Can Human Brain Consciousness be Replicated?

Robert Kuhn, an old friend, colleague, and producer of the amazing PBS program “Closer to Truth,” (see my own contributions here) has just published a most provocative piece at LiveScience titled: “The Singularity, Virtual Immortality and the Trouble with Consciousness.” Will science replicate the human brain and thus produce the phenomenon we all experience our conscious “inner-self,”–what Plato and Freud called the “Ego”?

According to techno-futurists, the exponential development of technology in general and artificial intelligence (“AI”) in particular — including the complete digital replication of human brains — will radically transform humanity via two revolutions. The first is the “singularity,” when artificial intelligence will redesign itself recursively and progressively, such that AI will become vastly more powerful than human intelligence (“superstrong AI”). The second revolution will be “virtual immortality,” when the fullness of our mental selves can be uploaded perfectly to nonbiological media (such as silicon chips), and our mental selves will live on beyond the demise of our fleshy, physical bodies.

AI singularity and virtual immortality would mark a startling, transhuman world that techno-futurists envision as inevitable and perhaps just over the horizon. They do not question whether their vision can be actualized; they only debate when will it occur, with estimates ranging from 10 to 100 years. [Artificial Intelligence: Friendly or Frightening?]

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Kuhn, who has his Ph.D. in brain science has his doubts, but takes us through all the various views with clips and interviews from the best and the brightest in the field of the physiology and psychology of the human brain. A fascinating read.

I surely have no expertise in this field but I remain convinced that any such replication, however precise and infinitely complex, would remain as “dumb” as a more sophisticated version of Siri on my iPhone. More is more, but more is not consciousness. 

On the other hand I think the idea of a “non-physical” component or aspect of the brain is perhaps a category mistake. Why denigrate the so-called “physical” to the four forces of physics as they are currently conceived—electromagnetic, magnetism, and strong and weak nuclear—when there might be “other” aspects of reality, whether one wants to use the term physical or not, being manifest through the 3 lb human brain. Many have argued that brain size (100 billion neurons for us humans) relative to body-rate is what seems to distinguish us from other creatures on the planet–but such is not the case, see “The Four Biggest Myths About the Human Brain.”

I am not thinking so much here of the proverbial human “soul,” conceived as a non-physical “entity” somehow inserted by the Divine into our physical world. This view is in fact based on a mistranslation–and thus a misunderstanding–of Genesis 2:7: “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (KJV). The problem is twofold here. First, the term in Hebrew, “breath of life”  (נשמת חיים) is not some mysterious non-physical component–but simply a reference to air-breathing creatures–human or otherwise (see Genesis 7:15 where it is used for land animals in general). Second, the term translated “living soul” (נפש חיה) has absolutely nothing to do with any idea of an immortal soul–it simply means any air breathing creature (see Genesis 1:30).

On the mind/body problem, in terms of this article, I would favor some version of 2 & 3 with openness to 4. I do think we have to distinguish between “consciousness” more generically (“being aware of an outside world”) and a unique sense of “self,” or the Ego. I am pretty sure my dog lacks the latter. With it goes the ability, of course, to think in time, and about time, and thus to contemplate the future and to act by “choice,” with anticipation of outcomes—and thus ethics. This of course goes way beyond “instincts” or learning patterns (i.e. don’t touch a hot plate). Another factor of course is the body itself as mental states are also bodily and can hardly be separated therefrom—hearing music, seeing colors, sensing smells, sexual feelings, various kinds of emotions, including love, kinship, happiness, sadness, well being, et al. I wonder how any computer that “replicates” the structure of the brain would function without a “body,” since the two are one and the same system—impossible to separate out.

I loved the film Ex Machina as much as anyone but I nonetheless think we still have a lot to learn about the proverbial “mind body problem,” and philosophers from antiquity to the present have laid out most of the parameters of the arguments. Read much more on this and related topics at the “Closer to Truth” homepage–five minutes of browsing and you will be hooked!

Destroying Mummy Masks and the Oldest Known Copy of the Gospel of Mark?

Update: Article by Candida Moss and Joel Baden for CNN that nicely  summarizes more of the facts here.

