Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Book Review - You Will Forced to Become Wealthy

About two months ago I got an offer to receive a review copy of the book, "You Will Forced to Become Wealthy". The publisher is marketing it as a novel gift for atheists.

Books on/for atheists? Cool beans! Send it along! While it was heading here, I looked for other reviews to see what it could be about. It looks like the publisher is sending it to atheist blogs and although numerous people have mentioned getting the invitation to review it, I could only find two reviews on it, which I'll address after the book itself.

I finally received the book about a month and a half ago. I read the first few chapters and put it down when I was sent another book to review that ended up being far more interesting. But the publisher dropped me an Email asking me if I'd had time to read it yet. I'd intended to write a short, personal response, but in picking the book back up to pass long the few notes I'd made so far, I decided to go ahead an finish it since it's a very quick read.

This review may seem somewhat odd. But then again, the book is amazingly odd. I'm not going to start out with describing the premise of the book, because when I started out reading it, I had no idea what it was about. So this will be more of a liveblogging of my (re)reading as opposed to my more usual retrospective.

In the opening pages the author claims to use logic, but then shortly thereafter demands that anyone disagreeing must be thinking incorrectly and should read it again, and again, and again,... until they agree. This is not logic. This is brainwashing. If it's wrong the first time, it will continue to be wrong.

Within the first few pages of the first chapter, the author claims there are two "lists" which essentially boil down to the "haves" and "have-nots", just rephrased. This is the logical fallacy of bifurcation. Again, logic is abandoned.

The first page of the second chapter contains even more errors, in claiming that time existed 50 gigayears ago. The Big Bang happened only 13.6 gigayears ago and physics has revealed that time and space were wrapped up in such a way that talking about them existing prior to that instant is complete nonsense. Thus, claiming that time existed prior to that is simply wrong, yet the author claims it must exist because the author cannot perceive any other option. Yet another logical fallacy (argument from personal incredulity/ignorance).

In chapter 4, this same problem is repeated, but instead of time, the author extends personal incredulity to matter and energy. While this is mostly true due to the conservation of mass/energy, it's not strictly true when you get to the quantum level. Later, the author seems to imply that energy is created from matter when you burn wood. This is completely incorrect. It comes from the destruction of bonds in the matter. This is straight out of high school chemistry. The bastardization of the term theory at the end of the chapter is likewise unimpressive.

Chapter 5 questions why orbits are elliptical and goes through, yet again, an argument from ignorance. Although the author is right (orbits are elliptical), it's for the entirely wrong reasons. The author then describes perpetual motion using the analogy of a rocket to Venus. While the picture is more or less accurate (less in that he claims no energy occurs once the engines stop firing and it will coast. Energy is still being used in that the Sun's gravitational energy will still cause an acceleration. This doesn't destroy the point, but is a rather blatant oversight.), it is somewhat confounding that the author for some reason (intentionally or through ignorance) cannot simply call this what it is: momentum. Again, the lack of basic high school familiarity with the topics that seem to be the entire foundation of the book does not inspire confidence.

From the start of chapter 7, the author shows confusion between the Big Bang and the formation of planets (entirely distinct and unrelated events). From there, he dismisses the Big Bang simply because he cannot understand it because it contradicts his notion that time must have always existed. Thus, this is an argument from ignorance built on an argument of ignorance. It is doubly worthless. But with the Big Bang rejected out of hand, the author now tries desperately to make a model for a Steady State universe. Take a look at this train wreck:

The author plays with scenarios in which, for no apparent reason, the Sun's gravity magically increases. The result:
All of the planets and their satellites, asteroids, meteoroids, and everything else in our Solar system will fall onto the Sun and such a collision will produce ... [a]n extremely huge explosion (most probably, that's what science calls a nova or a supernova) or a series of smaller explosions. Any of these explosions might lead to the creation of a new reaction because Earth, the other planets, satellites, asteroids, etc. will provide a new fuel (all of them will burn.) In other words it may may lead to the creation of a new sun. If there are some broken off pieces - they might create new planets and satellites. Thus, the process of creation of the new solar system takes off.
*Blink*

Where to start?

1) No, that's not a supernova or nova. If those happened that way, the vaporized planets would be readily visible in the spectra. They're not. Doesn't fit the evidence. REJECT.

2) Planets do not "burn" in any sense. They can be vaporized, but this is not burning. And even if it were,

3) Stars operate under fusion. Planets like Jupiter have lots of hydrogen which can easily fuse, but there's a problem: a planet plopping on the sun only deposits the material on the surface where the temperature is far too low to undergo fusion.

4) Explosions would take place certainly due to the kinetic impact, but its not going to throw off enough material (especially the right kinds of material) to form new planets at just the right trajectories to form stable orbits!

This shouldn't take that much thinking to realize. But the author again plays to ignorance saying: "Please remember - you and I are not astrophysicists or astronomers".

