Richard Dawkins Interview – 19 June 2016

Richard Dawkins 2016 – Richard Dawkins in conversation with Penn Jillette at Live Talks LA

The “God” Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God by Matthew Alper (Author)

From the dawn of our species, every culture has maintained a belief in some form of a spiritual reality. Wouldn’t this imply that human spirituality must represent an inherent characteristic of our species, that is, a genetically inherited trait? Are Humans “wired” to believe in the universal concepts of a god, a soul, and an afterlife? Are what we call spiritual/religious experiences strictly physiological in nature, the effects of our brain’s chemistry? Does God really exist “out there,” beyond and ondependent of us? Or is God merely the product of an inherited human perception, the manifestation of an evolutionary adaptation – a coping mechanism – one that emerged in our species to enable us to survive our unique and otherwise debilitating awareness of death?

Ever since he was a child—when he first realized he was one day going to die—Matthew Alper set himself upon a life journey—a spiritual quest, if you will—to ascertain whether or not there exists a spiritual reality, a God. Was he merely a flesh and bone mortal or something more, something that perhaps transcended his purely physical self? After receiving a BA in Philosophy, Matthew continued his unconventional journey working as everything from a photographer’s assistant in NYC, an electrician in England, a 5th grade and High School history teacher in the projects of Brooklyn, a truck smuggler in Central Africa, a [produced] screenwriter in Germany—all the while independently studying the breadth of science from genetics, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, cultural anthropology, sociobiology and more.

Once his research yielded what he felt constituted a scientific explanation of spirituality and God, he returned to NYC where he wrote what he considers his life’s work, “The ‘God’ Part of the Brain.” Since its initial publication in 1996, Matthew has lectured all over the United States, appeared on NBC tv, been written up in the Washington Post, appeared on numerous radio shows and is a contributor to the anthology “Neurotheology,” an emergent new science of which he is considered one of its founders. He is an outspoken member of both the atheist and secular humanist movements. He presently lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his cat, Sucio.


Art Bell & Alper: The God Part of The Brain

Art Bell interviews Matthew Alper, author of The God Part of The Brain.
Matthew Alper:

As we became consciously aware of ourselves and our surroundings, life. We also became aware of death, and how fragile life can be. So in order for our brains to be able to cope as consciously aware, it developed an area in the temporal lobes, that gives everyone born (unless they have a brain defect) a sense of a spirit/soul, god, part of whole, an afterlife, a continuation somehow….and so on. This area in the brain responsible for these beliefs is key to our survival as a species. We probably wouldn’t have made it this far without it. It helps to remove the fear of death so that we are able to take risk without to much of a fear of dying. This area in the brain also helps us to not be over stricken with grief from the loss of a loved one, to the point of being unable to function/survive. So all people have these beliefs for the very same reason “all cats meow”, our brain developed/evolved that way for survival reasons. This is why every culture has words for a soul, god, and so forth. Having the beliefs is perfectly normal, in fact it’s abnormal not to have them. A disbelief is something that one must learn. Which is usually done after childhood using logic and critical thinking skills. So blaming or attacking someone for having the core beliefs, is equal to attacking someone for being born with two hands. When in fact it’s perfectly normal.
By focusing electromagnetic waves on the temporal lobes, this causes one to feel the presence of God, and or see God, often other spirits as well. It causes a type of mystical religious experience.-Tommy Decentralized

God in the Brain,- Atheist Vs Spirituality

Matthew Alper:

Matthew Alper was born and raised in New York City. He was educated at Vasser and North London University where he acquired a degree in Philosophy of Science. After teaching High School History, Matthew went on to become a screenwriter and then to write to his seminal work “The God Part of the Brain,” now in its 5th edition. Since then Matthew has lectured at various universities on the topics of Cognitive Science and philosophy. He has been written up in the Washington Post and appeared on NBC.


Neurotheology: This Is You Brain On Religion…

Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World by David Silverman (Author), Cara Santa Maria (Foreword)

December 1, 2015

Fighting God is a firebrand manifesto from one of the most recognizable faces of atheism. In his book, Silverman-a walking, talking atheist billboard known for his appearances on Fox News-discusses the effectiveness, ethics and impact of the in-your-face-atheist who refuses to be silent.

Silverman argues that religion is more than just wrong: it is malevolent and does not deserve our respect. It is our duty to be outspoken and do what we can to bring religion down. Examining the mentality, methods and issues facing the firebrand atheist, Silverman presents an overwhelming argument for firebrand atheism and reveals:

– All religion is cafeteria religion and all agnostics are atheists.

– American society grants religion a privileged status, despite the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

– Christian politicians have adversely (and un-Constitutionally) affected our society with regard to science, health, women’s rights, and gay rights.

– The notion of “atheist Jews” is a lie forced on us by religion.

– It is not “Islamophobia” to observe dangerous teachings and disproportionate violence in Islam.

– Atheists are slowly but surely winning the battle.

Fighting God is a provocative, unapologetic book that takes religion to task and will give inspiration to non-believers and serve as the ultimate answer to apologists.

is the president of American Atheists and one of the best-known atheists in America. Known as “America’s loudest heathen,” a term he embraces proudly, Silverman is passionate about atheism and atheist equality. He has appeared on several T.V. programs for on-air debates, including, the O’Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, Scarborough Country and CNN Paula Zahn NOW. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and child. Fighting God is his first book.

Debate: Atheist vs Christian (David Silverman vs Frank Turek)

Debate Topic: Which Offers a Better Explanation for Reality: Atheism or Theism?

