101 - What are the Great Questions of Science?
From genetics to cosmology to nanotechnology, science is on the brink of numerous and extraordinary mega-revolutions that will change the very nature of life. In today's episode, America's top scientists, authors and experts identify the key areas where science is focused, discuss their merits and impact, and rank them in order of importance. Joining host Robert Kuhn are astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson; author/astronomer Timothy Ferris; evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala; professor of neuroscience and philosophy Patricia Smith Churchland; and theoretical physicist Steve Koonin.
103 - What's Creativity and Who's Creative?
Creativity is exciting, but also demanding, consuming, frustrating, and addicting. It's inspiring, but also fickle, erratic, tricky, and risky. Experts gather to discuss this remarkable thing called creativity in a lively discussion that combines sweeping theories, fascinating stories, clever experiments and personal confessions. Find out where creativity comes from, how it's applied, and why it can be found anywhere, at home or work, in art as well as science. Joining host Robert Kuhn are television producer Stephen J. Cannell; inventor, entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil; creativity and happiness authority Mihaly Csikszentmihaly; music educator Robert Freeman; and corporate creativity expert John Kao.
104 - New Communities for the New Millennium
The word "community" may sound archaic, a social remnant of the idyllic 1950s. But paradoxically, in our high-tech age of instant information, "community" is more relevant than ever, though its broader boundaries and greater diversities may surprise you. Today's panelists explore communities in all forms, from political and social to scientific and technological. Joining host Robert Kuhn are astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson; founder and president of the Discovery Institute Bruce Chapman; social architect Barbara Marx Hubbard; Yale Law School student Saru Jayaraman; and linguist John McWhorter.
105 - When and How Did This Universe Begin?
It's called "The Big Bang" -- that inexplicable moment when an infinitesimally small point expanded majestically, and cooked up space, time, energy and matter into a colossal cosmic stew. How can we draw such a fine-grained portrait of the "ultimate beginning" and what scientific answers reach across billions of years? Humanity's ancient and perpetual fascination with the universe's beginnings is discussed in light of recent, revolutionary discoveries in cosmology, and what they mean for human understanding. Joining host Robert Kuhn are Nobel Laureate and physicist Leon Lederman; physicist/cosmologist Andrei Linde; cosmologist Wendy Freedman; theologian Nancey Murphy; and mathematician Frank Tipler.
106 - Can We See the Near Future?
Close your eyes. Now fast-forward 25 years. Open your eyes. What do you see? Humanity has moved through the agrarian age to the industrial age and now, the information age. With what moniker will we label our future? Experts
gather to argue where we've been, what we've learned, what the future holds in store, and if it really is possible to forecast the not too distant future. Joining host Robert Kuhn are creativity pioneer Edward de Bono; fuzzy logic expert Bart Kosko; artificial intelligence expert Edward Feigenbaum; futurist Graham T.T. Molitor; and planetary scientist Bruce Murray.
107 - What is Consciousness?
It's the stuff of our private selves, that which gives us our personal and collective identity. But just what is this thing called consciousness? Experts say that this human experience called consciousness is a mental experience, of the mind but not of the brain. Today's panelists look inside the mind and talk about just what is and what's so special about human consciousness. Joining host Robert Kuhn are physicist James Trefil; consciousness expert David Chalmers; philosopher of mind John Searle; anthropologist Marilyn Schlitz; and theoretical physicist Fred Alan Wolf
108 - Can You Really Extend Your Life?
Long life is humanity's ancient and perennial goal. Prophets promised it, explorers searched for it and today's society is obsessed with it. Today's panelists discuss the biology of aging and debate the facts, fads and fallacies of living longer -- and offer the best, most sensible advice to slow the aging process. Joining host Robert Kuhn are gene therapist French Anderson; best-selling author and surgeon Sherwin Nuland; fitness theorist Arthur S. De Vany; biophysicist Gregory Stock; and longevity expert Roy Walford.
109 - Can ESP Affect Your Life?
Most people believe that ESP, or extrasensory perception, is real. Most scientists assume the opposite. Is ESP wishful thinking, sloppy science or clever conjuring -- or could it be real? Today's experts explore the topics of the paranormal, extrasensory perception, the power of mind-over-body and why accepting the reality of things nonphysical would require changing our entire world view. Joining host Robert Kuhn are physicist James Trefil; parapsychologist Dean Radin; neuropsychologist Barry Beyerstein; anthropologist Marilyn Schlitz; and parapsychologist Charles Tart
110 - Whatever Happened to Ethics & Civility?
