On Robert Wright’s “Nonzero: the Logic of Human Destiny.”

If the question about how the world and humans came to be is a difficult one to answer, the one as to why it all happened at all is even more intriguing. Science has been making every effort to find out answers to the first question, and the religions of humankind have, over the ages, furnished answers to the second. The (modern) scientific mode has generally led us to believe that biogenesis was a random event, and it has also led us to a negative non-answer to the second question: there is really no reason why the world and humans came to be.
In this rather insightful book, based on considerable study and reflection, Wright develops the thesis to the effect that both biological and cultural evolutions were in some sense implicit in the nature of the physical world. In other words, this is not an accidental universe in which time began to tick by some chance imbalance and just ticks on and on with no end in view, but one which quite possibly has a very meaningful purpose which we may not know as yet.
The thesis itself is not all that new, but the arguments Wright furnishes for it are quite original. He draws these from the latest results and framework of science. True, there are quotes from the Bible in this book, but there are also serious discussions of current propositions about evolution and history, about game theory and thermodynamics.
Not everyone will be convinced by Wright’s analysis and conclusion, if only because it runs counter to the purely matter-energy interpretation of the world, but it is difficult to deny that the Wright presents his case with reason and erudition.


About Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.
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