Opening Statements:
11:00 Frank Turek
34:15 David Silverman

57:38 Frank Turek
1:11:08 David Silverman

Cross Examination
1:20:41 Frank Turek
1:25:32 David Silverman
1:36:10 Frank Turek

Questions and Answer Period

Closing Remarks
2:08:34 Frank Turek
2:13:59 David Silverman

Why God Makes More Sense than Atheism ~ Deepak Chopra

After two centuries of the tug-of-war between science and religion, it’s clear science occupies the dominant position. It has passed the “So what?” test, meaning that science as applied to practical daily life has been immensely more important to modern people than God. This has given atheism, both casual and militant, the upper hand. As much as belief in God has deep human significance, he (or she) doesn’t pass the “So what?” test. If you put a video camera on the shoulders of an atheist and a believer, without knowing which was which, it’s hard to claim that the believer will have a better life because of his belief. Atheism therefore looks like just as good a choice.

I’ve always felt that this lopsided advantage we automatically give to science, and therefore to atheism, is unfair. In a new book, The Future of God View Here I turn the tables, proving as best I can that God isn’t just a humane, comforting, or moral choice but the most practical source of well-being. This will certainly come as surprising news to millions of the faithful who have been leading divided lives. Their practical affairs are secular, taking advantage of technological advances, while in their hearts they leave a privileged space for God. Rarely do we hear that God is actually more rational than science and more practical than technology.

To accomplish this turn-around, first the playing field needs to be leveled. A few basic assumptions need to be cleared up. Let me do that in abbreviated form, since I don’t have space to elaborate at length, as I do in the book.

1. Science isn’t by definition anti-religious.
2. Atheists have a point when they accuse organized religion of a litany of gross failings, including
crusades, jihads, and the Inquisition. But religions are human institutions prone to every human
failing. Religious history is about us, not about whether God exists.
3. God can be approached without resorting to the cultural mythology of a humanized Father and Mother watching over us from Heaven. Atheists largely attack this myth, but smashing a myth doesn’t mean you’ve
smashed reality.
4. There is a rich tradition, both East and West, of an impersonal God. This God is the source of consciousness and all that we associate with consciousness: self-awareness, intelligence, creativity,
evolution, etc.
5. The experience of God is found inside our own consciousness, not “out there” in a supernatural realm.

The Future of God : A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times by Deepak Chopra [Updated Jan 26, 2015]

Pub Date Nov 11 2014

From the New York Times Bestselling Author.
Can God be revived in a skeptical age? What would it take to give people a spiritual life more powerful than anything in the past? Deepak Chopra tackles these issues with eloquence and insight in this book. He proposes that God lies at the source of human awareness. Therefore, any person can find the God within that transforms everyday life.

God is in trouble. The rise of the militant atheist movement spearheaded by Richard Dawkins signifies, to many, that the deity is an outmoded myth in the modern world. Deepak Chopra passionately disagrees, seeing the present moment as the perfect time for making spirituality what it really should be: reliable knowledge about higher reality. Outlining a path to God that turns unbelief into the first step of awakening, Deepak shows us that a crisis of faith is like the fire we must pass through on the way to power, truth, and love.

“Faith must be saved for everyone’s sake,” he writes. “From faith springs a passion for the eternal, which is even stronger than love. Many of us have lost that passion or have never known it.” In any age, faith is a cry from the heart. God is the higher consciousness that responds to the cry. “By itself, faith can’t deliver God, but it does something more timely: It makes God possible.”

For three decades, Deepak Chopra has inspired millions with his profound writing and teaching. With The Future of God, he invites us on a journey of the spirit, providing a practical path to understanding God and our own place in the universe. Now, is a moment of reinvigoration, he argues. Now is moment of renewal. Now is the future.


Deepak Chopra – The Future Of God
Published on Dec 24, 2014
Deepak Chopra – The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times
The Future of God is a brilliant exposition for the need of consciousness-based reality. It is consistent with the worldview of quantum physics which showed the importance of the mind and is a fitting answer to the claims of militant atheists whose science is based on outdated views now known to not be true and which became obsolete almost a century ago.

DEEPAK CHOPRA is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. Visit him at DeepakChopra​.com.

Bees In The Garden: Cultivating Your Inter-Spiritual Nature ~ Mirabai Starr

Published on Dec 13, 2014
Like bees in the garden of spirit, we are designed to gather nectar from all the world’s spiritual traditions and allow it to become rich honey with which to sustain ourselves and feed the hungry world. We are also endowed with the wisdom to recognize the nourishment and pass over the noxious weeds.

When we encounter different faiths, our task is to excavate and sift to find the jewels that lie at the heart of each tradition. Every religion contains a treasure trove of wisdom teachings and transformational practices, and each one is also burdened with divisive messages and a history of violence and oppression. The inter-spiritual seeker dares to dive down and lift up the teachings of love, and refuse to drink the poison.

The emerging inter-spiritual movement does not insist that all the world’s religions are the same. Rather, it affirms that all the world’s religions recognize and proclaim that all beings are one. It is in this sense that the inter-spiritual path is unifying.

The goal of the inter-spiritual life is to move beyond inter-religious dialog and into a direct experience of the sacred in multiple traditions—an encounter that, by its very nature, dissolves historical boundaries and calls all beings into our essential interconnected state. By cultivating radical spiritual nakedness, we transcend theology and enter the mystery, where we may be transformed by love.

In this session, we will follow the streams of mystical longing and social justice that emanate from and return to the heart of the world’s religious traditions. Through readings from the ecstatic poetry of the mystics, sitting in contemplative silence, chanting the names of God in an array of languages, and engaging in deep dialog, we build community and invigorate our inter-spiritual quest, so that we may live in deeper peace and be of greater service to all beings.

