THE THINKING ODYSSEY by Donald Preston

THE THINKING ODYSSEY

KIRKUS REVIEW

A wide-ranging discussion of the natural world from a dedicated but inquisitive theist.

The habits of the giant coconut crab, the workings of world religions, and the ebb and flow of the weather might seem about as disparate a group of assembled elements as possible. But seen through the author’s lens of interconnected ecosystems, the preceding topics and many more become a unified field of sound scholarly exploration, not to mention free-flowing musing. Dutifully recounting the science behind such notions before asking the inevitable question of why we believe in the things we believe in, the author confidently credits a supreme being presiding over the whole shebang. But the God born out of this reality’s Big Bang is not the meddling—some might say malevolent—deity of the Old Testament. According to the author, he can’t be, since “God’s interventions would change natural ecology and play havoc with the Butterfly Effect.” The last phenomena, as sci-fi fans know, postulates that even the flapping of a butterfly’s wings—or the absence of such flapping—has enormous consequences further down the chain of interconnected causality. Thus, the God described here is omnipresent and omnipotent, but he doesn’t intervene or answer prayers: “God does not tinker with anything on Earth.” This view, the author says, leaves the door wide open for science and theism to happily coexist. For instance, evolution isn’t a problem for the theistic writer if Charles Darwin’s theory just happens to be the Almighty’s way of getting things done. Ultimately, however, the lack of a coherent or compelling focus threatens to undermine the earnestness that resides within this constantly leapfrogging treatise. Those operating outside the restrictive lens of religious dogma won’t be inspired or especially challenged, but seen through a more accommodating lens, this God-fearing author’s exhortations could prove notably provocative and productive.

A well-crafted reflection on the place of religion in the physical world.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1481254137
Page count: 222pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2013




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