Oh, but I AM!

His other scenario involves the Sun's gravity magically turning off. In this scenario, planets would (correctly) drift off from their parent stars until (potentially) captured by other solar systems.

I really don't think the author appreciates the size of the universe and just how empty it is, even on a galactic scale. In in the author's fictional eternal universe, sure, eventually they would be captured, but what are the odds of getting planetary systems formed in a set of damn near planar orbits like we have in our own solar system? Not happening.

"Probability" it the title of chapter 8, but it would be more accurately named "Pulling numbers out of my ass".

Chapter 9 is about "Circumstances" and starts with a few sentences on why each planet can't sustain life. For all the pop-sci I suspect the author watches, I'm amazed he hasn't heard all the inferences on the potential for (primitive) life on Mars. Or on any of Jupiter's moons. He then claims that the asteroid belt was a destroyed planet, again invoking an argument from ignorance (where else did they all come from?).

He closes the chapter making the absolutely bizarre claim that, the "more we learn about life - the less complicated it becomes".

I don't imagine the author could make it into an sort of college level Bio course. I didn't take any, but I've heard the rumors of Organic Chem. It's not simple. It's complex. What we have learned is that it's not magical.

Chapter 10 is a screed against the notion of God. It's the best part of the book so far. The short version of it is that the concept of an omnibenevolent God is obviously incompatible with the way the world works.

In the next chapter, the author takes some time to do a quick review and then chapter 12 is a summary of evolution. It's pretty much right although shows some bias in anthrocentrism with claims that brain (especially big ones) are an imperative for life. With little reason or evidence, he deems this sufficient and moves on.

In chapter 13 he engages in come Creationist-esque logic demanding that there be some magical division between humans and animals. He claims that evolution is (somehow) insufficient to bridge this gap using some bizarre chicken and egg argument that makes little sense. Apparently he thinks that developing conscious thought takes conscious thought. The notion that conscious thought could be the result of evolutionary processes is somehow completely missed.

He claims, "scientists compared genetic materials of neanderthals and modern humans.... they do not match." Obviously this book is missing out on some important information.

From there, it's the whole canard about humans only using 10% of their brains. Which in the author's world means that we're all geniuses and means

(wait for it......)

We're Intelligently Designed.

*headdesk*

Chapter 14 explains: Assuming (incorrectly) that population growth will go on unbounded, humans will be forced to venture out into the cosmos since there will simply be no further space or resources here. And if we do that, the author presumes we'll create "a new human species using our DNA".

In other words, we intelligently designed ourselves...... and then abandoned ourselves without any sort of technology. I think the author watched a the last episode of Battlestar Galactica a few too many times.

Of course, this all begs the question: If pre-human humans are filling the cosmos with new versions of ourselves, why has SETI not detected anything yet? (Incidentally, the other book I'm reading it Eerie Silence on that very topic which seeks to answer why we haven't heard from ETs, but none of the explanations are really compatible with the scenario laid out in this book.)

This is the grand conclusion of the book so far put together through a string of logical fallacies:
1. The universe must be infinitely old because I can't imagine it otherwise.
2. I can't understand how humans could have evolved.
3. Thus, since time is infinite, so are humans and we can create ourselves.

Chapter 15 attempts to answer the question of why the pre-human humans that apparently created us didn't leave us anything. The author claims they did. They left us a library of infinite knowledge (or at least everything they knew). And he knows where it is.

It's in our DNA.

Yeah.... it's a code to a secret library.... Like the DaVinci Code.... But with genetics....

Shame that it's subject to all sorts of random mutations, insertions from retroviruses and other distortions that it's probably a bunch of gobbly gook now.

But the author doesn't seem to realize this and also thinks that this magical library of knowledge has a plan. And it's tailored explicitly to you....

I guess the author doesn't realize how heredity works and that the collection of genes and chromosomes we get is random, making this "plan" as accurate as a horoscope. Again, the author apparently didn't master high school science.

That's the end of "Part 1".

Chapter 1 of the second section is a rant against religion that I skimmed over. In chapter 2, the author claims that we're subconsciously in touch with this library of knowledge, but some people more than others. Those that are more in touch are the successful Bill Gates' of the world. Those that aren't are the masses.

In Chapter 3, the author discusses failures and success. Of failures he blames everyone else, saying that with all your friends and families pulling you in their own directions, you can't go anywhere. Of success, he simply states that if at first you don't succeed, "[a]ll you have to do is to try, and try, and try, and try again."

Original.

But don't worry about it. Once you've tapped into the cosmic knowledge fountain, you'll be riding the gravy train.

Chapter 4 is all about "Goals". Basically, it's asking what do we do with our lives when we aren't busy procreating to make more humans (which is apparently the meaning of life). The author says, "Our creators knew perfectly well that nobody would go far on pure altruism." (Where altruism is being defined as making more human spawn to fill the rest of the cosmos.