For God’s Sake Religion, Atheism, and why I gave them up by Alan Budge

This is the – all too true – story of one person’s tragi-comic quest for spiritual enlightenment. Having given up on the (entirely godless) realm of would-be smart London restaurants, he journeyed widely (and frequently wildly) through India, China, Tibet, and parts of West Yorkshire. He also worked for various would-be deeply spiritual organisations. This unflinching quest for truth – incorporating walk-on parts for everyone from Marianne Faithfull to the Dalai Lama – led, not entirely unexpectedly – to a far from enlightened descent into alcoholism and misery.

Having sobered up, and grown up (a bit), our hero began to ponder: what is really at the heart of all this spiritual carry-on anyway? And can it be of any use, given the challenges we face? What if we’re all for it anyway? What’s the appropriate response –spiritual or otherwise, to that? All good questions

For God’s Sake is spirituality without the usual self-help smugness, written by a normal, flawed human being, in the hope of engaging a similar audience. It deals with serious themes of spiritual development, and the role this might play in our current environmental crisis – all in the form of a heartfelt, and often very funny personal memoir.

Alan Budge has a long-standing interest in spirituality, and has worked for a number of faith-based organisations. Having recovered from the resultant ‘religious addiction’ – and some other compulsions besides – he now works in community empowerment. He lives in Derbyshire’s Peak District – admittedly a useful place from which to contemplate the infinite.

Click here to take a look inside.

Alan Budge ‘Challenges of The Spiritual Path – Part 1

Published on May 14, 2014

Alan Budge ‘Challenges of The Spiritual Path – Part 1 ‘ Interview by Iain McNay

Debate: Atheist vs Christian (Richard Dawkins vs Cardinal George Pell)

THERE IS NO GOD AND HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU: A Search for God in Odd Places ~ Brad Warner (Updated Aug 17, 2013)

Can you be an atheist and still believe in God?
Can you be a true believer and still doubt?
Can Zen give us a way past our constant fighting about God?

Brad Warner was initially interested in Buddhism because he wanted to find God, but Buddhism is usually thought of as godless. In the three decades since Warner began studying Zen, he has grappled with paradoxical questions about God and managed to come up with some answers. In this fascinating search for a way beyond the usual arguments between fundamentalists and skeptics, Warner offers a profoundly engaging and idiosyncratic take on the ineffable power of the “ground of all being.”

Brad Warner was born in Ohio in 1964. In 1983 he met Zen teacher Tim McCarthy and began his study of Zen while he was still the bass player of the hardcore punk band Zero Defex, whose big hit was the eighteen-second masterpiece “Drop the A-Bomb on Me!” In the 1980s he released five albums of psychedelic rock under the band name Dimentia 13 (that’s the way he spelled it), though Dimentia 13 was often a one-man band with Brad playing all the instruments. In 1993 he moved to Japan, where he landed a job with Tsuburaya Productions, the company founded by Eiji Tsuburaya, the man who created Godzilla. The following year Brad met Gudo Nishijima Roshi, who ordained him as a Zen monk and made him his dharma heir in 2000. Brad lived in Japan for eleven years. He published his first book, Hardcore Zen, in 2003, followed by Sit Down and Shut Up! in 2007 and Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate in 2009 and Sex, Sin, and Zen in 2011. These days he travels around the world leading retreats, giving lectures, and looking for cool record stores. At last report he was living in Los Angeles.

Click here to browse inside.

Brad Warner on Neo Atheism

Published on May 24, 2013

Brad Warner’s new book There Is No God and He Is Always With You is a fascinating search for a way beyond the usual arguments between fundamentalists and skeptics. Warner offers a profoundly engaging and idiosyncratic take on the ineffable power of the “ground of all being.”

Brad Warner: Can We Communicate With the Dead?

Published on Jun 4, 2013

Brad Warner, author of There IS No God And He Is Always With You talks about communicating with the dead!

Brad Warner: Is Buddhism a Religion Without a God?

Brad Warner, author of There Is No God And He Is Always With You talks about religion without God.

A Talk with Brad Warner about There is No God and He is Always with You
By Brad Warner

Why did you write a book about God?

I got into Buddhist practice because I wanted to understand God. I didn’t grow up in a religious family so I had no indoctrination into beliefs about God. But in my teens I found that I really wanted to understand this idea of God. The religious people I encountered when I was growing up in rural Ohio seemed mostly just delusional and irrational. Science made sense and could be demonstrated to work, so I couldn’t reject it the way they did. And yet there seemed to be something valuable to this idea of God. I wanted to pursue it further. This book is the outgrowth of decades of personal inquiry into the question of whether or not there is a God. Not just inquiry through reading and thinking about the subject, but inquiry through many, many hours of silent meditation.

Isn’t Zen Buddhism a religion without a God?

Zen Buddhism offered me a way to approach God without religion, or at least without what we usually think of as religion. Zen doesn’t have any belief system you’re required to buy into. But it’s not atheism because atheism is also a belief system. Some Zen Buddhists believe in God and some do not. But I think the ultimate object of inquiry in Zen practice can be called God if we choose to call it God. Dogen Zenji, the founder of the order I belong to, preferred not to name it at all. He just called it, “it.”

Your book is subtitled “A Search for God in Odd Places.” Why?

I’ve traveled around the world several times in recent years, giving lectures and holding meditation retreats. This has been very educational. A lot of people all over the world are interested in Buddhist meditation these days. But every culture brings something different to the inquiry. In Israel I spoke to a group of Jewish psychologists interested in meditation while I stayed at the home of a Muslim man who worked for peace between the Palestinians and Jews. In Northern Ireland I saw how religion divides people in a similar way that it does in Israel. But people in those places still long for some kind of sense of God and spirituality. In Mexico I saw how the ancient Gods of pre-colonial days still live on in the guise of Catholic saints. It’s all been very instructive.

