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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 11, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm EST

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3 million more people year after year between birth and immigration in this country, 3 million people year after year after year after the place to live, work, go to school, shop. and so, i think people are concerned about these things. it seems they are looking for ways to alleviate the pressure. i'm not saying i'm anti-growth. i couldn't stop it if i wanted to. so i think the real question is how are we going to deal with it? what changes can we make? that is the kind of information we want to provide any information most americans are looking for, and how can we do it. ..
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>> i mean, it's all different. it's just, you know, i'm serious. you can do whatever you want with numbers, and whoever's behind the study, you know that old saying you usually hear what you want to hear when somebody talks. it's the result you want to get. if you do the neo-nazis to do some research thing, they're going to find everybody hates jews. so it's just who's doing it and what do they want to achieve. anyways, one more question? >> hi. first off, thank you. thank you. i'm from california, so i'm from a drought society. so water conservation's always been an issue, and i know you probably cover this on your web site. and i know in development they
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don't like to talk about how big cities like ours are competing for water supplies. are there things on your site dealing with development and also our own perm usage, how much -- personal usage, how much water and gas we use every day? >> well, absolutely. and i'll let joel address some of those specifics, but we are so pleased to have what we believe is the world's premier person in water issues on our board of directors, and that is alexandra cousteau. you know, she just finished this long tour -- well, she just gave birth, so she's been off for a little while, but she did a long tour across america to bring attention to this matter. and what's the name of the -- i think she had a term for the -- >> blue legacy is her web site. thank you. and i would encourage people that are interested to go check that out, and you'll see the results of her tour. she documented it, she found a lot of the problems that exist across the country and bringing
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attention, and can we're just so proud to have her on our team. >> i would only say that water is a huge subject, and the way we cover it is across almost, you know, we have a beverage category that's relevant to that. we have an energy category, it's relevant to that. we have a resources category, a food category. so it really extends across so many different topics. you don't want to limit it to just, you know, one thing and that's how we do it. so thank you so much, everyone. [applause] >> for more on chuck leavell and his work, visit >> we'd like to hear from you. tweet us your feedback, >> deepak chopra and leonard
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mlodinow debate whether science or religion forms the best foundation for understanding the world. this is about 50 minutes. >> good evening. my name is shelton zuckerman, i'm one of the founders of the historic synagogue, and i welcome you all here tonight for what should be a very, very interesting evening. the building we're sitting in is 103 years old and has always been a space of spirituality. give dr. chopra a little bit of an edge in tonight's discussion. but i'm confident it'll be very even-handed at the end of the day. the building has gone through a number of iterations. it was originally the first -- second home of the real congregation for about 50 years, it was the home of the turner memorial ame church for about 40 years, and it's been a historic
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synagogue now going on seven years, and tonight's event is very typical of the type of events we try to do, great people, very interesting topics and things that people are interested in. and jackie leventhal who runs our cultural programming always wants me to announce when i do this upcoming events, and generally i've done, but i have to tell you this. i looked at the five next authors who are coming, plus tonight, six great things. but we have bill bryson coming, jeffrey -- [inaudible] jeff -- justice stephen breyer and diane keaton. so she does get some great stuff, and i have to thank jackie for that. [applause] tonight we're honored to have dr. deepak chopra who is the author of more than 60 books including numerous new york times bestsellers.
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and among his many distinctions, he's a fellow of the american college of physicians. and be time magazine named him one of the 100 heros and icons of our century. that's pretty impressive. dr. leonard mlodinow is also not going to be a pushover. he will soon be teaching at cal tech. he's a renowned physicist, author of several books including "the drunkard walk, how randomness rules our lives," very interesting subject which was on "the new york times" bestseller list. he's also a writing collaborator with stephen hawking. the moderator tonight is timothy shriver, we're very lucky to have him tonight. he's the chairman and ceo of the special olympics. he is a social leader, educator, activist, film producer, entrepreneur and i found out tonight he only lives one street over from me, so we're very, very connected. we are going to have questions
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tonight from the audience, they'll be on index cards at around 7:15 we'll have someone pick them up. after tonight's talk we are going to have a dessert reception downstairs that was sponsored by david bruce smith family foundation, we certainly thank him for that, and it should be an interesting moment because we're going to hear some l interesting things tonight from our guests, and we can carry on those conversations downstairs. so, please, join me now in welcoming the three gentleman, dr. chopra, mlodinow and tim shriver, thank you very much. [applause] >> good evening. >> good evening. >> thank you, good evening.