I'm not sure why our creators would know this given it's not a necessary condition. If they created us, they could have made us 100% altruistic. But they didn't. Why?

God The Creator works in mysterious ways.

Meanwhile, there's some more touchy feel good crap along the lines of the "Aim for the stars and even if you miss, you'll still get the moon" junk.

Chapter 5 is all about maintaining a positive attitude all the time. Yay rainbows coming out of your ass nonsense! And how do you do this? More self help book nonsense about positive visualization.

Chapter 6 is a review of all the metaphysics rubbish: If you want to succeed, get in touch with your magic data center.

Chapter 7 is about the value of thinking. I'd agree with this. However, sometimes before one does too much thinking, it's helpful to actually do some learning.

The next chapter is two pages long. It's basically more self-help nonsense: You have to be obsessed with what you want.

Chapter 9 covers faith. The author lambastes blind faith yet, ironically, it's exactly what he uses to build up the entire argument so far. It's blind faith that drives him to claim that, just because he can't imagine something, reality must be what he can imagine. Fail.

Meanwhile, the author praises informed faith which he calls "real faith". This I can get behind. I appreciate the distinction that so many theists miss so they can hide behind equivocations of the term.

But the author dips right back into bizarro land in chapter 10 in which he claims that people hearing voices aren't really crazy. They're just getting an overload of information by being too in touch with the super information repository. His evidence for this? A guy in a mental institution who was good at math.

Apparently all you have to do to tap into this information storehouse is to do a lot of visualization. Just picture it, and become completely OCD about making it happen, and it will!

Chapter 11 again summarizes all the faulty logic before moving on to chapter 12 which tries to illustrate the whole process in action. In specific, the author discusses Einstein:
He was very educated in physics and mathematics (understanding.) Space, energy, mass, and time questions - that is all he thought about (real thinking). He did not care about his job in the patent bureau and he had even neglected his family in favor of those questions (obsession and persistence. Instead of going home after work, he was pacing the streets and his mind was filled with imaginary pictures of possible answers (visualization.) He did not have any doubts that one day he will [sic] solve these problems (faith) and he finally did.
Does this whole thing reek of confirmation bias to anyone else? The author takes a success story and shoe horns it into his paradigm without bothering to assess counter examples of people who went through the same steps (those underlined) and failed utterly.

Chapter 13 goes through how using this magic system will produce good habits and lead to good health.

Chapter 14 is the summary of the entire book and not even worth mentioning.

Taking stock of the book as a whole: It's a bunch of metaphysical gibberish based on false premises born out of logical fallacies. It's nonsense on par with Creationists. The logical flaws are so astoundingly blatant, I'd be amazed that anyone engaging in a bit of critical thinking, or with any background knowledge to the topics would be taken in. Yet, the two other reviews of this book I could find online both found it compelling.

One review said, "the book’s strongest point is the writer’s eagerness to help readers understand that there is no god". As I pointed out before, the argument against god(s) laid out in this book is simply because the author finds no need for them given his (erroneous) understanding of the history of the universe. Knowledge through misinformation is not something I can encourage. Especially for something that is such a minor part of the overall narrative.

The other review I found says, "the book is dedicated to discussing those questions we all always wonder about, especially today, in a day when there are so many more people questioning religion and faith." This claim is outright frightening to me. Sure, it asks the questions, but the answers are pure rubbish. Yet the reviewer says this book has her "convinced".

Really? I mean really?!

Asking questions is good. But at least put some thought into the response you get!

*Sigh*

The only other thing I want to say about this book is that the whole publishing and promoting seems highly suspicious. The author simply refers to himself by the pseudonym FINIFID which stands for "Friend In Need Is a Friend In Deed". Cute and in and of itself, I wouldn't find it suspicious.

But there's something else that seemed odd. Comment 235, by Mark Ofshtein at this blog claims that Mark is the publisher and he was "presented with a manuscript by an unknown author." In his Email to me, asking if I'd like a copy, Mark again identifies himself as the publisher.

Yet, in his Email to me asking for my thoughts recently, Mark identifies the book as his.

On that same link to the "Why Won't God Heal Amputees" blog, Mark asks that criticisms be given in private. In the book, FINIFID repeatedly claims these revelations are meant only for the person given the book. In both cases, there's a creepy sense of cultish secrecy. However, I've maintained a policy of addressing things without shying away from them. Good work I'll praise publicly, but if one wants that, they must also risk public humiliation. That's how fair exchange of information works. I appreciate the amount of work it takes to write a 300 page book, but effort isn't everything.

