Sunday, April 10, 2005

Final Book Report - A Short History of Nearly Everything

A few days ago, in my post on the revelation that black holes don't exist, I mentioned "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. I finished listening to it today and here's my review: Sort of like the line in "Top Gun:" "That was some of the best flying I've seen, right up until the time you got killed." this was a good book, right up until the last commentary by the author. After 5 CDs of listening not only to the fantastic things man has discovered, by who and how, and many stories of how things were either not understood, or not even comprehended, and later, once something was discovered ("plate tectonics" was a term first used in 1968), all of a sudden, right at the end of the book, Bill Vryson begins to pontificate about how life was actually a series of highly improbible things happening over and over again, so that's how it works we're told. He describes "miraculous" things, then makes it a result of a few chemicals and a spark. He goes on to tell us how they (scientists) postulate that 90% of the species on Earth still haven't been discovered, and a few moments later, he starts berating mankind for being the most selfish and inept species ever in the history of the planet, uncaringly either letting species be eliminated, or actually wantonly eliminating them. It struck me as incredible that the very history of our journey into modernity has been rife with misunderstandings, personality conflict, rejection of actual fact, yet all of a sudden, we are chastised for destroying the planet and what lives here. We have also been responsible for global warming (it couldn't have been the big yellow ball hanging up there in the sky!), since that began when humans first walked the earth. Anyhow, listen to it all, but if you're not in the mood for a lecture on how bad humanity is for dear old mother earth, skip the last track on the last CD and spare your blood pressure.

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