The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions ★★★★☆

919259332f66a3c596f31577077444341587343This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions
Series: ———-
Author: David Berlinski
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 258
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The title really does sum this up. Written as a foil to Dawkin’s The God Delusion, Berlinski, a non-practicing Jew, shows just how shaky the ground is, philosophically AND scientifically, that many out-spoken atheists stand on.

Using humor, sarcasm and other rather ham handed approaches, Berlinski pokes the High Priests of Scyenze and lets the hot air out of them, much like a balloon. He doesn’t approach things form an angle of “They are wrong and I’m right” but more of a “their attitude is untenable given their arrogant, boasting statements about Faith and Religion”.

 

My Thoughts:

I had a hard time with this. Even while I agreed with much of what Berlinski wrote, I am not a fan of the style he uses, ie, poking the bear with a stick. The problem is, people like Hawkings, Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc, NEED to be poked. They are arrogant, proud, boastful and self-centered and all of their might and effort is put forth proving that God doesn’t exist just so that they don’t have to kneel before Him. Reading this was like getting a splinter removed with a needle. It was necessary and good but you don’t like the process.

I was high lighting sentences left and right on my kindle but I don’t care enough to type them all out. Honestly, I don’t know if I was the target audience for this or not. Berlinski is an Evolutionist but realizes that the pat “We Have All the Answers” attitude put out by the scientific community as a whole is a bunch of bologna. He pokes and pokes and shows that no, they don’t have all the answers. In fact, some of the contortions they must go through make the planetary epicycles of Ptolemy look positively straight!

The biggest thing I got was that most of the people he mentions by name are arrogant blowhards and that Pride shapes how they think and how they approach existence itself. Pride is what led to Satan’s fall from grace and Berlinski shows how Pride is still blinding people today, even people of great intellect.

Recommended as a Counter Cultural Argument against the monolithic religion of our day, Scyenze.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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A Catechism of Quantum Cosmology – A Quote from “The Devil’s Delusion”

919259332f66a3c596f31577077444341587343

“The argument that Hawking has offered may be conveyed by question-and-answer, as in the Catholic catechism.   A Catechism of Quantum Cosmology

Q: From what did our universe evolve?
A: Our universe evolved from a much smaller, much emptier mini-universe. You may think of it as an egg.

Q: What was the smaller, emptier universe like?
A: It was a four-dimensional sphere with nothing much inside it. You may think of that as weird.

Q: How can a sphere have four dimensions?
A: A sphere may have four dimensions if it has one more dimension than a three-dimensional sphere. You may think of that as obvious.

Q: Does the smaller, emptier universe have a name?
A: The smaller, emptier universe is called a de Sitter universe. You may think of that as about time someone paid attention to de Sitter.

Q: Is there anything else I should know about the smaller, emptier universe?
A: Yes. It represents a solution to Einstein’s field equations. You may think of that as a good thing.

Q: Where was that smaller, emptier universe or egg?
A: It was in the place where space as we know it did not exist. You may think of it as a sac.

Q: When was it there?
A: It was there at the time when time as we know it did not exist. You may think of it as a mystery.

Q: Where did the egg come from?
A: The egg did not actually come from anywhere. You may think of this as astonishing.

Q: If the egg did not come from anywhere, how did it get there?
A: The egg got there because the wave function of the universe said it was probable. You may think of this as a done deal.

Q: How did our universe evolve from the egg?
A: It evolved by inflating itself up from its sac to become the universe in which we now find ourselves. You may think of that as just one of those things.

This catechism, I should add, is not a parody of quantum cosmology. It is quantum cosmology.”  ~ David Berlinski, page 89 of The Devil’s Delusion

 

While the tone is definitely biting, Berlinski simply shows that those great high priests of Scyenze like Hawking, Dawkins, Harris, etc, must make greater leaps of faith than ANY person of religious persuasion of any kind.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

The Engineer Reconditioned (Polity #13) ★★★★☆

engineerreconditioned (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Engineer Reconditioned
Series: Polity #13
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 260
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories from Asher’s Polity Universe, his Owner universe and some general SF shorts.