The first any of us heard of a new discovery of the fragment of the New Testament Gospel of Mark dating to the late 1st century C.E. was in 2012. Bart Ehrman of UNC and Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary were engaged in a debate in Chapel Hill on the question “Is the Original New Testament Lost?”  Wallace simply asserted his “bombshell” claim without giving any details. The debate is available on Youtube here. Our earliest physical manuscript of any part of the N.T.  is a tiny papyrus fragment (3.5 x 2 inches, seven lines, front and back) from the Gospel of John known as Rylands P52, now on display in the John Rylands University Library in Manchester, UK. It is usually dated, with some controversy, between 117-150 C.E.

rylandsfragment3

Following Wallace’s “leak” lots of blog posts appeared, including this more recent one by Brice C. Jones who alarmingly reported the involvement of evangelical Christian apologist Josh McDowell, who has no academic credentials. Here he unabashedly and gloatingly defends this destruction of antiquities, see video here (See at timemark 24:23 where Josh scoffs at the destructive process: “Scholars die when they hear this but we own them.”). Another evangelical defender of the process wrote just this week that “archaeology is inherently destructive,” as if artifacts themselves are destroyed rather than carefully preserved by responsible archaeologists.

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We can now assume, based on headline stories breaking this week, that Prof. Wallace was referring to a fragment of the Gospel of Mark recovered by the controversial destruction of Egyptian Mummy masks:

A text that may be the oldest copy of a gospel known to exist — a fragment of the Gospel of Mark that was written during the first century, before the year 90 — is set to be published.

At present, the oldest surviving copies of the gospel texts date to the second century (the years 101 to 200).

This first-century gospel fragment was written on a sheet of papyrus that was later reused to create a mask that was worn by a mummy. Although the mummies of Egyptian pharaohs wore masks made of gold, ordinary people had to settle for masks made out of papyrus (or linen), paint and glue. Given how expensive papyrus was, people often had to reuse sheets that already had writing on them.

 

PapyrusMummyMask

 

Prof. Craig Evans of Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia has been quoted in all the news reports. Craig is a friend and he and his students dig with us at Mt. Zion. He and I certainly have our differences and we have often dialogued on opposite sides over the history and interpretation of the “Jesus” tombs in Talpiot. Yesterday he sent me an e-mail clarifying the discovery from his perspective. He believes his role in the discovery has been somewhat misrepresented. Here is his response which I include here with his permission:

I am part of the team that interprets the discoveries. I am not a papyrologist or technician, so I am not involved in the dismantling of the masks and cartonnage. The photo belongs to Scott Carroll. Here’s his contact info:

SCOTT CARROLL MANUSCRIPTS & RARE BOOKS, INC. 16893 Buchanan St Grand Haven, MI 49417, 616-847-4009

Last summer I gave a presentation on the number, age, and reliability of New Testament manuscripts. In this lecture I described the effort under way in recent  years to recover manuscript fragments, including biblical manuscripts, from ancient cartonnage, including mummy masks. All of these materials are from Egypt. Just over three years ago a fragment of Mark was recovered, which those studying it think dates to the 80s. If they are correct, this will be the first New Testament manuscript that dates to the first century. The fragment is to be published later this year (by E. J. Brill). Someone video-recorded my lecture and posted it on YouTube. Last week a reporter, Owen Jarus, from Live Science contacted me and I gave him an interview. What he wrote was posted on Sunday 18 January 2015 and is accurate. However, other journalists have made use of his story and/or the video on YouTube and have misunderstood some aspects of it, claiming incorrectly that I was myself the discoverer of the fragment of Mark or that research on the papyri recovered from the mummy masks is going on here in Nova Scotia. Some have also posted a photo of a mummy mask giving me credit for the photo. The photo is not mine. I have directed reporters who inquired to the person to whom the photo does belong. Unfortunately, not all reporters inquired. The Live Science link is http://www.livescience.com/49489-oldest-known-gospel-mummy-mask.html

Here are also some answers I have provided to commonly-asked questions:

1) Since it is believed the gospel of Mark was written in Rome, does it surprise you that a copy written so soon after the original would have made its way to an Egyptian mummy mask? No. In the Roman Empire mail moved almost as quickly as it does today. A letter put aboard a packet in Ephesus (today’s Turkey) could be in Egypt within one week. Something written in Rome could be in Egypt being read within a few weeks. Mark was written in the late 60s, so finding a copy of Mark in Egypt dating to the 80s is not strange in the least. 

