The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew

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The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew audiobook

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Review #1

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew audiobook free

This is a set of related essays ruminating on humanities relation to modern science and is more rambling lyrical personal reflections than explanatory science. The essays are: The Accidental Universe; The Temporary Universe; The Spiritual Universe; The Symmetrical Universe; The Gargantuan Universe; The Lawful Universe; The Disembodied Universe. The narration is excellent, slow paced, emotional, and poetic. The author declares he is an atheist, but seems to believe that God, transcendent personal experience, and what created our universe are all beyond the realm of scientific analysis. I agree that such things may currently beyond complete scientific analysis, but they are not beyond scientific analysis in principle. If God, or transcendental personal experiences have any practical effects, these effects can, eventually, be tested. History is full of the phenomena that were once fervently believed beyond the realm of thoughtful enquiry (the motion of planets, weather, disease, heredity, plant growth, hallucinogenic substances, and many others). These have all, one by one, succumbed to various levels of scientific analysis. There are only a very few phenomena left that some believe are still beyond the realm of science. Many, including Lightman, have a deeply emotional desire (without fully understanding why) that some part of human experience will remain forever beyond the realm of science. Lightman seems excited that the rest of the universe follows scientific laws, yet revolts against the idea these same laws control his own essence. He is saddened by the temporality of life and seems to view the connectivity allowed by cell phone technology as disembodiment. At some level I fully understand such attitudes, but nevertheless I find them mildly quaint. Reading Lightmans last chapter lamenting the disembodiment caused by texting I pondered if some old foggy at the dawn of humanity lamented how spoken language disembodied people from real pre-linguistic communication. I did not dislike this book, but did not get a lot out of it. I love art and literature and music and myth and my life, but I dont feel any need to separate these things into a spiritual realm beyond scientific analysis. There is some discussion of science in the book, but it is just a bit sloppy (like convolving quantum superposition with multi-position). When I finished this book I recalled how the end of A Brief History of Time resonated more with me than anything in The Accidental Universe; if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.\”


Review #2

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew audiobook streamming online

If you enjoy hard science as well as deeper philosophical questions that science cannot answer (yet), you will love this book… The narration is a bit slow, so I listened on 1.35x which was perfect. Will definitely listen again soon.


Review #3

Audiobook The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew by Alan Lightman

The lip service is to religion (an entire essay and then some), back when scientists had to score points and stay in good standing with their religious acquaintances. Weak philosophy.


Review #4

Audio The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew narrated by Bronson Pinchot

I bought this book expecting something more along the lines of Laurence Krauss\’ \”A Universe From Nothing\” with a little extra comparison to mythologies. That\’s not what this book is. Perhaps I should have recognized that fact from the short runtime. This is a short collection of expositional essays about the author\’s views on the relation science has to the humanities and the silly beliefs we often hold in our heads. It makes almost no attempt to be a science book; Lightman makes mention of some of the amazing discoveries of physics, but does not try to explain them, which is what I was after. I think the intent was for this to be a philosophy book, but it falls short there too. I expect a philosopher to describe the logical reasoning that led him to his conclusion. This author, however, does not do so. And the final chapter/essay makes no attempt to be anything but a rant, lamenting the way life has changed with the adoption of new technologies. I may agree with a number of Lightman\’s thoughts, but I can get rants from friends and family for free. I expect more thoughtful reasoning from a philosophy book, and a more objective analysis from a respected scientist. Forgive the condescension, but I think I\’d describe this as a collection of polite rants, masquerading as philosophy, couched between spats of scientific wonderment. It\’s not the worst book ever, but it has very little actual content.


Review #5

Free audio The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew – in the audio player below

just finished a book by Richard Feynman and a biography of Richard Feynman and that may have primed me against this one. The whole way through it i kept thinking \”Richard would have hated this\” The story is fanciful and speculative and Lightman ends it with a rant against millennials using cell phones. Honestly not sure why i finished it. The reader was excellent though. maybe that\’s why.


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