Book Review: Heavenly Errors

Heavenly Errors:  Misconceptions About The Real Nature Of The Universe, by Neil F. Comins

When I started reading this book, I thought it would be a five-star book.  By the time I got to the middle, it started looking like a three-star book.  Once I finished, I was irritated and disappointed that the book ended up being a one-star book.  What happened?  This book is ostensibly a book written by an astronomy professor about the faulty views of the cosmos that many students and many people in general have.  Unfortunately, the further this book goes on, the more it becomes an altar call for a bogus anti-religion scientism [1] that demonstrates the author is an immense hypocrite who believes himself to be a critical thinker when he uncritically accepts what is falsely called reason and refuses to apply the humility to himself that he enjoins on others.  That is an unforgivable offense when one is writing a book aimed at the general public and that seeks to provide scientific truth instead of philosophical garbage.  In fact, it is unclear if the author manages to clear up more misconceptions than he adds to through his own misguided advocacy for a defective and misconceived worldview.  That is an immense failure given the book’s purpose in cleaning up misconceptions.

In about 230 pages or so this author manages to take a promising beginning and drive it into the ground.  How does he accomplish this?  He begins with an introduction about his own personal background and educational experience as a professor of introductory astronomy.  He then writes about misconceptions relating to the solar system, probably the best part of this whole book.  After this he writes about the external origins of incorrect beliefs, putting the blame on others for teaching errors.  Then he looks at our internal and mixed origins of incorrect beliefs, our own responsibility for the problem.  At this point the book begins to go south.  The fourth chapter looks at survival, meaning the author writes a lot about bogus ideas on evolution.  After that the author looks at the difficulty of replacing misconceptions, meaning there is whining about how hard it is to teach people whose minds are made up with different first principles than the author has.  The author then writes about himself and his own approach to trying to teach impressionable young adults the glories of scientism, discusses how to avoid future misconceptions by adopting so-called “critical reasoning” that happens to correspond to the author’s own misconceptions, and the conflicts and dangers that misconceptions supposedly create.  The book then ends on a low point by insulting believers for having false personal cosmologies.  Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t start stone throwing contests.

Ultimately, what this book comes down to is owning yourself, and that is something this author fails to do.  There are many ways this author could have done his job better.  He could have spent his time talking about misconceptions about the cosmos and not whining about how people have a limited view of what is acceptable behavior for scientists–namely focusing on the material world while leaving the morals and ethics for those who have proper moral and ethical worldviews or actively trying to attack the biblical worldview and other flawed worldviews which are at least equally plausible to his own.  This is an example of a book that is fine and proper within its narrow and constricted sphere but which is terrible outside of it.  Unfortunately for the author, he frontloaded all of his best material that related to his subject of expertise and, after writing about how many scientists err when stepping outside of their competence, manages to do the same thing himself.  A bit more humility, a bit more self-awareness, and a lot more restraint would have made this such a better work.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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