THE MATTER MYTH by Paul Davies

THE MATTER MYTH

Dramatic Discoveries that Challenge Our Understanding of Physical Reality

KIRKUS REVIEW

English astrophysicist-cum-science writer Gribbin (co-author, Cosmic Coincidences, 1989, etc.) and mathematical physicist Davies (Univ. of Adelaide, Australia; The Cosmic Blueprint, 1988, etc.) have collectively produced a couple of dozen popular books on the nature of the universe, churning them out as regularly as clockwork. Both are talented expositors with a passion to explain. But what can we expect from this latest version of micro and macro worlds? Not a lot of newness. Aficionados who are already titillated by parallel universes, multidimensional space, Schrîdinger's cat, black holes, and wormholes will meet the same concepts and cast of characters, with the same zealous prose pointing out how weird and wonderful it all is. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the book seems to be to persuade readers of what the team devoutly believes: Newtonian reductionism (the matter myth) is dead; long live the new paradigm. Well, reductionism in physics died a long time ago with the appearance of relativity, quantum mechanics, and uncertainty. As for the new paradigm, Davies and now Gribbin are plumping for a "self-organizing complexity"--a kind of interactive universe that raises the Gaia hypothesis to the nth power. Evidence for that is speculative and controversial. For the reader who might like to entertain this among other cosmological hypotheses, the setting out of one set of bizarre theories after another in a largely uncritical omnium-gatherum is more likely to engender skepticism than conviction.
Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0743290917
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1991




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