2) Does dating indicate when the text was incorporated into the mummy mask? There are four important dates: (1) the date of the papyrus, (2) the date when ink was applied to the papyrus, (3) the date when the writing went out of use, and (4) the date when the no-longer-used writing was dismantled and used for the making of a mummy mask or some other form of cartonnage. Because some of the papyrus used in these masks are letters or business papers, we sometimes find dates, which is a big help. The style of handwriting helps date the papyrus. Features of the mask (e.g., its design and artwork) can sometimes help date it. A date in the tomb or in the sarcophagus can be very helpful. Carbon-14 can be helpful. All of these methods can potentially come into play in attempting to date the mask and then the earlier dates of the various papyri that were used later in making the mask. 

3) How many such masks are currently in the possession of scientists? I do not know. There are several thousand of them, many hundreds on display in museums. Many in private collections. Many of them   are of poor quality. These are the ones that are being taken apart, in order to recover written text. 

4) If the original owners retain possession of the texts after they have been analyzed what will likely happen to them? Hard to say. We hope they will be placed on exhibit in museums. 

5) Since we don’t really hear much about first century evangelistic endeavors in Egypt, does it surprise you that so many texts are being found in mummy masks? Not at all. The ancient world was far more literate than we moderns realize. Some 500,000 pages of papyrus have been recovered from Oxyrhynchus alone and it was not an especially important or cultured city. We have this enormous amount of material simply because the arid climate made preservation possible. There would have been millions of documents in other cities like Ephesus, Alexandria, Rome, Rhodes, and the like. 

6) The article posted by NBC News said you believe the original writings of the gospels were in circulation for as long as 200 years. What leads you to believe that is true? For two reasons: (1) Church fathers, writing 150 to 200 years after the originals were written, refer to the autographs as still available in their time. (2) Several libraries and book collections have been recovered which provide compelling evidence. For example, a collection is found in a layer of the Oxyrhynchus landfill that is dated to the fourth century C.E., yet the books that are recovered were produced in the first and second century C.E. This shows that the library was in use for at least 200 years before being retired. Many books, including old Christian Bibles, have been found to have been read, corrected, repaired for more than 500 years. Several Bible scrolls from Qumran (i.e., the Dead Sea Scrolls) were at least 200 years old before the Qumran community was destroyed by the Romans in the first century C.E. 

Apple Latest: Actually Believable

Okay, watched the Apple Keynote on the latest rollout of products, downloaded Yosemite and love it, will upgrade devices to iOS8.1 on Monday…life is good. For now I am sticking with our iMac, this Mac Book Air on which I am typing, the iPhone 5s, and my iPad Mini…but in 2015–I can see upgrading the devices. I just like what I have so much I am not ready to change. This story is so true…and the photo is absolutely classic. What a time we live in. There is no comparison to Apple in terms of design, function, and integration. Here is a nice review of the event and what’s new from Fortune magazine: http://fortune.com/2014/10/17/apple-tim-cook-iphone-ipad/

Apple 2014

 

As In the Days of Noah

Darren Aronofsky’s film “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins opens today with lots of publicity, expectation, anticipation, and mixed preliminary reviews. I am anxious to see it though I know there will be things I will both love and hate about it.

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 11.10.05 AMThe excellent review in the  New York TimesRain, Heavy at Times,” by A. O. Scott covers things well. The website “Internet Movie Data Base” (IMDB.com) has a slew of good materials, links, and a really nice slide-show, all well worth browsing, see here. Today’s issue of Bible History Daily is titled “Examining Noah’s Flood,” with lots of links as well. A colleague just pointed out to me a really impressive web site: floodofnoah.com that has a wealth of material on ancient flood stories, forums on various topics, and so forth–this one is not to be missed.

What many readers of the Bible fail to notice is that if you read through the Flood account in the Bible, Genesis 6-9, the chapters contain an single story based on two accounts, now harmonized and interwoven, see the comparison side-by-side here, and a clear exposition of the differences by a former more conservative Christian reader here. Both account preserve specific perceptions and emphases that overlap and intertwine when read as the single narrative that comes down to us.