If I were to take anything out of that, it would be a final confirmation of the intellectual vacuity of the entire premise of the book. If the magical source of knowledge were truly available, and the author were so in tune with it, this book should be an intellectual masterpiece topping the best seller list. But it's not. It's being peddled to bloggers who think it's crazy and toss it aside.

Is Mark really FINIFID; Hiding behind the mask of a publisher promoting his own work?

I can't say, but everything about this book, from the content, to the publishing, to the random bolding and underlining (often seen by religious nuts) both in the book and on the publisher's website points to the person behind it being more than a little off their rocker.

It's great to keep an open mind, but that doesn't mean that you should let your brain get soggy when it rains.


UPDATE: The author has responded in the comments. My response to him is here.

17 comments:

Les said...

I got a copy as well about a month or two ago. I've not made it past the first chapter yet as my unemployment and knee surgery took center stage pretty quickly. But even in that first chapter I was raising my eyebrows more than once.

I plan to eventually get around to reading the rest of it as the publisher contacted me to ask if I had any comments. I had a feeling it was going to be somewhat woo-woo-ish so I'm not surprised at your review.

Jacklyn G. said...

I actually got my hands on a copy of this book about a month ago (my uncle sent me a copy)...I'm halfway through, and I have to say that although I have no proper schooling on the subjects of physics, space, or the such, I found the ideas to be compelling. I had a hard time coming up with arguments against what I was reading. I am definitely going to finish reading this book, and I think your argument is unfair based on what I've read so far. But then again, we are all entitled to our own opinions.

P.S. People underline and bold things when they write to make a point stand out; to prove a point and make it a strong one. Coming from a background in reading, I can tell you that to bash somebody for underlining too much sounds like a personal issue.

Jon Voisey said...

Jacklyn: In what way is my argument "unfair"? Is it "unfair" to point out errors in logic and basic misunderstandings of science, both of which are abundant in this text?

It's easy to be suckered in by something through ignorance. Saying you find something compelling simply because you don't understand it is not the high praise you seem to think.

Yes, bolding and underlining things is a great way to emphasize things, but when you seem to think that nearly everything you say needs to be emphasized, it shows a distorted view of things. That's not a personal issue.

Jacklyn said...

Jon,

Calling somebody ignorant when you have no knowledge of me or my formal education is completely off base (not to mention rude). I truly am sorry that I responded to your review at all, and will happily comment on other blog sites where people will welcome a difference of opinion.

And by the way, as ignorant as I may be, I found the underlining an effective method of pointing out certain things which sometimes readers overlook when they read too quickly. The underlining forced me to pause and reread before I moved on.

Take care.

Jon Voisey said...

My calling you (and FINIFID) ignorant is perfectly accurate. It simply means you have no knowledge of a topic. As you yourself admitted, you have "no proper schooling on the subjects of physics, space, or the such." FINIFID admitted as much as well.

This is by definition ignorant.

Your opinion is perfectly welcome, but it will not be free from critical analysis here. Uninformed opinions are worthless. Feel free to go somewhere where you'll get praise for such things.

FINIFID said...

Page 1: Jon,
You are correct when you say that the author must risk public humiliation by requesting reviews from others. But reviewers must be subject to the same thing, especially when they are utterly unfair. Because you have been so unfair, I felt compelled to defend my work and myself. In the beginning I wanted to let it go, but later I realized that if I did not respond to your venomous falsification of my book, then that would be as if I was agreeing with you, which could potentially harm my reputation. So, here is my response.
First, the title of my book is “You Will be Forced to Become Wealthy”, not “You Will Forced to Become Rich”. This blatant mistake goes to show how much attention you devoted to this review.
Second, your reply to my publisher (Mark Ofshtein) was on 5/19/10 at 4:00pm. Here is your reply (from the e-mail) verbatim: “Mark, I did receive the book. I haven’t yet finished it. I’m about 60 pages in and have found numerous fundamental problems. In response, I have put it down temporarily in favor of something more substantiative , but will likely be returning to it once I finish the other book. Jon.” …. Yet, you posted your review exactly on that same date, 5/19/10. That means that in a few hours time you were able to read about 220 pages, think it over, type it, and post a quite sizeable review. I think not. By the way, the word substantiative does not exist, not in English, anyway.
Judging by these two above-mentioned points and by your horrible review, I came to the conclusion that you did not read the book at all, but just skimmed over it. Let’s go step by step, exactly as you did in your review.
On the first and second pages of the introduction, I explained why I decided to rewrite the book (from its’ original content) which was at that time almost twice as big as it is now. Let me give you even more details about that decision… My intentions were and are to appeal to the masses, to “simple” people, to those who are hooked on religion without understanding much of its’ lies. I think that a more sophisticated and filled-with-scientific-details book will have a limited readership because it will not attract the average population that I want to draw towards the book. That was the reason that I omitted lots of scientific details.
A sophisticated reader like you should have realized that fact from the get go and should have been able to read between the lines as far as science is concerned. That would have been possible, of course, if you would have actually read the book.
I never (and you will not find it anywhere in the book) said and meant that anyone disagreeing with me must be thinking incorrectly. It’s simply a lie on your part. As a matter of fact, in those participating pages I provided a choice (agree, partially agree, or disagree) and if you disagreed I invited you to argue with me. As far as: “read it again, and again, and again” – among all people you should know that that is what studying is all about. Repetition is the key, and I’m sure you provide this same logic to your own students. So it is logic, not brainwashing, as you state.

