Episode Listing - All 12 Seasons of the PBS TV Program - Closer To Truth
Episode Listing

Complete Listing of Closer to Truth Episodes.

Season 19
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1901 What is Philosophy of Cosmology?We search deepest levels of cosmic reality, the big picture of the puzzle of the universe — beginning, size, structure, future, far future. We seek significance in cosmology, if there’s any to be.
1902 What's Fine-Tuning in Cosmology?Here’s the claim: cosmic conditions that allow complex structures — galaxies, stars, planets, people — depend on a few “constants of nature” lying within tight ranges of values. But is fine-tuning valid?
1903 What's Fine-Tuning in Physics?Why do the “constants of nature” — masses of subatomic particles and strengths of forces like gravity and electromagnetism — have the values they do? Does fine-tuning “cry out” for explanation?
1904 Is the Anthropic Principle Significant?Here’s the claim: conditions of the universe relate to the presence of observers. Does the Anthropic Principle convey deep insights? Or thwart science? For sure, it’s often misunderstood and controversial.  
1905 What's Strong Emergence?Here’s the claim: each level of the scientific hierarchy — physics, chemistry, biology, psychology — has its own special laws that can never be explained by deeper laws (physics). How can this be?  
1906 What Exists II?What’s the ultimate stuff of reality? What’s absolutely fundamental and non-reducible — the fewest number of categories within which every specific thing, of every general kind, can be classified?
1907 Why Anything at All II?It’s the ultimate puzzle. It’s the haunting question. Why is there “something” rather than “nothing”? It seems impenetrable, uncrackable, unfathomable. But are there ways?
1908 Epistemology: How Can We Know God?Can humans have knowledge of God? Between humans and God, between finite and infinite, there seems an unbridgeable gap. So what can it mean to “know God”? There are multiple meanings.
1909 Jesus as God - A Philosophical Inquiry Why the astonishing claim that Jesus is God? Not like God. Not representing God. But literally God? One need not be a Christian, or even a theist, to appreciate the arguments.
1910 The Trinity - A Philosophical InquiryIt seems the ultimate riddle: How could One God be Three Persons? How could One be Three? Or Three be One? And why three? Non-believers and believers can both enjoy the logic and linguistics.
1911 The Incarnation - A Philosophical InquiryIt’s a staggering idea: God became flesh. Why would the Creator become human? For believers, how could Divine and Human natures interact? For non-believers, how do beliefs reflect the psyche?
1912 Atonement - A Philosophical InquiryCan atonement absolve sin? For believers, how could The Atonement work? What’s the process? For non-believers, what does The Atonement say about the kind of God that supposedly designed it?
1913 Salvation - A Philosophical InquiryIt’s intended as ultimate purpose: salvation means eternal life with God. For believers, what actually happens, what kind of life? For non-believers, what can we learn about how religion works?
Season 18
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1801 The Multiverse: What's Real? What could be more startling than many universes – multiple universes, innumerable universes, perhaps an infinite number of universes? But does the multiverse really exist?
1802 Critical Realism in Science & TheologyWhat’s the world as it really is? Not filtered, not represented, not interpreted. Bedrock reality. Meaning and purpose, if any, depends on it. But can we know if what we perceive is bedrock reality?  
1803 Why Consonance in Science and Theology?The relationship between science and theology has easy conflicts and hard harmonies. Is consonance possible? What is consonance in science and religion that we should quest for it?  
1804 Does Consciousness Require a Radical Explanation?What causes consciousness? Our inner sense of awareness is at once most mundane and most bizarre. No explanation makes sense. Here are three novel candidates for explaining consciousness.  
1805 Cosmology and CreationTo most physicists, mindless laws generated the universe. A few believe that a supreme being is the creator. But don’t the discoveries of cosmology eliminate the need for supernatural causes?  
1806 What is Philosophy of Biology? Biology has big questions. What is life, language, race, gender, morality, wisdom, religion, extraterrestrial intelligence? A new field of inquiry seeks underlying structure and coherence.
1807 Epistemology: How Do I Know? How can we have confidence in what we know or believe? What is knowledge? What is belief? How is belief justified? And is justified belief knowledge? How can we not doubt everything?
1808 What is Analytic Theology? Can the analytic enrich the theological, sharpening distinctions of doctrine? Can deep questions about God be addressed with methods and practices that are precise and rigorous? 
1809 Being in the World- A Tribute to Hubert DreyfusHubert Dreyfus, renowned philosopher of phenomenology, died in 2017. A few years earlier, we discussed consciousness, AI, God, creation, religion, body and soul, existence, and meaning of life.  
1810 If God, What's Evolution? If God does not exist, evolution is a full explanation of human origins, without deep meaning or purpose. But if God does exist, what is evolution and how did it happen? Here are possibilities.  
1811 What is Extended Mind? How does the mind work? It’s not obvious. Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? What is extended mind? What is embodied mind?
1812 God's Sovereignty: A Tribute to Hugh McCannHugh McCann, philosopher of action and advocate of God’s absolute sovereignty, died in 2016. A few years earlier, we discussed God’s radical, maximal nature.
1813 Challenges of Analytic TheologyIs analytic theology for the better, clarifying beliefs? Or for the worse, undermining faith? How does it compare with philosophy of religion, biblical studies and exegesis, and systematic theology?
Season 17
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1701 Death Disrupted? Religions offer life after death. Many people are skeptical. Evidence for post-mortem survival? Again, skeptics abound. Can death ever be defeated? Are these possible ways?
1702 How Does Faith Work? Can God be known only by faith? What is faith? What does faith feel like? Can faith be actionable, practical? Describing faith is one thing; having faith, quite another.
1703 How Does the Subconscious Affect Us?There is more to our mental lives than the current content of our awareness. Our subconscious affects what we sense, think, feel and do. How does the subconscious work its magic?
1704 Can Metaphysics Discern God I?How to think about God rationally, logically, profoundly, critically? Have no illusion that metaphysics can find God, but can a kind of progress be made?