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i'd like to add my welcome to everyone here and say right at the outset that i feel i have been in many, many distinguished environments in my life, but i have never been as out of my league as i am tonight. [laughter] have any of you read the book, be honest? okay, good. [laughter] so that means the fact that it took me three times reading it to understand it doesn't make me feel bad because none of you have anything over me. at least i have tried. it's a -- >> makes me feel bad. [laughter] >> it's, actually, an extraordinary book, and i hope you will all get copies either tonight or in the near future. it is titled, as you all know, "war of the worldviews," and my only gripe with the book is the word "war." i would like -- and i don't think, frankly -- [laughter]
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yeah. i don't think, i don't think tonight we're going to have a war, at least i hope not. i think we're going to have an extraordinarily rich discussion with two people who have, arguably, as good an insight into the scientific and spiritual world as any two people in the world. so you're in for an enormous treat, and i'm very much looking forward to it. what are my credentials tonight? i think i prayed a lot as a kid, i prayed that i would be the shortstop for the boston red sox -- [laughter] it didn't come true. then i prayed that i'd win wimbledon, that didn't happen either. [laughter] so i have a lot of experience with frustration in religion. [laughter] and i, and i read the book going 600 miles an hour at six miles above the earth, and you can't help but remember the, you know, and drinking a cup of coffee as most of you have done in an
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airplane, somewhere on top of the ocean, you can't help but be reminded everywhere we go today of the extraordinary, just unpleeivel achievements -- unbelievable achievements of science. so we're in a world that seems hungry for the spirit, fascinated by science and conflicted about where those two ideas lead us. so without any further talking from me, i'm going to tush it over to the -- turn it over to the experts. and i'm going to start by asking a very broad question which is to and deepak and thenland to say what's really good about science, deepak, and, lehr forward, what's really good about spirituality. [laughter] >> why did you laugh when you talk about science? >> so what's really good about science is precisely what tim was mentioning, you know? life would be impossible today without science. we're all here. we're here because of a jet plane that tim was talking
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about. we have eliminated a number of epidemics of disease. we have social networks that instantly are connecting us. in fact, i believe because of science and technology we are, have the capacity today to rewire the global brain and really create a planetary civilization for the first time. that's, i could go on and on about what's good for science. but what's really good for science of our times is that it enriches the possibilities and the magnificence and the awesomeness of god. [laughter] that's really good about that. why? imagine creating a universe in an instant instead of taking seven days to do it. imagine --
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[laughter] creating a big bang that is everywhere. you know, the big bang wasn't in a particular location of space and time because before the big bang there neither space, nor t. so it appears everywhere, and we know that because cosmic radiation, background radiation comes to us from all sides. that's omni presence. imagine taking a dot smaller than the period at the end of a sentence and now stretching it across billions of light years of space and time. that's omnipotence. imagine precise laws so precise that if they were off by even a fraction of a fraction, we wouldn't have a universe. that's omniscient. i think we have done god great injustice by squeezing god into the volume of a body, the span
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of a lifetime, giving him a male identity and putting him, you know, somewhere in an ethnic background and saying this god is the creator of the universe. god is much more awesome than -- [inaudible] thanks to science. [laughter] [applause] >> so when you ask about what is good about spirituality, there's two levs to answer that question. one level is spirituality in general, and i think it's very important people's lives be spiritual, and if you're a scientist, it's very important. i hope that people realize being a scientist doesn't mean you're not a spiritual person. the other level of the person is deepak's spirituality, and i admire his spirituality as it relates to the human condition; freeing yourself from the baggage of your past, treating other people with respect and,
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um, he's got me meditating. [laughter] and i like to meditate. i think it's very good for you, i recommend it. and i also agree with deepak or in the converse, i guess, that i think that spirituality, being a spir dhul person and -- spiritual person and being able to appreciate your place in the world makes science all the much more awesome. [laughter] so there's a great come policemen tearty there. to use a mechanical term. >> great. so let's start then with science. rooted in the can have no preconditions, nothing that's outside of measure about, nothing that you can't see, touch, feel, measure is real. and that anything that suggests -- >> is real. i didn't say -- >> well, then correct me.