Many blame the feverish pace of modern society and the intensity and ferocity of competition for today's lack of morals and common courtesy. Yet, many more believe that society is impoverished without ethics and civility. Today's expert panelists discuss the waning ethics and civility in American society and debate what, if anything, can be done about it. Joining host Robert Kuhn are the founder and president of the Discovery Institute Bruce Chapman; Yale Law School student Saru Jayaraman; linguist John McWhorter; social architect Barbara Marx Hubbard; and theologian Richard Mouw.
111 - How Does Technology Transform Thinking?
Light-speed technology is accelerating, and even changing the way we think. So much so that you're irritated when there a 10-second delay in downloading a Internet site even when just a few years ago you were thrilled to a same-day fax. Today's expert panelists take on technology to discuss what it is about technology that is affecting our modes of thought, how thinking has changed, and how humans can keep up with the raging pace of technological change. Joining host Robert Kuhn are geopolitical economist Francis Fukuyama; artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky; fuzzy logic expert Bart K osko; planetary scientist Bruce Murray and technological innovator George Kozmetsky.
112 - Strange Physics of the Mind
Two fundamental theories -- quantum mechanics and relativity -- have changed forever our understanding of reality. Quantum mechanics describes the very small-scale structure of atoms and their components. Relativity describes the very large-scale structure of space and time. Today's panelists discuss why some physicists have suddenly become obsessed with using physics to explain the human mind, consciousness and how we think. Joining host Robert Kuhn are sci-fi novelist Gregory Benford; physicist James Trefil; consciousness expert David Chalmers; philosopher of mind John Searle; and theoretical physicist Fred Alan Wolf.
113 - Can Science Seek the Soul?
Belief in the existence of the "spiritual essence" of an immortal soul has infused human thought and history. Still, most of today's scientists remain materialists who believe that only the physical world is real. Today's topic pits the scientific materialists against those who believe in the concept of "dualism," which requires some nonphysical component -- call it a "soul" -- to transform the human brain into the human mind. Joining host Robert Kuhn are neuropsychologist Warren Brown; parapsychologist Dean Radin; transpersonal psychologist Charles Tart; philosopher of mind John Searle; and theoretical physicist Fred Alan Wolf.
114 - Does Sex Have A Future?
Sex has long permeated modern life, transforming values and changing morals. But is technology adding a new twist? Today's top experts discuss what happens when technology multiplies sexual options and accelerates sexual shifts. Joining host Robert Kuhn are sex therapists Cliff and Joyce Penner; human sexuality authority Paul Abramson; medical historian Vern Bullough; and biophysicist Gregory Stock.
201 - Can We Imagine The Far Future?
Everyone knows it's important to think ahead -- but just how far do you need to go? Some say we should be looking up to 1,000 years into the next millennium, at what kinds of jobs will exist, what will we drive, and how will we learn, communicate, worship and wonder. Find out what today's top scientists, governments, educators and social scientists are thinking about, why you should care, and how it will affect the world, and your own family's future. Joining host Robert Kuhn are creativity pioneer Edward de Bono; fuzzy logic expert Bart Kosko; futurist Graham T.T. Molitor; and planetary scientist Bruce Murray.
202 - What Are The Next Breakthroughs In Science?
The "big breakthroughs" in science seeming to be "bigger" than ever, and happening faster and faster. But just how do scientists challenge current belief to come up with scientific breakthroughs? Today's group of scientific experts discusses the role of independent scientific study; how "paradigms" work in science; and whether scientific discoveries are conditioned by the prevailing culture. Joining host Robert Kuhn are astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson; author/astronomer Timothy Ferris; evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala; professor of neuroscience and philosophy Patricia Smith Churchland; and child psychologist Rochel Gelman.
203 - How Does Creativity Work, at Work?
Creativity forms something from nothing, but innovation shapes that something into practical products and services. Today's panelists discuss the connection between creativity and innovation; how businesses can cultivate and grow organizational creativity; and why these attributes are so critical for organizations and individuals in today's changing work environment. Joining host Robert Kuhn are television producer Stephen J. Cannell; inventor, author and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil; author and authority on creativity and happiness Mihaly Csikszentmihaly; music educator Robert Freeman; and psychiatrist and corporate creativity expert John Kao
204 - Do Brains Make Minds?