Your book references the New Testament and early Christian theologians almost as many times as it references Buddhist teachers. Why is that?

When I first started inquiring into the question of God, I tried the Christian Bible. But the Christians I met in Ohio were mostly conservative fundamentalists who hated science even as they used the tools of science like TV and later the Internet to spread their message. It was transparently hypocritical and very much driven by fear. Even so, I never lost the idea that the early Christians may have been onto something. I also find the story of Jesus deeply fascinating. I was a history major in university and studying Jesus in historical terms is really interesting. Who was this guy? Why did the movement he started diverge so radically from what he taught? I also feel that the types of meditation practiced by the early Christians were very similar to Zen. Some of the most Zen-like material in early Christianity actually predates similar ideas that were later developed in Chinese Zen Buddhism.

What do you think of the neo-Atheist movement championed by people like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris?

It’s interesting. I’ve read some of their books. I find that I mostly agree with them. But the God that they’re spending so much energy denouncing isn’t the kind of God I believe in. I wonder how many people actually believe in that kind of anthropomorphic vengeful God anymore. Obviously some still do. But I think they’re a tiny minority. I feel like a lot of those writers are setting up very easy, strawman-like targets. What they’re saying doesn’t really address the kind of deep questions that I and a lot of other people have about God.

Have you come to any conclusions about God?

I’ve done Zen practice for nearly 30 years now, starting when I was quite young. In that time I’ve had some very profound moments in meditation that have revealed something of the nature of God to me. That’s not to say I have any great revelations about God that I want to bestow upon the ignorant masses. It’s not like that at all. I feel that God is available to all of us at any time, but that God isn’t what we imagine.

Why did you choose such a provocative title? Are you suggesting that God is separate from us or is there hidden meaning in the title?

The title comes from something the contemporary Zen teacher Joshu Sasaki once said to a student who held very strong beliefs about God. It neatly expresses the Zen view of God. On the one hand there is no God in the sense that everything you could ever imagine about God is always mistaken. But we don’t deny that there is an ultimate ground to all being and non-being. And this ground, which is the source of everything, is not just dead matter interacting at random. Yet the explanation that it behaves like dead matter acting at random also has merit. Zen is a philosophy that embraces contradiction. Logic forces us to choose one way of looking at things or another, but never two or more at the same time. Life isn’t like that. Life constantly has things two, three or a million contradictory ways all at the same time. The brain can’t handle that much data so it rejects what it can’t manipulate successfully. Life is not like that. Reality is not like that.

What are your qualifications for writing about God and Buddhism?

None really. I’m a Buddhist monk. But that doesn’t mean a lot. It means I meditate a whole lot and I’ve gone through a few initiation ceremonies, which qualify me to teach Zen and wear a certain color of robes. Big deal. I am a human being and I believe all human beings are equally qualified to inquire into the question of God and to reach conclusions, or at least provisional understandings, about God.

What audience are you hoping to attract?

I don’t really know. I hope this book will be read by people who are interested in the question of God. I hope it finds an audience outside the world of people who buy every book on the shelf with Zen in the title. I hope that it helps move the inquiry into God a little further. I feel like the current arguments between atheists and true believers are mostly very shallow and kind of useless. I’d like to get a little deeper into an issue that I think is really important.

Who do Buddhists pray to?

No one. Buddhists don’t really pray in the sense that the word “pray” has come to mean these days. We don’t believe we can ask God to do things for us. And yet I think most Buddhists feel a strong relationship to something that a lot of people call God, even if the Buddhists themselves tend to avoid that word. I’ve chose to frame my inquiry in terms of God, which is a very divisive and messy word that evokes a lot of strong emotions. I think we need to do this because there are some very important issues at stake. If you avoid the word God because it’s so difficult and dangerous, I think you’re avoiding a very serious topic and I think we really have to look into this.

The Next Awakening: How Religion and Science Are Both Wrong ~ Dr. Ricky L. Cox

Did man evolve accidentally, or is his existence the result of a creative act? Is there life after death? Am I given a purpose? Where do we look for answers to such questions, assuming we care?

In Christianity alone, statisticians tell us there are over thirty thousand denominations. Which of these offers authentic truth? It is no small inquiry. I venture to say there is no man, woman, or child who will not contemplate the questions of how they came to exist, the purpose behind it, whether they will continue to exist and in what way.

Furthermore, the central question of the existence of a higher power and its consequences for us has vexed and divided mankind since he first aspired to ask it. In the seventeenth century, when Galileo described the earth as rotating the sun, science began to assert itself as the arbiter of the yet unknown. With the Age of Reason, the authority of the scientific method of inquiry began its rise to occupying the place of rational authority. Religion experienced a relatively humbling categorization as quaint mystery. Most unsolved material questions that were matters of competing views have fallen to the credit of the scientist. We now know why volcanoes erupt, in other words. But the scientist has overextended himself. He rose from the high seat to mount the high horse; explaining all things by reducing them to their smallest elements. His accounting for cosmogenesis, arrival of life, evolution, and the nonexistence of God is an accounting he cannot make without assumptions. So he assumes for us all. This creates a troublesome dilemma for modern man. Is he required to reject his faith, or in practicing faith in God, is he required to reject the rationality of science?

In “The Next Awakening,” a solution is offered to the wrangling debate of the atheistic scientist with the fundamentalist Christian.

Click here to browse inside.

Upcoming Book – soon to be published – the thesis that the explanatory templates of western religion and science are outdated. A more unifying paradigm is evolving.

