Kurzweil AI Reviews the 'Scientific Poetry' of The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates

via book review | The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates | KurzweilAI.

Howard Bloom‘s forthcoming book The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates, is arguably his best book so far, a page-turner with deep thoughts and entertaining bits on every page.

Is The God Problem a book on the history of science? No, more like a philosophical novel. Wait, perhaps an autobiography? Pop culture?

All of the above, and none. The God Problem defies categorization; it’s a cascade of books within books within books, like the novels of Joyce and Pynchon. The difference is that Bloom writes about the thoughts of the deepest thinkers of all times, from the Babylonians to our days, then proposes new ideas of his own.

I call it “scientific poetry.” The science is rigorous, and the philosophy is sound, but Bloom is first and foremost a great writer who makes cerebral stuff emotionally moving and entertaining.

This book has no equations, it is not written for scientists, but it’s an excellent science book that will help readers not only understand science better, but also love it more.

Toolkits of the mind

Ziggurat model. What simple things right under our noses do we fail to see? asks Howard Bloom (Credit: Sadegh Malek Shahmirzadi, Wikimedia Commons)

The God Problem starts with the story of how mathematics was invented in fourth-millennium BC Mesopotamia to count, split, inventory, and (especially) tax property. He puts you in the head of a Mesopotamian. You suddenly see how radically different and strangely alien an ancient viewpoint was.

The Babylonians had no circles in their mental toolkit. None. To them, everything was a line or a flat surface, like the surface of an iPhone-sized clay writing tablet. Every reference book in sight asserts that the Babylonian’s invented the 360 degrees of angles.

But The God Problem says they did not. And without the concept of the angle and the circle, the Babylonian sky was as flat as a ceiling and Babylonian astronomers never bothered to look up at the sky. Instead, they focused on a line — they noted where dots of light poked into the flat ceiling of the heavens from the line they called the “cattle pen” of the horizon.



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