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The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates

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3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  162 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
God’s war crimes, Aristotle’s sneaky tricks, Einstein’s pajamas, information theory’s blind spot, Stephen Wolfram’s new kind of science, and six monkeys at six typewriters getting it wrong. What do these have to do with the birth of a universe and with your need for meaning? Everything, as you’re about to see.

How does the cosmos do something it has long been thought only
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Hardcover, 708 pages
Published August 24th 2012 by Prometheus Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Matt
Oct 29, 2012 Matt rated it liked it
In Brief: I enjoyed Bloom's premise and the ideas he set forth, although I can't share his enthusiasm.

What I Didn't Care For: The style in which this book was written became tedious after a few hundred pages. I don't fault Bloom for his enthusiasm but the constant repetition (doubtless done for effect and, if I were being charitable, for thematic resonance) grates on the writer in me.

There were some issues with the argument presented here. While I am personally enchanted by the same thoughts o
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Gerald
Jan 16, 2013 Gerald rated it it was amazing
Bloom has a junkyard mind, and I mean that in the kindest way, as another sufferer who collects facts like some people hoard bits of string and antiques.

(Occasionally those facts are useful! Like now.)

You will not find an answer here as to how the universe could create itself without a Grand Designer. However, you will get a lot of clues and indications as to how it is at least not out of the question.

This big book is, mainly, a survey of the Western history of science and philosophy. Bloom find
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DROPPING OUT
Jul 19, 2013 DROPPING OUT rated it it was ok
I admit up-front, I have not completed reading this book and question if I ever will, but I granted it two stars because amid the dross there is silver.

I initially heard of the book in an interview with the author on National Public Radio.

Bloom is an intelligent person, of a high IQ, but he does not communicate well. He constantly reminds the reader how bright he is, and he tends to repeat himself, not unlike a lecturer in a college freshman survey course.

The title is dead-wrong. God has nothin
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Jordan
Dec 31, 2012 Jordan rated it it was ok
Asks a lot of questions, starts off strong, is insufferably verbose throughout and provides no significant insight into how a godless cosmos would create itself. While I appreciated the human history lesson, it really seemed misplaced and disconnected from the underlining point of the book. Whatever that point was supposed to ultimately be.

If someone were to bring this up and ask me if it is worth reading, I'd reply with, "Eh. The opening is relatively decent. But, I'd skim through it. You'll g
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Jim Parker
Apr 05, 2013 Jim Parker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: x-istence
Howard Bloom may be an atheist, but you may not be one — or remain one, if you already are one — after you finish reading The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates.

That’s because — if you’re at all like me — you may hear the selfsame words slip through your lips that I heard slip through mine — almost as an impromptu, contemporary, nondenominational prayer — when I finally put down Bloom’s book last night and whispered to no one in particular and everyone in general: “God damn! This guy thin
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Roger Paine
Dec 19, 2013 Roger Paine rated it liked it
The God Problem's main problem is that what it took 563 pages to do could easily have been done in around a hundred. Repetition is one way to make a short book long and this book has plenty of that. Simple concepts are lathered in metaphors almost as if he jotted down a list of candidates and unable to decide on one, used them all. The idea behind it seems to be to illustrate of one of the core concepts in the book - that Aristotle's idea, that metaphor, is a poor way to truth, is wrong.
Bloom u
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Peter Mcloughlin
This is an idea book. Maybe not correct ideas but compelling and interesting ideas. It is not that Bloom's schema for looking at world is the correct one but certainly a fertile one that gets the reader thinking as well. In the meantime the reader is taken on a tour of big ideas in western philosophy and science. This a great book of the grand narrative. Perfect read for a scientifically inclined western civ nerd. Take his ideas with a grain of salt but by all means enjoy. See my status updates ...more
Jan Lelie
Sep 09, 2012 Jan Lelie rated it really liked it
"The Bloom problem": as always, the main subject - literally, at the background - is Howard Bloom himself. Asimov wrote faster than god could read; Bloom knows more than gods needs to know. And as always, I found his writing entertaining, well researched and very well interconnected. I knew the big picture - I've studied Physics - and Howard added a lot of the details. Still, he doesn't seem to see what is happening as a process: the content is there, the foreground, but not the back ground. And ...more
Otto Lehto
May 15, 2016 Otto Lehto rated it really liked it
The product of a maverick mind, The God Problem is emphatically NOT an atheist tract in the vein of Dawkins or Hitchens. Rather than arguing against God, it is doing something more important: trying to show how a cosmos can be seen as a self-generating process of emergence and growth.

