Tuesday, December 20, 2005

book review: Nature Never Stops Talking


Title: Nature Never Stops Talking
Author: Alibrando, Samuel J.
Genre: Science, Nature, Intelligent Design
ISBN: 0-9725486-4-5

Though by his own admission he is not a trained scientist, Samuel Alibrando has had a long interest in nature. He also possesses a curious inquiring mind. Nature Never Stops Talking is the result. In the over 100 short essays it contains, Alibrando probes the natural world from amoeba to zoology and celebrates the evidence for intelligence and design he finds wherever he looks in the natural world.

The book is divided into ten chapters or subject categories. These include “Earth and Space,” “Scientific Properties,” “Beginnings,” “Plants and Trees,” “Insects,” and “The Human Body.” Individual articles which fall into the various categories make up each section, with “The Human Body” given the most space. The book ends with an appendix and index.

The strength of the book is the author’s way of uncovering, just below the level of the obvious and taken for granted, little known facts and intriguing connections. (In “Fire,” for example, he states: “I was amazed as a volunteer firefighter to learn there were ten different chemical reactions involved in creating a ‘simple’ flame.” When delving into the mysteries of water, he discovers that it is the only liquid that becomes less dense in its frozen form. He spells out the implications of this for life on earth in the piece “Every Time You See Ice.”) The end result is a mountain of evidence, built from findings which span the scientific disciplines, that this world couldn’t have just happened.

One small criticism of the book regards its actual dishing out of information. It seemed uneven, in that some chapters are a lot richer in facts and information than others. The chapter “Healing Skin” in the Human Body section, for example, is more of a ‘Wow– how does that happen?’ piece than a delve into the physics of how our bodies are designed to self-heal. The chapter “Nothing As Lovely As a Tree” on the other hand, goes into a lot of specific and satsfying detail about what conditions are necessary for a tree to grow.

Something I found disorienting concerns the book’s layout and the way the unrelated pieces in each section follow closely after one another, broken up only by one line of white space. To be sure, the title of the next piece appears below that space in bold font. But this minimal spacing together with the type of headings usually used to break up an essay about one subject, doesn’t seem sufficient to signal to the reader that they are now starting a new and entirely different article.

These minor things aside, this book is fun to read and would be a valuable addition to the library of anyone who is interested in the natural world. The book would also be great add-on material to a home school science curriculum. I can see how any one of the chapters could be a jumping off point to stimulate further study for readers of every age.

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Disclaimer: Disclaimer: The book Nature Never Stops Talking was sent to me by Mind & Media as a gift from the publisher who donated the books for reviewers.

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