This film “Noah,” not the least because it is by Aronofsky, is truly a fascinating cultural phenomenon. First, it probes one of the core ancient stories of our culture, highlighting themes of apocalyptic doom and ecological disaster that parallel our own times. Indeed, the NY Times has stories on its front page today discussing the phenomenon of the rising seas and disappearing lands around the globe, see here and here. Ironically, those who might be most inclined towards apocalyptic thinking in our own day are precisely the ones who deny “global warming” and the impending disaster that most scientists see for the planet in the next hundred years.

Rejecting the Supernatural?

In my two recent posts I briefly questioned the assumptions associated with the term “supernatural.” From a philosophical standpoint I would argue that what is needed is not so much a rejection of the supernatural as a redefining thereof. On the other hand, I am not a philosopher but a historian of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. In that role the charge I most often hear from readers who identify themselves as Christian “believers” is that historians “reject the supernatural.” In other words, historians begin with what are labeled as “naturalistic” presuppositions and thus end up rejecting a priori, the very possibility of the incarnation, the virgin birth of Jesus, his miracles, his atoning death, his bodily resurrection, and his ascent to heaven–in other words all the theological affirmations of the Apostles’ or Nicean Creeds. I have addressed this issue quite recently here, but want to expand a bit in some different directions.

Prof. Ronald Hendel has an interesting piece in this regard in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, “Critical Biblical Scholarship–What’s the Use?,” challenging those who would question the value of historical critical study of the Biblical texts as Christian philosophers. Hendel is the one who opened this “can of worms” back in August, 2010 with an op-ed in BAR titled “Farewell to SBL: Faith and Reason in Biblical Studies” (36:04, July/Aug 2010) in which he lamented the increased participation and influence of evangelical and fundamental Christian scholars in the Society of Biblical Literature meetings, many of whom openly oppose standard historical critical methods in favor of a ‘faith based” Biblical scholarship. You can read an on-line version here, and some SBL responses here. I would particularly direct readers to Kenneth  Atkinson’s insightful response here. Hendel’s charge is that essentially folks are mixing categories here, confusing the role of faith with that of reason–that is the scientific investigation of texts and other historical evidence–“Biblical” or otherwise. Hendel wrote:

“The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.” This famous line from Pascal’s Pensées draws a wise distinction between religious faith and intellectual inquiry. The two have different motivations and pertain to different domains of experience. They are like oil and water, things that do not mix and should not be confused. Pascal was a brilliant mathematician, and he did not allow his Catholic beliefs to interfere with his scholarly investigations. He regarded the authority of the church to be meaningless in such matters. He argued that “all the powers in the world can by their authority no more persuade people of a point of fact than they can change it.”1 That is to say, facts are facts, and faith has no business dealing in the world of facts. Faith resides in the heart and in one’s way of living in the world.

I have to side largely with Hendel on this issue. As I often tell my students, good history is never the enemy of informed faith, but I don’t see my job as a historian of religions to sort out the faith issues for people–or even to deal with them at all. This is not to say that people who hold such faith are stupid or uninformed, but rather that faith and history are separate ways of looking at religions. Other than a few clerics, every major scholar of whom I am aware in the field of “studies of the historical Jesus,” shares the same basic historical methods and presuppositions. This is not to say we all agree on conclusions, but we are clear on the methods of historical research and what counts for evidence.

It is quite easy to confuse the roles of the academic historical study of religions as contrasted to Christian faith or theology, but alas, such confusion is quite common. I teach at a state university and serve as chair of the Dept. of Religious Studies. That means our funding is “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and when it comes to the academic study of religions we take that most seriously. Obviously, like any large department of Religious Studies, we cover a range of religious traditions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, and so forth. In considering the history, development, and practice of these faiths in all their manifold variety it is absolutely essential that we take an objective academic approach–the very opposite to that of some readers, who obviously think that Christianity and the “truth” of Jesus’ resurrection, virgin birth, divinity, and redemptive role as Savior of humankind are historical facts, self-evident to any “true scholar.” Of course similar claims of other traditions to valid supernatural experiences are viewed as false, or perhaps “demonic.”

Historical descriptive work in the area of religions is not in the business of evaluating truth claims, but in honestly and objectively tracing and reporting the rise and development of such views. In other words, it is not my role as a historian to say “Yes, Jesus rose from the dead, and those testimonies in Paul’s 1 Corinthian letter, and at the end of Matthew, Luke, and John are verifiable historical truth and I urge others to believe them so they can have eternal life.” Such personal testimony of faith would surely not make me a “true scholar,” in fact it would be quite the opposite. Imagine if a professor teaching the history of Islam began a class by endorsing Allah as the one God, Mohammed as his infallible Prophet, and the many “undeniable proofs” of the Koran’s perfection. One could hardly call such an approach “history” and any good university would never hire such a teacher, and rightly so. The historical investigation of Christianity, or any religion for that matter, should be no different.

