathematica.  One Nobel Prize winner and two Macarthur Genius Award winners have said The God Problem is "spectacular" and "great."    Early readers like Amazon.com's number one non-fiction reviewer have said The God Problem is "the next paradigm," "a game-changer," and a book that will "change your life."  And Heinz Insu Fenkl of SUNY's Interstitial Studies Institute says, "The God Problem is the next paradigm. It doesn't take you down the proverbial 'rabbit hole' -- it will take you to a place from which you will never re-emerge, a brand new universe in the same skin as the one you now unknowingly inhabit."
Will The God Problem utterly change the way you see everything around you and everything inside you? That's my intention.  But only one person can answer that question: you.
"Enthralling.  Astonishing.  Written with the panache of  the Great Blondin turning somersaults on the rope above Niagara.  Profound, extraordinarily eclectic, and crazy.   The most exciting cliffhanger of a book I can remember reading." James Burke, creator and host of seven BBC TV series, including Connections
"I have just come out from the giddy ride through things of the mind and mathematics that is The God Problem. Bloom takes us on a magic carpet ride of ideas about: well, about everything. And it turns out that everything we knew about everything is probably wrong. The God Problem is an intellectual cave of wonders made more wonderful by the tales of the lives of the people behind the ideas. Don't start this book late at night, for it will banish sleep."  Robin Fox, Rutgers University, author of  The Tribal Imagination: Civilization and the Savage Mind, former director of research for the H. F. Guggenheim Foundation
"If Howard Bloom is only 10 percent right, we'll have to drastically revise our notions of the universe. There's no mysticism in The God Problem-- no God, no religion, no incommunicable spiritual insights -- just the contagious joy of a great mind set loose on the biggest intellectual puzzles humans have ever faced. Whether you're a scientist or a hyper-curious layperson, Bloom's argument will rock your world."  Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, National Magazine Award Winner
  • "Bloody hell... What a truly extraordinary book. I'm gob-smacked." Francis Pryor, President of the Council for British Archaeology, author, Britain BC.
  • "Is The God Problem a great book like Darwin's The Origin Of Species, Lyell's Principles Of Geology, or Newton's Principia Mathematica?"  Dan Schneider, the man Roger Ebert calls the "ideal critic."
  • "Terrific." Dudley Herschbach, Harvard U, 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
  • "Deep, provocative, spectacularly well written...great." Robert Sapolsky, Stanford U,  MacArthur Genius Award winner.
  • "Strong...like a STEAM ROLLER...impressive...great." Richard Foreman, founder Ontological-Hysteric Theater, MacArthur Genius Award-Winner.
  • "Mind-bending." Charles Siebert, contributing writer, New York Times Sunday Magazine
  • "Ebullient, enthralling." Alex Wright,  Director of User Experience and Product Research, New York Times, author, Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages.
  • "Utterly extraordinary." Matt Thorne, winner of the Encore Award, longlisted for the Booker Prize. 
  • "Thrilling." Hector Zenil, Institut d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Technique.
  • "The ultimate scientific detective story." Mark Lamonica, winner of the Southern California Booksellers Association Nonfiction Award.
  • "A 'page-turner.'" Walter Collier Putnam,  30-year Associated Press veteran. 
  • "Great literature."  Edgar Mitchell, sixth astronaut on the moon.
  • "Incandescent...shakes out like shining from shook foil and oozes to a greatness," George Gilder, author, Wealth and Poverty, winner of the White House Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
  • "Profound and extraordinary." Yuri Ozhigov, Chair of Quantum Informatics, Moscow State University.
  • "Entertaining, suspenseful, rigorous, and thoroughly mathematical." Martin Bojowald, loop quantum cosmologist, Penn State Physics Department, author of Once Before Time: A Whole Story of the Universe.
  • "Absolutely sparkling with ideas."  David Christian, founder, International Big History Association..
  • "An enjoyment shot through with things you never knew." Allen Johnson, Ex-chair, dpt of anthropology, UCLA.
  • "Infectious." Mark Lupisella, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • "The central illuminations glow." Robert B. Cialdini, Arizona State University,  Author of Influence, the most cited social psychologist in the world today.
  • "Exalted! Glorious! Astounding."  Nancy Weber, author of 22 books including The Life Swap.
  • "An entire paradigm shift!"  David Tamm, author, Tsiolkovsky's Imperative.
  • "A paradigm/mind-set/game changer." Robert Steele, #1 Amazon.com reviewer for non-fiction.
  • "The next paradigm.  It will take you to a place from which you will never re-emerge, a brand new universe in the same skin as the one you now unknowingly inhabit."  Heinz Insu Fenkl, director, The Interstitial Studies Institute, SUNY.
  • "The God Problem will change your life." David Swindle, Associate Editor, PJ Media.
  • "What James Joyce's Ulysses might have been like had he written about science.  Don't let anyone undersell this." Steve Hovland, video maker.
  • "Genius." Jean Paul Baquiast Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.
Are Giusseppe Peano's 165 words, his five mathematical gems, the key to the universe?  Read The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates and judge for yourself.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 708 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (August 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161614551X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616145514
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. R THOMPSON on February 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The title of this book is extremely misleading. I bought it with the intention of learning "How a Godless Cosmos Creates" a universe. But no such luck.

