[Ebook] ↠ Calculating God Author Robert J. Sawyer – Prestigelakesidehabitat.info

Calculating God 4.5 stars Most of this book is a solid 5 star effort that I thought was incredibly well done The central plot involves a representative from a highly advanced alien culture arriving on Earth to review our fossil records and demonstrating to an atheist anthropologist actual proof of the existence of God It is a well written, deftly plotted and extremely clever spin on the intelligent design theory and was a lot of fun to read The story loses one star or at least a half star for a very clu 4.5 stars Most of this book is a solid 5 star effort that I thought was incredibly well done The central plot involves a representative from a highly advanced alien culture arriving on Earth to review our fossil records and demonstrating to an atheist anthropologist actual proof of the existence of God It is a well written, deftly plotted and extremely clever spin on the intelligent design theory and was a lot of fun to read The story loses one star or at least a half star for a very clunky tacked on subplot involving right wing religious fanatics It played no useful part of the story and I got the feeling that the author included it only to make sure that readers didn t think he was advocating a creationist point of view It was completely unnecessary and distracted me from the main story which was so very engaging Still, the subplot was not a huge part of the book and is easily skipped over so as not to significantly take away from the rest of the book which an absolute GEM If you have never read Robert Sawyer, this is a great place to start HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Nominee Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2001 Nominee John W Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2001 I m very glad I finally got around to reading this I think I thought I might have gotten a bit tired of the whole science vs religion debate in modern SF, so when I read the blurb, I hesitated between wanting to readof Robert s work or having to slog through one side or another of the Evolution vs God kerfuffle.But, again, I m glad It was nothing like a slog In fact, it was rather refreshing to have rational science type aliens visit Earth and insist that God exists to all the athe I m very glad I finally got around to reading this I think I thought I might have gotten a bit tired of the whole science vs religion debate in modern SF, so when I read the blurb, I hesitated between wanting to readof Robert s work or having to slog through one side or another of the Evolution vs God kerfuffle.But, again, I m glad It was nothing like a slog In fact, it was rather refreshing to have rational science type aliens visit Earth and insist that God exists to all the atheists here Funny Yep And the whole novel ends making the best case I ve heard for keeping an open mind You know kinda like using the scientific method.Of course, this novel couldn t have worked unless the aliens brought themselves and other aliens over and gave us certain proofs that genetics kinda works the same everywhere and that only life forms of a certain size are able to manipulate fire and there s a lot of archeology going on about aliens that have since passed on, lending yetweight of proof to the whole idea that God exists.I can t really put that aside The novel couldn t have worked out like this without including these rational aliens But within the framework that Mr Sawyer set up, I m VERY happy with the results of the story It s probably my favorite out of all his works An easy read, lovingly rational, mixing tragedy with one of the basic desires we all have questions Curiosity Speculation A desire to know Truth In that respect, I think this is one of those great works Keep an open mind It might be that everyone is a bit right Wow.No Seriously Wow.This guy Deep.Sawyer challenges a lot of assumptions in this book About god, about evolution, about astronomy and about paleontologists Take me to your paleontologist Once again, Sawyer does aliens in a way that makes them alien in such perfect ways.This book goes to the edges of philosophy and beyond and it was a very interesting and challenging ride to be on Wow.It does at times read like a textbook to varying subjects, there s an awful lot of science and philosop Wow.No Seriously Wow.This guy Deep.Sawyer challenges a lot of assumptions in this book About god, about evolution, about astronomy and about paleontologists Take me to your paleontologist Once again, Sawyer does aliens in a way that makes them alien in such perfect ways.This book goes to the edges of philosophy and beyond and it was a very interesting and challenging ride to be on Wow.It does at times read like a textbook to varying subjects, there s an awful lot of science and philosophy the reader needs to understand as the the main character makes his journey However, there s a large dose of cultural