1705 Can Metaphysics Discern God II? Metaphysics seeks insights into fundamental features of existence. It does not depend on human emotions or personal testimonies. When metaphysics focuses on God, what happens?
1706 What is God's Own Being? To what kind of entity does the word “God” refer? What is this God that all worship or dismiss? What, supposedly, is God’s nature? What are God’s traits?
1707 A Tribute to Huston SmithHuston Smith, world religion scholar and seeker of the Divine in diverse religions, died on December 30, 2016. We had the privilege of discussing God, spirit, soul, eternal life, judgment, existence.
1708 Observing Quanta, Observing NatureWhy is an observer key to quantum physics? Does the act of observation affect what exists and what happens in the external world? Why is Observation in the quantum world a mystery?
1709 Why Philosophy of Physics & Cosmology?The observable universe may contain two trillion galaxies and there may be innumerable universes. Is there ultimate unification, a final theory? Search for deep harmony. Discern deep meaning.
1710 What Exists? Lots of things exist. But what’s truly fundamental? The challenge is to discern the minimum number of basic categories that explains the entirety of existence. 
1711 To Seek Cosmic OriginsHow things start helps reveal what things are. How to conceive the beginning of the universe? What are latest theories? Are they all speculation? What’s the recent evidence?
1712 Is the Universe Theologically Ambiguous? Scientists split on whether the universe confirms or denies God. Though most leading scientists do not believe in God, some do. What can we learn from the dispute?
1713 Science and the Future of HumanityHumankind has learned so much, so fast. What are the risks of scientific knowledge? Look to the future. Artificial intelligence. Genetic engineering. Benefits? Dangers?
Season 16
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1601 When Brains Go Bad? What does brain damage do to people? By observing strange behaviors in brain-impaired patients, scientists discern how normal brains works For example, what happens to “the self”?
1602 What is the Doomsday Argument? Have we underestimated the risks of global catastrophe and human extinction? There is an odd argument that claims to justify end-of-the-world worries with raw statistics. 
1603 How Could God Make Miracles? Where do miracles fit in belief systems that center on God? If God exists, how could God make miracles happen, and what would miracles imply about the way God relates to the world?
1604 How do Language and Consciousness Relate? Why the tension between consciousness, my inner experience, and language, enabling thought and culture? Does consciousness cause language? Or language cause consciousness?
1605 Can God and Science Mix? Science and religion each claims dominion over deep reality. But science and religion are not parallel. All should believe science, humanity’s common language, while religion has many skeptics. 
1606 Religious Faith: Rational or Rationalization? There is strain between faith and reason, yet many people proclaim their faith. Why? What generates faith? God? Or human psychology? Should we want to have faith?
1607 Can Brain Alone Explain Consciousness? Can physical facts about the brain account for mental experiences of the mind? Has philosophy of mind made progress? We take a 15-year journey with John Searle and David Chalmers.  
1608 Can Enlarged Materialism Explain Consciousness? Materialism is the belief that only physical things are real. But physical things seem so utterly different from mental things. Could there be more to materialism than the known laws of physics?
1609 Does Consciousness Defeat Materialism?Does anything exist beyond the physical world? If yes, could consciousness undermine materialism? If no, could consciousness confirm materialism? It’s the big test.
1610 Fallacies in Arguing for God? When believers argue that God exists, what mistakes do they make? What are their errors in logic as well as in fact? Whoever wants to believe in God must not use arguments that do not work.
1611 What is Philosophy of Science? Can science discover all truths? Or are there truths beyond science? What is science? A process? A way of thinking? How to get at the essence of science, discern how it really works? 
1612 Does Philosophy Help Science? What constitutes good science? Are there limits to science? If so, what are the boundaries? How deep can science dig into the foundations of the world? 
1613 A Tribute to Marvin MinskyOne of artificial intelligence’s legendary pioneers, Marvin Minsky, recently died. With this tribute, we celebrate his penetrating analysis of brains, minds, AI, religion and God.
Season 15
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1501 Does the Cosmos Have a Reason?How breathtakingly vast is the universe. How majestic. Is there meaning, purpose—a reason? Some scientists say no; we create our own purpose. Others look to God, while some seek meaning in the search for aliens.  All see beauty.
1502 Can the Cosmos Have a Reason? Perhaps we cannot know the reason for the universe, if there is any. But is it even possible for the universe to have a reason? If yes, how would natural regularities and rules compare with some kind of goal or God?
1503 Implications of Cosmology? The universe is strange and wondrous—dauntingly vast, menacingly violent, infinitely complex. There are explanations, but is there a final explanation?  
1504 What is It About God?We dig into issues and arguments about God’s existence—and, if God exists, about God’s nature or traits. We explore competing ideas about God and assess divine diversity.   
1505 Speculating About God?In searching, striving to know God—if there is a God—we discover contrasting ways that God could be. It is good to wonder about God, see a landscape of possibilities, get the big picture of what God may be like. 
1506 How Could God Intervene in the Universe? For God to be God, God could not do nothing. If God exists, God must do things. Assuming God created the universe, then God should do things with the universe. But what? And how?
1507 What Could ESP Mean? Extrasensory perception (ESP) probes reality. If ESP does not exist, then today’s physical world may be all there is. If ESP does exist, then reality may go beyond the physical world. But can ESP be tested by science?  
1508 How Could ESP Work? If ESP were real, would it transcend space and time? How could our minds know stuff, and do stuff, not only beyond our senses, but also beyond the laws of physics? What are possible mechanisms?
1509 How to Argue for God? Is there a supreme being, a creator of all things, a God? Can arguments—reasons, logic, ways of thinking—cut through traditions, norms, feelings? Believers bear the burden of proof.  
1510 Does God Know Everything? Western religions claim that God is all-knowing. Then the trouble starts. What does it mean to know everything? Is God’s knowledge of the future truth? Are ‘possibilities’ truth? Can God know infinities of truths? Does omniscience test a theistic God?
