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The Intelligent Universe

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0030700835
ISBN-10: 0030700833
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Holt, Rinehart and Winton (March 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0030700833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0030700835
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,007,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) was an English astronomer noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and cosmology; he also coined the term "Big Bang" (as a sarcastic comment, in contrast to his own "Steady-State" theory). He wrote several books with Chandra Wickramasinghe (Lifecloud: Origin of Life in the Universe, Diseases from Space, and Evolution from Space, and this 1983 book is basically a "popularization" of his earlier books.

He wrote in the Foreword, "For what reason do we live our lives at all? Biology, as it is presently taught, answers that the purpose is to produce the next generation... There is nothing but continuity, not purpose except continued existence... Even if we grant for a moment that this proposition if true, so what? There are many things that would assist our survival which we do not possess... it would often have been an advantage in moments of great danger to be able to run like a hare or to soar away from the danger... But we can do neither... the logic is back-to-front... advantage does not automatically generate that which would be an advantage, either in biology or elsewhere..." (Pg. 6)

He adds, "natural selection acts like a sieve. It can distinguish between species presented to it, but it cannot decide what species should be sieved in the first place. The control over what is presented to the sieve has to enter terrestrial biology from outside itself... from far outside the confines of our planet...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fred Hoyle, who was the British Astronomer Royal for many years, argues in his book that life did not begin on Earth from inorganic chemicals "in some warm pond" as Charles Darwin proposed, but was instead seeded from space. He makes a very convincing case for this proposition. However, he goes a step further and proposes that the universe is in fact an intelligent entity which is "evolving" or developing itself in accordance with some great plan, getting ever more complex through this process.

He does not prove his theory in this book, in my opinion, but it is a beautiful idea elegantly explained for the lay person.

Hoyle received strong criticism from the scientific community, especially after he repudiated the 'Big Bang" theory in favour of a 'Steady state' explanation of the Universe's beginnings. There is no denying that Hoyle was a great scientist. His book is an absorbing read for anyone who has ever wondered about the great mysteries of space and time.
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Format: Hardcover
Hoyle was an exceptional scientist, as well as a speculator and natural philosopher of, I believe, the highest order that one might encounter. I
have read much of his science fiction, as well as his collaborative books: `Cosmic Life Force', and `Cosmic Dragons.' I am yet to read `Ice' and am really looking forward to it. I am still reading this book: `The Intelligent Universe', nearly done now, but feel compelled to get down some of his remarkable ideas in a review, while they are fresh in the mind.

This book is a grand sweep of his theories, getting more into other areas than mere panspermia, in the two previous titles I have just mentioned.

Hoyle was a naturalist, looking as much as possible at the whole situation. He really wanted desperately to understand the universe, and sought a multidisciplinary means of doing so. He does not repeat dogma he did not understand, like most other physics authors, dogma which often unsatisfying obfuscates rather than clarifies the natural order. He needs to first see a scientific principle in action for himself, otherwise he tends to challenge that principle with something from left field. It is true in physics that sometimes, nothing is intuitive, yet Hoyle I am sure was well aware of this mitigating factor.

For those who do not have access to this book, I would love to supply a little synopsis of some of the ideas contained within. Alone, many of these ideas can be mind blowing. Place them all in one book and the book becomes rather exciting indeed. Please note these are only a few of his shocking ideas:

* He claims the reason viruses make us sick in the first place is due to the fact that they are utterly necessary, the primary cause of genetic variance and evolution.
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Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist exraordinaire, is in danger of being a forgotten genius in part for his refusal to accept the big bang theory and, no doubt, for his refusal to accept that life originated on Earth. This book is not an easy read but Fred does his best to explain the rather difficult subject matter. For newcomers to Hoyle I would suggest reading "The Nature of the Universe" first which explains how stars come into being and how the solar sytem was born.
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A gripping tale by Sir Fred, but full of sound and fury signifying little. Hoyle swears that interstellar space is chockful of microorganisms, though none have ever been cultured in vitro despite all the space traveling that humans have done since that assertion. Furthermore, Hoyle's repeated and irrational antipathy to Darwin's theory of natural selection is quite inelegant and inexplicable. I was, however, rather entranced by his concept of information flowing from the future to the past.
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