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most religion, if not all, and most spirituality, if not all, has distortions in it, has bias, moves toward that which cannot be proven to be true and, therefore, should not be accepted. >> well, i talk about science is a way of looking, at understanding the physical world. and when you try to understand the physical world, you should exclude your subjectivity, and science is a way of understanding the world as it is without interference from the way we would like it to be. i mean, thousands of years ago -- you know, people have always had the same questions they have today, why is the world the way it is? why are there eclipses, what's behind them l? why are there earthquakes? what are those lights in the sky? and thousands of years ago people would just make up stories, often fanciful stories, you know, the wolf coming across the sky chasing another wolf and
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blocking the sun. and after a while we developed philosophy which is a way of approaching the same questions through logic. but the last 200 years we've developed science which is another method of understanding these issues, and the thing science adds is test about. when you have a theory in science, you don't just say -- you don't just give an opinion, but you require that they make predictions and they be testbl and false final. and the progress in understanding the way the world, the universe is that's come in the last few centuries based on that idea has been enormous. it's much more progress than we've made in all the thousands of years before that. but science should not be asked to answer all the questions of life, science does not explain the meaning of life, science doesn't explain why you feel love, science doesn't explain why human beings are here, and science shouldn't be required to do that. on the other hand, spirituality which answers those other questions often not just
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deepak's spirituality, it also gives answers to physical questions, and those answers often contradict what we observe in science. so in the book i argue about that, you know, why would you believe the creation story in the bible? religions can offer something to some people, but when they talk about the physical world, they say things that are clearly not right. and people, people tend to -- i always wonder. everyone here is, believes literally in the bible, the bible says that homosexuals should be killed, that children who disrespect their parents should be killed. we'd have no one left. [laughter] but people, you know, people who talk about creationism and taking the bible literally tend to ignore that. i don't know how they get around ignoring that, get around those passages in the bible, but then they take the other parts, the parts that talk about the physical universe literally. and, you know, i don't understand that. i think that they should recognize that in some ways the bible's just outdated, an
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outdated way of looking at the physical universe. >> so, deepak, when leonard writes about the mind, the brain, he makes a pretty powerful case that science has unlocked secrets that are, were beyond anybody's imagination even a couple of hundred years ago, how the brain functions, how the universe is exploding at this extraordinary pace, how it's -- we know how it started, we know how it'll end. um, you're suggesting that consciousness is this concept can't touch, you can't get a microscope around it, but it's there. it seems kind of fanciful. >> you've stated the dilemma very, very accurately, and that's why it's so difficult to actually talk about consciousness. because consciousness is what is talking right now, okay? because if i wasn't a conscious
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being, i couldn't articulate what i'm saying, and you wouldn't be able to listen to me or understand what i'm saying. we are conscious beings, and what the mistake that science is making about consciousness and science, by the way, admits it. leonard said towards the end of the world science does not explain consciousness. but he also adds for now. >> for now. >> okay. [laughter] >> it will, soon enough. >> for now. but here's, here's the basic problem, okay? and this is an accepted problem. it's called the hard problem. in consciousness. by scientists of consciousness. here's the hard problem. i'll illustrate it. imagine the sunset on the ocean. can you all see it? can you see a picture? >> yes. i can. >> a red rose. the face of your mother, okay? if i went inside your brain,
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there's no picture. there's electrochemical activity, and you are having a subjective experience. now, while we can see the correlation between the picture and the electromagnetic activity, we have no way of explaining, science doesn't even have a model to explain how that electrochemical activity creates the subjective experience. which is what life is about. you say i'm in love. you don't say i have so many units of ox si toe sin being secreted, right? [laughter] because love is an experience. color is an experience. the taste of red wine is an experience, okay? so all experience occurs in our consciousness, and science can't find it by looking at the -- the reason it can't find it is consciousness is doing the looking, okay? so how do you find something that is always the observer in the object of observation?
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>> look in a mirror. >> okay. [laughter] that's it, that's it. so all scientific validation of consciousness is inference cial. look in the mirror. the only experience of consciousness is self-awareness. that's it. so as you're listening because, you know, consciousness is the self. the self can know itself only by looking at itself. how can it find it out then? and so right now as you're listening to me try this, please. i want you to have a brief experience. as you're listening to me, just turn your attention to who's listening. as you're listening to me
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>> this is what traditions have said, and this is not what david chalmers said a scientifically-based philosopher says is -- [inaudible] and leonard and other people accept them. it's a hard problem because we're looking for consciousness there when it's doing the looking. >> so, leonard, when deepak talks that way, i was thinking -- [laughter] told you, you have to really work hard up here. i was struck, um, and remembered the quote from the great scientist of the early part of the scientific revolution, pascal, who said the heart has
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reasons that reason doesn't know. and i thought to myself at some level it seems that pascal is just saying -- he was a great scientist, one of the really important sign tetes of his time -- is just saying there's more than one way of knowing. that the way in which science knows might be complemented by just a completely different way of knowing. >> and i think that's true. >> is that possible? >> no, i believe that. i said earlier there's a way of knowing yourself, and there's a way of knowing the physical world. but you have to be careful because sometimes yourself, and this is a kind of overlap, you know, so deepak believes that the mind is separate from the brain. that there's some other realm that he can talk about some other that everything's connected -- [laughter] and i believe that the consciousness, whatever it is that the human mind and scientists believe comes from the brake.