1511 What is Causation?Why does one thing ‘cause’ another thing? Is causation fundamental, primitive, real—not reducible to, or explainable by, anything else? Or is causation a human construct, derivative, artificial? At stake is what existence is about.
1512 Can Dualism Explain Consciousness? Dualism claims reality has two parts, a physical and a nonphysical (mental or spiritual), both equally real. Dualism is believed by most people but rejected by most philosophers and scientists.  
1513 Is Consciousness Ultimate Reality?Some say that consciousness is the only true reality—that everything else, including the universe, comes from consciousness. If so, how would consciousness relate to the world?
Season 14
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1401 Can the Mind Heal the Body?Stress triggers sickness, shortens life. Tranquility promotes wellness, lengthens life. How we think affects how we feel. Psychosomatic medicine is modern medicine. But what works, and what doesn’t? What’s science, and what’s not?
1402 Is God Responsible for Evil?How on earth could God be reconciled with massive, monstrous Evil? If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and if God is the creator, wouldn’t God be responsible for evil?  
1403 What is Information? Information is all the rage in science, changing how we think about fundamental questions. Information has many descriptions, some of them surprising. Why is Information so important to scientists and philosophers?
1404 Can Design Point to God?To argue for God, the easy way appears to be ‘design’, the obvious order and apparent purpose of the world. How could all of this be if there were no God? Quite easily, says science. What’s the deep thinking on both sides? 
1405 What is Truth?Everyone wants to know ‘Truth’. But what is Truth? People argue about Truth; people fight about Truth—consider politics and religion. But what is the basic meaning of Truth itself?
1406 Does Information Create the Cosmos? Of what is reality made? What are the most basic building blocks from which the cosmos is constructed? Particles? Mass-Energy? Forces? Fields? A new candidate is ‘Information’—‘IT from BIT’.
1407 Why a Body in a Resurrection? Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach the ‘resurrection of the body’, the person brought back to life. But isn’t a ‘body’ out of place in a nonphysical hereafter? Isn’t a body a burden throughout eternity? Moreover, how to resurrect a body?
1408 Must Multiple Universes Exist? Of all human knowledge, the most stunning may be multiple universes—very many universes, perhaps an infinite number of universes. Are multiple universes—the ‘multiverse’—scientific fact, theory or speculation?
1409 Toward a Science of Consciousness?Why do we have inner awareness? Why does it ‘feel like something’ inside to see, hear, taste, think? It’s called ‘consciousness’ and it seems mysterious—but can science explain it? We talk to experts at the 20th biennial conference, “Toward a Science of Consciousness.”
1410 Big Questions in Free Will I?What is free will? Do we have free will? The ‘Big Questions in Free Will’ project tackles these issues in a multi-year study.  In Part I, scientists and philosophers research, test, and advance thinking on free will.
1411 Big Questions in Free Will II?How we think about free will affects how we live our lives and structure our societies. In Part II of our following the multi-year ‘Big Questions in Free Will’ project, experts discuss the psychological, social and moral aspects of Free Will.
1412 Can Free Will Survive God's Foreknowledge? The tension between human free will and God’s knowledge of the future threatens both. It’s called God’s ‘foreknowledge’—God knowing now what will happen later—and one need not believe in God to appreciate the puzzles.
1413 How Can God Not be Free?Does God have real choices? Or is God bound tightly by God’s own nature? Can God do absolutely everything? Can God be ‘brave’? Can God ‘improve’? For God to be God, how can God be constrained all? 
Season 13
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1301 What is Ultimate Reality? What’s the deepest nature of things? Our world is complex, filled with so much stuff. But down below, what's fundamental? Only the physical world? Or anything nonphysical?
1302 What is Consciousness? Consciousness is what we know best and explain least. It is the inner subjective experience of what it feels like to see red or smell garlic or hear Beethoven. Consciousness is baffling. 
1303 Is This God?Can humans probe God? Can we inquire into God’s essence and nature? Is God at all knowable? Or forever beyond human understanding? Let’s be bold in questioning God.
1304 Will the Universe Ever End? In the far, far future, what happens to planets, stars, galaxies, black holes? What’s the ‘Big Rip’ and the ‘Big Crunch’? And if 'multiple universes’ exist, if one universe ends, do others begin?
1305 Can the Divine be a Person?What if God were a ‘person’? A person has sense, knowledge, will, intent, feelings.  A person can be compassionate, sympathetic, empathetic. If God were a person, there’d be hope that all might end well. 
1306 Is Death Final?Death is the ultimate defeat. No matter our successes, we are all doomed to suffer the final failure. But some claim that death is not final. Can the defeat be defeated?
1307 What Causes Religious Belief?Why are religions so pervasive, across diverse human cultures? If God exists, would God have made it so? But there are entirely natural reasons to expect the widespread belief in God.
1308 What Things are Real?Is the physical world real? Or an expression of consciousness. Is consciousness real? Or an illusion? Is there a spirit world? Many dismiss anything other than the physical.
1309 Does Moral Responsibility Require Free Will?Philosophers and brain scientists argue that our ‘will’ is less ‘free’ than we think. How do arguments about free will impact morality and civil society, including the judicial system and legal defenses?
1310 What can we Learn from Alternative Gods?Novel concepts of God challenge theism—rejecting the God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Is this 'heresy'? Or enlarging our vision of what the Ultimate can be like?”
1311 Why God, Not Nothing?To solve the great mystery ‘Why does Anything At All Exist?’, many invoke ‘God’. But isn’t God also ‘Anything’? How could God be the reason why there is ‘Something’ rather than ‘Nothing’?
1312 Does God's Knowledge Ruin Free Will?Since God (supposedly) knows everything and can never be wrong, including about future events, how could those future events not come to pass? If we cannot do other than what God knew prior, how then free will?
1313 Is God Totally Free?If God is God, it seems impossible to limit God's freedom. But can God create a round square? Make 1+1=3? Do evil? Sin? Be brave. There seem to be many things that God cannot do.
