The Intelligent Universe - James Gardner
What is the ultimate destiny of our universe? That is the striking question addressed by James Gardner in The Intelligent Universe. Traditionally, scientists (and Robert Frost) have offered two bleak answers to this profound issue: fire or ice. In The Intelligent Universe, James Gardner envisions a third dramatic alternative—a final state of the cosmos in which a highly evolved form of group intelligence engineers a cosmic renewal, the birth of a new universe.
"Physicist and author Gardner expands on the themes of his 2003 title Biocosm, incorporating concepts of artificial intelligence, non-biological life and the possibility of extra-terrestrial intelligence. It is helpful, but not necessary, to have read Biocosm, as Gardner does provide a recap on his way to proposing that the universe itself is a form of life and that advanced artificial intelligence might be able to create more universes capable of developing more life. Gardner's highly speculative propositions are presented in a passably written narrative, and he incorporates well-documented material from a wide range of past and contemporary thinkers, including Kurzweil, Bedau, Vinge, Penrose, Gould and Dawkins. Unfortunately, he makes the same mistake for which he criticizes others-assuming that because a given phenomena is not understood or observed at present, it never will be, thus justifying outrageous speculation or quasi-religious reasoning. In addition, Gardner ignores decades of research in chemosynthesis and abiogenesis, his understanding of evolutionary processes seems superficial and his knowledge of chemistry (including the chemical characteristics of elements) is clearly limited. As such, he mistakenly suggests, repeatedly, that well-understood processes are in fact scientific mysteries. For those interested in the cutting edge of contemporary physics (and its attending philosophy), Gardner's book is helpful; nevertheless, a healthy skepticism is highly recommended." —Publishers Weekly, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Once again, Gardner takes on the biggest of themes—the function and future of the universe. Could it be that life, a humble bit of dirty chemistry on a tiny planet, is actually the `man behind the curtain,' pulling the levers that will actually guide the future of an entire cosmos? This book dares to tread on a landscape that few other writers have yet imagined. Provocative and prescient." —Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer, SETI Institute
"Jim Gardner is a man who thinks BIG! And it doesn't come any bigger than the universe itself. This profound meditation on the future of the universe and the central role intelligence plays in that drama will keep you enthralled with the possibility that we ARE the universe. Bon voyage on the intellectual journey of the year!" —Dr. John Casti, Wissenschaftzentrum Wien and IIIAS, Vienna, Austria author of Paradigms Lost and The Cambridge Quintet
"You may not agree with everything in this book, but I guarantee you will be challenged to rethink your basic assumptions about the universe, theology, and life itself. This beautifully written cosmic journey takes you to the outermost realm of current thinking about the universe and our place in it. It is a journey that will raise your cosmic consciousness, and it is a journey that humanity needs to undertake." —Dr. Steven J. Dick, NASA chief historian, director, NASA History Division
"If you enjoy engaging with big "what if" questions, then you'll no doubt get a kick out of The Intelligent Universe." —Scienceagogo.com
James Gardner, a well known and widely published complexity theorist, lives in Portland, Oregon. His first book, Biocosm, was selected as one of the ten best science books of 2003 by the editors of Amazon.com and was featured in major stories in TIME, U.S. Newss