Einstein’s God Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit ~ Krista Tippett (Author)

Summary of Einstein’s God
Albert Einstein did not believe in a personal God. And his famous quip that “God does not play dice with the universe” was a statement about quantum physics, not a statement of faith. But he did leave behind a fascinating, largely forgotten legacy of musings and writings-some serious, some whimsical-about the relationship between science and religion and his own inquisitive reverence for the “order deeply hidden behind everything”. Einstein’s self-described “cosmic religious sense” is intriguingly compatible with twenty-first-century sensibilities. And it is the starting point for Einstein’s God.

Drawn from American Public Media’s extraordinary program Speaking of Faith, the conversations in this profoundly illuminating book explore an emerging interface of inquiry-if not answers-between many fields of science, medicine, theology and philosophy. In her interviews with such luminaries as Freeman Dyson, Paul Davies, V. V. Raman, and Mehmet Oz, Krista Tippett draws out the connections between these realms, showing how even those most wedded to hard truths find spiritual enlightenment in the life of experiment and, in turn, raise questions that are richly theologically evocative. Whether she is speaking with celebrated surgeon and author Sherwin Nuland about the biology of the human spirit or questioning Darwin biographer James Moore about his subject’s religious beliefs, Tippett offers a rare look at the way our best minds grapple with the questions for which we all seek answers.

A journalist and former diplomat, Krista Tippett has created, hosted, and produced the popular public radio program Speaking of Faith since it began as an occasional feature in 2000, before taking on its current form as a national weekly program in 2003. She came up with the idea for Speaking of Faith while consulting for the internationally renowned Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Click here to browse inside.

Creationism vs. Darwin [4/4] – Krista Tippett of “Speaking of Faith”

CNN’s Jonathan Mann interviews Krista Tippett, host of “Speaking of Faith,” about the increasing popularity of creationism in the U.S. and asks if Americans have simply lost their senses.

TED Relents, But Whose Hash Has Been Settled? ~ Deepak Chopra

In the last go-round with Chris Anderson, the head of TED, I asked if he could locate and post the TED talk I gave in 2002 in response to a preceding talk by the militant atheist Richard Dawkins. Anderson has cordially complied, and for anyone who is interested, here are links to the pair of videos:

Dawkins on militant Atheism.

Chopra 2002 talk at TED. View HERE .

An open forum is all that I requested, and recognizing that TED is a private organization, they weren’t obliged to cooperate. It’s nice that they did, and I’m grateful.

In some quarters TED did me a favor by withholding the video of my talk, because I embarrassed myself and will draw even more ridicule from any scientists who view it. I am slightly embarrassed that I began by calling Dawkins a “fundamentalist and perhaps a bigot,” which sank to the level of discourse he specializes in. But the shocking part is that my points seem so eminently reasonable.

I held that modern science, although a great thing, makes the mistake of separating the observer and the observed. By positing a universe “out there” that can be measured at a safe distance, physics overlooks the obvious fact that we ourselves are part of the universe; in fact, we are an activity that cannot be separated from the total activity of the universe. This is by no means an outrageous claim. The eminent physicist John Wheeler argued passionately for a participatory universe, and the necessary link between observer and observed is part of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics.

That TED considers these ideas — which have far-reaching implications in every discipline — to be ridiculous underlines how out of touch their science board must be, or how enthralled by Dawkins-style propaganda. Atheism has nothing to say on these issues, anymore than believing in God or not has anything to do with the wavelength of infrared light.

My talk doesn’t promote God; I even have some skeptical things to say about religion and faith. But the moment I used hot-button words like God, spirit, intelligence, consciousness, and worst of all, design (not remotely in a creationist context), there was fluttering in the dovecote, Dawkins drew the wagons together at TED, and now, a decade later, the same dogmatism is in effect. The extent to which it is openly enforced remains TED’s business.

The affair that began with two suppressed tapes and open warnings to TEDx organizers that they must not step outside mainstream science has run its course. I imagine that TED now realizes there are more toes to be stepped on than Dawkins’. But I smiled at an anecdote that I began my talk with. A Christian fundamentalist was once conversing with the noted India spiritual teacher, J. Krishnamurti.

“The more I listen to you, the more convinced I am that you must be an atheist,” the fundamentalist said.

“I used to be an atheist,” Krishnamurti replied, “until I realized that I was God.”

The fundamentalist was shocked. “Are you denying the divinity of Jesus Christ?”

Krishnamurti shrugged. “I’ve never denied anyone their divinity. Why would I do it to Jesus Christ?”

That the audience laughed at this anecdote while militant atheists scowled, seeing an imminent danger to sanity, reason, science, and public safety, shows how far apart two worldviews can be. But I persist in believing that an expanded science will take consciousness into account, including higher consciousness. Until it does, our common goal, to understand the nature of reality, will never be reached. A universe that we aren’t participating in makes no sense, and our participation takes place at the level of consciousness, nowhere else.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE DEAD: A Former Atheist Interviews the Source of Infinite Being ~ Sondra Sneed

“As for the skeptic or fundamentalist, I have no interest in the exhaustive attempt to prove that I talk to the creator of the universe, or even that this great being talks to me. I leave that up to my reader to decide. To believe or not believe that I have had a discussion with the supreme nature we call God does not affect the content of this book.”

What to Do When You’re Dead is a fascinating dialogue between the creator of the universe and a 46-year-old woman who, in her life, has been to hell and back. Imagine finding out that you may hold the secret to man’s survival. Imagine also learning for the first time why you were born and that your work on earth is already recorded in the book of life. It happened to Sondra Sneed, and you get a front row seat to the life of a reluctant messenger bringing forth a message that could save humankind . . . if humans are willing to listen.

