3 out of 4 stars
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UNUM, written by Rudy Ernst, is a stimulating non-fiction book that mixes science and philosophy. The author reflects on philosophical and scientific concepts to explore how our minds are “trapped in an ocean of time and space that don’t even exist.” In the first part of the book, Ernst dives into science. He analyzes our human senses and how the brain perceives reality. The author also recaps the makeup of atoms and explains quarks, photons, and neutrinos. The following parts of the book present a more philosophical approach. Ernst looks into metaphysics, the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, and he discusses Spinoza, Darwin, and Einstein’s contributions.
I enjoyed how Ernst appears to be enthusiastic and savvy about his areas of writing, and he makes advanced scientific theories easy to understand. Although the book explores complex subjects such as string theory and Einstein’s relativity, it does so in a fun and digestible manner. For instance, I particularly appreciated how the author cleverly explains the strange behavior of subatomic particles. He uses accessible language to examine complex theories.
Above all, the book skillfully connected science and philosophy, and this synthesis was what I liked the most. Some of the best passages deal with the existence of a higher power. I was happily surprised to learn that people who believe in God seem to have a happier life than non-believers or atheists. Also, I was pleased to discover that Einstein felt that “some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man.” The author revels in connecting science with messages of peace and tolerance.
On the other hand, I felt that some of the author’s statements about religion seemed a bit judgmental. This aspect was what I disliked the most. Ernst is respectful and has no intention of insulting religions, quite the contrary. However, I wish he had avoided strong adjectives when referring to religious beliefs. Some sentences could have been polished to appear more elegant and steer clear of controversy. For instance, I’d take “absurd” out of the following sentence: “We can all agree that these absurd religious beliefs are symbolic.” For this reason, I’m taking a star away from the rating.
Therefore, I rate UNUM 3 out of 4 stars; it is a pleasurable and engaging read. With a little polishing in the language, I would gladly give it the highest rating. If you enjoy interpretations of science for general audiences as I do, this book is right up your alley. Readers who are sensitive to slightly unconventional viewpoints on religion should consider skipping it.
UNUM: Infinity and Eternity
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