FINIFID said...

Page 2: I don’t “claim” anything, it is a fact that there are two lists in this world and my intention is to explain that to regular folks using regular words. You prefer to call them the “haves” and “have-nots” – fine, but don’t try to intimidate anybody with your big words which I see you like very much. You have to understand that anyone can use a thesaurus if they wish to do so.
Your statement “this is the logical fallacy of bifurcation” is pure non-sequitur. Why is it logical fallacy and what am I trying to divide into two branches? Whose logic is abandoned now?
Yes, I do claim that time existed 50 billion years ago. Moreover, I insist that time is eternal. Trust me, I know all about the big bang theory (when it did, supposedly, happen, how time and space were, supposedly, folded, etc.) You are telling me that I cannot perceive any other options – you are wrong and illogical. It is precisely because I do perceive other options that I do not agree with the big bang.
Have you ever read the works of Ernst P. Fischer, or Halton C. Arp, or Hans Fahr, or James Trefil? What about plasma cosmology by Eric J. Lerner? There are many more authors and quite a few other models of the Universe. But they are all just theories and unless it will be determined for a fact that one model is an axiom, I am going to stay as a proponent of a Steady State Universe. Fred Hoyle, by the way, died at the age of 86 still rejecting the big bang theory despite the fact that he was the one who coined the term. Big bang, if you think about it, is the most “religious” model of them all since it presupposes creation from nothing.
Because you have learned only about big bang and only because the majority of scientists today support this theory, it does not make it correct. For thousands of years the best minds of that time were sure that earth was flat. So here you have it – another “logical fallacy” is lifted.
By accident or intentionally you have failed to mention chapter 3 in which I, quite simply and logically, have proven that the Universe is infinite.
Read again what you wrote regarding chapter 4: “Same problem is repeated, but instead of time, the author extends personal incredulity to matter and energy” and then “this is mostly true, it’s not strictly when you get to the quantum level”. Do you really think that regular people want to know about the quantum level???
Now, about wood burning. Are you for real? Here is a quote from a high school chemistry book that you brandished so easily: “combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel (wood in this case) and an oxidant (oxygen, air) accompanied by the production of heat (energy). Fuel + 202  CO2 + 2H2O + energy.

FINIFID said...

Page 3: I am telling you again – don’t try to intimidate me or anyone else with your “fantastic knowledge” and big words, like your next sentence: “The bastardization of the term theory at the end of the chapter is likewise unimpressive”. I would like to know in what way did I “bastardize” the term theory and what did I say wrong about theory and axiom?
Chapter 5. Almost at the beginning of page 46 there is one sentence “…the motion is only in circular or elliptical form” and then I specified that it is because other forms of motion are impossible. What is wrong with that? About the analogy of the rocket to Venus. When engines are stopped – no rocket’s energy is being used. As for the suns gravitational energy, it is good only if we fly to Venus (which was offered randomly, as an example only) or Mercury. What if our destination is Mars or Jupiter – then your suggestion does not make any sense at all. So, where is the “blatant oversight”?
As for another big word of yours, “momentum”, let me say that I am quite familiar with classical and relativistic mechanics. I know that momentum is the product of the mass and velocity, I know about Lorentz factor, also about linear and angular momentums, I know that momentum is a conserved quantity and many other things. That knowledge does not allow me, however, to push all this in the throats of the regular reader. I am just trying to show a point, the ideas, and I am not presenting scientific tract.
By the way, you totally missed chapter 6 which is very important for an atheist that you claim to be.
Chapter 7. If anyone is confused it is you. Yes, I do reject the big bang and explained the reasons why in the book and also here in this response. When I dismissed the big bang in the book I didn’t speak of it anymore, I simply went on to discuss possible scenarios about formation of the stars and planets and this discussion has nothing to do with the big bang. You would understand that if you had read the book.
I will not go into a very lengthy discussion here, but I can say that you being such a big astronomer and astrophysicist could simply point out some mistakes that, of course, could have happened (for which, by the way, I apologized for in the book in advance) but you, obviously, have a sick pleasure to continuously repeat the same things; “the author is confused, he cannot understand, he is ignorant, he didn’t master high school and college, and has a total lack of any knowledge, etc.”
Believe me, I know what a Nova and Supernova is. I know that expanding shock waves from a Supernova explosion can trigger the formation of new stars; I know that only organic material can vaporize instantly, inorganic, on the other hand, has to burned first (planet, for example); I know quite well that stars operate through the process of nuclear fusion whereby multiple atomic nuclei join together to form a single heavier nucleus (and this process is accompanied by the release of huge amounts of energy), etc. But again, this book is not intended for “super-knowledgeable” people like you – it’s for normal people.