Modern brain research has given humankind a deeper understanding of how humans sense, think and feel. Yet, while the topic has enticed philosophers for centuries, the debate's still out as to whether modern science has gotten any farther in understanding the brain, mind and body connection. Today's expert panelists talk about the connection between the gray matter called a brain, the thoughts we think, the mind-body connection, and whether there's something more to the human mind than what resides in the brain. Joining host Robert Kuhn consciousness expert David Chalmers; philosopher of mind John Searle; anthropologist Marilyn Schlitz; theoretical physicist Fred Alan Wolf;
and neuropsychologist Barry Beyerstein.
206 - Why are Music and Art So Exhilarating?
The man-made creations we call art and music have the amazing ability to make you happy, to bring you to tears, to raise your passion and soothe your soul. But why is it that one person's pleasure is another's pain? Listen in as our experts debate how music and art appreciation reflect our culture, whether appreciation of the arts is learned or innate, and why we react so differently and individually to art and music. Joining host Robert Kuhn are author and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil; poet Rhoda Janzen; cultural studies professor Todd Boyd; artist Todd Siler; and music educator Robert Freeman.
207 - Why is Quantum Physics So Beautiful?
Beautiful, elegant and full of charm and symmetry. That's how some scientists would describe quantum physics, the most basic and scientific picture of our world. Join top scientists and watch as they turn on to and describe what they think is so special about quantum physics. Joining host Robert Kuhn are Nobel Laureate and physicist Leon Lederman; physicist/cosmologist Andrei Linde; theoretical physicist Steve Koonin; scientist and sci-fi author
Gregory Benford; and physicist Charles Buchanan
208 - Thinking Out The Last Millennium
In the last thousand years, we've been transported from knights on horses to kids on computers. Life and how we live has been incredibly transformed, but humanity has paid a high price for its incredible growth. Today's top experts look back at the last millennium and the thinking processes that simultaneously built civilization and spread devastation to look for lessons to guide us through the next thousand years. Joining host Robert Kuhn are creativity pioneer Edward de Bono; futurist Graham T.T. Molitor; planetary scientist Bruce Murray; artificial intelligence expert Edward Feigenbaum; and best-selling author and surgeon Sherwin Nuland
209 - Who Needs Sex Therapy?
Got sex? As a society, we certainly are obsessed with sex, but despite the hype, some experts claim that as individuals we're finding less pleasure and fulfillment. Today's top scientists and social experts discuss a topic that is at once ultimately private and excessively public. They offer insight into our society's sexual norms and discuss why and how a new kind of "sex therapy" may offer help to many. Joining host Robert Kuhn are sex therapists Cliff and Joyce Penner; best-selling author and surgeon Sherwin Nuland; human sexuality authority Paul Abramson; and medical historian Vern Bullough.
210 - How Does Technology Transform Society?
It's unstoppable and unavoidable, and it's blowing to bits communication, business and life as we know it. Technology is making prettier television pictures, smart houses and smart cars, changing every aspect of business and government, shrinking the world and giving access to anything to almost anyone. Today's panelists discuss how technology is forever changing life as we know it and how change and continuing growth are just as unstoppable as social change is inevitable. Joining host Robert Kuhn are geopolitical economist Francis Fukuyama; artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky; technological innovator George Kozmetsky; scientist and sci-fi novelist Gregory Benford; and biophysicist Gregory Stock.
212 - What is Parapsychology?
There's something to be said about telepathy, clairvoyance and psychokinesis, despite the fact that it may be inexplicable in scientific terms or by natural law. In the scientific arena, the psychological phenomena of
parapsychology fascinates some and simply annoys others. Today's panelists from the fields of science and parapsychology debate whether ESP can really be studied as a science and if claims of strange, psychic phenomena can be subject to the scientific method. Joining host Robert Kuhn are physicist James Trefil; parapsychologist Dean Radin; neuropsychologist Barry Beyerstein; anthropologist Marilyn Schlitz; and parapsyc hologist Charles Tart
213 - Will This Universe Ever End?