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and there's a law of evidence that the sensations in the human mind come from the brain. you can stimulate parts of the brain and get people to have thoughts, memories or experience a color, and, you know, we're beginning to learn where the emotions come from and how the brain works. now, i'm not saying that by doing that we're learning the meaning of life or we're learning about ourselves as -- >> but is there a meaning, is there a meaning for life in science? >> science doesn't address the meaning of life. that's not, i mean, science is just issues of a physical world. what science is about is telling you here's the universe, here's the layout, here's some situation, and i'm going to tell you what will happen, you know, a second or a minute later. i'm going to tell you how this operates. it doesn't address the question of meaning. and i don't know why that should be required of science. i mean, to me it's -- [inaudible conversations] >> because i allow the question. >> if i'm an athlete you can
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come up to me and say, yeah, you're an athlete, but cooking is important. it's a separate problem. and we get into problems, we get into difficulties when you try and make science something that it's not, you know? and i don't know for what end. >> right. >> he says explicitly in the book despite what he said just now that science cannot explain consciousness. >> i didn't say that science could explain consciousness. i said the mind and the body are not the same thing. i mean, i'm sorry -- >> i did not interrupt you so, please, do not interrupt me. okay? no brain in science can tell you right now how we have free will. in fact n a previous book he has denied with stephen hawking the existence of free will. i think we all think we have free will. no brain science can tell you the mechanics of creativity. or imagination. and as we've been corresponding
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today with a yes geneticist and neuroscience at harvard who is actually the joseph b. kennedy -- >> i saw that. >> -- professor who explicitly says to us that today he's a neuroscience -- [inaudible] where and how is memory stored. and after a little bit of hemming and hawing, they all said, we don't know. >> but is that spirituality, is spirituality just finding what science doesn't know and saying, ah? >> no, spirituality is, no, spirituality is also asking yourself what's the meaning and purpose of my existence, why am i here, do i have a soul, does god exist, what is the meaning of death, if god exists, does he or she or it or the great mystery care about me? can i have a -- >> are there any right and
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wrong -- >> can i interrupt? >> yeah, sorry, go ahead. >> i think there's one thing that i want to make clear. science has not explained everything yet, and it may never. the human mind might not even be capable of understanding everything, okay? but just think back thousands of years ago. people did not understand what caused an eclipse, okay? and then oh people came along and said, well, it must, if we don't understand what it is, it must be wolves jumping across the sky. and i'm saying just because we don't understand consciousness or other aspects of human beings right now, we shouldn't just grab on to explanations like wolves jumping across the sky. science leaves blanks in our explanation -- [laughter] ah, you want to interrupt me, but you won't. [laughter] science leaves blanks in our understanding of the physical world, but it doesn't mean we're free to just fill in those blanks with just any answers we want. >> so, can -- go ahead. i have a lot of questions. >> there are knowns, there are
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and he has acknowledged that too, levels of reality that will never be accessible to us. >> i didn't hear him say that in the book. >> no, i say for instance, okay, where do the -- [inaudible] come from. science can never answer that. you know why? how would you answer where these laws came from, have some other law or principle, and you'd derive those laws. then you'd say, where do those laws come from? physics starts with laws or principles and derives con intentions. consequences. that's outside the realm of physics, and it's fine that way. >> why is, why does physics then not acknowledge that there's a first cause? >> a first cause of the universe? >> of the laws of anything. >> in the grand design stephen hawking and i explicitly said
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that where the laws came from and if you want to call that god, we have no objection to that. [laughter] and not that it matters if you do. >> no, but that's -- [inaudible conversations] law of physics. i mean, isn't thomas aquinas, aristotle, first cause, first mover -- >> that's different from saying god -- >> that is not saying god can move the ouija board -- >> that's not quite the same thing as saying that physics cannot explain the creation of the universe. that's talking -- the universe and the laws of physics are two separate things, and i don't think thomas aquinas was talking about the laws of physics because -- >> no. he wasn't talking about the laws of physics. >> but we can also ask ourselves, okay, that's god, that's fine. what does that get us? >> do you know what it gets us? it gets us into humility and --
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>> you quote einstein. >> yeah. one of the things i've said -- >> and he was a physicist, right? >> he was a physicist. >> just checking. >> he was, he was humbled into reverence at the rationality of the universe. and, you know, first of all, you can't measure reverence in units of mass and energy, and secondly, if it's a rational universe that is comprehensible to us, then it could have a rational source. but here is another objection i have to the scientific method that does not acknowledge consciousness. you know, leonard says that science is based on a loop of theory, experimentation and observation. where is theory conceived? in consciousness. where is experiment designed? in consciousness. where is observation made? in consciousness. we have no scientific explanation for consciousness. right there you're ignoring the white elephant in the room, you