Season 12
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1201 Did the Universe have a Beginning?Some scientists claim that the universe did not have a beginning. Some theologians contend that the universe did not need a beginning.
1202 How do Humans Differ from Other Animals?Physically, humans and animals seem similar. Mentally, humans seem so superior. What's so special about human nature?
1203 What Would it Feel Like to be God?God is said to be all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good. But what is God's private mental life? Can we appreciate God as a Supreme Being?
1204 What's the New Atheism?I hope God exists, which is why I listen to atheists and follow their arguments. If hope trumps reason I may be entombed in false belief.
1205 How does Personal Identity Persist through Time?How does Personal Identity Persist through Time? [Consciousness] Is the self an illusion? Decades roll by; every molecule of my body changes many times. Yet I sense myself the same-continuous, a unity. How can this be?
1206 Can Philosophy of Religion Find God?Can Philosophy of Religion Find God? Does God exist? What are God's attributes and traits? How should we examine such questions about God? Can philosophy provide insights about God?
1207 Why Do We Sleep?Why do We Sleep? [Consciousness] Why do we spend so much of our lives not awake? What do sleeping and dreaming reveal about consciousness?
1208 Does Cosmic Fine-Tuning Demand Explanation?The universe works for us because of deep physical laws. But if the values of these laws would much change, then all we see and know could not exist.
1209 Why Obsess about Free Will?Why Obsess about Free Will? [Consciousness] Free will probes consciousness, examines what it means to pick, choose, select, decide. But some say that 'free will' is just a trick of the brain.
1210 Why Seek an Alternative God?Why Seek an Alternative God? [God] Is God, if there is a God, a personal, conscious, all-powerful Supreme Being? Some offer radically different concepts of 'God'.
1211 Panentheism: Is the World in God?Panentheism: Is the World in God? The search for God leads to strange ideas. Panentheism claims that the world is in God but God is more than the world. Can this new kind of God make sense?
1212 What is Nothing?What is Nothing? What if nothing ever existed? Scientists claim that the universe came from nothing. But what's the nature of nothing? That's where the confusion lies.
1213 Why Anything at All?Why is there a world, a cosmos, something-instead of absolutely nothing at all? Of all the big questions, this is the biggest. Why? What can we learn from "Nothing"?
Season 11
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1101 Time at SeaIs time the ultimate stage on which all events play? Some physicists and philosophers say No -- time is an Illusion; time is not real. How can that be?
1102 What is Time?To appreciate Time is to touch the texture of reality. Does Time differ from our common perceptions of it? Is Time fixed or flexible?
1103 Why Believe in God?This is personal. Why should I want to believe in God? Is belief a circular path of self-deception? Or the shortest route to bedrock reality?
1104 Alternative Concepts of GodPhilosophers explore novel ideas of what God may be like. They challenge classical theism, the personal creator of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
1105 Pantheism: Is the World God?Is our search for God too narrow? Why do some philosophers espouse Pantheism? Pantheism's claim is not shy; God is Everything and Everything is God.
1106 How do Brains Work?Everything we know, everything we think, comes from our brain. Are brains our window to reality, seeing what truly exists? Or are we bound by brains, mental slaves of the meat in our heads?
1107 What Would an Infinite Cosmos Mean?Do stars and spaces go on forever? Do the numbers of galaxies, and even of universes, have no end? Here's how infinity enriches appreciation of reality.
1108 What is God's Eternity?Does God exist in time, experiencing time's flow? Or is God eternal, existing outside of time, creating time? These questions help assess God's existence and discern God's essence.
1109 Why is Free Will a Big Question?Free will seems obvious, simple, common; but it's subtle, profound, maddening, Free will probes the deep nature of human existence. But big questions have big problems.
1110 Is Free Will an Illusion?Some philosophers and scientists claim that because every event is determined by prior events, including every event in our brains, free will is not real. What are the arguments, the evidence?
1111 What's in a Resurrection?Judaism, Christianity and Islam each proclaim a resurrection of the dead, a bodily reconstruction of all people from all time. How would it work? Does it make sense?
1112 Does Hell Reveal God?What kind of God would create hell? Does the truth of Christianity, Judaism and Islam depend on the reality of Hell? Does the nature of Hell offer Insight into what that God would be like?
1113 Confronting ConsciousnessConsciousness is what mental activity feels like, the private inner experience of sensation, thought and emotion. Consciousness is like nothing else.
Season 10
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
1001 Is the Universe Religiously Ambiguous?Does God exist or not exist? How can so many people be so absolutely sure-either way? But maybe that's the point! Maybe "God" and "No God" are both defensible. What would that mean?
1002 Is Consciousness an Illusion?Is consciousness something special in the universe, a carrier of meaning and purpose? Or is consciousness a mere artifact of the brain, a by-product of evolution? I hope consciousness is special, which is why I must be a skeptic.
1003 What is God?How can I assess whether God exists without exploring what kind of God is supposed to exist? So I examine God's essence and nature.
1004 Do General Principles Govern All Science?Are there "general principles" that encompass all sciences, that explain even beyond the sciences? What would that mean about our world and about us?
1005 Are Brain and Mind the Same Thing?If mind and brain are the same thing, then the physical world is likely all that exists. But if mind and brain are not the same thing, then what? Could reality go beyond the physical?
1006 Current Arguments for GodI like arguments about God, whether based on science, philosophy or personal experience. I like to push and to be pushed, explore the possible existence of a Creator. I must also consider defeaters of God.
1007 Why Science and Religion Think DifferentlyScience and religion-each pursues Big Truth and offers total solutions. Science works. That's for sure. Religion? Not so sure. Does any reality exist beyond the expanding reach of science?
1008 What are Dreams About?Throughout history, dreams have fascinated and mystified. Messages from God? Images of the subconscious? Much about dreams is myth. What's real?