There are many places and situations in which such faith affirmations are appropriate but certainly not in the academic study of religion. Both my two latest books, The Jesus Dynasty, and The Jesus Discovery,  reflect the methods and assumptions with which historians commonly operate as they describe and trace the history and development of a religious tradition. Our job is not to evaluate and endorse spiritual truth, but rather to offer the best possible account we can of the history and development of a given tradition.

In point of fact, I do not “reject the supernatural,” (so much as “redefine” it) but such personal philosophical or theological views have nothing to do with my work as an historian. The guiding question of my recent work has been–what can be responsibly said about the historical Jesus? Affirming a belief that Jesus had no human father or that he rose bodily up to heaven in the clouds following his death, would take one totally out of the realm of what can be investigated historically. In my books I wanted to “come clean” with the reader in this regard and be clear about the differences between history and faith.

What is rather frightening is to imagine such views of the supernatural becoming a part of the wider academic world–or God forbid, our Republic government, where Christian faith and dogma are treated as historical fact, and thus “required” as part of legislation and curricula. Thank God for the Enlightenment and the skeptical “deism” of our founding fathers and mothers in formulating the 1st Amendment. Unfortunately about three quarters of the world has still not learned the lesson of separating “religion” and the “state,” and even in Europe, which is surely proud of its secularism in contrast to the United States, still nonetheless has retained the fetters of a Church based system. Ironically, as witnessed by our own culture, a “secular” Republic does not mean the end of religion–far from it. In fact the free exchange of all ideas allows religions of every stripe and measure to thrive. Thank you John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and all the rest.

The Confusing Category of “The Supernatural”

I think the main problem in discussions between theists and atheists is the assumption that static categories like “the Divine,” the “supernatural,” the “natural,” and the “material” exist other than as our dualistic semantic projections upon the whole of reality as we can perceive it. Our experiences are never reductionistically “materialistic,” even in the proverbial “hard, cold” lab. Process theism, by whatever name (Whitehead, Hartshorne) seems a better way of thinking about our “reality” even if “God” might not be the word one choses to use given the connotations from “Classic” theism (omniscience and omnipotence).

Bottom line: the very nature of reality presents us with what appear to be “mechanistic” “time and chance” “atoms and the void” phenomenon (as per Jacques Monod), but also “mind” “thought” and other transcendent “spiritualist” phenomenon as well, that seem to exhibit will, reason, and the aesthetic–hence this very blog, this topic, and the any discussion thereof. It is a simple truism that there is no way to step outside of things and make “meaningful” nihilistic declarations about the non-meaning or hyper-subjectivity of our existence. As the old joke goes: “There are no absolutes?–Are you absolutely sure of that?”

“Mind and Matter”are no opposing realities but of one whole “panentheistic” reality as witnessed by our every thought and word. Most of us agree that “magical” thinking is not a credible casual factor in our universe (angels, demons, fairies, and projected illusions) but who among us can reduce to the “normal” or the purely “material” (i.e., the four forces/fields of gravity, electromagnetic and strong and weak nuclear) our wondrous and marvelous minds and our common as well as not-so-common experiences of reality? In other words, all natural phenonema are by definition supra-natural, if by “natural” one means a truncated mechanistic view of both our inner realities and all that we experience in our world of “nature.”

 

Stain of Stupidity? Was the James Ossuary Inscription Damaged by the IAA Tests?

The latest from veteran reporter Matthew Kalman, following up on yesterday’s breaking story:

Ossuary Stain

Stain of stupidity: The red smear left by the application of silicon by the Israel Police Forensics Laboratory in their fruitless attempt to prove forgery has contaminated the word “Yeshua” (Jesus) inscribed on the ossuary and destroyed much of the little patina that remained

It could be the earliest inscription of the word “Jesus” ever found, but we may never know. In their fruitless zeal to prove that the inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” was forged by Oded Golan or an Egyptian craftsman working under his direction, the Israel Antiquities Authority permitted a series of destructive tests that proved nothing and may have destroyed the chances of ever knowing the truth. The worst contamination can be seen in the reddish stain now smeared across the word “Yeshua” (Jesus) in the photograph above.

