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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Secret Doorway: Beyond Imagination

The Secret Doorway: Beyond Imagination
by Paul Hutchins
197 pages

Once I read the following blurb in a publicist's email I knew I had to read this book:
After researching the images and data from the Hubble and Spritzer space telescopes, collected since their launch, entrepreneur and recreational astronomer Paul Hutchins was compelled to write about the universe as a product of intelligent design, fueled by superior imagination. In his new book, "The Secret Doorway: Beyond Imagination," Hutchins stitches together a photographic drama of the creation of the universe, examining the intricacies of the universe and invoking a "Grand Architect" as the creative force behind our world. With full-color photos, scientific data and a user friendly format, Hutchins takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey as he considers what lies beyond our imagination.
In previous reviews I've told you that I'm not a scientific person but that science does interest me. In particular I'm very intrigued by images from the far reaches of space ... and this book has LOTS of them!

In fact, the images are the best part of the book in my opinion. Almost every two-page spread includes one page of text and a large illustration. Galaxies, stars, nebulae, planets, and many, many more images fill this book to bursting.

The book is broken into 6 sections, called Acts. Act 1 and Act 2 discuss how the imagination of man has driven scientific discoveries throughout human history and continues to do so today. Act 3 discusses the development of space technology. In Act 4 the idea of a Supreme Power who created the universe is discussed. Act 5 talks about that Supreme Power in regard to the formation of our own planet. And the final Act is a gallery of images along with brief essays about each of them.

To be honest, I really struggled with the text of this book for several reasons.
  • First (and most importantly) I'm not sure who the intended audience is. As someone who already believes in a creator, the idea of a Supreme Power is not a new one. However, if I did not believe in a creator, I don't think I would have been convinced of the existence of a Supreme Power by what was written in this book. The author's main argument seems to be this: "Just look at these images - their beauty will convince you that they were created!" I'm sorry but I don't think that would convince me ...

  • Second, the author focuses intensely on one verse in the Biblical Old Testament book of Isaiah (chapter 40:26), "Lift up your eyes on high,and see who has created the stars, who brings out their army by number. He calls them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, not one is lacking." I can't tell you how many times this specific verse is quoted but it was a LOT - enough that I was tired of hearing it.

  • And finally, the author's reliance on NASA's website for descriptions and summaries was overdone. If I'm going to read a book, I want to read what YOU have written, not continual press releases from NASA.
At this point I have to confess that I didn't finish reading this book. I DID read the first five Acts though, and they are the "meat" of the book in my opinion. I stopped at page 98, at the beginning of the gallery section. I will likely peruse the images in that section at a later date but I couldn't bring myself to read any more of this book. And that's too bad, because I really wanted to love it. The images are gorgeous though!


bobxxxx said...

"In Act 4 the idea of a Supreme Power who created the universe is discussed. Act 5 talks about that Supreme Power in regard to the formation of our own planet."

The formation of planets, including our planet, is a well known natural process. Your magic god fairy didn't have anything to do with it.

It's really childish to invoke supernatural magic to solve scientific problems that have already been solved without your idiotic god hypothesis. You only prove how hopelessly uneducated and stupid religious people are.

Heather J. said...

Bobxxxx - Wow, and I thought I didn't have to put a note at the bottom to request that people be polite in their comments. I should have known better.

And just to clarify, that was a summary of the book you quoted, not a summary of my opinions (which I do give later on). If you going to attack me at least do it based on something I actually said.

avisannschild said...

Wow, Heather, I think I would have been tempted to delete that comment! Too bad this book didn't live up to its great title! (I presume, by the way, that you meant to say you didn't finish reading it...)

Heather J. said...

avisannschild - Thanks for that correction - I just fixed it. :) Yes, I almost did delete it, but I figured it really wasn't a big deal. Honestly it is quite funny to me after having read it a few times ...seems no one is entitled to an opinion that differs from Bobxxx. ~LOL~

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