1009 Can God Face Up Evil?If I seek God and avoid "the problem of evil," I fool myself. If there is a God, evil is God's hardest problem. If there is no God, evil is No-God's easiest evidence.
1010 How Belief Systems WorkWe like to think that we are rational, that what we believe is what is true. But we often believe because of our "belief systems"-"how we believe" may be more important than "what we believe."
1011 Do Religions Complement or Contradict?I would like to believe in God, but conflicting religions trouble me. Religions clash and compete-and that's a problem for those who believe or want to believe.
1012 Why is Free Will a Mystery?Our human sense is that our will is fully free. Our scientific sense is that every action is determined by a prior action. Free will versus determinism is a big question, affecting morality, responsibility, even consciousness.
1013 Does Brain Science Abolish Free Will?Who's the boss, me or my brain? Data from the brain, by itself, does not favor free will. But is there more to me than my brain? How to judge among the vast and competing claims about free will?
Season 9
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
901 Fallacies in Proving God ExistsThe more I want God to exist, the more I must question proofs of God's existence. "Bad arguments for God" scare me. Maybe all the "God Arguments" are bad? I hope not.
902 Is Life and Mind Inevitable in the Cosmos?Our universe must be "just so" in order for life and mind-for us-to exist. "Just so" is called "fine-tuning," and it cries out for explanation.
903 Arguing God with Analytic PhilosophyI desire God to be real, so I know that the easiest person to fool is myself. That's why I favor rational arguments for, and against, the existence of a Supreme Creator.
904 What Would Alien Intelligences Mean?Do intelligent aliens exist? Who knows? But here's what I do know: The potential existence of intelligent aliens probes meaning and purpose in the universe.
905 How Does a Creator God Work?Creation is God's glory; creating is God's essence. I've heard this so often and so long it seems to make sense. But does it make sense?
906 Mysteries of Cosmic InflationThe very early universe likely underwent a period of enormous expansion called "inflation." The theory stunned cosmology. Here's the story of its discovery.
907 How is God All Powerful?The God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam claims to be "Omnipotent"-a Being who is all-powerful. Can this Omnipotent God do everything? Literally everything?
908 Does Metaphysics Reveal Reality?Some think metaphysics is ancient nonsense; others that it's the bizarre occult. Real metaphysics asks the most profound questions, seeks the deepest truths.
909 Complexity from Simplicity?Our universe began with a swirling, seething plasma-everything, everywhere, all the same. Today we have galaxies, stars, planets, people. How did such structure come about?
910 Do Humans have Free Will?Free will seems so obvious. Whatever I want to do, I just do. But could "I" be fooled? Some say that free will is an illusion. Others, that it's a mystery.
911 What's God About?Theists and atheists debate whether God exists. But what God are they arguing over? There's enormous variation in the kinds of gods that populate religions.
912 Does Consciousness lead to God?Why does the mystery of consciousness lead some to the existence of God and others to only the brain? I'd like to believe in God. Can consciousness help me?
913 The Mystery of ExistenceCall all-that-exists "something." Why is there "something" rather than "nothing"? The question haunts me. Why is there anything at all?
Season 8
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
801 Is Evil Necessary in God's World?If I seek God, I cannot avoid evil. Can the enormity of evil ever be compatible with an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God? Couldn't God have created the world without such evil?
802 What's Beyond Physics?Are there revolutionary discoveries yet to be made? Radical revelations and shocking secrets? Does physical reality go beyond what we know today? Far beyond?
803 Can ESP Reveal a New Reality?If ESP is real--that's a big "If"--then our entire worldview would change. Existence would be somehow enlarged. But extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
804 Arguing God from ConsciousnessSome say that consciousness exists independent of brain, apart from the material world, and from this mystery some infer the existence of God.
805 Does the Cosmos Provide Meaning?We know the age of the universe, how stars were born, how galaxies were formed. But does the cosmos have meaning? Not make-believe, feel-good meaning. But real meaning.
806 What Maintains Personal Identity?What makes me a self? I see. I hear. I feel. How can separate perceptions bind together into a coherent mental unity? How can all be me? And how does my self persist through time?
807 Arguing God from BeingI'm obsessed by raw existence, which science can never explain. Does this mean that there is a God? I wish it were that simple. Yet some claim that a 'Most Perfect Being' must exist.
808 Can Science and Theology Find Deep Reality?Some say that science and theology together reveal deep reality. Others say that only science makes sense; theology is myth. Which is it? Science alone? Or science and theology combined?
809 What's Wrong with Immortal Souls?Do human beings have immortal souls? Science dismisses anything nonphysical, and even some theologians reject immortal souls. But if no immortal souls, what happens to eternal life?
810 Does God have a Nature?What does it mean for God to have a "nature"? Will contradictions emerge that deny God? Or can we know even a little of what such an incredible Being might be like?
811 Are There Things Not Material?Is the natural, physical world all-there-is? Or is there something more-a supernatural, nonphysical existence? I was trained in science, so I should be a naturalist. I'm not so sure.
812 How Free is God?God is supposed to be all-powerful, all-knowing and all good. In addition, God is supposed to be "perfectly free"? What does it mean for God to be perfectly free?
813 Immortality and Eternal LifeI'd like to live forever. Wouldn't you? But what would "living forever" mean? Almost every religion offers life after death. What would immortality and eternal life be like?
Season 7
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
701 How To Think About God's ExistenceGod exists? God does not exist? I find flaws and fallacies in both sides. So I step away from "arguments" about God and ask how to approach God's existence. What's the process?
702 Why is the Universe Breathtaking?I look up and I look down and I chill with awe. I look up to the universe and envision hundreds of billions of galaxies. I look down to the atom and imagine minuscule, infinitesimal particles and forces. This is reality.
703 Does Consciousness have Meaning?How has "inner experience" radically emerged from cosmic dust? Is consciousness only an accident of biology? Or does consciousness have deeper meaning?