The sum of the parts is greater than the whole, since the book can best be seen as an attempt to provide a few adjacent perspectives, and interlinked metaphors, on what makes the godless universe tic - is it logic,
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Timothy
I DID NOT FINISH THIS BOOK. So everything I say from this point forward is subject to you-did-not-even-read-the-book type criticisms. (I assign no stars so I do not affect the average on a book I did not complete.)

As soon as I started the book, my radar lit up. Gushing reviews followed by an Author's Preface entitled "Adventure That Takes Your Breath Away" and a start to the book that seemed on the verge of hysteria from a mind on fire...I mean literally on fire whatever that is like.

I suspecte
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Jerry
May 03, 2013 Jerry rated it did not like it
Shelves: science
I would not recommend this book. There is a lot here about the history of science, but the author is maddeningly verbose and self-involved.

He seeks to answer the "God Problem," that is, how a universe without God creates. He is often flippantly disrespectful to God. Given the limitations of human knowledge, he never gets to the bottom of the mystery of creation. His fundamental assumption that God does not exist is neither proved nor disproved here.
William Schram
May 01, 2016 William Schram rated it really liked it
This book was interesting, but it really didn't explain away all of my questions in the overall narrative. Early on in the book, Bloom tells us that "we" either some character or himself was born in 1943, disbelieved in God and all of this various stuff. Maybe I am stupid, but I wanted to know who he was talking about. I did like the book, but many times it jumps around and I felt like I was reading Gravity's Rainbow.

The overall thesis of the book seemed to be that human beings as a group underg
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Jacob Fortin
Oct 09, 2012 Jacob Fortin rated it did not like it
I'm surprised by the high score of this book. It's unnecessary long winded, his analogies are terrible, and he simply fails to actually make any real points. Reading his press release about him being a genius f the likes of Eisenstein is frankly irritating. I think most people just don't want to appear dumb to call him out on having written a nothing book.
Denise
Sep 25, 2012 Denise rated it liked it
Very good. Lots of details. But also very thick. I'd like to get the Cliff Notes for this book -- or have when I'm stranded on a desert island and have time to really think through all the details Bloom presents. Definitely not at-the-beach reading.
Mike Lisanke
Aug 23, 2014 Mike Lisanke rated it liked it
I wouldn't be impressed by the book jacket's comments and praise. IMO Bloom makes a relatively interesting point that iteration of simple rules (axioms) may be the basis of all complex behavior of everything in the universe. He gets there IMO in a very round about story of a little history of Math+Logic+Physics eventually ending with a mention of Wolfram's new science of algorithms. IMO Bloom doesn't do a great job telling his reader what the God Problem is, why its important, if its been resolv ...more
John
Mar 22, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
Head-spinning vision of how--behind the scenes--life, the universe, and everything are even simpler than 42.
Brenda Brewer
Oct 24, 2012 Brenda Brewer rated it really liked it
Kicks ass so far...still on chapter two :)
Victoria Adams
Nov 06, 2014 Victoria Adams rated it it was amazing
It was supposed to be a simple book review. Read the book, jot a few notes, and off we go. Of course the book was 563 pages long, but nobody was going to stick around for the encyclopedic version, after all, they could just buy the book. In addition to the text there were 142 pages of notes and index. How does one make that interesting? Well, something happened on the way to solving The God Problem (by Howard Bloom). But, then, that’s what reading is all about.
Book stores are magical places, at
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Stuart R
Aug 08, 2014 Stuart R rated it liked it
I found Bloom's breadth of knowledge staggering and illuminating. Don't quite know how to criticize his work as my modest general science background isn't really sufficient to allow an argument. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to read Howard's inclusion of B. F. Skinner's contributions. He was doing great right up to the moment he characterized Skinner's work as "stimulus-response" psychology. It is a common mistake, but suggests he has more reading and study to do. So that readers may unde ...more
Darla Stokes
Apr 01, 2014 Darla Stokes rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fascinating and engrossing. I'm struggling to find enough superlatives to describe how interesting I found his history of science and math and the way metaphor both explains and informs our thinking. Howard Bloom's style may grate on some, but his writing makes even the most complex concepts easy to follow.