There are two basic theories about how the universe will end. Neither are pleasant. The first spells out an inward-rushing, squashing-together of all things and the second has everything flying apart and dissipating into
nothingness. But recent and startling findings are putting all guesses up for grabs. Listen in as people who get paid to ponder the end of the universe put their best theories on the table. Joining host Robert Kuhn are Nobel Laureate and physicist Leon Lederman; cosmologist Wendy Freedman; physicist/cosmologist Andrei Linde; theologian Nancey Murphy and mathematician Frank Tipler.
301 - Is Science Fiction Science?
Science fiction is really a look at human history, society, and even human nature. Three authors of popular science fiction spar over exactly how science fiction is constrained by known science and then question the value of science fiction. The authors describe the way in which science fiction can inspire scientific research and at the same time serve as a warning against our potential misuse of the awesome power of science (citing the novels Soylent Green and On the Beach). They also good-naturedly point out its limitations – e.g., no science fiction author predicted the personal computer – and wonder why its appeal is not as strong in some countries as in others.
302 - Can We Believe in Both Science & Religion?
A skeptic duels with a Christian theologian and a scientist who is a devout Muslim on whether or not belief in an all-powerful, eternal deity is truly compatible with scientific principles and discoveries. For the theologian and the Islamic scientist, the antipathy between science and religion has been overplayed. They make the case that science and religion can coexist peacefully, even productively. The ske ptic counters that conflict is inevitable in the face of our growing knowledge base and the total absence of any kind of rational proof of a deity’s existence. They all agree that recent discoveries in cosmology and neuroscience have cast doubt on beliefs central to most of the world’s major religions, such as a deity created the universe and that humans possess an immortal soul.
303 - How Does the Autistic Brain Work?
Tito, a remarkable autistic teenager, joins three brain experts in a search for the causes and effects of autism, a mysterious developmental and behavioral disorder that severely impairs a person’s communication and cognitive skills. While Tito cannot speak verbally, he writes compelling and moving poetry and can articulate his experiences in extraordinarily vivid ways. Based on his feedback, and what research has so far revealed about autism, the guests speculate about how the breakdown in brain functioning and integrating sensory inputs occurs. They note that studies strongly indicate that autism is a genetic disorder and that a cure might arise in the form of a relatively simple biological intervention, something that manages to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain.
304 - How Weird is the Cosmos?
A group of distinguished physicists and astrophysicists outline the latest discoveries of how our universe began and continues to function, and marvel at how quickly the exotic becomes commonplace as they recall that until recently black holes were fantasy. They debate what could be behind the universe and postulate on the new kind of energy, dubbed “dark energy,” that permeates empty space. They also discuss current methods for measuring that expansion and contemplate how the new generation of powerful telescopes, along with a digitized mapping of the universe, will alter our theories about the universe’s fundamental laws.
305 - Microbes - Friend or Foe?
A group of biologists examine the multitude of unseen bacteria and viruses that inhabit every part of the globe, as well as the distinct differences between “good” and “bad” microbes. The guests emphasize that the key to understanding microbes is their amazing evolutionary potential, or the ability to change properties quickly. The surprising element in the show is when they debate how microbes can cause certain kinds of cancer and may even be the culprits behind a wide range of human afflictions, from Alzheimer’s Disease to neurological disorders.
306 - How Does Order Arise in the Universe?
One of the greatest challenges facing science at the beginning of the 21st century is how do we account for the evolution of the universe, an evolution that includes the appearance of life on earth, when we know that the universe relentlessly moves towards a state of disorder? Both guests, each a Nobel laureate, contend that much of the knowledge being uncovered today depends on a new set of trans-disciplinary skills that unify the sciences for the first time since Newton. Integration has already lead to more practical problem solving, such as the search for a cure for AIDS.
307 - Why is Music So Significant?
A neuroscientist, a musicologist-dean of a fine arts academic program, and an education innovator – discuss music’s universal appeal and its importance to the development of human society. All concur its inherent symmetry and organizational principles tap into a deep human need to order, or manage, our environment. They investigate how music may affect brain development, shed additional light as to whether listening to classical music can make us smarter, and bounce back and forth music’s possible role in the development of cooperative action.
308 - Will Computers Take a Quantum Leap?
Three accomplished scientists who research the peculiar and tantalizing world of quantum computing speculate about how the fundamentals of quantum mechanics will revolutionize computing and thereby transform our lives. Using atomic and subatomic particles to store, retrieve, and manipulate data promises more than a new way to miniaturize computing. This segment’s guests review several highly anticipated applications of quantum computing, including communications systems that are impervious to spying, atomic clocks, and global positioning systems that offer a degree of precision heretofore unimagined, and an opportunity to understand more fully the physics or chemistry of complex systems.
