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On Being [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Peter Atkins

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27. September 2012
In this scientific 'Credo', Peter Atkins considers the universal questions of origins, endings, birth, and death to which religions have claimed answers. With his usual economy, wit, and elegance, unswerving before awkward realities, Atkins presents what science has to say. While acknowledging the comfort some find in belief, he declares his own faith in science's capacity to reveal the deepest truths.

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"A paean to science."
--Times Literary Supplement

"An effortless read--a real page turner."
--BBC Focus

"Few can match the chiseled beauty of Peter Atkins's prose as he reflects on the nature of life and death, of beginnings and endings."
--Richard Dawkins

"A delight to read. Who else can cover the grand sweep of existence with such clarity and wit as Peter Atkins? The text sparkles with lively metaphors and arresting insights."
--Paul Davies

"Crisp with good sense, clear with scientific knowledge effortlessly imparted, and delicious with the sort of wit that makes you stop and put the book down just to enjoy it the more fully. It presents a vision of life and death, of matter and space and time that is honest and consistent and miracle-free."
--Philip Pullman

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Peter Atkins is Fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford. A leading chemist and writer of widely adopted textbooks, he is the author of Galileo's Finger and Four Laws, among other works.

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Amazon.com: 3.2 von 5 Sternen  10 Rezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen WOW 18. Oktober 2013
Von Richard B Lenchus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
Keep an open mind and read it twice before judging, There are many unanswered questions and that is the beauty of science, The book is REAL and difficult in many ways such as the chapter on death, but the author tries to break things down simply which is difficult to the layman's mind
Do not judge a book by its cover or the author who is breaking down accepted myths and giving you a new path to follow
He is not pushing his views on you but sharing different concepts for your consideration
I applaud him
5 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Faith v. Science 10. Juli 2011
Von Gerald Farber - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
This is a very short and very dense book that uses science as an antidote to faith based assertions regarding creation, god, life after death, the rapture, the universe etc.
Atkins is an eloquent writer with a wry sense of humor but his scientific rebuttal of these myths is too technical. To his credit he urges the reader to skip some parts making a short book even shorter. He justifies his style as being a necessary counter to various versions of myths but in the exposition of this style he becomes tedious and boring.
11 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Pithy and erudite 24. Juni 2011
Von multiman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Brilliant, beautifully brief, and written with a wonderful turn of phrase. This book is spot on as far as I am concerned. Best read with an open and skeptical mindset as it may challenge your pre-existing prejudices. I just read a borrowed copy, now I'm going to buy it so that I can have the pleasure of reading it again in a few months time.
6 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good book, but he takes a very defensive tone... 14. Oktober 2011
Von Jeffrey Engle - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
I bought Atkin's book hoping to get a scientists view on fundamental questions regarding life and the universe. He did deliver on this, but it felt as if he were trying to defend himself against popular religious beliefs nearly the entire book. I was very conflicted over his this; his content was good, but the tone left something to be desired.

Being a chemist like Atkins I like a direct approach to addressing questions, but he dismisses myth and religious tradition as being naive. That would be like saying Aesop's Fables are naive. These myths, religions, and philosophies are meant to teach an uneducated mass (especially if you look at them through a historical context). The lessons in these stories are not proof of anything, but rather emblematic of underlying philosophies. When they were written there was very little understanding of the physical sciences. I do agree that people have taken these stories too literally, but there is also risk in dismissing them altogether.

Ultimately it comes down to the popular belief that science and philosophy conflict with one another (religion in my mind being philosophy). Science is meant to deal only with that which can be measured. On the other hand philosophy is meant to address wisdom. People get too caught up in the minutia and fail to see that these are two distinctly separate areas. Enough of my ranting though...

I did like his scientific approach to fundamental human questions. To be honest I could only really digest one chapter at a time, but the rest of the day I was left with that chapter stuck in my head. He presents these problems with as little fluff as possible and uses sound scientific reasoning. I just didn't care for his defensive tone.
13 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Dawkinns, Stenger - condensed.. 2. Mai 2011
Von Regnal - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I like Peter Atkins - his small previous book about laws that drive the Universe. This one is short as well, 100 pages of musings. Title is a bit misleading in this case. Here we have the ode to science vs. myths (religious believes). Science is progressive, religion static and contributing to nothing. Plenty of cynicism towards myths, admiration for science, science that is able to explain why we stink after death, but cannot explain why penis is used for urination as well as procrastination (LOL).
So we learn how in theory "true" Nothing could be converted into physical nothing that we experience (interesting thoughts). Then we read about reason, purpose, random chances, evolution's facts and theory of natural selection.
Science is smart, discovered what is chromosome, DNA, ATP and concluded that life is information by the flux of energy, we are children of the chaos. Then we know with the large certainty how our Sun will die and when. To be honest, Professor Atkins does not hide facts that science has come across limitations, or at least now, is unable to explain all.

Now back to myths. Several pages are devoted to the myths called Creationism. Here I tend to agree with the author. He asks himself where such ideas are coming from and why people adopt such grotesquely primitive views that are close to being dangerous to society at large.. He throws into the same basket those who believe that there is "life after death" and even proposes to study the psychological and cultural viscera behind this "attack on reason".

My problem with "On Being"? - too harsh criticism of the myths. Children are encouraged to read fairytales and myths. Then why we adults are ridiculed by doing this? Does religion truly cut legs of a chair at which science sits? I do not see such scenario and this book just proves it. Therefore why bother? Myths/faith are like oil and do not mix with water, this should be obvious to any intelligent individual.

Now, for the sake of the balance, one can pick "God's Universe" by astronomer Owen Gingerich. Short and compact text as well showing that (quote):"the scientist with theistic metaphysics will approach laboratory problems in much the same way as his atheistic colleague across the hall."
Amen :)
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