context, from Carl Sagan to the skeptical inquirer to South Park The character of Tom Jericho FEELS like he lives in the late 90s early 00s, with all the things that a person of that era would know.Plus Aliens with humor Before reading this book, Robert Sawyer had been a borderline author for me His SciFis are generally well researched, but his characters are too Middle class married WASP with children for my taste They obsess over themselves and their trite conceptions of morality a theme Sawyer cannot leave alone, or do justice to In Calculating GOD , Sawyer finally shows his hand And for me, he s no longer a borderline author he s a card carrying foot soldier of the Christian Creationist far right Before reading this book, Robert Sawyer had been a borderline author for me His SciFis are generally well researched, but his characters are too Middle class married WASP with children for my taste They obsess over themselves and their trite conceptions of morality a theme Sawyer cannot leave alone, or do justice to In Calculating GOD , Sawyer finally shows his hand And for me, he s no longer a borderline author he s a card carrying foot soldier of the Christian Creationist far right This book is a blatant plug for Intelligent Design Now I know why his previous books had the whiff of something rotten.The new battlefront for the folk pushing Intelligent Design has shifted from evolution, to what is known as the Fundamental Universal Constants , the settings which make a sustainable universe possible Mainstream science proposes a number of multiversal theories to account for the improbabilities that life exists we are VERY lucky to be in one of the Universes where the constants stack up in our favour Sawyer does away with the multiverse Aliens say it doesn t exist, and the one universe was designed by a creator GOD who occasionally throws asteroids about to make conditions right for His Her chosen people.This is a very dangerous book Sawyer uses a lot of science to justify his position, and the first person narrator is an atheist scientist, so he managed to keep me reading just to see where he was going to go Time after time he writes a paragraph of science fact, then he slips in a distortion, exaggeration, or a blatant untruth He does this so regularly he s either a dangerous fool someone who knows a lot of information, but has missed the fundamental point about a topic or he s a very cunning liar out to convert science fiction readers to the cause of Intelligent Design.This book needs a warning notice on the cover Danger Toxic Memes I kind of hated this book The premise is that an alien comes to earth and asks to meet with a paleontologist The alien is devoutly religious, and the book is mostly a dialog between the two, with the religious alien trying to convince the atheist scientist of the existence of a god or intelligent designer.That wouldn t be so bad, necessarily, if it was an interesting argument that relied on facts on both sides, but because it s a work of fiction the author tips the balance in favor of the i I kind of hated this book The premise is that an alien comes to earth and asks to meet with a paleontologist The alien is devoutly religious, and the book is mostly a dialog between the two, with the religious alien trying to convince the atheist scientist of the existence of a god or intelligent designer.That wouldn t be so bad, necessarily, if it was an interesting argument that relied on facts on both sides, but because it s a work of fiction the author tips the balance in favor of the intelligent design argument by inventing facts in his fictional world facts that would indeed convince a rational thinker that intelligent design is correct.The story gives the impression of being a convincing argument for intelligent design, when in fact the intelligent design argument relies on certain suppositions from the fictional world that have no basis in reality, like a fifth fundamental force, simultaneous development of DNA based life on multiple worlds, and simultaneous mass extinctions on multiple worlds The end of the book is particularly vexing, because after arguing for a deist non interventionist creator for the whole book, the author has the creator directly intervene to cause a miracle.Read one of Sawyer s other books instead I recommend Hominids or Flashforward A caring God, repeated Hollus I have also heard the phrases a loving God, and a compassionate God His eyestalks locked on me I think you humans apply too many adjectives to the creatorCalculating God is an exploration of the idea of God through the lens of science andspecifically science fiction You would not find many religious SF authors perhaps Google can find a few but I can t be bothered , certainly, the best known SF authors like Asimov and Clarke have no truck wA caring God, repeated Hollus I have also heard the phrases a loving God, and a compassionate God His eyestalks locked on me I think you