704 Arguing God from Miracles & RevelationsI search for God but keep clear of miracles. Believers exhort me to accept that miracles are real, to recognize that miracles demonstrate the existence of a supernatural Being. I resist.
705 Marvels of Space-TimeEinstein showed that space and time are essentially the same thing-a single entity, space-time. But space and time seem so radically different. How could space and time be literally the same thing?
706 What Makes Brains Conscious?Everything I know -- everything! -- comes from my brain. Consciousness, our private sense of inner awareness, is the one big question to which we might find answers.
707 Is God Perfect?What does it mean for God to be "perfect"? Perfectly knowledgeable? Perfectly powerful? Perfectly good? Did God create the "perfect world"? That'd be hard to believe.
708 What are the Scope and Limits of Science?How much can science discover? Are there boundaries to science? Are there truths, real truths, beyond science?
709 Is Human Consciousness Special?Scientists say my consciousness is just my brain. Theologians believe my consciousness reflects the God who created it. Mystics hold my consciousness is a drop in the ocean of cosmic consciousness. Who's right?
710 If God Knows the Future, What is Free Will?If God is infallible and knows the future perfectly, then God knows what I will do at every moment from my birth to my death. So where's my free will?
711 Can Science Talk God?Some say that science and God are not related. Others, that science describes a world that evidences "God's handiwork," or a world that works just fine without God.
712 Do Persons Survive Death?Do I disappear at death? My body? Sure, it's gone. But my awareness? Does my consciousness end forever? What could be more frightening! Is there any hope here?
713 Is Theism Coherent?"Theism" is the belief in God. But atheists claim that theism is not coherent, meaning that God as a concept is riddled with conflicts, Inconsistencies and contradictions. Theists respond.
Season 6
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
601 Arguing God from Natural Theology?From biblical times to Darwin, natural theology tried to detect and discern God by seeing and sensing His presence in the world-the world alone, without revelation. But after Darwin's theory of evolution, natural theology was rejected, even ridiculed. Why, now, its surprising revival?
602 What is the Large-Scale Structure of the Universe?Galaxies and clusters of galaxies, untold billions of them, adorn the cosmos. How did such large-scale structure of the universe come about?
603 Does ESP Reveal Spirit Existence?Parapsychologists are sure ESP is real. Skeptics are sure it is not. But if ESP is real, would ESP need to go beyond physical laws, reaching into unknown non-physical realms?
604 Is God All Knowing?What does it mean for God to be all knowing? Does being "omniscient" make sense? If so, can deep insights be gleaned about God? If not, could the whole concept of God be flawed?
605 Why is the Quantum So Strange?To know reality, one must confront the quantum. It is how our world works at the deepest level. What's the quantum? It is bizarre, defying all common sense.
606 Can Metaphysics Discover Surprises?How does metaphysics contribute to our understanding of the world? It asks the most profound questions: What kinds of things exist? How does causality work? Sound too abstract? How about: Does God exist? Are you a soul?
607 Is God Necessary?Whether God exists may depend on whether God is necessary. Even if God exists, would it have been possible for God not to exist? In other words, even if God does exist, could it have been otherwise?
608 Would Multiple Universes Undermine God?Arguments for God, and against God, each call the universe as witness, each count the universe as evidence. God believers invoke the universe's apparent fine-tuning. God deniers envision a vast number of universes, so that anything can happen by accident, including us.
609 Do Human Brains Have Free Will?Free will seems the simplest of notions. Why then is free will so vexing to philosophers? Here's why: no one knows how free will works! Science, seemingly, permits no "gaps" in which free will can operate.
610 Arguing for Agnosticism?Agnostics claim that they do not know whether or not God exists. Theists surmise they're reprobates. Atheists suppose they're cowards. Are there different kinds of agnostics? Can agnosticism deepen appreciation for existence?
611 Are Science & Religion at War?For centuries, science and religion have been battling, with science advancing, religion retreating. Is this proper? We follow the current battles. We propose no truce.
612 Why Explore Consciousness and Cosmos?Cosmos and consciousness seem utterly different, the former encompassing the vast universe, the latter emerging from tiny brains. Yet consciousness founds most religions, and some cosmologists speak quietly, profoundly, about consciousness.
613 A New Heaven & A New Earth?The Judeo-Christian scriptures tell of "a new heaven and a new earth," when all shall be made new. What could this mean? Could this ever make sense? Believers say, "It's God's mystery." They should say more.
Season 5
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
501 How Do Human Brains Think and Feel?Nothing means anything without our brains: not science, not theology, not politics, not love. Everything we know and do-all the sense of human thought, all the feelings of human emotion-all are the product of the brains in our heads.
502 Does a Fine-Tuned Universe Lead to God?We human beings sit roughly midway between atoms and galaxies, and both must be so perfectly structured for us to exist. It's called "fine tuning" and it's all so breathtakingly precise that it cries out for explanation. To some, fine-tuning leads to God. To others, there are non-supernatural explanations.
503 Wondering About GodThe God debate is not a game. Is there a God? If so, what are God's essences and traits? What are all the ways that God could be? Or could not be? We discover different beliefs of different kinds of Gods.
504 What is the Far Far Future of the Universe?When we speak about the future of the universe, we mean when the sun burns out, when galaxies collide, when everything flies apart and ultimately evaporates. Do the untold billions and trillions of years from now make it irrelevant for us today? No. The far far future of the universe conveys meaning now.
505 Solutions to the Mind-Body Problem?Are human beings purely physical? Evolved at random and destined to die, extinguished forever? Or are we something more? A spirit or a soul, with existence beyond? What's the relationship between our brains and our consciousness, between the stuff in our skulls and the essence in our minds?
506 How is God the Creator?If God exists, did God create everything? Did God create out of literally "nothing"? Suppose there was no beginning to the cosmos, just the universe going through endless cycles, what then? And what about "abstract objects" like logic and numbers, which seem to exist without any cause and no creator?