 

My Thoughts:

Really, my previous review still stands. Asher just unloads several times on anything “religious” and even in one of his intro’s to a story admits that’s exactly what he is doing. Makes me wonder why the vitriol. His wife hadn’t died yet, so it wasn’t like he was blaming God for that. In fact, now that his wife has passed on, I’ve noticed LESS bashing of religion in his books. Thankfully, I knew this was an element in this book so it didn’t shock me like it did the first time around. Scyenze is Asher’s god, he just won’t admit it.

I enjoyed the Owner stories a lot this time around as I now had the Owner trilogy under my literary belt. Did make me want to add them to my tbr. Once I finish up my Polity re-read, I’ll probably re-read the Owner books to tide me over until Asher’s Jain trilogy wraps up.

There was a story about the Hive (turns out Wasps are sentient creatures) and I have to admit I would like a trilogy about them at some point. I doubt it will happen and I’d be ok with just some more short stories, but since I’m wishing, a trilogy is what I want.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Seize the Night (Moonlight Bay #2) ★★★☆½

seizethenight (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Seize the Night
Series: Moonlight Bay #2
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Paranormal/Thriller
Pages: 482
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

It has been a month since the events in Fear Nothing. Chris Snow is just chilling in Moonlight Bay, waiting to see if the end of the world will come quickly or slowly. He’s out bicycling one night when he meets an old flame. She lost her husband 2 years ago and that very night her 6 year old boy has gone missing. Chris begins to track down the kidnapper and ends up at the Wyvern Base. He has a run in a psycho who tries to kill him and then in the process of leaving, has another encounter with the Troop. Also, Orson the dog has gone missing during the initial attack on Chris. While hiding from the Troop, he’s rescued by his surfer friend and they continue the hunt for Jimmy. They find a room that appears to take them somewhere else and they appear to see things that have happened in the past. They barely escape with their lives when some kind of monster infects a past researcher and they’re stuck with him. Thankfully, the “time machine” brings them back before they get axed.

Once home, before daybreak, Chris and Bobbie are confronted by the police and told to ignore everything, as “Higher Ups” are taking care of it. Considering the past track record of these “Higher Ups”, Chris and Bobby decide to ignore the cops and keep on looking for little Jimmy once night falls. They are told that the retrovirus burns itself out as the victims implode psychologically (ie, suicide) and that there are humans with natural immunity. Humanity is saved from the devastation Chris’s mom let loose. Hurray. They still have to find Jimmy and some other children who have gone missing.

Chris, Bobby, Sasha (Chris’s girlfriend), Mungojerrie (an intelligence enhanced cat) and some others all had to Wyvern to rescue Jimmy and the other missing children. Mungojerrie detects that the kids are beneath the time machine room and the machine is running while they make their rescue. Bobby is killed by security from the past and everyone sees into another dimension and a being comes through. It turns out that a murderous psycho who has been groups of children over the last 2 years is the head of the Mystery Train project and he wants to go to the other world so he can kill to his hearts content. It would appear though that he has tried to open a door to hell and something gets through. The group meets themselves on the elevator and Chris grabs Bobby and takes him with them. They escape and the time machine goes nuts. They watch it un-make itself, thus undoing the whole project but they still remember it.

Turns out the murderous psycho is still alive but now working on another project. Chris vows to stop him again and they all live happily ever after.

 

My Thoughts:

This was much more paranormal than the previous book. That just had a retrovirus turning everyone into bestial creatures who were just slathering to kill, pillage and rape. Here, the Mystery Train is a time machine only it turns out to “sidewise” in time and bad things have happened, hence why the project was shut down.

This book was only 48hrs and my goodness did Koontz pack in the thrills and chills. He’s very descriptive and I have to admit I wanted to skip it all but his descriptions really set the mood. Very atmospheric writing and downright creepy in place. I really liked it.

I also liked how Koontz unabashedly talks about the spiritual and how it is just as real as anything “scyenze” today can try to explain. In one paragraph Chris the main character is talking to his friend Bobby and Bobby says:

That doesn’t bother you like it does me, ’cause you’ve got God

and an afterlife and choirs of angels and palaces of gold

in the sky but all I’ve got is broccoli.”

It is kind of silly but it really got across the hope I have as a Christian. It’s refreshing and encouraging.