What you are about to read will change the way you think about your life. You will remember that you are a process of God. And when you discover what you are, God discovers you. You will find in this book the very reason you were born, and why it is so important to find your place on that path. This is not a touchy-feel-good spiritual guide as much as it is an awakening with a warning about man’s self destruction. The warning comes with a unique responsibility however, and that is to learn why death is not real, and that our experience of crossing over to the other side is directly linked to our state of mind while on earth before passing. Darkness must be overcome, or the soul will remain trapped in the past and attached to things of the world, rather than following spirit to the light of God.

Available Soon

Sondra Sneed is a science and technology writer for industry, and a former atheist with a secret. All the years she spent interviewing scientists and engineers, translating their high-minded knowledge for lay persons, she has also been interviewing the highest mind, the Creator of the Universe. She is also the author of two as yet unpublished books, The Real Story of the Garden of Eden, and The Meaning of Life’s Design
My books came today

Intro: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE DEAD, upcoming book by Sondra Sneed

To introduce her recently completed manuscript, WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE DEAD, this video essay describes branching, inter-connected networks as being the indications of life, and they work to facilitate flow. This manuscript was produced, she says, when Sneed sat down to write a book “for the rest of the world,” after seven years “in secret communion with God.” She comes forward with “great reluctance” because, she says, these messages have evolved from profound, spiritual teachings to all out warnings about the future of humankind. These warnings are that human beings are “on a path of self-destruction and may not make it past the next two generations.”

In the course of her years as a godscribe, Sneed noticed a pattern that repeats itself throughout nature. She says this pattern reveals nature as a creative being and becoming. She also says that while some of us can think of this essence as God, it is just as easily modeled through the lens of evolution by way of observing its processes. She believes these processes have meaning and indicate consciousness, but not the way humans think of cognition.


“In this pattern there are mechanisms that uncover a process of life creating life,” she says. Sneed also says it is within this life-creating-life cycle that we have disrupted an ancient, bifurcating pattern, a replication of nature’s systems. As such we are now killing off our future as a viable species on the planet. This pattern, dubbed in 1996 as the constructal law of physics, is formed by the distribution of supplicating nutrients. “These nutrients are a product of the ‘will of being’ constructing a never-ending pathway toward the nature of becoming,” she says.

Her next video will reveal disturbing news about the conditions facing humankind today that may result in self-destruction in less than a few generations.
Are Humans Wiping Themselves Off the Planet?

Here are the issues facing humankind today, according to God and Science:

• We are choking ourselves off from our resources and the source of all life;
• We are depleting the oxygen levels that are essential for sustaining human life;
• We are making a big mistake to think fossil fuels are causing the planet to heat-up, what’s causing this is the destruction of the biosphere, and the elimination of trees that enable water cycles
• We are also poisoning our own food supply

SPIRITUAL ENVY: An Agnostic’s Quest ~ Michael Krasny

As the host of one of National Public Radio’s most popular interview programs, Michael Krasny has spent decades leading conversations on every imaginable topic and discussing life’s most important questions with the foremost thinkers of our time. Now he brings his wide-ranging knowledge and perceptive intelligence to a thoughtful and thought-provoking exploration of belief — and lack of belief.

Many books and pundits advocate for a specific God, while others adamantly declare there is no God. Yet these strident viewpoints often speak right past each other, rarely convincing anyone but the already convinced. In Spiritual Envy, Krasny helps believers and nonbelievers alike understand their own questions about faith and religion, about God and human responsibility.

Krasny challenges each of us to look closely at faith and its power, and to examine the positive and negative aspects of religion as expressed in culture, literature, and human relationships. Personal and universal, timely and timeless, this is a deeply wise yet warmly welcoming conversation, an invitation to ask one’s own questions — no matter how inconclusive the answers.
Spiritual Envy: Michael Krasny on Losing Faith

Michael Krasny, host of KQED’s award-winning radio show “Forum,” explains what led him to write his new book, Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest. Recalling the comfort of his unwavering childhood faith in the face of physical abuse, Krasny traces his later agnosticism to his intellectual pursuits.


Unlike recent authors who emphatically say No! or Yes! to God, Michael Krasny joins the millions who know they don’t know. As a radio host, college professor, and literary scholar, he has spent decades leading conversations on every imaginable topic. He has discussed life’s most important questions with the foremost thinkers in virtually every discipline. And yet answers to some questions — the big, three-o’clock-in-the-morning questions — elude him. Despite this, Krasny does not discount belief systems or ridicule faith. Instead, he seeks. He explores morality, eternal life, why we do good, and why evil sometimes triumphs, and his quest is informed by artists, scientists, world events, and even films. Personal and universal, timely and timeless, Spiritual Envy is a deeply wise yet warmly welcoming conversation, an invitation to ask one’s own questions — no matter how inconclusive the answers.

Michael Krasny, PhD, hosts the nation’s most listened to locally produced public radio talk show, Forum with Michael Krasny. Forum is heard weekdays on KQED-FM in San Francisco, an affiliate of National Public Radio, as well as on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio. An award-winning broadcaster who has interviewed many of the great cultural icons of our era, he is the author of Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life (Stanford University Press) and coauthor of Sound Ideas (McGraw-Hill). Krasny is also an English professor at San Francisco State University. – Commonwealth Club of California

Michael Krasny, Ph.D., is host of KQED’s award-winning Forum, a news and public affairs program that concentrates on the arts, culture, health, business and technology.

Before coming to KQED Public Radio in 1993, Dr. Krasny hosted a night-time talk program for KGO Radio and co-anchored the weekly KGO television show Nightfocus. He hosted Bay TV’s Take Issue, a nightly news analysis show, programs for KQED Public Televison, KRON television and National Public Radio, and did news commentary for KTVU television.

