In Nature Loves to Hide, physicist Shimon Malin takes readers on a fascinating tour of quantum theory — one that turns to Western philosophical thought to clarify this strange yet inescapable description of the nature of reality. Malin translates quantum mechanics into plain English, explaining its origins and workings against the backdrop of the famous debate between Niels Bohr and the skeptical Albert Einstein. Then he moves on to build a philosophical framework that can account for the quantum nature of reality. He draws out the linkage between the concepts of Neoplatonism and the more recent process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Writing with broad humanistic insight and deep knowledge of science, and using delightful conversation with fictional astronauts Peter and Julie to explain more difficult concepts, Shimon Malin offers a profound new understanding of the nature of reality — one that shows a deep continuity with aspects of our Western philosophical tradition going back 2,500 years, and that feels more deeply satisfying, and truer, than the clockwork universe of Newton. ""A fascinating introduction to the strange world of quantum physics and its wider implications."" — Christian Science Monitor
Amazon.com Review God, Albert Einstein famously observed, does not play dice with the universe. Much of quantum physics, a field of study that Einstein helped initiate and that has extended his theories into the oddest of corners, is so materialistic that it can find little room for speculation about the role of chance in the universe — and, indeed, for a supreme being at all.
Shimon Malin, a professor of physics at Colgate University, notes that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift in our thinking about the universe and our place in it. With its "principle of objectivation" and its positing of a mysterious "collapse of quantum states" and multiple realities, among other theses, the new physics suggests that "nature is an organism whose functioning cannot be reduced to a set of mechanisms." The resultant uncertainty has undermined traditional views of religion and human purpose, and philosophy has only begun to account for it. But, Malin suggests, that uncertainty need not lead to meaninglessness or nihilism. If we consider the universe to be alive and intelligent, and if we nurture "conscious attention" to it, then we become witnesses to and participants in its order and completion, even if we do not completely understand it.
Confused? It's easy to be confounded, for lines of thought in modern science and philosophy alike can be difficult to follow. Malin writes lucidly about the new physics, the quest for an overarching "theory of everything," and the search for meaning in an apparently inanimate creation. If his discussions sometimes get a little tangled, well, that's the nature of the subject itself. Whatever the case, there is much to ponder in his well-written book, and much to learn. — Gregory McNamee