A great entertaining read. Wolfe gets off some magnificent and irreverent lines, aimed at the neo-Darwinian hand-wavers. Moreover, he is largely invulA great entertaining read. Wolfe gets off some magnificent and irreverent lines, aimed at the neo-Darwinian hand-wavers. Moreover, he is largely invulnerable to any counter attack from them because the one place he does his own hand-waving is a place where none of them can go. I hope to write more about this later....more
I don't usually read biology textbooks (as in, never), but I read this one because my brother Gordon wrote it. Unlike other textbooks, the kind writteI don't usually read biology textbooks (as in, never), but I read this one because my brother Gordon wrote it. Unlike other textbooks, the kind written by a committee of soulless engineers trying to write a phone book, the writing here has obvious personality. This is good and necessary because the author of the world being described has an out-of-control personality.
Get a load of this:
"Female Darwin frogs in South America lay eggs on the forest floor. When the babies hatch as tadpoles, the male gobbles them up and stores his kids in his vocal sac, where they continue to develop. Once they are fully developed froglets, they hop out of dad's mouth" (p. 343).
Not only does the Creator have an out-of-control personality, He frequently operates in very bad taste.
This book does not just display the staggering and infinite genius of the Creator, but it does so in ways that simply overwhelm. For unbelievers to look at this and see nothing more than the blind fumbling of chance is like listening to For Elise and hypothesizing that it must have been composed by a drunken chimpanzee banging on the piano in the study, with oven mitts on.
This book is highly recommended for anyone who wants to be awed by the Creator. If you have a biology course in your future somewhere, you need to get this book into it....more
Harris is a smart guy, and an engaging writer. But he is just plain lost. He is not only lost in the sense of not having Jesus, but also lost in the sHarris is a smart guy, and an engaging writer. But he is just plain lost. He is not only lost in the sense of not having Jesus, but also lost in the sense that he cannot make his way out of the thicket of his own premises. He simply cannot see how what he is saying applies to what he is saying....more
I had read Notes from the Tilt a Whirl before in its various manifestations. But when it arrived in its final printed form,Stupendous. More to follow.
I had read Notes from the Tilt a Whirl before in its various manifestations. But when it arrived in its final printed form, I was happy to sit down and go through it again, left to right. What a good book this is.
The conceit for the book is that the solar system is a ride at a carnival, with circular motions inside circular motion. Not only do we have the carnival-like motions, we have a carnival-like environment, gaudy colors and situations included. The book works through the four quadrants of one trip around the circumference, through the seasons of winter, spring, summer, autumn. Those who don't get either thrilled or sick (or both) in the ride are those who, in the name of realism, resolutely ignore everything that is going on all around them, and they ignore it all day long.
As they are on display in this book, Nate's gifts revolve around a very basic truth. He has the same ability that Chesterton had, that of making ordinary things seem extraordinary, and then with a start you realize that it is not a verbal trick -- ordinary things are extraordinary. Why don't we see that more often? I mean look at a walnut, for Pete's sake.
A metaphor is a twisted and circuitous route that goes straight to the truth. Some metaphors are so convoluted that they get there right away. This book is just crammed with them. My father is working through the book too, and his one substantive criticism was one he cited from a C.S. Lewis criticism of Rudyard Kipling -- too much brilliance, too fast, need to breathe . . . lie down for a bit. Woof. It is a reasonable criticism, but you can always pace yourself. Read it in smaller chunks. But read it.
And I just enjoyed reading it again, this time in February of 2011. It is just as good on a Kindle....more