The attractive cover and title looked promising and even titillating as I rushed to get into it. I kept reading, and reading, patiently waiting for the author to tell me "How a Godless Cosmos Creates", as he puts it.

By the time I reached the end, and realized that I was tricked by a book with only a pretty cover, it was too late. I had wasted another set of neurons for nothing.

I remember I kept seeing a particular question. Something about why "A" doesn't equal "A", and "x" doesn't equal "x", repeatedly until I was dizzy.

But I soldiered on anyway, while hoping and believing that a great scientist such as Howard Bloom wouldn't trick me with a pretty cover just to sell a book full of convoluted pages.

Yet in the end, that's exactly what he had done. By the time I was finished I came to the conclusion that he knows absolutely nothing about how a Godless cosmos creates anything.

The whole book is mainly a series of questioning and regurgitation of well known standard model physics. Nothing new!

For instance, he writes: "First a something came from a nothing-that something was the pinprick, the singularity, at the beginning of the big bang. That infinitesimal blip turned out to be a rush of time, space, and speed..."

That paragraph however, was one of the most lucid parts of Bloom's rant from where I could pick some sense.

But I wondered if he ever thought of how the singularity ever came about. Then I remembered that it's taboo to think past the singularity anyway because, who knows: You might just find God waiting on the other side.

I don't know how the universe creates. And Bloom doesn't know either. No one knows. So I'm back to square one.

But at least I can enjoy the pretty, awesome looking book cover.
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Delivering his argument in quantum packets, aka "sentence fragments", Mr. Bloom drags us through 563 pages of what amounts to 'The History of the Development of Mathematics' in order leave us with the conclusion that God, still, apparently has a problem. The failed argument, although entertaining, is rife with historical inaccuracies that, were you not otherwise better informed, would have you believing, for example, that the pyramids of Giza were laid out using knotted ropes, were built during the time of Khufu, and that its builders were "unaware" of the deep mathematical understandings that just happen to have been demonstrated throughout all of its structural dimensions...apparently by accident. In this instance, the credibility of some of the historical data might have been better served by the inclusion of some Sitchin and/or some Tompkins in his pre-publication research material.

That aside, the goal, according to the book's title, is never met. The attempt, though admirable, not only fails to convince, it assumes the importance of the wrong question. The question that continues to plague us, or to "recruit" our attention, as Mr. Bloom would characterize it, is not how the cosmos creates, but rather, how did the cosmos came into existence in the first place. In Mr. Bloom's terms, the cosmos creates by 'iterating simple rules'. Fine. Now tell me where the rules came from as well as the game pieces that the cosmos "iterates" according to those rules.

The book is another one of those "here's what may have happened after the Big Bang" kind of books. What I want to know is, where did the stuff come from to make a 'bang' and where did the 'space' come from that the stuff from the 'bang' expanded in to?
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This is a very fine review of dozens of scientific principles( if you can get through the annoying writing style of mixing segments of his life with the principles ) however the book, in 600 or more pages, never even discusses the god problem other than in fleeting references, never relates the principles to the "problem," and never provides any answers at all to how the cosmos was supposedly created from nothing. But if he had named the book something like "history of scientific principles " how many copies does anyone think it would sell?
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I realize I'll be in the minority here. Perhaps a minority of one. That's probably because I'm an idiot.

This book is big. With lots of quotes on the dust cover from Barbara Ehrenreich and nobel prize winners. Lots of them. It attracted lots of them. Because it's big. A big, iterating repetitive pile about termite turds and metaphors. About attraction. And repulsion. And how Newton's great grandfather knew B.F. Skinner's nanny's great, great, great, great grandmother's great aunt centuries before the Strand attracted publishers. There's that incredible attraction again. Let me repeat myself, because repetition is a big attractive theme. And this book has ideas. Boy does it have ideas! Ideas and explanation points!! Lots of inchoate, implicit explanation points in big bold sentences, but also many many many real explanation points. Because it's not going to give you any equations because that's so 20th century, and besides then it won't get the attention it deserves. Let's face it, A doesn't equal A because you can never step in the same river twice. And it's all about attention! Attention, attraction, repulsion and iteration. Are we at page 500 yet? Yes. Then I can get to the point. The point about all the quarks. The quarks get together and have a scrimmage ten to the forty three times a second. Well, "times," so to speak, but not in real time, no -- hidden time. Hidden time is when the quarks scrimmage. And because they have a little bit of free will, so do we. The quarks get together and communicate. Communication is critical to your iterating. And the universe becomes fractal-like, because there's iteration. And if only you'd studied cosmology for twenty years and were as smart as Bloom, you'd realize how significant this is. Have I mentioned Babylon!
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