507 What Would Multiple Universes Mean?Is there more than one universe? According to current cosmology, our entire gigantic universe is only one of innumerable universes, each universe like one tiny bubble in a limitless ocean of universes. What could all this mean?
508 What Things are Conscious?Consciousness is the great mystery of inner awareness. Where does it exist? Humans, obviously. Animals? Which animals? Chimps, elephants, dolphins, dogs? Termites, snails, amoeba, bacteria? What about non-biological intelligences like super-supercomputers of the future?
509 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.
510 What's Real About Time?Time seems natural and absolute: the flow of moments one following another from the unknown past to the knife's edge present to the unknowable future. But this is not so. Einstein shocked the world by showing that time was "relative." What's the latest about time?
511 How do Persons Maintain Their Identity?What does it mean to be a "self"? Look at an old photo. Then look in the mirror. Those two images are of the same person, right? How so? They don't look the same. Their memories are different. And virtually every atom is different. We feel unity across time, but is this solidified self an illusion?
512 Is God a "Person"?If God exists, one most important question is whether God is a "person". Only a person has awareness, beliefs, intents, goals, relationships. An impersonal force has none of these. If my hope counts, God exists and God is a person. But that's absurd: my hope counts for nothing.
513 Asking Ultimate QuestionsI like pushing boundaries, trying to discern existence, searching the foundations of reality, knowing all that can be known. Overly ambitious? Sophomoric? I don't care. I do it anyway. Here are ultimate questions.
Season 4
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
401 Why is Consciousness Baffling?How does consciousness weave its magical web of inner awareness-appreciating music, enjoying art, feeling love? Even when all mental functions may be explained, the great mystery-what it "feels like" inside-will likely remain.
402 What is God Like?What can we know about God? The easy answer is "nothing": God is not like anything. But that's not good enough. If there is a God, God must have traits. No?
403 What does an Expanding Universe Mean?The expanding universe is humanity's monumental discovery. Beginning with something infinitesimally small, the universe has become something majestically large. How could this happen? What could this mean?
404 Is the Person All Material?What makes a human being a "person?" What provides our sense of unity and continuity? While most people assume that to be a person is to have a soul, most philosophers-and some theologians-believe that persons are all material.
405 Arguments Against God?All who affirm that God does exist should examine the strong attacks of those who conclude that God does not exist, and then assess the sharp counterattacks of scholarly believers. Belief in God is too important to be determined by cultural circumstances.
406 Are there Extra Dimensions?Extra dimensions-beyond length, width, height-seem the stuff of science fiction. What would extra dimensions be like? Is time the fourth dimension? Could deep reality be so strange? And, anyway, why would we care?
407 Would Intelligent Aliens Undermine God?Whether extra-terrestrial intelligences exist has profound implications for human religion. We are either alone or not alone in the universe, but no matter the ultimate answer, theists and atheists will each mold that answer, alone or not alone, to fit their opposing worldviews.
408 Did God Create Evil?Whoever believes in the existence of God must explain the presence of evil. To theists, it's "the problem of evil," which they struggle to resolve. To atheists, it's "the argument from evil," which they wield like a sword. Moreover, if God is all-powerful and all-knowing, how could God not have created evil?
409 Is Mathematics Invented or Discovered?Mathematics describes the real world of atoms and acorns, stars and stairs, with remarkable precision. So is mathematics invented by humans-like chisels and hammers and pieces of music? Or is mathematics discovered-always out there, somewhere, like mysterious islands waiting to be found?
410 Do Angels and Demons Exist?Many theologians take angels and demons seriously. Why? Certainly, most human beings believe in angels and demons. Certainly, such nonphysical beings, in one form or another, populate most of the world's religions.
411 Why the Laws of Nature?What's real? What's fundamental? There are regularities in nature, things that are or work the same-always, everywhere, across the universe just like in your kitchen. Down deep, what are the laws of nature? What makes them "laws"? And where do they come from?
412 What is God's Judgment?Every religion thunders its day of reckoning, and to examine God's judgment is to probe God's character and perhaps assess God's existence. If God does not exist, God's judgment may expose it. If God does exist, and assuming God is merciful as well as just, maybe we've missed the meaning of God's Judgment.
413 Why the Cosmos?The search for meaning and purpose is humanity's never-ending quest. It is said that "How Questions" belong to the realm of science, but "Why Questions" do not. Yet startling scientific discoveries offer radical powers of explanation. Can "Why Questions" belong to science? What about the biggest "Why" of them all?
Season 3
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
301 How Could God Know the Future?God is supposed to have perfect knowledge, which includes all true statements about the future. Does this mean that God knows everything about what is to come? But if the future doesn't yet exist, then there is nothing now to know. Theologians battle among themselves.
302 Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life and Mind?If the universe had been ever so slightly different, human beings wouldn't, couldn't, exist. All explanations of this exquisite fine-tuning, obvious and not-so-obvious, have problems.
303 How does Beauty Color the Cosmos?What do scientists mean when they call the laws and regularities of nature "beautiful"? On the largest supra-cosmic scales, and on the smallest sub-atomic scales, why do scientists use "beauty" to assess their theories?
304 What Things Really Exist?When you ask "what things really exist", and you think deeply about this universal probe, you see the whole world anew. It's such a simple question; how does it inspire such profound insight?
305 Where are They, All Those Aliens?Most scientists assume that the universe must be populated with innumerable alien intelligences and civilizations - after all, we humans can't be so special. OK, so where are they, these "innumerable alien intelligences and civilizations"? How come there's zero evidence?
306 Why is There "Something" Rather than "Nothing"?Forget science. Forget God. This is the ultimate question: What if Everything had Forever been Nothing? Not just emptiness, not just blankness, but not even the existence of emptiness, not even the meaning of blankness, and no Forever. If you don't get dizzy, you really don't get it.
307 Can Many Religions All be True?No one denies the diversity of human religions, and the apparent incompatibility of their core beliefs. Many believe only their own religion to be True. Some claim all religions reflect the same Truth. Others assert that differing dogmas expose the emptiness of all religion.
