Author Topic: Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)  (Read 130 times)

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Offline gehnofdni

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Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)
« on: August 04, 2014, 10:37:17 PM »
Has anyone else read Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer? I'd like to know what you thought of it.
N. L. Flowers

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 10:01:00 AM »
I thought it was all right.  I was going through some stuff at the time I read it, and most of what I remember is my own shit and not the actual book.
Big Mike
Calgary AB Canada

Offline Redamare

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Re: Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 01:01:00 PM »
I haven't read it, but I've heard about it. What I heard was that the book itself seems like weak apologetics, but that Sawyer is actually an atheist and wrote it specifically to show what would have to be true for a God to exist in spite of what we know. What did you think of it, gehnofdni?
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Offline Henning

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Re: Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 01:41:09 PM »
Ah, it's fiction... the synopses I'm reading make it sound very cool.
An alien paleontologist arrives on earth, compares notes with our guy, and together they realize they might have evidence for a Creator... That's cool.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. --Voltaire

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2014, 01:48:34 PM »
Ah, it's fiction... the synopses I'm reading make it sound very cool.
An alien paleontologist arrives on earth, compares notes with our guy, and together they realize they might have evidence for a Creator... That's cool.

If I'm remembering it right, it's more like advanced aliens come to earth, specifically seek out someone like Richard Dawkins to chat evolution, and casually toss out "of course the universe had a Creator, duh" during conversation.
Big Mike
Calgary AB Canada

Offline Henning

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Re: Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2014, 02:03:26 PM »
Ah, it's fiction... the synopses I'm reading make it sound very cool.
An alien paleontologist arrives on earth, compares notes with our guy, and together they realize they might have evidence for a Creator... That's cool.

If I'm remembering it right, it's more like advanced aliens come to earth, specifically seek out someone like Richard Dawkins to chat evolution, and casually toss out "of course the universe had a Creator, duh" during conversation.

Right, so I imagine the Dawkins guy has a hard time letting go of his Atheism. Christians reading it will be like ha ha I told you so, and Atheists reading it will be like... well yeah, if only you had this evidence I'd believe, but you don't...
Puts its finger on a fundamental difference of philosophy... that's cool.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. --Voltaire

Offline gehnofdni

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Re: Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2014, 09:30:29 PM »
Well, it was Sawyer's assertion that he was writing as a big believer in evolution, trying to start a conversation with intelligent design proponents, trying to find the middle of the debate. He did say he was trying to create a premise where there was some evidence discovered that proves a creator, but I didn't think the evidence he premised the book on really would necessitate a creator.

I appreciated that he presented the reality that there could be a creator even if evolution was true.  In fact, he talks in the book about how you can have a soul without god or god without a soul.  I think that could really blow the mind of a theist reading the book.  I know when I read Daniel Quinn's Ishmael, as a Christian, the assertion that the stories of Cain & Abel and Adam & Eve were in fact allegorically but not literally true as a matter of history really blew my mind.  The fact of evolution is never questioned by human or alien scientists in Calculating God.  That's all fine.

However, I do feel ID proponents will feel vindicated by this book, even though no such evidence exists, while I felt no such vindication.  It feels like a giveaway to some folks that don't deserve it.  These are people who are trying to do an end run around the law to teach creationism in the classroom, and so are unworthy of any deference.  I don't believe any of these people would settle for a deistic universe with a creator who is a super-advanced alien from another dimension and never hears our prayers.  So, I'm just not sure how useful this kind of bridge-building is; it seems only to give them greater advance.

It was a genuinely interesting premise (this is Sawyer's strength as an author) and a moderately good read, nonetheless.  It's philosophically engaging, which is what appeals to me most.
N. L. Flowers

Offline Clangador

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Re: Robert J. Sawyer - Calculating God (2009)
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2014, 11:14:15 AM »
I read it a few months back and liked it. The god presented in the book wasn't a god in the Abrahamic sense. It had limits on its power. It was just a powerful being no more or less.
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"We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both."
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