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know? you are saying that we can have an explanation in the absence of consciousness when all explanations, science needs consciousness to expand anything. and consciousness doesn't need science to explain anything, all it needs is self-awareness. >> i'd just like to correct a couple things. one is that deepak seemed to be characterizing science as nothing able to have an awe in wonder and nature even as he was quoting einstein, and that's very important for any physicist. who is going to spend their life, you're a smart guy, go to law school, make a ton of money, instead how choose to work owl day -- all day and night on papers with no particular promise of success. and you do that because you do have awe and wonder in the universe, and you want to know how it works. >> that's spiritual. >> that is spiritual, and i said
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it is important for science -- >> who said that? [laughter] you keep bringing it up. [inaudible conversations] >> there is not one person in this room that believes that -- >> well, to me, you do. >> i do? when did you hear me say that? [laughter] >> i don't mean that literally. all right. but in any case. wait, wait, deepak said that scientists deny consciousness, and i don't know where that comes from. there are scientists who are studying consciousness. you know, but the scientists admit that they don't just, they can't just say where it comes from. science is progressive in small steps, carefully, and scientists will start talking about consciousness is when they have a good idea what it is. but just because they can't explain it doesn't mean they deny it. >> one of the most prominent
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his to say this. that's not a very scientific attitude. i think his attitude is scientific even though he accuses me of wolves and -- [laughter] eclipses. >> quantum wolves. >> one thing i can say about leonard, he has great intellectual integrity. you know, great -- we've spent a lot of time together, and i will say that, you know, he has intellectual integrity. but there are fundamentalists in science today who will make statements like the god delusion and actually have an agenda. science is not supposed to have an agenda. >> but a lot of people, deepak, in fairness, a lot of people would say that maybe a first cause had some, you know, you could make a case that that is
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justifiable as the definition of god or something. but people get in a lot, people get uncomfortable with spirituality and religion because from the idea of the first cause or consciousness religions tend to make up a lot of rules and ideas and plans and programs that drive people kind of -- >> well, spirituality needs -- >> so how do you get -- well, spirituality, to say there's a spirit is one thing, to then say this is how you ought to live is another. and the claims that people who are spiritual make, as leonard points out in the book, are not really verifiable. how do you know whether it's better to be peaceful or warlike, whether it's better to be anxious or calm, whether it's better in this situation to do this or that? but religions and spiritual conditions tend to say this is the right way to go, and scientists come along and say, how do you know? >> can we separate religious dogma from religious experience? was if you look at --
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>> what i want you to help us answer is how do you defend the inevitable need that any spiritual leader has to say things about the world based on your spirituality that will inevitably lead to conflict -- >> well, i side with h.g. wells who said self-righteous morality is just jealousy with a halo. [laughter] so i think any impose morality is immodest. but the religious experience which gives you an an experience of transcendence, of unity consciousness spontaneously brings about what we'll call platonic qualities, a yearning for platonic qualities; truth, goodness, beauty, evolution, peace, social justice, harmony, um, love, compassion, equianymorety. this is the religious experience that is a spontaneous expression
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of transseven dance, of being connected to the first cause, whatever you want to call it. so i think if you understand the religious experience, you know, had a religious experience. but i had a re-- buddha had a religious experience. and then, of course, the devil came and said let's institutionalize it, and we'll call it religion. [laughter] >> so you believe in the devil. >> i believe that everything has its opposite just like particles have antiparticles, the universe would be meaningless if it was not one of contrast. so when i'm saying devil; i think of it metaphorically as -- [inaudible] >> but so in the, for those of us, and leonard refers to this in the book, for those of us who lived through the 20th century one of the great challenges to people who say that god is good, awesome, beautiful, unifying,
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harmonious, et, is the, obviously, the experience of the holocaust or the experience, the confrontation with evil or at least the sense in which nothing good could allow -- >> good is the evolutionary impulse in creation. >> but why would god if there is such a first cause, if that being is good and true, why would -- >> if you're -- >> -- they have made in the way it is? if you're thinking of a being as being infinite, it contains everything. otherwise, by definition, it's not infinite. that's the difference between, you know, eastern region traditions and some of the western traditions. they want god to conform to their idea of how things should be. in fact, when god's being infinite is all things, you know? and there are these many faces of the divine, and it is our job to see where our free will allows us to align with the evolutionary impulse or the destructive impulse.