FINIFID said...

Page 4: Your statements are total nonsense. You write that I do not appreciate the size of the Universe and how empty it is. But I do and I wrote about that in my book which you, obviously did not read. I am a proponent of an infinite Universe, so I do know that the Universe is endless. So where is your logic?
Chapter 8. You either did not read this chapter or did not comprehend it if you did read it. Your solution as usual – insult the author.
Chapter 9. I know all about “potential” for life on Mars. Potential my foot! We are desperately trying to remove excesses of CO2 from our atmosphere and you think that one (either human or bacteria) can survive on Mars with the atmosphere consisting of 95% CO2? Good luck! Only because some ice layer was supposedly found there, that does not make it a potentially life-sustaining planet.
I know quite a few things about Jupiter’s satellites as well. Europa, for example, has an average temperature of minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, almost a non-existent atmosphere (yes, there is a little bit of oxygen there – but so what?) and a layer of ice encompassing the entire surface. Please! What potential? Would you like me to discuss IO, Callisto, or Ganymede? I would if there would be any point to it, or any potential.
As far as the asteroid belt is concerned, there are at least 2 theories: 1. It’s formed from the groups of planetesimals (as a small precursor of the planets). 2. It is remnants of a destroyed planet. I am inclined to stick to the latter. Why? Dig into the literature yourself (if you care, of course). I don’t intend to give you a course in planetary creation and destruction.
You accuse me of making the “absolutely bizarre claim” that the “more we learn about life, the less complicated it becomes”. Let me say this: 1. From the point of view of literature and logic – what is wrong with this statement? 2. I wish you would know about biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and many other subjects as much as I do – you would then be able to apply your thinking. But try anyway: yes, the science of life is still complex, but it’s becoming less and less complicated the more we learn about it. Can you see the logic? Even if you will just read my book – you will learn some biology.
Chapter 10. This chapter is not a “screed” (again, big word) but is the most important chapter of this book for atheists and people with open minds. But to you it’s just a screed, which (I am sure) you didn’t read.
In chapter 12 you accuse me of the claim that the brain is imperative for life. That is a lie! I never said that and it is NOT in the book! What I did say is that even cells must have some degree of intelligence in order to be called alive. You don’t like the word intelligence, then just call it response, but you must know that the secrets of our intelligence lie within and are coming from a single cell. But you don’t know anything about biology, you know, instead, how to insult. By the way, there is no such word as anthrocentrism, it is anthropocentrism (anthropo means man in Greek), but that’s beside the point.

FINIFID said...

Page 5: Chapter 13. You totally blow my mind. Do you really believe that humans and animals are the same? You certainly did not read this chapter and if you did browse through it, you did not understand a damn thing. Yes, I claim that evolution is insufficient to bridge the gap between animals and humans, and yes to become a conscious being requires either conscious thought or awareness which animals lack and evolutionary processes here are totally helpless. If you would have read the book – you might have understood this.
To your knowledge, all previous attempts to match humans and neanderthals DNA failed. They did not match. As a matter of fact, as recently as last year when biologists announced that they had decoded the neanderthals genome, they reported no evidence of interbreeding between humans and neanderthals. I am fully aware of the latest find of three small nanderthals’ bones in Croatia. This announcement, by the way, was made on 5/6/10 and I published my book almost a year ago. But even that is irrelevant since biologists report that only 1-4% of neanderthals’ genes are found in the human genome which means that neanderthals’ DNA does not seem to have played a role in human evolution. That is their general conclusion. So, interbreeding is just a possibility, therefore stop jumping for joy and read the book thoroughly.
And again, your “big” word – canard. No, it’s not a canard.
If you would have read the book, you would have, hopefully, paid attention to the fact that I was writing about how humans use less than 10% of the conscious mind’s capability and probably, no more than that of the brains’ capacity.
However, read these quotes:
Russian neurosurgeon and developmental neuropsychologist Alexander Luria: “The frontal lobes are mostly dormant, asleep.”
Other author (forgot his name) – “So, as it turns out, to say that “we only use 10% of our brain”, this is actually an infinitely optimistic, as well as a considerably reasonable and thoughtful perspective of the possibilities that reside inside our craniums.”
T. Lingo, director of DBR&D Laboratory: “Today most scientists would agree without argument that the potential of the human brain is infinite. Thus to state that a person uses 10%, 5%, or even 1% of their potential brain capacity (infinity) is overly generous. Hence, the wisdom of intuitive folks was correct: {“The human brain is only 10% functional, at best.”} John Eccles, by the way, thinks that this number is too high.”
Sir John Eccles – Australian Neurology Nobel Laureate: “The brain indicates its powers are endless. Such a statement that “we use all of our brain” is both misleading and unhelpful, uninspiring, skeptical crumbs with barely a grain of truth, as well as not even being accurate statements regarding usage of the human brain. Humans have an unlimited capacity to learn. Unlike computers, no human brain has ever said: ‘Hard drive full.’ To say ‘we use all of our brain all the time’ says nothing about the potential of human intelligence, creativity, and problem solving. Such a skeptical rebuttal of the vast potential of the human think machine implies that we have reached our limits of brain potential – probably the most harmful dead end notion at all. We haven’t even gotten close. Our frontal lobes have been culturally and socially lobotomized. At this stage of our development, we are simply still Apes with pencils. That is actually very good news.”

