Something from nothing?

Among my favorite review/essays are Samuel Johnson’s demolition of Soame Jenyns’ A Free Enquiry Into the Nature and Origin of Evil and Hugh Kenner’s demolition of John Harrison’s putative takedown of Yeats, Pound, Eliot et al., The Reactionaries. Were it not for Johnson, no one would remember Jenyns, and Kenner performed a similar favor for Harrison (through the graces of William F. Buckley, who anthologized Kenner’s essay in Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?).

Reading David Albert’s review of Lawrence Krauss’s A Universe From Nothing in the current New York Times Book Review, I thought of Johnson and Kenner. Krauss’s book sets out to prove that something can come from nothing, and therefore to undermine the claims of a Creator. In its afterword the book carries an enthusiastic endorsement from the militant atheist Richard Dawkins. Albert is not impressed. Indeed, his review is derisive. Especially given its venue, it is a striking review.


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