309 - Does Psychiatry have a Split Personality?
A psychiatrist and two psychologists debate the extent to which psychoanalysis, or “talk therapy,” has been supplanted by pharmaceutical solutions in treating most psychiatric problems, including depression and anxiety. All express concern about ignoring the benefits of talk therapy, especially at a time when depression is on the rise and has a ten percent suicide rate. They also highlight the causes for this trend, from HMOs’ desire to keep treatment costs down to the pharmaceutical industry’s need to generate profits. The outlook is hopeful that new brain imaging techniques will lead to a greater understanding of mental illnesses yielding more comprehensive, sophisticated, and effective therapies.
310 - How Does Basic Science Defend America?
Three experts from different areas in the national defense establishment take turns offering perspectives on the importance of basic science for safeguarding our nation, especially in the absence of a large standing army. People need to be trained for complex systems, and the technology has to be practical in warfare. They worry that “anti-science,” in the form of religious fundamentalism and a growing misunderstanding about science, threatens the goodwill that has existed between the American public and the scientific community since World War II. They all enthusiastically endorse greater funding for scientific research and proclaim our open, democratic society as our greatest defense of all.
311 - Who Gets to Validate Alternative Medicine?
As two practitioners for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) square off with a traditionally-trained medical doctors and a leading public health advocate, their strongly-felt disagreements center on a question of proof: how do you tell what works and what doesn’t? All bemoan the disturbing number of bogus therapies being peddled on the Internet to desperate people, the lack of safe manufacturing for many alternative medicines, and the instances where certain natural approaches cause real harm. Yet the two sides remain adamantly opposed over whether or not CAM can ever do any good; even the issue of licensing for CAM practitioners becomes a point of contention as they debate what guidelines should be used to determine who would qualify. For CAM’s critics, most alternative medicine is at best “self-delusion” foisted on a gullible public with misleading advertising and misguided legislation by Congress. For its advocates, it holds the key to a better understanding of the “mind-body continuum” and more effective treatment for a wide range of disorders.
312 - Is Consciousness Definable?
In this episode four renowned brain scientists tackle the conundrum of how to define, let alone study, consciousness. Their differences are immediately apparent as they attempt to describe consciousness and determine why it should include our sensory inputs, our experiences and our inner lives. They discuss the concept of “zombies” -- where a mythical patient being is capable of performing certain tasks while remaining unaware of the surrounding environment – as one pathway to understanding. They all agree that other productive areas of study focus on how exactly the brain reacts to anesthesia or how it enables the process of making choices. The episode concludes with a lively exchange of ideas about the relevance of measuring nerve cell activity, the possible role of quantum mechanics in consciousness, and the capacity of molecular biology to aid the brain.
314 - Can Religion Withstand Technology?
A skeptic, a devout Muslim scientist, and a professor of religion examine an intriguing paradox: in an age of ever-increasing scientific knowledge more people than ever before are devout, as measured by attendance to a house of worship. In the U.S. alone, three times more people attend a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque than did when the nation was founded. They discuss how technology, versus science, may drive this trend. From the alarm clock to 24-hour news to the cell phone, technology constantly disrupts us and, as a result, makes the inner contemplation necessary for a full spiritual life difficult if not impossible. The guests delve into the rise of fundamentalism – a reaction to modernity in general but also perhaps to Western rationalism – and agree that religion answers a deep human need for ritual, connection, and inspiration.
315 - Testing New Drugs: Are People Guinea Pigs?
A doctor specializing in HIV medicine, a bioethics lawyer, and a top FDA official outline the complex issues surrounding the development and testing of new drugs. They explain the standards now in place for conducting clinical trials and the exceptionally difficult task of conducting placebo control trials that are fair to all the participants. The guests touch on the role of drug companies, consent issues, and the need for a rigorous accreditation program for institutions conducting the trials. There is also a spirited call for more scrutiny of drug testing in the less-developed world, and they suggest that drug companies have an obligation to educate local medical professionals about western practices and to leave behind a solid infrastructure of medical facilities and equipment.
Can Religion Be Explained Without God?
Most people believe that God exists and religion is God’™s revelation. But some claim that religion needs nothing supernatural; that religion, without God, can flourish because personal psychology and group sociology drive religion.
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