Manny's Reviews > The Grand Design

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking
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Aug 09, 12

bookshelves: children, multiverse, science, science-fiction
Read in August, 2012

Look John look!
See the pop science bestseller.
See the glossy paper.
See the large font.
See the wide margins.
See the world-famous physicist.
See the ghostwriter.

See the double slit experiment!
Maybe you have seen it before.
But you can never see the double slit experiment too many times.
See the theory of everything.
It is free of infinities.
Probably.
Anyway, never mind that.

See the quantum multiverse!
See the strong anthropic principle.
See them explain the mystery of being.
They are science.
They make predictions.
What are the predictions?
We don't have space for that.
But here's another glossy picture.

See God!
We don't need God.
Science has made Him irrelevant.
Why is God laughing?
I don't know.
I guess He just found something funny.
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Reading Progress

08/08/2012 page 53
21.0% "Philosophy is dead, I learn on page 3. When I read Jim Holt's book earlier in the week I was concerned that it maybe wasn't in good health, but this an alarming development." 3 comments
08/08/2012 page 80
32.0% "Okay... he starts in chapter 1 by telling us philosophy is dead, and then chapter 2 is mostly philosophy. What's going on here?"
08/09/2012 page 115
46.0% ""Maxwell's equations, which most people have never heard of." Well, I guess that tells us everything we need to know about the book's intended audience..." 2 comments
08/09/2012 page 157
63.0% ""String theories also lead to infinities, but it is believed that in the right version they will all cancel out." A little more detail would have been nice here?"

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Bibliomantic (new)

Bibliomantic Large font and wide margins, hmmm... bad news indeed.


message 2: by Fayley (new)

Fayley 1 star! Wow, new low.


message 3: by Manny (last edited Aug 09, 2012 11:51PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Hawking should be ashamed of himself... his contempt for the reader is nothing short of stunning.

If you want to read a book that covers similar ground, but which is well-written and clearly distinguishes scientific fact from optimistic theorizing, check out The Universe Explained to my Grandchildren .

If you want a detailed academic critique of what's dubious about Hawking's arguments, you could do a lot worse than look at Higher Speculations .


Riku Sayuj A 'told ya so' is offered, cordially.


message 5: by Leo (new)

Leo Robertson What is it Brief Briefer History of TIme or something?


Manny Riku wrote: "A 'told ya so' is offered, cordially."

Okay, okay, ya told me so. I graciously concede.


message 7: by Manny (last edited Aug 10, 2012 01:16AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Leo wrote: "What is it Brief Briefer History of TIme or something?"

I haven't read Briefer (only the original Brief), but unless Briefer and Brief are very different then he's changed the story quite a lot. This is the M-Theory/landscape/quantum multiverse/anthropic principle version.

The most annoying bit is that he uses the Hartle-Hawking No-Boundary construction to explain the ultimate origin of the universe, without in any way making clear that it's just his own pet theory and not even widely supported inside the multiverse community. Rather like the bit in Brief History where he introduces his Imaginary Time idea, which was equally controversial, and says at the end that will solve everything. But now he's also got tired of Imaginary Time. Not a single mention in the new book.


Riku Sayuj Manny wrote: "Leo wrote: "What is it Brief Briefer History of TIme or something?"

I haven't read Briefer (only the original Brief), but unless Briefer and Brief are very different then he's changed the story qu..."


Oh, I remember I was very angry about this too. but then he made a cool guest appearance in TBBT and I was ready to be a fan again.


message 9: by Manny (last edited Aug 10, 2012 04:12AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Well, I'm a fan of Stephen Hawking, the scientist. He's done some amazing stuff. And I guess when you can make this amount of money by just putting your name on the front of a generic pop science book that someone else has written then it's hard to refuse.

But I don't have to like it.


message 10: by Riku (new) - rated it 4 stars

Riku Sayuj Manny wrote: "Well, I'm a fan of Stephen Hawking, the scientist. He's done some amazing stuff. And I guess when you can make this amount of money by just putting your name on the front of a generic pop science b..."

So we blame Mlodinow then? That would be more fun I admit.


message 11: by Manny (last edited Aug 10, 2012 04:52AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Surely he must have written most of the book? It's so horribly badly done. Those 'humorous' asides... they are just painful. And the offensively condescending tone.

I mean, if Mlodinow's job wasn't to write it, why has he been included at all?


message 12: by Riku (new) - rated it 4 stars

Riku Sayuj Unfortunately I haven't read any of his books... Am planning to read the one on randomness next so I will be back here soon if some bashing is expected, and I will bring a baseball bat.


PS. I rated the book 4 stars cos it gave me nice imaginative kicks, not for any scientific reasons...


message 13: by Eyehavenofilter (last edited Sep 28, 2012 08:13AM) (new)

Eyehavenofilter A well deserved tongue lashing by all of the above....... Well done!


message 14: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Thank you, we had fun :)


message 15: by Martha (new) - added it

Martha Colburn Oh, look!
Look and see!
See Martha's brain go splat!
Too many multiverses!
She can't comprehend it!
Please take care of Martha's cat.


message 16: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Martha, I think your cat should talk to Schrödinger's cat. Hopefully they will figure something out between them.


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