Taner Edis

Albuquerque Sunday Journal, September 1, 2002

‘Ghost’ makes chilly debate against existence of God


From the outset, it should be pointed out, this book is probably not for those who have a profound, unshaken belief in the existence of God as a spiritual reality.

Author Taner Edis, a young physicist at Truman State (Mo.), sets out to show that naturalism alone presents a much better view of the world.

Starting with philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God, Edis proceeds to Darwinism and evolution; then to physics (classical and modern); Islam, Judaism and Christianity are next, ending with miracles and paranormalcies and modern psychology.

As a conclusion, he offers his thesis that morality “is rooted in biology, not a transcendental realm.” Edis thinks that “we have excellent intellectual reasons to disbelieve in God … God does not belong in our explanations, but in the end … we have a lot to learn from religion.”

In an accompanying brochure, the publisher touts this book as being “for the nonspecialist.” This is hard to believe, when in Edis’ running expositions, he throws in equations from Bayesian statistics and quantum physics (too complicated to reproduce here), as well as set theory from mathematical analysis and Godel’s incompleteness theorem, to cite but a few.

The references at the end of each chapter are quite detailed, including textbooks and articles from scientific journals—again, an admirable resource for the specialist.

It should be noted, however, that several references to the Koran regarding the majesty of the works of God, are found almost verbatim in the much earlier Bible.

A good researcher is judged, among others things, by the use and quotes from original sources.

Lastly, I was left with the overall impression of a total lack of emotions expressed by the author—no sadness, no joy and no doubts.

It is as if an artificial intelligence machine were programmed to write something, based on a list of predetermined topics.

Is this, then, an antithesis to the old story about a supercomputer? When asked, “Is there God?” the computer replied, “Now there is.”

Let us hope that if, and when, Edis reaches the maturity of an Isaac Newton or an Albert Einstein, it will be reflected in a sequel to this book.

Shlomo Karni is professor emeritus of electrical engineering and religious studies at UNM.

Protected by Akismet
Blog with WordPress