AN UNSCIENTIFIC BOOK REVIEW

THE GOD THEORY by Bernard Haisch (Weiser Books, San Francisco, CA/Newburyport, MA)

Quoting from the dust cover of this book, “Bernard Haisch proposes that science will explain God and God will explain science.” Professionally, Haisch is both an astronomer and an astrophysicist, but the subject matter of his book cries out to heaven that he also reveal where he is coming from religion-wise, and he finally lets us know near the end that he is a (self-described) independent Christian. In the interest of the chic concern for transparency, he might have laid his cards on the table at the outset, but no big deal. Better late than never.

This reviewer, being neither scientist nor Christian (though, like Haisch, an ex-Catholic), pleads not guilty to expertise regarding either science or God. Those interested in what Haisch’s peers think of his theory can Google his book and find scientific reviews. I venture a contrasting perspective – a more down-to-earth take, no doubt, on the God question.

Imagine, if you will, a magician performing confounding feats of prestidigitation before a rapt audience. If I may presume to speak for the collective audience and make one request of the magician, wouldn’t it be How do you do those tricks? But suppose I am an individual audience member (who happens to be unmarried), invited backstage after the show to meet the magician…who happens to be not only attractive, but a non-ring wearing member of the opposite sex. Ah! Might not my principal interest then become, not how the magician does what (s)he does, but what kind of person (s)he is? With the potential for a possible future relationship in play, one (wo)man’s fantasy might suddenly turn to different priorities – say, the other’s values and attitudes, not his/her skills and legerdemain.

As you may have surmised, the magician in the above metaphorical scenario is God, the collective audience is the scientific community, and the individual is you or I – the you or I of the alternative perspective. Taking up that approach, let us begin to parse the God of Haisch’s God Theory.

On page 19, Haisch writes that “if you follow the God Theory to its logical conclusion, the golden rule in which we were all schooled – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – becomes far more than merely a pious maxim.” For whom does it become far more, we might ask? Only for us – not for the almighty half of the relationship? Are we to believe that God, if our places were reversed, would favor our doing unto Him the suffering (diseases, natural disasters, ignorance, mortality) that He does unto us? On page 22, “The point of a created universe is to experience it.” When an infant experiences terminal cancer, exactly what is the point? Literally, God only knows. On page 40, “the commonality of all religions….cannot be the evil influence that the majority of scientists seem to see….for the simple reason that the truths therein must also be laws, as fundamental as gravity….but of a different order.” Really? Apparently this assertion is supposed to be so self-evident that Haisch’s word for it suffices. Truth be told, “truths” and truth have long been among the most debased standards in the world, claimed by anyone with a vested interest or delusion to defend.

Enough. Credit THE GOD THEORY with offering soul food for thought, but the aftertaste leaves this consumer’s body less than satisfied with the mix of ingredients.

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