Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Universe by Design by Danny Faulkner

book cover

Universe by Design
by Danny Faulkner

Paperback: 143 pages
Publisher: Master Books
Released: September 2004

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, my take:
Written for high school students and adults who are interested in cosmology, this book explains the developments in human understanding of the universe starting with ancient Greeks and ending with the latest ideas in modern cosmology. Dr. Danny Faulkner explains what evidence led to the development of these various ideas and what new information caused them to be replaced. For the modern models (Big Bang, Steady-State, and Plasma models), he explains their strengths and weaknesses in terms a layman can easily understand.

He then explains why some criticisms of modern cosmology aren't valid because they misunderstand the concept or model. Finally, he discusses the few Bible-based, young earth ideas that have been proposed (along with their strengths, weaknesses, and other possible areas that might be explored in the future).

Universe by Design is an educational book about the developments in cosmology from the ancient Greeks to modern times. The author explained why these various ideas were developed (what evidence they were based on), so it was easy to follow the reasoning and remember the idea. He then explained what evidence overturned those ideas and what new ideas replaced them.

He also briefly explained, among other things, quantum mechanics, general relativity, the string theory, the cosmological constant, the Hubble constant, dark matter, and dark energy. For modern cosmology, he discussed the Big Bang in detail and, more briefly, the Steady-State model and the Plasma Universe model. He maintained a respectful tone and was careful to accurately represent the model even when he didn't agree with the idea.

The author started by making it quite clear that he holds to a "God created about 6,000 years ago" view. He presented current Bible-based cosmological ideas--both their strengths and weaknesses--and suggested possible ideas to explore in the development of future models. He also spent a chapter explaining common misunderstandings about what modern cosmological ideas say so that the reader can intelligently discuss these models with those who hold them.

Overall, the information was clear, easy to follow, and easy to understand and remember. However, I did have to re-read and think over the sections on the constancy of the speed of light before I understood it (apparently, all it means is that the speed of light through space is always the same--it's not influenced by the speed and direction of the source or of the observer). I also never understood his argument for how Inflation worked since matter would move (in relation to itself and other matter) even if it's space that's expanding.

Black and white pictures illustrated the text, and the author defined the scientific terms in the text. The book kept my interest throughout, and I found it very informative. Overall, I'd highly recommend this book to high schoolers and adults interested in the history of cosmology, modern cosmology, and the strengths and weaknesses of current universe-origins models.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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