Read the rest of his story here.

Has Archaeology Gone Overboard in Throwing Out the Bible?

A very good question with a complex set of possible answers! There is a very provocative and thoughtful post on the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) blog & newsletter by my good friend Steven Collins (of “Sodom and Gomorrah” fame) by the above title.

The relationship between archaeology and the Bible has been a much-debated topic over the last 25 years. The terms ‘minimalists’ and ‘maximalists’ are now as frequent as ‘exodus’ and ‘epigraphy’.

The author at a nearby dolman with Tall el-Hammam in the background. Photo courtesy Steven Collins.

The author at a nearby dolman with Tall el-Hammam in the background. Photo courtesy Steven Collins.

There seems to be little or no middle ground. On the one hand, William Dever is—as he has stated on several occasions—flattered to have the death of biblical archaeology ascribed to him, although he is quick to point out that, in fact, he “only wrote the obituary.” On the other hand, Bryant Wood takes those to the ‘left’ of him to task for not holding to a ‘literal’ interpretation of the Genesis patriarchal lifespan numbers and an early (ca. 15thcentury BCE) date for the Israelite exodus from Egypt. While Israel Finkelstein has long abandoned looking to the Bible for any authentic historical information that might shed light on the ‘actual’ origin(s) of Israel, Eilat Mazar announces the discovery of King David’s palace in the archaeological excavations of the Iron Age city presently bearing his name. The Bible is pronounced both ‘boon’ and ‘bust’ by scholars of equal acumen!

Be sure and read the complete article here and while you are at the ASOR site take a bit of time to browse by clicking on the ASOR Home Page in the top menu. You will find information on the upcoming Annual Meeting in Baltimore (November

The “God Particle” and the Nobel Prize in Physics

Two theoretical physicists who suggested that an invisible ocean of energy suffusing space is responsible for the mass and diversity of the particles in the universe won the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday morning. They are Peter Higgs, 84, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and François Englert, 80, of the University Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.

New York Times, October 8, 2013

Peter Higgs and François Englert July 4th

Peter Higgs and François Englert at the celebration last July 4th

I have previously written several posts about the quest for the so-called “God particle” since its celebratory discovery last 4th of July, see here with links. That these two distinguished scientists are both in their 80s, with the Nobel Prize marking a culmination of a lifetime quest makes the award and its important implications all the more impressive.

Unfortunately the popular misnomer, “the God particle,” coined by the publisher of a book by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman, has caused widespread misunderstanding among the general public as to what is being talked about here. The Higgs particle surely has nothing to do with “replacing” God or explaining the origins of the universe. It is about the fundamental, elegant, and beautiful way that the physical universe works. Clearly the phrase is an irresistible headline for the media despite the fact that physicists don’t use the term or approve of how it is being misunderstood. Such misunderstanding and craziness has given rise to widespread conspiracy fears that the CERN efforts might lead to the creation of a mini-”Black Hole” that would bring on the end of the world, spanning a host of films like “Angels and Demons” in which “antimatter” is set to destroy the Vatican.

For a saner more informed overview of the 2012 4th of July discovery this piece in the Washington Post is among the best. You can also watch Peter Higgs himself explaining his theory on PBS’s Nova here. The clearest explanation of the Higgs particle theory I have found is this marvelous “cartoon” presentation by Jorge Cham. Watch it and you will be moved by the elegance of the theory, should it turn out to be fully established.

 

James Tabor on PBS: What Is Immortality?

Here is a continuation of my exploration with “Closer to Truth” host Dr. Robert Kuhn regarding the concept of “Afterlife.” Here we explore more specifically the question of immortality. Click on the video image here for the link:

If you are not familiar with this remarkable PBS series created by Dr. Robert Kuhn dealing with the “Big Questions,” namely God, Cosmos, and Consciousness, you can browse some of the past shows here. The group of experts he has gathered together is truly impressive, a virtual “Who’s Who” on all sides of every issue, with Kuhn’s probing skills as host bringing out their best.  I am honored to have been included. Television does not get better than this.

For further background reading on this topic see the links in yesterday’s post here.