Simon & Schuster
February 15, 1992
Throughout history, humans have dreamed of knowing the reason for the existence of the universe. In The Mind of God, physicist Paul Davies, author of the acclaimed God and the New Physics, explores whether modern science can provide the key that will unlock all the secrets of existence.
Many scientists now believe that, given the laws of nature, the universe can come into being spontaneously, without the need for a creator. Phenomena such as life and consciousness also seem to be explicable in scientific terms. Yet a profound mystery remains. Where do these laws of nature come from? Have they been created by God, or can they be explained in some other way?
The mystery deepens when it is recognized that the laws that produced the big bang also encouraged the emergence of organized complexity in the universe, leading eventually to conscious organisms. Davies argues that these laws must have a remarkably simple form. In a bold and controversial analysis, he claims that the success of mathematics in describing nature points to a deep and significant link between the human mind and the organization of the physical world.
In his quest for an ultimate explanation of existence, Davies explores the origin and evolution of the cosmos, the nature of life and consciousness, the possibility of other universes, and the claim that our universe is a kind of gigantic computer. His startling conclusion is that the universe is no accident, but is structured in a way that provides a meaningful place for thinking beings.
“Through science,” Davies writes, “we human beings are able to grasp at least some of nature’s secrets. We have cracked part of the cosmic code. Why this should be, just why homo sapiens should carry the spark of rationality that provides the key to the universe, is a deep enigma. We, who are children of the universe – animated stardust – can nevertheless reflect on the nature of that same universe, even to the extent of glimpsing the rules on which it runs.” By means of science, we can truly see into the mind of God.
Paul Davies is Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Adelaide in Australia. His research has ranged across much of fundamental physics and cosmology, and he has earned an international reputation through his earlier books God and the New Physics, The Cosmic Blueprint, Superforce, and Other Worlds.