humans apply too many adjectives to the creatorCalculating God is an exploration of the idea of God through the lens of science andspecifically science fiction You would not find many religious SF authors perhaps Google can find a few but I can t be bothered , certainly, the best known SF authors like Asimov and Clarke have no truck with religion The only one I can think of, offhand is C.S Lewis who wrote a sci fi trilogy of called Space Trilogy,of a Christian allegory with sci fi trappings than actual sci fi some bad science in Out of the Silent Planet as I recall Robert J Sawyer, however, is a hard SF author,often than not his sci fi is backed up by known science This makes the main theme of Calculating God muchinterestingly handled than Lewis stab at sci fi Whether you are an atheist, an agnostic, or religious, if you keep an open mind this book should give you some food for thought I doubt it will change your belief, I don t think that is what Sawyer wants to achieve here I don t even know what Sawyer s belief is Art by SharksDenThe novel starts off in a lighthearted tone, with an amusing depiction of First Contact or close encounter of the third kind at the Toronto museum The Forhilnors aliens wisely visit Earth as holographic projections rather than risking their backsides with the potentially trigger happy humans Hollus, the first alien visitor to make contact, is looking for a paleontologist to help with a research project Thomas Jericho is the man for the job, nice fellow, argent atheist, who soon discovers he has terminal cancer In a narrative where is visited by kind, civilized aliens from an advanced race, you would expect the protagonist to healed of cancer in a jiffy Fortunately, this is not the easy route Sawyer takes The most important aspect of the book is the discussion Hollus has with Jericho about God Hollus race and the Wreed , another race of aliens who is also represented in Hollus spaceship, believe in God I can imagine an atheist reading the review this far saying Pfui , What poppycock or words to that effect, but the novel has little to do with religion, it isan exploration of how God or a God like entity may exist and function within our universe The aliens have no interest in worshipping this God , they cannot even imagine why it would want to be worshipped No idea who to credit for this one, sorry.So, yes if you are thinking of intelligent design , Sawyer discusses this idea at lengths, together with some rationalization both for and against the idea This does not mean the author is a creationist, he has complete confidence in science and subjects the intelligent design idea to some scientific analysis The result is inconclusive but interesting For exampleTake gravity as an example were it only somewhat stronger, the universe would have long since collapsed If it were somewhat weaker, stars and planets never could have coalesced Did somebody tweak gravity so it is just right No It just happened But it is not just gravityThe four fundamental forces you humans know about are gravitation, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force The strengths of these forces have wildly varying values, and yet if the values were even slightly different from their current ones, the universe as we know it would not exist, and life could never have formed This proves nothing, and yet Putting aside the intelligent design discussion, Calculating God also functions well as a work of fiction Sawyer made a good effort to develop and humanize his protagonist, he even humanized as opposed to alienize the aliens which is not necessarily a good thing but it works well here There is considerable pathos in the novel and a sense of compassion which is a special ingredient that can elevate sci fi if conveyed sincerely see the works of Clifford D Simak This book is by no means perfect, there is a subplot involving terrorist fundamentalists that sticks out like a sore thumb in the narrative, and also a sudden epic cosmic crisis that comes out of nowhere no momentum leading to it Calculating God is not a sci fi thriller, and the parts intended to thrill are not particularly effective However, even with these flaws in mind, I find to be a very good, thought provoking read I do like this book a lot, but it is probably not worth five stars as there are at least a couple of glaring flaws However, I will rate it at five stars anyway, not really sure why, we all move in mysterious ways sometimes I guess.Notes Science and God by Robert J Sawyer Very interesting article by the author on this theme Sawyer s Rebuttal to The Skeptical Inquirer s Review of Calculating GodQuotesWe re trying to protect the alien, said the white CSIS man Like hell, said a male museum patron I ve seen The X Files If you walk out of here with him, no regular person will ever see him again How do members of your species reconcile the act of prayer with the reality that most prayers go unanswered I shrugged