Since 1970 he has been a professor of English at San Francisco State University and is a widely published scholar and critic as well as a former regular contributor to Mother Jones magazine and a fiction writer. He has also worked widely as a facilitator and host in the corporate sector and as moderator for a host of major non-profit events.
Authors@Google: Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny visits Google’s San Francisco office to present his book “Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest”. This event took place on January 26, 2011, as part of the Authors@Google series.

Books by agnostics about their agnosticism (unlike the prolific atheists) are anything but a dime a dozen. In fact, Krasny’s latest is one of only a dozen or so published this century. Krasny may be a university professor, but he doesn’t address his questions as an academic. He explores agnosticism the way he explores topics on his daily NPR show—in a thoughtful, informed, and almost conversational tone. The main difference is this isnt just any issue; it’s Krasny’s own story. The author’s honesty begins with the book’s title. He obviously envies the feelings of peace and comfort that people of faith experience. Keeping him from it, though, are innumerable questions.

The book presents these ruminations with only hints to the answers. The questions involve issues like the Ten Commandments, God’s existence, evil, and tolerance. Along the way, Krasny brings many people into the conversation—fellow agnostics like Thomas Huxley, atheists like Richard Dawkins, and even biblical characters like Job. The author’s nondogmatic stance will please virtually all readers.

Lennox Vs. Dawkins Debate – Has Science Buried God?

Oxford Museum of Natural History hosts this fascinating and controversial debate on the existence of God. Professor John Lennox explains how science points to an intelligent creator and Richard Dawkins offers a counterargument.

When Dawkins was asked if he ever considered God, he said, “”Yeah maybe I have, but if I have, so what? It doesn’t make it true. That’s what it matters.”

To this I’d like to ask him, how does he know if “it” is not true? Haven’t see any evidence? How does it matter to the very existence of God? Does God disappear just because someone thinks there’s no “evidence?” Someone is appealing to his own ignorance here if you ask me. 😉

Richard Dawkins & Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury discuss human nature & ultimate origin

Richard Dawkins & Rowan Williams The Archbishop of Canterbury discuss Human Beings & Ultimate Origin, 23rd February, Oxford, moderated by Anthony Kenny.

Richard Dawkins And Archbishop Rowan Williams To Go Head-To-Head Over Origins Of Man

The Archbishop of Canterbury and atheist Professor Richard Dawkins are set to go head to head to discuss man’s greatest question.

The leader of the Church of England will meet Britain’s most famous non-believer to take on the complex subject of “The nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin”.

The pair – who may be unlikely to find much common ground – will be joined by philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny at the event at Oxford University.

The discussion, which organisers expect to be “invigorating and enlivening”, is fully booked but will be streamed live online on February 23.

The two men have exchanged views on evolution and the existence of God before.

In a programme broadcast on Channel 4 in 2010, Prof Dawkins asked Dr Rowan Williams if he would see God as having any role in the evolutionary process.

Dr Williams said: “For me, God is the power or the intelligence that shapes the whole of that process.

“As creator, God’s act is the beginning of all creation.”

At which point Prof Dawkins intervened and asked: “So by setting up the laws of physics in the first place in which context evolution takes place?”

Dr Williams replied: “Things unfold within that.”

In the programme Prof Dawkins said that Dr Williams uses “poetic language”, adding: “There does come a time when you worry that people are going to misunderstand it.”

In an article on his website, published earlier this month, Prof Dawkins said of Dr Williams: “My suggestion is that the best way to understand Rowan Williams is to remember that he is a poet.

“And maybe this is the best way to understand other theologians.

“When Williams speaks of ‘silent waiting on the truth, pure sitting and breathing in the presence of the question mark’, we laugh because we read it through rational spectacles.”

In the article, Prof Dawkins suggests that theologians, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, don’t really “understand the difference between literal truth and poetry; or literal truth and metaphor”.

He goes on: “And this is where I would take issue with them, because for me a question like “Does God exist?” is not just a matter of poetry or metaphor.

“It has an answer, true or false (which is not to say the answer is easy to discover: it may even be impossible).”

Rationality and Irrationality in Believers and Atheists ~ Deepak Chopra

An outspoken band of atheists has chalked up an impressive record of articles, best-selling books, and wide public recognition. To buttress their arguments against the existence of God, leading anti-religionists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have borrowed the prestige of science. Which makes for a clean and simple dichotomy. Religion is irrational, bound up with superstition, emotions, and wishful thinking. Science is rational, dedicated to data, fact-finding, and impartial objectivity. The problem with such a simple picture is that it isn’t true and never was.

Without a hint of irony, New Scientist magazine has just published an article by Jonathan Lanman entitled “Religion is irrational, but so is atheism.” It’s an eye-opening piece, although by the time one gets to the end, it seems self-evident that atheists are of course emotional, biased, blinded to arguments that don’t fit their world view, and prone to gross over-statement. Lanman, a lecturer in anthropology at Oxford, makes the following points:

To begin, he cites research which questions the popular assumption that the more educated you are, the less likely you will be religious. In fact, the “Enlightenment assumption,” on which atheists lean heavily (equating religious belief with ignorance, to put it bluntly), isn’t proven to be valid. Lanman asserts that we have little real knowledge about why some people believe in God and others don’t. He points to a wealth of evidence that shows how vast the unconscious brain is and how mysterious the forces that shape us. This mystery applies to everyone, not simply the devout.

Instead of claiming that something has gone wrong in the brains of believers — another ploy favored in atheist rhetoric — Lanman suggests that environment has a great deal to do with what we believe. There is abundant evidence for that, too. Yet as a first step, we have to ask what we are studying. There isn’t one atheism but many, according to Lanman’s extensive research in the U.S., U.K., and Europe, ranging “from a lack of belief in God to a lack of belief in all supernatural agents to a moral opposition to all religions.”