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but if that consciousness is infinite, by definition -- [inaudible] everything. now having said that -- >> even the bad? >> of course. we see the bad, don't we? >> sure, yeah. >> it's a stage of development of consciousness. it's a spiritual stage of development. we have stages of development in psychology, why can't we have stages of development in spirituality? is. >> well, i was thinking of stages of development of whatever we're calling god. >> well, you know -- >> i just don't know why she would have made us quite like this. >> if you look at the world right now, there's less violence today, less ethnocentrism, less racism, less bigotry, less of everything than a thousand years ago. we had slavery in this country a few, you know, a few hundred years ago. we, women couldn't vote in this century. so we are improving in our evolution, and that's part of the spiritual quest. but what i also have to say in
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the absence of that spiritual quest we have, and i have to phrase this very carefully before he pounces on me, leonard, because i know him well now -- [laughter] i have to phrase this very carefully. science devoid of spirituality has given modern capacityies that risk our extinction. you know, it has given us mechanized death, nuclear weapons, global warming, climate chaos. i saw a program the other day where, um, on television where there are people in civilian uniforms or civilian clothes, they have worked 9 to 5 jobs, they take cigarette and coffee breaks, and they go home at 5 and play with their children and go to sleep, but they've been moving a mouse on the computer to move drones in faraway places
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that have killed sometimes a few hundred people, and they don't have any emotional connection to that or spiritual connection to that. this is die wol call -- diabolical creativity that if i can say to you that if there's going to be a mass extinction of our civilization, it will be because of modern capacities linked to permissive spiritual development. >> so, leonard, doesn't science really, shouldn't scientists, great advanced thinkers like you and other people who are applying physics to technology, shouldn't you be asking for spiritual guidance almost daily? >> i think so, and i think all people should be looking for spiritual guidance daily. deepak uses the example a lot, and i'm not quite sure what he's getting at because the scientist, like everyone else, like you, like everyone in the
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audience should be moral people. they shouldn't do evil things. but that's not really the issue here. the question at issue is how do we get knowledge, what is knowledge and how do we attain it, or do we want to limit snit if you want to limit science, we could make an argument that we should just stop science because there will be evil people whether they're scientists or evil people that just read a book. you can make an atom bomb -- anyone can read these things. once you get the knowledge there, people can apply it. scientists are the ones who are seeking the new knowledge, not the ones who are making things from what we know, generally speaking. i don't want to get letters on this. [laughter] but people, so the question is, is it dangerous to have knowledge, that's what he's really talking about. once the knowledge is there, evil people can do evil things with it. >> but isn't it knowledge uncoupled from morals, from ethics -- >> i think knowledge is not the goal. wisdom is the goal.
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we need wisdom, not knowledge. >> we do, but -- >> knowledge can be divine, it can be diabolical. >> right. >> can physics bring wisdom? >> it should. physics should, as you said, seek the guidance of those who understand the human spirit and says let's make our times, which we have the technology, we have the means today to resurrect some species that are disappearing. we have the technology today to correct global warming. we have the technology today to harness solar energy. why aren't we paying attention to these technologies more than we are paying attention to mechanized death? >> can i say i'm a scientist, but i agree with you? okay? and so this isn't a failure of science. >> then why -- [inaudible] >> it's a failure of people in this town, okay? it's a failure of the politicians -- >> uh-oh. bad room to blame. [laughter] >> do you think scientists work up in the morning and say, i
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think i want to work on weapons today? you know, the government pays companies to do this kind of research, and if you don't like it, just vote them in out of office. but don't say science is a bad methodology for understanding the universe because you don't like the ways some of the people use it. >> who says -- >> you seem to be saying that. you said science has to incorporate spirituality. >> no, part of the human experience, you know, the human experience is more than documentation of data. the human experience is everything that, everything you do including the scientific pursuit is because of a subjective motivation. >> and yet if we're going to measure an elementary particles properties to ten decimal places, it really doesn't matter whoo. >> science is not going to work. >> it does matter if you're in a bad mood. it will bias your observations. >> well, exactly. thank you. science is trying to avoid this
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human bias, and now i see that deepak agrees with me about that. [laughter] >> so a couple questions from the audience. to leonard, can there be ultimate right and wrong? [laughter] >> this is a question -- [laughter] i'm the scientist. i'm not a theologian, and i'm not a psychologist. >> but would you allow it? >> would i allow -- >> the idea. in other words, i was asking my wife what question do we really want to ask scientists, and sometimes it's just like why are you, why does science seem so irritated by religion these days, by spirituality, by the -- >> [inaudible] >> i know you're not. but on behalf of a lot of people. >> scientists get irritated by some of the uses of religion today when politicians say god told me to run or that evolution is wrong or that, you know,
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global warming is just a theory. you know, when people look at the results and the hard work of scientists who, who really know a lot and test their theories and come up with results that are verifiable and other people who hardly think about it at all choose to use it for political means to dismiss it to get votes, that's what irritates scientists. and deepak agrees with me on that. >> but that's not the book -- bt that's not the books, the dawkins book, the christopher hitchens book and so on, these big bestsellers seem to have captured a level of anger. >> yeah with. they capture the anger of the people who are angry with what i just described, and everyone's tapping into something, and they're all making a buck, and it's great. [laughter] they're either making a buck or getting a vote. >> i can answer that question right or wrong. >> okay.