a little We say things like Everything happens for a reason Ah, the Wreed philosophy, said Hollus Evolution is driven by struggles for dominance I ve heard it suggested that no herbivore could ever develop intelligence because it doesn t take any cunning to sneak up on a leaf There is no indisputable proof for the big bang, said Hollus And there is none for evolution And yet you accept those Why hold the question of whether there is a creator to a higher standard Surely simply creating life can t be the sole goal You must believe your putative designer wanted not just life, but intelligent life Unintelligent life is really nothingthan complex chemistry It s only when it becomes sapient that life really gets interestingHollus by The Xenosaurus Great premise, terrible execution Calculating God proposes the question what if we make contact with aliens and discover that they are not rationalist atheist scientists, but true believers It s a provocative opening and challenge to science fiction in general, which is often though not always written by rationalist, atheist authors who assume their readers and their imagined futures will share those values The problem is that Calculating God isn t a very good book on any level The majorit Great premise, terrible execution Calculating God proposes the question what if we make contact with aliens and discover that they are not rationalist atheist scientists, but true believers It s a provocative opening and challenge to science fiction in general, which is often though not always written by rationalist, atheist authors who assume their readers and their imagined futures will share those values The problem is that Calculating God isn t a very good book on any level The majority of its pages take the form of a dialogue between Hollus, an alien Forhilnor, and Thomas Jericho, an aging, cancer stricken paleontologist at the Royal Ontario Museum The aliens have come to Earth to conduct research, having determined that mass extinctions have occurred at the same points in the histories of three different inhabited worlds Hence, they wish to speak with a paleontologist and not with the United Nations.Sawyer s dialogue followsthe pattern of Galileo than that of Plato It s a dialogue between straw men in which the hand of the creator ironic, that is never absent There is no depth to the theology he places in his characters mouths, which varies between absent God Deism and a strange sort of scientist theology of a God who intervenes only at cosmic scales His science is equally poor the aliens proof of the existence of God is based on the anthropic principle, the well known claim that the universe s structure and parameters have been fine tuned to allow the existence of life The anthropic principle is hardly new ground Sawyer s aliens turn it into a proof of the existence of God via their discovery but not explication of a Grand Unified Theory which conveniently shows that the multiverse answer to the principle that ours is one of a multitude of universes with different physical constants isn t true The other major response, that the apparent fine tuning is the result of an underlying order yet to be discovered, is mentioned but glossed over Since the only remaining explanation is that a God intervened, say the aliens, clearly God exists Unfortunately for Sawyer and his aliens, that isn t how scientific proofs work It s also not how Occam s Razor, which the author repeatedly has characters invoke incorrectly, works Proof by elimination must be coupled with a proof of the extent of the field i.e., demonstration that an enumerated set of possible solutions is exhaustive and with rigorous definitions The ridiculous proof presented in Calculating God manages to insult science and religion This kind of deeply flawed reasoning is present throughout the book Found an abandoned planet Clearly, the vanished civilization uploaded themselves into a computer, says our protagonist Oh Clearly Why didn t I think of that eminently and indisputably a priori correct explanation says the alien, and proceeds.So the majority of the book is consumed in this very silly discussion, together with personal reflection and reminiscence from the dying protagonist Then surprise a couple of even sillier things happen First, there s a ludicrous subplot featuring fundamentalist American terrorists destroying lying fossils, at the Royal Ontario Museum of all places It s almost farcical, except that the author seems to be taking it seriously Secondly view spoiler there s a supernova Yes, Betelgeuse picks this moment to explode and threaten to wipe out all intelligent life in the surrounding systems, etc, etc Except A giant black cloak appears and swallows the inchoate supernova whole Clearly, everyone concludes, that must be God The God who fine tunes the universe for life, leaves, and then pops up to alternately cause mass extinctions and eat supernovae Jericho makes a not very