In the midst of this confusion, he found that two phenomena leapt out as his studies progressed. The first was that a large number of people don’t believe in any supernatural agents in the universe, despite the fact that religion is worldwide. The second is moral opposition to religious belief. “For many, religions are not just factually wrong but morally harmful and to be opposed.” Looking at these two factors, Lanman notes that “nontheists,” people who have no particular religious beliefs, aren’t the same as “strong atheists,” who judge against and condemn religion. Lanman was intrigued that these two groups, which seem like allies, are negatively correlated. “Denmark and Sweden, for instance, have the highest proportion of non-theists but very little strong atheist sentiment or activity. The U.S., however, has a very low proportion of non-theists but significant levels of strong atheism.” Why?

In a word, threat, he says. There is compelling evidence that societies that rank high in security and well-being are much less religious than insecure societies where life is hard. Presumably, if you feel good about your life and others around you aren’t religious, there’s not much reason to adopt an attitude of moral outrage and condemnation of believers. Yet Pres. Obama wasn’t exactly right that people “cling to guns and religion” when life goes wrong — rather than turning to consoling beliefs, people in distress have negative religious views (as is evident from the hell fire and damnation style of much Bible Belt preaching). In contrast, the most comforting religious ideas, such as New Age spirituality or hell-less Christianity, flourish in the affluent west.

Here Lanman strikes down one of the cherished arguments of strong atheists: “Psychologically, we have little to no evidence that our minds will believe in something just because it would be comforting to do so.” It was always short-sighted — and incredibly condescending — for science-minded atheists to claim that believers are basically children looking for comforting fairy tales. If the comfort thesis is wrong, there’s a better explanation, which Lanman calls “threat and action”: there is strong evidence “that feeling under threat increases commitment to in-group ideologies, whether they are religious ideologies or not.” It should make atheists think twice to realize that their motives for attacking religion are kin to those who defend it. Both in-groups are motivated by emotion, bias, peer pressure, and the habit of “us” versus “them” thinking.

It’s crucial to note that Lanman isn’t defending religion, which he explains as a set of actions and beliefs rooted in many kinds of irrational responses to threat. Belonging to the in-group creates fertile ground for superstition and irrational behavior to grow. Atheists look much the same as viewed by an anthropologist: “Strong atheism is not the absence of an in-group ideology but the defense of one: modern secularism.” The ideology underpinning secularism sprang up in the West after the Reformation, leading to its present secular form, in which “citizens use their rational minds to cooperate and improve their lives.” Thus when religions stubbornly adhered to a belief “that the purpose of life should be transcendent rather than earthly well-being, religions themselves became anti-social and even immoral.”

Lanman has more evidence to cite, but his overall conclusion is simple. Our beliefs and behaviors are not based on dispassionate reason. In hindsight this may seem blindingly obvious, but in fact the cutting edge of brain research delves into the merging of reason and emotion in the brain, following the pathways that connect the two. Neuroscience has concluded that decisions are never devoid of emotion and that “lower” brain responses like emotion have privileged pathways that the higher brain cannot override until time has passed and the cerebral cortex is allowed to enter the picture with its rational faculties (that’s why you jump first when you hear a gunshot and only a few seconds later decide that it was only a car backfiring).

Speaking personally, as an advocate for spirituality but not for organized religion, I have rarely met debaters more disputatious, biased, close-minded, unfair in argument, and blinkered in their certainties than professional atheists. They believe that they are completely rational. Yet experience shows that people who think they have excluded their emotions in reality are unconscious about what emotions are and the power they exert over all of us. Science has much to say about spirituality, and vice versa. They aren’t enemies or natural opposites. What we should be aiming at is an expanded science that reveals the whole person, and using that perspective, we may be able to understand the wholeness of nature. At least we can take the first step, which is to throw out the claim that believers are superstitious and ignorant while atheists are the epitome of rationality. Neither, it turns out, is true.

Richard Dawkins: One Fact to Refute Creationism

Complete video at:…

Biologist Richard Dawkins identifies what he views is the single most compelling fact to refute Creationism — but states that the real problem lies in convincing Creationists to listen to the evidence. “What they do is simply stick their fingers in their ears and say ‘La la la,'” says Dawkins. “You cannot argue with a mind like that.”


Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion created a storm of controversy over the question of God’s existence. Now, in The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins presents a stunning counterattack against advocates of “Intelligent Design” that explains the evidence for evolution while keeping an eye trained on the absurdities of the creationist argument.

More than an argument of his own, it’s a thrilling tour into our distant past and into the interstices of life on earth. Taking us through the case for evolution step-by-step, Dawkins looks at DNA, selective breeding, anatomical similarities, molecular family trees, geography, time, fossils, vestiges and imperfections, human evolution, and the formula for a strong scientific theory.

Dawkins’ trademark wit and ferocity is joined by an infectious passion for the beauty and strangeness of the natural world, proving along the way that the mechanisms of the natural world are more miraculous — a “greater show” — than any creation story generated by any religion on earth. – Berkeley Arts and Letters

Richard Dawkins is a world-renowned evolutionary biologist and author. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and, until recently, held the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. His first book, The Selfish Gene, was an instant international bestseller, and has become an established classic work of modern evolutionary biology.

He is also the author of The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil’s Chaplain, The Ancestor’s Tale The God Delusion, and most recently, The Greatsest Show on Earth.

Professor Dawkins’s awards have included the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London (1989), the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Award (1990), the Nakayama Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1990), The International Cosmos Prize (1997) and the Kistler Prize (2001).

He has Honorary Doctorates in both literature and science, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

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