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>> i think everything has a context, you know? many was it fair to go into germany and get rid of the man who was, who had, who was the cause of the holocaust? i would say, yes, it was. so you have to take things in context, even right and wrong. >> deepak, science and religion -- actually, i guess this is for both of you -- are often used to justify human superiority, human consciousness, the human mind, the human capacity at the root of science, religions tend to place human beings at the center of meaning and value. aren't both guilty of making humans superior over all other creatures and all other beings? >> i mean, you're talking about, i guess when you talk about scientists making people superior, talking about specifically biologists who would talk about how humans are different from other species? >> i'm not sure, it's a question
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from the audience. but even in the book you point out that humans have reached a level of consciousness, a level of intellectual capacity and wonder, curiosity that allows them to reason in a way that other animals can't do. it suggests that human beings have a special -- >> well, i think if you compare a human with a sparrow, we'd all agree that the human can reason a little better. >> right. >> but i don't think that scientists tend to feel any kind of strange superiority that a people are superior to other animals, that they have some greater work. scientists are just studying the brains of the animals, the behavior and what different species are. >> my response to it is human being is a paradox call species. i mean, we're the only species that can create, that can yearn for the divine, that can have that longing for meaning and purpose, that have created art, science, civilization.
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so that's an amazing part of us. but as i said, the human species is also the predator on our planet that has gotten rid of other species, is risking his own extinction. i was talking to an evolutionary biologist the other day. he says if insects disappeared from our planet, life would stop on this planet from five years. if human beingsty appeared from this planet, life would flourish. [laughter] because we are the cancer if you look at it from a cosmic perspective. we are multiplying, we have caused an unsustain able planet, we're gouging the planet, and we are risking our extinction after 14 billion years of creation. we can do this in the next 100 years. so that's the price you pay for free will. and it's our responsibility to say do i want to harness our
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collective creativity and our collective imagination to become the next evolutionary impulse for the first cause, or do we want to blow snit. >> but is spirituality human only? do sparrows have a spirituality? >> oh, i think every living form is connected to the spirit. how can it not be if it's alive? in fact, animals are much more innocent than we are and, therefore n a sense much more pure and unconditioned. >> so we're, unfortunately, these are all good questions. i think one that i really wanted to know the answer is for leonard. which episode of "star trek" did you work on. [laughter] >> now we get to the real important stuff. i worked on the second season. i was what's called a story editor, rewriting episodes that come in. but my partner and i wrote one episode ourselves, it was called -- excuse my french, and
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it was wesley crusher's first girlfriend. she was raised on one planet to be separated from the ruling class, and then she was being transported to her home planet, had never seen another -- this was a very spiritual episode, deepak. had never seen another of her species, had never been in love and fell in love with wesley. but she wasn't supposed to fall in love with someone of another species, certainly, and she happened to be guided by a nanny who was an evil shape shifter. so it got a little tense for a while. [laughter] and that was my scientific-spiritual episode of "star trek: the next generation." [laughter] >> okay. a couple of questions that came from "the washington post" which we're obliged to share, and you both have to take a swing at this. for those of us -- the first one is, for those of us who put faith in sykes, what constructive responses can we make to statements by those
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without scientific training who attack scientific findings? for example, how do we respond to those that claim that hurricanes are the wrath of god? >> through education. >> just education. >> yeah, through education. >> i mean, people, religious people do this all the time. >> and it's -- >> coincidence happens, my wife -- coincidence, oh, god just made this coincidence happen. i just ran into my old friend, must have been god's work. >> there's no solution other than education. >> that's never true that god didn't put us here together? >> no, i wouldn't say that. i think we have, we have choice to do what we want, and, you know, natural disasters have causes that we can explain like earthquakes, but some natural disasters like hurricanes we know that humans have a lot to do with it, with changing weather patterns and climate chaos. so you have to examine each case
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carefully. i would say a lot of the weather disturbances we are definitely responsible for it. but i wouldn't blame god for what we're doing. >> so, leonard, what would make a more effective political leader? a person of science or a person of faith? >> a person of faith meaning a person who believes in what? >> um -- >> can't a scientist be a person of faith? are those exclusionary? exclusive? >> well, a scientist or spiritual -- >> i think if you can have attorneys as politicians, you certainly should be able to have physicists. [laughter] [applause] i think that you need a spiritual person, a person who, um, who believes in the human spirit, who cares about people, who cares about the community, cares about helping other people. and it would be good to have someone who understands science, too, once in a while. and i say, you know, we go for
