Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth” as Want to Read:
The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  40 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Does one planet really matter among the immensity of the Cosmos? John Gribbin is here to persuade us that it does. In this ground-breaking and provocative new book Gribbin argues that we owe our existence to the impact of a 'supercomet' with Venus 600 million years ago. But this is only part of the story, just one of the astronomical and geophysical reasons why the Earth i ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by Allen Lane (first published April 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Reason Why, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Reason Why

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Koen Crolla
Dec 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: astronomy
Gribbin has said some phenomenally stupid things in past books, but he's really outdone himself in this one.
The Reason Why starts from a dubious premise — Earth is uniquely suited to life — and throws both legitimate science terribly abused and outright, borderline innumerate bullshit at the reader for two hundred pages in the hope that any of it stick. Most arguments take the following form:

1. X happened at some point in our galaxy's/solar system's/planet's history;
2. X has positive (or neutra
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
In Science : A History, Gribbin took his readers on a ride through the history of science and concluded that we are nothing special. Ever since Copernicus' heliocentric model and Galileo's eppur si muove (whether or not he really said those words), we know that the Earth is not the center of the universe. We occupy an ordinary planet orbiting an ordinary star in an ordinary galaxy. When life is found on other planets, Gribbin wrote in the final chapter, this view would be complete: even life its ...more
Kerem Cankocak
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bilimin neden sorusuyla değil nasıl sorusuyla ilgilendiği artık arkaik bir görüş. Günümüzde bilim her şeyin nedenini araştırıyor. Neden yaşam var? Neden Dünya bu şekilde? Neden zekiyiz? Neden uzayda başka zeki canlılara rastlamadık? Bu ve benzeri binlerce neden sorusu artık bilimin ilgi odağında. Sorulara cevap buldukça yeni sorular geliyor elbette. Ama Gribbin’in bu kitabı günümüz biliminin sınırlarını gösteriyor. Bu kitapta yanıtları verilen ve verilemeyen en temel soruları bulabilirsiniz.
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
The author makes a compelling case for the very unlikely set of conditions that allowed human civilisation to arise on Earth. The book is mainly about astronomy as it relates to the formation of life supporting solar systems and planets, or rather the rarity of such. Our planet is truly unique and extremely fragile in a violent galaxy of star bursts, cosmic radiation and meteorites to name three. Also outlines the importance of plate tectonics in the formation of continents, without which techno ...more
This book is like being eight and sat down by your dad to be told why Santa couldn't possibly make it down a chimney. I almost imagine Gribbin as a Scrooge like figure repeatedly saying, "Aliens? Humbug!!!". On the other hand, there is no doubt at all that this book really does make you think about the miracle of being here and existing. And I don't mean miracle in any religious sense, but rather in just the fantastical nature of everything that has happened to make it possible for us to do some ...more
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gribbin has been producing quality cosmology books for many years, always fun, always educational, never too technical, he communicates in laymans terms all the latest theories and concepts with great clarity. In this latest tome he suggests that perhaps due to the utterly remarkable set of geological, evolutionary and astronomical circumstances that has forged humanity and brought us to our current position,that they are so absolutely unique that we could be the only planet in the entire cosmos ...more
rated it really liked it
Aug 19, 2014
Derek T
rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2016
Omer Oral
rated it liked it
Nov 20, 2016
Aykut Karabay
rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2017
Martin Oetiker
rated it really liked it
Apr 17, 2017
Jonathan Hockey
rated it liked it
Nov 27, 2016
Stefan Djupsjöbacka
rated it it was ok
Oct 27, 2014
rated it really liked it
Sep 22, 2011
rated it liked it
Jan 28, 2015
rated it liked it
Jul 31, 2012
rated it really liked it
Oct 18, 2014
rated it really liked it
May 29, 2012
Alan Mcmahon
rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2013
Jussi Toivonen
rated it liked it
Oct 30, 2017
Ian Anderson
rated it it was amazing
Jun 07, 2014
Amanda Anderson
rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2015
Rachel Lowson
rated it liked it
Oct 23, 2014
rated it did not like it
May 10, 2017
Mark Evans
rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2016
rated it liked it
Jul 10, 2012
rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2017
rated it liked it
Nov 19, 2013
John Turner
rated it liked it
Jun 12, 2017
rated it it was ok
Aug 18, 2012
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
John R. Gribbin is a British science writer, an astrophysicist, and a visiting fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex. The topical range of his prolific writings includes quantum physics, biographies of famous scientists, human evolution, the origins of the universe, climate change and global warming. His also writes science fiction.

John Gribbin graduated with his bachelor's degree in phy
More about John Gribbin...