I think the only thing I didn’t really care for was how open ended the book was. Yes, the Mystery Train project is revealed, the retrovirus appears to be either burning itself out or a cure quickly on the way but with the whole Tornado Alley project throwaway line and the revelation that the murderous child burning psycho is still alive and working, well, it came across as Koontz leaving the door open for more books if he needed it. He didn’t have a definite “This Is the End” like he did for Odd Thomas.

And that reminds me of the only other nitpicky thing I can blab about. The recycling of ideas. Depending on how things continue in this vein, I might end up having to read these books a bit further apart than I have been. Time machines, evil materialized, calm and rational head character, creepy and spooky looks into a horrible dimension or the future, it all is extremely familiar. Now, Koontz does a fantastic job of not making the stories (so far) clones of each other but I’m leery of the same ideas being used in different ways. We’ll see what the future holds.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased and the taut thrill of reading this was just what my brain needed.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Fear Nothing (Moonlight Bay #1) ★★★☆½

fearnothing (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Fear Nothing
Series: Moonlight Bay #1
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 450
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Christopher Snow was born afflicted with (insert really long medically sounding name), otherwise known as XP. His body can’t heal from UV damage and something like a flashlight can take years off his life or make him go blind in months. He is now 28 and his parents have sacrificed a lot to give him as much freedom as possible. He roams the night, writes successful novels and surfs.

Several months ago his mother died in a car accident. The book opens with his father expiring from cancer in the local hospital. Everything Chris ever starts to go sidewise as he sees the local mortician replace his father’s body with some hitchhiker’s. His father’s body is loaded into a van and taken away to Wyvern, a supposedly closed military base.

During the next 2 days Chris uncovers a lot of secrets hiding in Moonlight Bay. His mother was involved in genetic experimentation with the aim of helping cure Chris’s XP. Chris’s father’s cancer might have been caused by a rogue genetic experiment gone awry. Chris finds out that the experiments have been successful, but not in the way his mother intended. The politicians and top army brass have used it to enhance intelligence in animals and to transfer animal characteristics to humans. Unfortunately, the carrier evolved and people began becoming infected unknowingly and spreading it even outside of Moonlight Bay.

Several of the solid citizens of Moonlight Bay have already fallen to the gene therapy. The Chief of Police dreams of raping and killing little girls. He tries to kill Christopher to keep his secret but dies in the attempt. A troup of bloody thirsty enhanced monkey’s attack Chris, his girlfriend and his beach bum friend one night. The troup is led by a court-martialed sociopath who has been hiding his own “becoming” from all his superiors.

To top it all off, it turns out that Chris’s own dog, Orson, is the product of the tests and is just as intelligent as a human. Orson, however, shows no sign of the psychopathic murderous tendencies exhibited in almost all the other patients that Chris has seen.

The book ends with Chris realizing that he simply can’t fight this end of the world as we know it.

 

My Thoughts:

I actually read the sequel to this 18 years ago. I wasn’t reviewing per se, so I didn’t remember any details and so nothing was spoiled for this book. Just an anecdote, that is all.

In the character of Chris Snow are the seeds that will, 5 years later, turn into Odd Thomas and that much more successful series.

I found the scene between Chris and the Chief of Police to be as horrific as Koontz intended without it being offensive. There is nothing graphic in what Koontz writes and yet when the Chief is talking to Chris about his nightmares and his plans and his descent into animal savagery, I was horrified. It walked the line of talking about something absolutely evil without crossing that line into being voyeuristic about it. More authors should take note, as it takes real skill to write that way.

I enjoyed this but once again, like his Frankenstein series, Koontz is actually only telling one story and splitting it up into “books” to satisfy publishing demands. This book ends with Chris and Co surviving the attacks by various infected creatures, human or otherwise but the threat is so big that it IS the end of the world as humans know it. If I hadn’t known there was another book, I would have assumed this was a standalone with the Big Ending (ie, the end of the world) left up in the air for the readers to imagine.

Considering how proto-Odd Thomas Chris Snow is, I was figuring that Snow’s girlfriend was going to die the whole book. Color me pleasantly surprised when she made it through almost unscathed. That’ll teach me to be cynical.

The other thing I’m learning about Koontz seems to be that he likes to write about short time periods. The first ¾’s of the book only took 12hrs and the final ¼ was the next 24. Thirty-six hours for a 450 page book. I’ll have to remember that so I don’t expect dramas drawn out over the years.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)