308 Is Consciousness Fundamental?Is our mental life a random accident, solely the product or byproduct of physical brain? Or is there something deeply special about conscious awareness that may reveal a hidden reality?
309 Is There A Final Theory of Everything?It is the Holy Grail of physics: All the particles and forces of nature unified and explained by equations so simple that you can print them on your tee shirt. Are we getting there?
310 How can Emergence Explain Reality?Does ordinary stuff have mysterious properties? Take anything; find all its parts; combine those parts any way you like. What do you expect? Nothing at all like what you have. It's called "emergence" and it describes how wondrously our world works. But is it a real mystery?
311 Is This the End Time?In every generation, some religious believers imagined their time to be the end time. Why is this so? Is our generation different? What, in a religious nutshell, is the End Time?
312 Eternal Life is Like What?Almost all religions promise eternal life. In one form or another, the message goes forth that death is not final. But each religion paints its own portrait of the hereafter: some are collective and ethereal in the spirit, others individual and corporeal in the body. Which would you choose? (Your opinion means nothing, of course.)
313 Do Science & Religion Conflict?Don't let the heated argument or the smooth talk fool you: the struggle between science and religion carries deep significance. Meaning and Purpose hang in the balance as battle rages on many fronts.
Season 2
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
201 Is There Life After Death?Do we survive bodily death? Can our personal awareness transcend physical decay? There are no bigger questions and there are no shortages of answers. Some claim to have evidence.
202 Arguing God from MoralityHumans have a sense of right and wrong. Does this mean that morality is absolute? And if absolute, would God be needed to make it so? Even theologians are perplexed by God & Morality; some even admit it.
203 How Many Universes Exist?More than one universe? A ridiculous question no more! How could multiple universes be generated, and can we ever find evidence, one way or another? Talk about expanding your horizons: you can't imagine what's in store!
204 Can Brain Explain Mind?What is it about the brain that enables some scientists to claim they can explain mind? And what is it about scientific explanations that some philosophers reject?
205 What is the Mind-Body Problem?How is it possible that mushy masses of brain cells, passing chemicals and shooting sparks, literally are mental sensations and subjective feelings? They seem so radically different.
206 Is Time Travel Possible?Some scientists take time travel seriously. Should you? What does time travel reveal about the nature of space and time and the laws of physics under extreme conditions?
207 Did God Create Time?God and Time are two huge mysteries; relating them probes the nature of God, and perhaps even the existence of a Creator. If God is in Time and experiences its passage, then how could God have created Time? Also Leibniz's famous question: "Why didn't God create the world sooner?"
208 Does Evil Disprove God?Theologians have no tougher task than explaining evil, its enormity even more than its existence. Give the clergy their due: they've devised clever, even profound, rationale. But at the end of the long day, do these explanations, or rationalizations, really work?
209 Why are Black Holes Astonishing?They warp space and time, squeeze matter to a vanishing point, and trap light so that it cannot escape. How can black holes perform such stupendous tricks, and what can we learn from them?
210 What is Free Will?If it seems obvious that you are perfectly free to choose and decide, then it seems perfectly clear that you underestimate the problem (and have never questioned a philosopher). Free Will is a huge problem.
211 Arguments for Atheism?Turn the tables on whether God exists. Atheists take their best shots at disproving God; theists deflect the arguments, defending God. Atheists come harder still; theists fight back. We keep the arguments tough-minded and the thinking critical.
212 How Could God Interact with the World?If God exists, and if God ordains history and generates miracles, how does He do it? Fiddle with each and every atom? Command all of them en masse? What possibly could be God's technique?
213 What's the Far Future of Intelligence in the Universe?Consider humanity's astounding progress in science during the past three hundred years. Now take a deep breath and project forward, oh say, three billion years.
Season 1
No. Title & Description Contributors Watch
101 Does God Make Sense?How can you know whether God really exists, if you do not know what God really is? Diverse religions have diverse views and surprise is in store.
102 How Vast is the Cosmos?Everyone knows that the universe is huge, but no one could have imagined how staggeringly immense the universe, or multiple universes, may actually be. It stops your breath.
103 Why is Consciousness So Mysterious?How can the mindless microscopic particles that compose our brains "experience" the setting sun, the Mozart Requiem, and romantic love?
104 Did Our Universe have a Beginning?Everything in the universe has a beginning, but how can the universe as a whole have a start date? Does a universal commencement make sense? What would it possibly mean?
105 How are Brains Structured?As far as we know, brains are the most highly organized matter in the universe. How they make their magic is just astonishing.
106 Arguing God's ExistenceYou've heard the raucous noise about God; now listen to the cogent arguments, con and pro. Not that determining the existence of God is up for vote; when searching for Truth, majority opinion counts for nothing.
107 Why a Fine-Tuned Universe?How can so many numbers of nature, the constants and relationships of physics, be so spot-on perfect for humans to exist? Beware: there is more than one answer lurking here.
108 Do Persons have Souls?Is the "Real You" a special substance that is both nonphysical and immortal? Most people think "Certainly". Most scientists think "Certainly Not". What some theologians think may trouble you.
109 Arguing God from DesignThe world certainly appears to be designed. Are appearances deceiving? Discover new twists to this old argument.
110 Could Our Universe Be a Fake?Perhaps our entire universe is like a gigantic computer game, the creation of super-smart hackers existing somewhere else? Before you smirk and laugh, watch and think!
111 Does ESP Reveal the Nonphysical?Some claim that their scientific study of extrasensory perception, or parapsychology, overturns the worldview of science. Should we take these startling pronouncements seriously?
112 Arguing God from First CauseDoes everything need a cause? Everything in the universe surely does. But what about the universe as a whole? And what about God - assuming God exists - does God need a cause?
113 Can Science Deal With God?Science can deal with God in at least three ways: Showing how God is not necessary; showing how God is likely; not relating to God at all. Only one way can be correct.