FINIFID said...

Page 6: Don’t forget another thing- at this portion of the book I am discussing only our cognitive abilities, but the brain is involved in everything else. Therefore, yes, potentially, we are all geniuses. And it follows that when we will achieve high enough levels of our knowledge in technology, biology, medicine, etc. – we will be able to design a human being. Nobody else can do it but us and if you cannot comprehend this, then all your presumable exercises in science are futile. As a matter of fact, we are almost there. Think of what we can do today in comparison with 200-300 years ago and try to extrapolate what we will be able to achieve 200-300 years from now. How about 1,000, 10,000, or 1 million years from now?
Chapter 14. Do you really think that your great, great, ….grandson in the future will not have sex on his own accord, or that the government will cut out all the men’s’ balls, or that even one woman or man will refuse to have, at least, one child? Currently we cannot even get together on the simple things, so who in the future will be able to enforce a childless society? Yes, the population growth will go unbounded and this will lead to a necessity which is covered in the book, so go ahead and read it.
Don’t play with words like “then abandon ourselves without any sort of technology” – you better read and try to understand (it’s all explained in the book).
Why SETI has not detected anything yet, you ask? There is an explanation to everything - read the book and think.
About 70 years ago nobody knew anything about genes and we are far from deciphering everything, but we are getting there. How do you know that knowledge is not there? Why are you so closed minded? You are supposed to be a scientist, but you are just a regular naysayer.
You are infinitely wrong because I do perfectly realize how heredity works, but you don’t. There are a certain amount of genes and chromosomes that always stay intact making sure that you stay human. If random selection would go the way you understand it, you could be a horse with two legs by now (or anything else). Trust me; I did master high school science, college, and much more.
By the way, you compare my plan to be as accurate as a horoscope. Hahaha! However, in your profile you mention that you are a Libra and your zodiac sign is a Boar. Why bash horoscopes if you clearly believe in them?

FINIFID said...

Page 7: Chapter 15 and Chapter 1 of Part 2 you missed completely. You are ranting more than you realize and yet, you accuse me of doing so. These are also two of the most important chapters of the book, and somehow you missed them.
Chapter 2 is much, much, more than you have described in two words, but you don’t even argue, you just continue your insults.
Chapter 3. You are wrong about the context of this chapter as well, but your insolence continues.
Chapter 4. Take a dictionary and learn that procreation and preservation of conscious life are absolutely two different things. On the other hand, maybe for you it is the same thing? Also, read about altruism – it is not what you think it is.
I realize now that chapters 5-8 are not for you. You simply are not able to comprehend their contents and because of it you do what you do best - you become very cynical and dump more insults.
Chapter 9. You claim that I have no imagination. Let me say that in the whole of your, so-called, review, you show total lack of imagination and your reaction on chapters 10 and 11 prove that once again.
Chapter 12. For quite a while, I could not pinpoint exactly why you are the way you are. I was under the impression that you are just a puny, horrible, poisonous, self-absorbed, egocentric, self-aggrandizing person. But during your discussion of chapter 12, you, yourself, showed the real problem. You write: “The author takes a success story (about Einstein) and shoehorns it into his paradigm without bothering to assess counter examples of people who went through the same steps (those underlined) and failed utterly.” ….It all comes together now – you have failed at something big time, and because you are angry at the whole world you have become puny, horrible, poisonous,…… etc., and you spew your accumulated poison on anyone or anything that you can. Look at yourself: You take sentences out of context and you have absolutely missed the main concepts and ideas of the book. That is the reason you, practically, have no followers. Who can deal with you? Look how you put down and insulted Jacklyn (the second person who responded to your review) when she dared to have her opinion. By the way, you are wrong again, the definition of ignorant does not say anything about proper schooling.
Chapter 13. Despite all this, I don’t wish anything bad to happen to you. As a matter of fact, I wish you to have the same kind of good habits and good health that I have (without ever taking any drugs, whatsoever) when you become my age, and yes, I do follow my “magic system” every day.

