The second rule of Science, going back to Galileo and Anton van Leeuwenhoek, is to look at what’s right under your nose as if you’ve never seen it before.
Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) September 10, 2012
How does an inanimate universe manage the God-like feat of creating itself from absolutely nothing? And what enables it, after pulling itself up by its own cosmic bootstraps, to continue to generate billions of years’ worth of stunningly creative new forms all by itself?
“Humanity,” according to novelist Martin Amis, “is at least five Einsteins away” from discovering the algorithms necessary for explaining the existence of a developing universe with no god at the rudder. But Amis may be overly pessimistic. Why? Because of Howard Bloom, who in his new book The God Problem (Prometheus Books, hardcover, $28.00), tackles the question of how a godless cosmos creates. A book in which Bloom offers what some say is “the next paradigm.”
The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates has been compared to Newton’s Principia and Darwin’s Origin of Species. It’s been praised by one Nobel Prize winner and two MacArthur Genius Award winners. “If Howard Bloom is only 10% right,” says author and science-junkie Barbara Ehrenreich, “we’ll have to drastically revise our notions of the universe.”
The God Problem sets up no small job for itself. Bloom, who’s been called “the next Stephen Hawking” and the “Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Freud of the 21st Century,” poses the same seemingly unanswerable question that adherents of Intelligent Design use to continually poke godless scientists: How can a universe without a creator not only come into existence, but continue to create marvelous new complexities for billions and billions of years? The intellectual and scientific journey Bloom treats us to is simply delightful. Nobel Prize-Winner Dudley Herschbach calls The God Problem “truly awesome.” And Heinz Insu Fenkl, who heads The State University of New York’s Interstitial Studies Institute, says The God Problem is “the next paradigm. It will take you to a place from which you will never re-emerge, a brand new universe in the same skin as the one you now unknowingly inhabit.”
Loop quantum gravity cosmologist Martin Bojowald goes one step further. He says The God Problem is "entertaining, suspenseful, rigorous, and thoroughly mathematical." Yes, “rigorous and thoroughly mathematical.” In other words, The God Problem may read like a detective novel, but its new ideas are important scientific contributions.
As with many great philosophers and scientists, including Richard Feynman and Albert Einstein, Bloom’s uncanny perspective is rooted in a willingness to stand the cherished tenets of science squarely on their head. Bloom starts by upending one of the most cherished concepts of all—entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics. “The second rule of Science, going back to Galileo and Anton van Leeuwenhoek,” says Bloom, “is to look at what’s right under your nose as if you’ve never seen it before. To find your hidden assumptions and to flip them. Assumption flipping has been an enormously productive strategy for science. By simply overturning one assumption, one axiom—the absolute character of time, for example—Einstein was able to generate a whole new vision of the universe, one with extraordinary predictive powers. But the real trick is not just changing our assumptions. It’s finding them.”
What if we reverse the second law of thermodynamics? What kind of universe will that give us? In fact, it will give us a universe very much like the one we inhabit. But Bloom does more than just reverse one assumption. He reverses five. He does it with what he calls “The Five Heresies”:
1. a does not equal a
2. one plus one does not equal two
3. entropy is wrong
4. randomness is not as random as you think and
5. information theory is way off base.
In his book Evolutionaries, Carter Phipps says that Bloom’s ability to raise science’s next big questions, then to make the result delicious, is like that of Carl Sagan. On his quest for the simple rules that kicked off the cosmos, the “magic beans” that account for the stunning progression from nothingness to everything we see around us—including us—Bloom gives tantalizing glimpses of the cutting-edge science being produced by other axiom flippers. For example, Bloom shows us how Stephen Wolfram is proving that humanity’s 6,000-year-old mathematical enterprise is only one of an infinite number of possible math systems—which makes the traditional mathematical structure an unlikely tool for accurately modeling the universe we live in. And Bloom shows why Wolfram recommends jettisoning traditional mathematics entirely and relying on computers and cellular automata to spit out entire new universes based on different starting assumptions.
Wolfram, like Bloom, shows that the next big truths may come from science’s heretics. And Bloom, to paraphrase evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, is a heretic beyond all heretics.
In the process of sussing out the rules of a universe able to do everything it does without a bathrobed, bearded god at the controls, Bloom takes the reader on a tour of a hidden history. He reveals the invisible underside of almost ten thousand years of philosophy, mathematics, and science. He reveals the roots of the tools with which you and I think every day. And in the process he holds up those tools to the light and gives you and me a crack at upgrading them. In the words of the former Director of Research for the Guggenheim Foundation and founder of Rutgers University’s anthropology department Robin Fox, author of The Tribal Imagination, “Bloom takes us on a magic carpet ride of ideas about: well, about everything. And it turns out that everything we knew about everything is probably wrong.” The result, says Fox, is “an intellectual cave of wonders made more wonderful by the tales of the lives of the people behind the ideas.”
The God Problem is also essential reading if you’re curious about the beginning, middle, and end of the cosmos. The book tells the tale of how Bloom, as a sixteen-year-old, developed a theory that the universe may actually be what topologists call a torus, that is, a doughnut, a bagel. Bloom tossed his 1959 theory away as mere “comic book science.” But in 1980, something that Big Bagel theory had predicted was made a standard part of physics by Alan Guth—inflation. And in 1998, another prediction of Big Bagel theory proved to be true—that at a certain point the universe would begin to accelerate away from itself. Which made the Big Bagel one of the few theories able to explain two of physics’ and cosmology’s greatest current mysteries: the propulsive force known as dark energy; and why there’s so much matter in this universe and so little anti-matter. In The God Problem, Bloom offers a nifty demonstration of what Big Bagel theory means for the future--and the end--of the cosmos.
The universe, and all its glory, may indeed be explainable without a God, says Bloom. Thank God Howard Bloom is here to explain how.
For more information, visit http://howardbloom.net.
The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates
By Howard Bloom
Prometheus Books, ISBN: 978-0-1-61614-551-4; hardcover, 708 pp., $28.00
About Howard Bloom
Howard Bloom, a former visiting scholar at New York University, the founder of the International Paleopsychology Project, the founder of the Space Development Steering Committee (an organization that includes Buzz Aldrin, Edgar Mitchell, the sixth astronaut on the moon, and members from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Space Society). Bloom is a founding board member of the Epic of Evolution Society, and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, The European Sociobiological Society, and the Academy of Political Science.
Bloom’s scientific work has been published in PhysicaPlus, New Ideas in Psychology, Across Species Comparisons and Psychopathology, and arxiv.org, the leading pre-print site in advanced theoretical physics and math. His book Global Brain was the subject of an Office of the Secretary of Defense symposium in 2010, with participants from the State Department, the Energy Department, DARPA, IBM, and MIT.
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History , Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, and The Genius of the Beast: a Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism, Bloom has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” CBS’s “Nightwatch,” CNN, the BBC, and in hundreds of other media outlets.
Media contact: Victor Gulotta, Gulotta Communications, Inc.
617-630-9286, http://www.booktours.com, victor(at)booktours(dot)com