This is likely because he writes the way he talks: I "heard" most of the book in my head as I read in his voice, since I've been subscribed to his YouTube channel for some time.
Arash Fallah
Sep 01, 2013 Arash Fallah rated it really liked it
The real big question is how cosmos creates. How does a cosmos without a bearded, bathrobed God in the sky pull off all the things that a bearded, bathrobed guy in the sky was supposed to have pulled off?
Although the name suggest an involvement of God to a certain extent in the book, there is not much mentioned God; and this is not a fundamentally atheistic book.
Bloom offers a different approach from those of Dawkins, Dennett, et al. where they go about saying that religion is evil and if it was
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Paul Heikkila
Apr 17, 2016 Paul Heikkila rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I read the whole thing! I really liked the book, but I don't think I bought the entire argument. It is a thoroughly entertaining (even a page turner after about p 350 or so) discourse on the development of math and physics mostly with a lot else thrown in. If he'd called it "The History of Math and Physics" it probably would not have made so much of a splash. But I'd still have liked it Makes me want to read a lot more. Which is a good thing!
Jim Hammond
Apr 17, 2013 Jim Hammond rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Reads pretty easily and the author brings a non-scientist's (but very scientifically oriented) point of view to life, the universe and all that but I could not get very far into it. His very long list of blurbs includes some from people whose opinions I consider questionable and some of his concepts border on crackpotism. I may go back to the book some day to see if I have missed something important.
The question supposedly answered (the subtitle) is not even a real question because "Godless" is
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Mike
Feb 23, 2015 Mike rated it it was amazing
This book bridges the gap between traditional science and the science that we will continue to encounter in the future Howard Bloom is able to take the unexplainable and make it coherent. I strongly recommend this book for anyone that is open minded enough to expand the way they see the world around them by breaking paradigms and twisting a static vision into a giant endless bagel. Read this book and you will not be disappointed!
Jim Razinha
Dec 19, 2014 Jim Razinha rated it really liked it
Wow...Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything meets Cecil B. DeMille ("Then came the really big stretch. The stretch beyond sanity. The stretch that translates from one medium to another. The stretch that Leonardo made. The stretch to metaphor. The stretch from water to light.")

Bloom wrapped a tremendous amount of history, knowledge, speculation and conclusions into a tome. It's quite readable, but I don't know that he'll convert anyone. Readers might want to try Lawrence Krause's A
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Virginia Bryant
Aug 11, 2013 Virginia Bryant rated it really liked it
This does not really explain how a godless cosmos creates, though that's a very good hook. What it does teach is how the universe duplicates itself and the many scientific, mathematical and metaphoric processes it uses to do so. The author is a brilliant teacher, combining history irreverence and extensive knowledge to pull one into the sort of scientific learning not usually made so enjoyable. If it had explained the first principle, or embryonic source, i would give it 5 stars. The possibility ...more
Chrystal
The cutesy (and condescending) writing style is extremely annoying and wastes a huge amount of word space. This book could easily have been written at one-third the word count. Unfortunate, because the content merits better treatment.
Carlos
Feb 15, 2014 Carlos rated it really liked it
An amazing compendium of human thought and development. I felt is was a very good argument for how we could have a universe develop from basic random patterns At times it was repetitive but overall a good read.
Vern Lenz
Jun 01, 2016 Vern Lenz rated it it was amazing
Science, logic, physics, math, and theology for the layman
Henry Olders
Jan 24, 2016 Henry Olders rated it really liked it
Truly a thought-provoking book.
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"I know a lot of people. A lot. And I ask a lot of prying questions. But I've never run into a more intriguing biography than Howard Bloom's in all my born days. " Paul Solman, Business and Economics Correspondent, PBS NewsHour


Howard Bloom has been called “next in a lineage of seminal thinkers that includes Newton, Darwin, Einstein,[and] Freud,” by Britain's Channel4 TV, "the next Stephen Hawking"
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