FINIFID said...

Page 8: Chapter 14. You say that this chapter is not even worth mentioning. Do you know why you say this? Because you have no clue what’s in it, since you never actually read it. Read and you shall find.
You are also wrong on another account. No, not everyone sees the world through those dark shades that you wear. There are only a few reviews that you can find online, but if you would see how many reviews I have received personally, you would feel like an outcast. Some of them have certain critiques which I appreciate, but for the most part, the people who wrote them, unlike you, tried to understand the book for its contents, and wrote good reviews.
Regarding the question of who the author is and who the publisher is – that is so totally immaterial. What is the difference? Why are you trying to dig in the dirty clothes in order to find something that doesn’t concern you and certainly does not affect the ideas and concepts outlined in the book?
Yes, you are right – effort isn’t everything but an open mind and analytical thinking is and you lack both of those. Now I understand why you call yourself the “angry astronomer”.
I know perfectly well that you will not change your mind (I think you are not honest enough with yourself) but I will give you some free advice nevertheless:
1. Read, read, and read my book and think, think, and think.
2. Try, try, and try again, whatever your endeavor might be.
3. Instead of being nasty and insulting people, you better listen to and read the works of Stephen Hawking (even though I part company with him on certain issues). He has a brilliant and open mind.
Maybe if you follow my advice you will stop being a pompous ________.
Without any respect, FINIFID. (Finifid@aol.com)

Lorena said...

All I can say is that you severely misrepresented my review of this book. I did point out its flaws. It's not that I went out there to give it a raving review.

Jacklyn G. said...

I actually got my hands on a copy of this book about a month ago (my uncle sent me a copy)...I'm halfway through, and I have to say that although I have no proper schooling on the subjects of physics, space, or the such, I found the ideas to be compelling. I had a hard time coming up with arguments against what I was reading. I am definitely going to finish reading this book, and I think your argument is unfair based on what I've read so far. But then again, we are all entitled to our own opinions.

P.S. People underline and bold things when they write to make a point stand out; to prove a point and make it a strong one. Coming from a background in reading, I can tell you that to bash somebody for underlining too much sounds like a personal issue.

FINIFID said...

Page 7: Chapter 15 and Chapter 1 of Part 2 you missed completely. You are ranting more than you realize and yet, you accuse me of doing so. These are also two of the most important chapters of the book, and somehow you missed them.
Chapter 2 is much, much, more than you have described in two words, but you don’t even argue, you just continue your insults.
Chapter 3. You are wrong about the context of this chapter as well, but your insolence continues.
Chapter 4. Take a dictionary and learn that procreation and preservation of conscious life are absolutely two different things. On the other hand, maybe for you it is the same thing? Also, read about altruism – it is not what you think it is.
I realize now that chapters 5-8 are not for you. You simply are not able to comprehend their contents and because of it you do what you do best - you become very cynical and dump more insults.
Chapter 9. You claim that I have no imagination. Let me say that in the whole of your, so-called, review, you show total lack of imagination and your reaction on chapters 10 and 11 prove that once again.
Chapter 12. For quite a while, I could not pinpoint exactly why you are the way you are. I was under the impression that you are just a puny, horrible, poisonous, self-absorbed, egocentric, self-aggrandizing person. But during your discussion of chapter 12, you, yourself, showed the real problem. You write: “The author takes a success story (about Einstein) and shoehorns it into his paradigm without bothering to assess counter examples of people who went through the same steps (those underlined) and failed utterly.” ….It all comes together now – you have failed at something big time, and because you are angry at the whole world you have become puny, horrible, poisonous,…… etc., and you spew your accumulated poison on anyone or anything that you can. Look at yourself: You take sentences out of context and you have absolutely missed the main concepts and ideas of the book. That is the reason you, practically, have no followers. Who can deal with you? Look how you put down and insulted Jacklyn (the second person who responded to your review) when she dared to have her opinion. By the way, you are wrong again, the definition of ignorant does not say anything about proper schooling.
Chapter 13. Despite all this, I don’t wish anything bad to happen to you. As a matter of fact, I wish you to have the same kind of good habits and good health that I have (without ever taking any drugs, whatsoever) when you become my age, and yes, I do follow my “magic system” every day.

Jacklyn said...

Jon,

Calling somebody ignorant when you have no knowledge of me or my formal education is completely off base (not to mention rude). I truly am sorry that I responded to your review at all, and will happily comment on other blog sites where people will welcome a difference of opinion.

And by the way, as ignorant as I may be, I found the underlining an effective method of pointing out certain things which sometimes readers overlook when they read too quickly. The underlining forced me to pause and reread before I moved on.

Take care.