Kamrin’s Corner: A Short History of Nearly Everything

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

By Kamrin Duncan

Cover of the book, featuring a globe with an asterisk next to it, leading to the title.

The first time I realized I no longer believed in God was during a visit to the planetarium when I was in college. The show being featured at the time was about how Earth was created. Bill Bryson’s book, A Short History of Nearly Everything took me back to that moment. Bryson manages to capture the wonders of the universe and the extraordinary event of life without contributing it to a higher power.

A Short History of Nearly Everything, was published in 2003 and provides a science-based overview of the universe, the Earth, the rise of civilization and many other topics. Bryson’s book is simply written and easy to understand and avoids the technical textbook feel of many other books in this genre.

There are some great take-aways from this book that appeal to the atheist community. Bryson emphasizes the importance of scientific theory and critical thinking. He also highlights several cases in which religious institutions have faulted research and scientific investigations. There is also an underlying theme throughout the book that there is always more to be learned and there are still many things we have yet to discover about the world we live in. Continuous curiosity and questioning are what lead to more scientific studies and more scientific knowledge.

“If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here — and by ‘we’ I mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp.”
— Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything

Categories: Reviews

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