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the gold and try and get both. >> okay, gotcha. >> can i say something that politicians understand very well intuitively? they know that people pretend to be intellectual, but they actually are bristling we motions, that nobody ever makes a decision based on rationality, they make emotional decisions. so, and politicians understand that. and there's a biological reason for that. our emotional brain is about 100 million years in evolution, and our particle brain is only four million years. so the emotional brain in many ways is wiser and older, and people respond to that and intuitively know. so it's not what the politician is saying, but what they feel when the politician is saying what they're saying. >> so maybe we just start to get ready to close. i thought might be worth remembering steve jobs today. his contributions are, obviously, enormous in many,
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many ways. his well-known stanford commencement speech, among the things he said was this: is ver likely the single best invention of life. it is life's change agent. so i guess the question is, did life invent death? did the universe, did the first mover invent death? >> death -- >> was it a good invention? >> death makes life possible. if we didn't, you know, every part of your body is dying right now, so you can recreate it. you have cells that are -- >> that's nice. [laughter] >> you know, you were a child once. >> i know, i know. >> you were a teenager that in biology we have a term called -- [inaudible] which means programmed cellular death. when a cell forgets to die, it becomes cancerous. a cancerous cell is one that doesn't know how to die. the universe recreates it through the mechanism of death.
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so, but steve lives on. every time i use any handheld device with my computer, steve's consciousness is in my body right now. and that's how we survive in each other's consciousness. and that's where we are right now in each other's consciousness. >> you think steve lives on, leonard? >> i think he lives on in the minds of people who loved him and whom he touched, yeah. but i also agree with deepak that without death the earth would very quickly be overrun by old fogies, and there'd be no room or food -- >> and this would be a -- >> well, more than that, there's no room. death is a necessary part of life at least if you're going to reproduce. and we all like to do that. >> right. [laughter] so we can agree on that. well, i think, um, i started by saying all the things i prayed for that i didn't get. um -- >> yeah. can i add, the chicago cubs maybe not even winning the world
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series, but getting in. [laughter] hasn't happened in my lifetime. >> you never know, you have to pray a little harder on that one, i think. [laughter] but i think we're enormously grateful that the two of you have taken and put so much effort into helping the average reader understand the world views of physics and the emerging world view of a new kind of spirituality that deepak has championed. it's a very different one than the kind of spirituality that we think of when we think of religious institutions, but we can always remember the call of israel, the lord, our god, is one. that's the way that prayer begins which, i'm sure, has been spoken very many times from this place. the unity that comes from the ancient traditions, however crazy we all -- i think the only thing these two guys agree on is how much they don't like the catholic church, and i happen to be a catholic. the only institution that really gets pillar rid in this book is
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the catholic church. but, no -- [laughter] >> i wrote a book called -- [inaudible] >> i know you like jesus. i know you like jesus. [laughter] >> he says jesus was a scientist. >> scientist of the spirit, and you question that. >> i think we really want to thank you. >> no, no, no be. >> and thank you for -- >> thank you for coming. >> tolerating us. [applause] >> there's, um, we're all invited to a reception downstairs, and i think both leonard and deepak are willing to stay and continue to conversation, so we invite you all to come downstairs and enjoy refreshments. thank you. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> you're watching booktv on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. >> it's authors' night at the national press club. several different authors are here. selling their books to support charity, and one of those authors is jeremy men iowa my. -- ben-ami. his book, a new voice for israel. first of all, what is j street? >> the pro-peace lobby for a new organization, we're about three years old, and we press for american engagement to help achieve middle east peace. >> how do you stand compared to aipac? >> well, we're a part of the jewish community that believes that peace and a two-state solution would be in israel's and the united states' best interests, and we want to see the president do more, not less
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to help achieve peace. >> so what is the new voice for israel? >> the new voice is to, essentially, provoid a counterweight to some old voices that for too long have purported to speak for the entire jewish community and who have had positions on these issues that are more hawkish than the average jewish-american. and particularly for those who are 40 and under in the jewish community, supporting israel doesn't mean supporting every decision of the israeli government, and it doesn't mean taking the most hawkish possible view on every issue. >> what is the position that you do support that might be different than, say, what you say are the 40 and others? >> than the traditional establishment. well, for instance, the president gave a speech in may in which he said the two states, israel and palestine, need to be based on the '67 lines, the pre-1967 border between the west bank and israel with some swaps.


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