Saturday, September 27, 2014
Book Review 335: The Grand Design
THE GRAND DESIGN, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodindow. 198 pages, illustrated. Bantam, $28
Stephen Hawking’s books are fun to read, and they make everything -- or at least a great deal -- sound simple. The biggest picture of all is contained in less than 200 pages.
But then, replete, you set the book down and ask, what about antimatter? Where’s that? In the glossary but not in the text. If the Grand Design comprehends antimatter (my understanding is it does not), somebody forgot to put it in.
Alternatively, the Theory of Everything is not as near at hand as Hawking thinks. Predicting the End of Physics is sort of like predicting the Second Coming. Lots of people do it, but it keeps receding into the future.
Worth reading for the clearest explication of the weak and strong anthropic principles that I have seen. Also rather good at knocking down the naive materialists, among whom I count myself still, nevertheless.
By naive materialist, I mean that I give priority to matter/energy over mathematics. I do not think that mathematics calls matter/energy into existence, which seems to be the (usually) unspoken position of the theorists.