Paradox by Jim Al-Khalili - book review

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Paradoxes are fascinating things, 'a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.' In this book, Jim Al-Khalili talks about scientific and statistical paradoxes. They are:

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1) The quantum physics paradox of Schrodinger's Cat.
2) The intelligence and entropy conundrum of Maxwell's demon.
3) The existence of aliens conundrum of Fermi's Paradox.
4) The predictability paradox of Laplace's Demon.
5) Olber's Paradox, which is 'if the universe in infinite, why is the sky dark?'

Jim also adds in a few relativity paradoxes and a statistical paradox (the game show goats and car problem) to round off the list.

I am a big fan of popular science books; I find the good ones fascinating and they're a great way to learn about our universe. Unfortunately, our scientific establishment pushes a Scientific Materialist line. In other words, all 'thought' and 'life' is simply an illusory phenomena that comes about by the action of physical mechanisms.

As I've explained in many articles on this website, in particular the influence idea, as well as in my book how science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong, Scientific Materialism is scientifically impossible. Minds and spirits have to exist in order for living things to defy the law of entropy, for living things are constantly increasing order in the universe, when the Law of Entropy states that all physical things should become more disordered over time.

Because of this, most popular science books are actually logically and scientifically flawed, but many are still interesting to read. Jim is engaging but also a fervent Scientific Materialist, and that makes this book also interesting, but also flawed. Unfortunately, there are points in this book where Jim isn't even balanced or rational either. For example, near the end of the book, Jim discusses Fermi's Paradox, named after the famous Italian-American physicist, Enrico Fermi. Fermi's Paradox is as follows:

Fermi pointed out that our galaxy is full of billions of stars, most of which must have planets around them. Therefore, the odds are overwhelming that many, many sentient races must have evolved in our galaxy and developed civilisations, then developed space travel and explored their neighbourhood. But if that's the case, Fermi asks, why haven't we met any of them?'

Jim starts his exploration of this conundrum by exploring the first possible answer: Extraterrestrials exist and in fact have visited us. He states:

"I will dismiss this first option for the justifiable reason that we have no sensible evidence to support the fantastical delusions of UFO enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists."


This isn't a rational or scientific statement. A scientist would investigate what evidence is available, then assess its validity in a measured and balanced way. A lot of very thorough and professional work has been done investigating the evidence that extraterrestrials are on Earth, by people such as Georgina Bruni, Tim Good and others. There is also the simple, logical matter that any ufo information is valuable and empowering and on a planet controlled by secretive, military elites, such information would rapidly be classified. Knowledge is power and UFO's, by their very nature, are powerful things.

After reading Jim's rabid anti UFO-investigator comment, I was strongly tempted to throw his book in the bin, but I think a better response is to write something new about the above paradoxes, and others such as Boltzmann's Asymmetry Problem and the Life-Entropy paradox, so that people get a chance to read a different explanation that is actually correct. In particular, I think someone needs to write a book that talks about causality, which is the Elephant in the Room in the world of Scientific Materialism. For example, a reviewer on amazon.co.uk said this about Al-Khalili's book:

The paradox for me is that the answers are there but the writer, like so many but not all scientists, refuse to see them, like the elephant in the room. This was made clear by the writer's statement that he would not accept purpose in any solution The answers lay outside physics, outside the physical world. Many physicists are open to this approach.


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I have already written about this issue, to some extent, in my book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong' but I'd like to do another book. This second book would be purely physics but it wouldn't so much be me telling my view. Instead, I would report on what famous physicists said about the above paradoxes, anomalies and conundrums. Those brilliant minds' views are illuminating and don't follow the Scientific Materialist dogma. Few people know their views because our current scientific establishment and popular science media have deliberately ignored what they said, and so there's a great need to tell people the truth.

My current, working title for this new book is 'Nobel meets Paradox', which is easier to write that my first book's title!

I'll let everyone know on this website if and when I make progress on that project.