wrenching decision to leave his family and go talk to the God cloak with the aliens and finis hide spoiler Seriously, don t read this book Read A Canticle for Leibowitz if you re in the mood for religious science fiction This is tripe An Alien Shuttle Craft Lands Outside The Royal Ontario Museum In Toronto Out Pops A Six Legged, Two Armed Alien, Who Says, In Perfect English, Take Me To A Paleontologist It Seems That Earth, And The Alien S Home Planet, And The Home Planet Of Another Alien Species Traveling On The Alien Mother Ship, All Experienced The Same Five Cataclysmic Events At About The Same Time, Including Events Exactly Like The Meteor That Wiped Out The Dinosaurs Both Alien Races Believe This Proves The Existence Of God Ie He S Obviously Been Manipulating The Evolution Of Life On Each Of These Planets So close to perfection and genuine insight Yet so farIt opens with an almost Pratchettian set up, subtler than Pratchett Sawyer is Canadian after all but no less replete with humor and humanity It s funny, insightful, touching, engaging, unputdownable A remarkable work of satire and social criticism, reflecting on the hidebound rigidity and reactionary nature of much of modern scientific culture and its shocking betrayal of its own stated goals Then it hits the halfway mark and all of t So close to perfection and genuine insight Yet so farIt opens with an almost Pratchettian set up, subtler than Pratchett Sawyer is Canadian after all but no less replete with humor and humanity It s funny, insightful, touching, engaging, unputdownable A remarkable work of satire and social criticism, reflecting on the hidebound rigidity and reactionary nature of much of modern scientific culture and its shocking betrayal of its own stated goals Then it hits the halfway mark and all of that goes down the drain Stock plot twists shallow characterizations offensively and childishly stereotypical villains comparable almost to Dickens original vision of Fagin attempts at religious arguments which only betray the author s own ignorance regarding the subject of religion It d be sad if it didn t come across as so obnoxious.After the mini climax involving the stereotypes and failed religious discussions, the novel picks up again, but it never quite recovers In starts and fits, stutters and sputters, it staggers along to a conclusion that it didn t quite earn.I ll give this 4 stars because it really does begin SO well and Sawyer really is a talented writer The ending was ALMOST great If he could only take his blinders off You had something special going there, Sawyer Something unique and insightful and incisive which could have moved both sides to rethink their positions and open their minds but you sacrificed it at the altar of convention Tragic I quite looked forward to this book due to the intriguing concept, but It didn t live up to its potential The book s premise, as I understood it, was a theistic alien and an athiestic palentologist debating the existence of God The problem was that all the arguments he used for the existence of God were made up examples being that every planet in the Galaxy has had 5 extinctions, and every race has the same DNA The discussions become boring since they are entirely fictional in all the detai I quite looked forward to this book due to the intriguing concept, but It didn t live up to its potential The book s premise, as I understood it, was a theistic alien and an athiestic palentologist debating the existence of God The problem was that all the arguments he used for the existence of God were made up examples being that every planet in the Galaxy has had 5 extinctions, and every race has the same DNA The discussions become boring since they are entirely fictional in all the details and arguments used The characters as well were stereotypes some of which seemed as though they were brought in for no reason other than for the author to make his opinion known The main character is an evolutionist athiest and portrayed as intelligent though somewhat stuck in his ways His wife is a Christian but also somewhatnaive and less of a deep thinker Meanwhile the only other Christians in the story think that dinosaur bones are a trick made by Satan The only ones who get a large amount of time rather than just cornering and yelling at paleontologists about Noah s Ark blow up Abortion Clinics and break dinosaur bones I m not saying that he needs to include Christians or religious people in his book, but since he did than it would have been nice if it was a less condescending and insulting portrayal The third major problem is the amount of ideas he tried to put in this book It had many interesting concepts but most of them are mentioned for less than a page He spent very large amounts of time on science fiction references or numerous Canadian references but very little on the thoughts and ideas that the book could have explored


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