Book Review : What the bleep do we know?
When I picked up What the bleep do we know!? : discovering the endless possibilities for altering your everyday reality by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente (Health Communications, 2005) at my library I was surprised it was filed under the Dewey number 204 for religious experience, life and practice and not under 530 for Physics. The book does look at scientific evidence for what is generally considered paranormal events; however it is as the authors seek to understand this evidence they turn to the spiritual world for answers.
The early part of the book covers many topics generally found in physics books, quantum theory, subatomic particles etc. It seeks to explain some of the scientific discoveries which make up our physical universe. However scientists have discovered that the world’s make up is not as clear cut as one would expect. When scientists examine subatomic particles, they find they behave in unexpected and unpredictable ways. Furthermore these particles are influenced by forces that scientists can’t explain. So at this point the book moves into discussing how our conscious mind, our thoughts, our ideas, may actually be influencing the behaviour of the smallest parts of our universe, which in turn influence the other parts. Of course, at this point, the book becomes controversial. Scientists are generally not keen to move from a scientific discussion to a more spiritual one. But the lack of explanation for a growing amount of scientific data points towards spiritual answers and this is making some scientists rethink some of their most concrete concepts.
As a Christian I found this book challenging. The authors attempt to explain things in spiritual terms quoting spiritual leaders from a variety of religious faiths, including Christianity, but totally excluding the possibility of a personal God. They see human beings as the pinnacle of creation and imagine the world is all about them, rather than about God and his kingdom. However I did find the factual information presented in this book astonishing. It made me think that God is even amazing than I already thought. It also helped me understand that prayer is far more important than I ever realized. We are not merely telling God things he already knows but our prayers are making a real difference in the very fabric of our world.
This book takes you on a remarkable journey, that is overwhelming, complicated, mind blowing, and faith stretching. So if you are up for a faith testing adventure, it is an amazing read.
For a further discussion of the issues raised in this book from a Christian perspective see my post: Book Review : The latent power of the soul.