Synopses & Reviews
Throughout history, humans have dreamed of knowing the reason for the existence of the universe. In The Mind of God, physicist Paul Davies explores whether modern science can provide the key that will unlock this last secret. In his quest for an ultimate explanation, Davies reexamines the great questions that have preoccupied humankind for millennia, and in the process explores, among other topics, the origin and evolution of the cosmos, the nature of life and consciousness, and the claim that our universe is a kind of gigantic computer. Charting the ways in which the theories of such scientists as Newton, Einstein, and more recently Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman have altered our conception of the physical universe. Davies puts these scientists' discoveries into context with the writings of philosophers such as Plato. Descartes, Hume, and Kant. His startling conclusion is that the universe is "no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." By the means of science, we can truly see into the mind of God.
"Re-examine[s] the great questions of existence...and in the process it also provides an entertaining and provocative tour of recent developments in theoretical physics." -- Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Intellectually cordial and wonderfully lucid.... Meanders through dozens of current concepts and findings...and then observes how they illuminate the ancient quandaries encountered by Plato and Pythagoras, Spinoza and Kant.... [A] mind-bending experience." -- The Washington Post
"Provide[s] cogent explications of some of the most interesting ideas to have arisen from contemporary physics, mathematics and philosophy...full of ideas...mighty nourishing." -- Timothy Ferris, San Francisco Chronicle
"Stimulating and enlightening...Shows how scientists, like the ancient philosophers before them, continue to struggle with reconciling the eternal and the ephemeral." -- The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
PAUL DAVIES is Director of the Beyond Center at Arizona State University and the bestselling author of more than twenty books. He won the 1995 Templeton Prize for his work on the deeper meaning of science. His books include About Time, The Fifth Miracle, and The Mind of God.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 REASON AND BELIEF
The Scientific Miracle
Human Reason and Common Sense
Thoughts About Thought
A Rational World
Metaphysics: Who Needs It?
Time and Eternity: The Fundamental Paradox of Existence
CHAPTER 2 CAN THE UNIVERSE CREATE ITSELF?
Was There a Creation Event?
Creation from Nothing
The Beginning of Time
Cyclic World Revisited
Did God Cause the Big Bang?
Creation without Creation
Mother and Child Universes
CHAPTER 3 WHAT ARE THE LAWS OF NATURE?
The Origin of Law
The Cosmic Code
The Status of the Laws Today
What Does It Mean for Something to "Exist"?
In the Beginning
CHAPTER 4 MATHEMATICS AND REALITY
Why Does Arithmetic Work?
Russian Dolls and Artificial Life
CHAPTER 5 REAL WORLDS AND VIRTUAL WORLDS
Is the Universe a Computer?
The Cosmic Program
CHAPTER 6 THE MATHEMATICAL SECRET
Is Mathematics Already "Out There"?
The Cosmic Computer
Why Are the Laws of Nature Mathematical?.
How Can We Know Something without Knowing Everything?
CHAPTER 7 WHY IS THE WORLD THE WAY IT IS?
An Intelligible Universe
A Unique Theory of Everything?
The Best of All Possible Worlds?
Beauty as a Guide to Truth
Is God Necessary?
A Dipolar God and Wheeler's Cloud
Does God Have to Exist?
A God Who Plays Dice
CHAPTER 8 DESIGNER UNIVERSE
The Unity of the Universe
Life Is So Difficult
Has the Universe Been Designed by an Intelligent Creator?
The Ingenuity of Nature
A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
Is There Need for a Designer?
CHAPTER 9 THE MYSTERY AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE
What Is Man?