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Closer to Truth

What Would Intelligent Aliens Mean? (#904)

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. [26 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: Closer To Truth is the definitive series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God, a global journey in search of the vital ideas of existence. It is the most complete, compelling, and accessible series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God ever produced for television. Closer To Truth explores fundamental issues of universe, brain/mind, religion, meaning and purpose through intimate, candid conversations with leading scientists, philosophers, scholars, theologians and creative thinkers of all kinds. The shows are a rich visual experience, shot entirely on location in high definition with multiple cameras generating film-like production values. The visual lushness of the high definition, on-location productions, combined with the intriguing titles of the shows, builds audiences already interested in such perennial topics. Each 30-minute episode features four to seven of the world's foremost thinkers. The series as a whole features 128 such authorities in what we believe to be the most comprehensive and definitive treatment of these topics ever presented in visual or electronic media.

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  • Does God Make Sense? (#101)

    Does anyone know what God really is? Diverse religions have diverse views and surprise is in store. [26 minutes]

  • How Vast Is The Cosmos? (#102)

    No one could have imagined how immense the universe, or multiple universes, may actually be. [26 minutes]

  • Why Is Consciousness So Mysterious? (#103)

    Learn how the mindless microscopic particles that compose our brains "experience." [26 minutes]

  • Did Our Universe Have A Beginning? (#104)

    Everything in the universe has a beginning, but did the universe as a whole come with a start date? [26 minutes]

  • How Are Brains Structured? (#105)

    Brains are the most highly organized matter in the world. How they make their magic is astonishing. [26 minutes]

  • Arguing God's Existence? (#106)

    You've heard the raucous noise about God, now listen to the cogent arguments, con and pro. [26 minutes]

  • Why A Fine-Tuned Universe? (#107)

    How can the 30-odd constants and relationships of physics be so spot-on perfect for humans to exist? [26 minutes]

  • Do Persons Have Souls? (#108)

    Is the "Real You" a special substance that is both nonphysical & immortal? It depends who you ask. [26 minutes]

  • Arguing God from Design? (#109)

    The world appears to be designed. Are appearances deceiving? Discover new twists to an old argument. [26 minutes]

  • Could Our Universe Be A Fake? (#110)

    Could our world is a computer game, the creation of super-smart hackers existing somewhere else? [26 minutes]

  • Does Esp Reveal The Nonphysical? (#111)

    Some claim that their study of extrasensory perception overturns the worldview of science. [26 minutes]

  • Arguing God from First Cause? (#112)

    Does the whole universe need a cause? And assuming God exists, does God need a cause? [26 minutes]

  • Can Science Deal with God? (#113)

    Experts discuss which is correct, God is not necessary, God is likely or not relating to God at all. [26 minutes]

  • Is There Life After Death? (#201)

    Do we survive bodily destruction? Can our personal awareness transcend physical obliteration? [26 minutes]

  • Arguing God from Morality? (#202)

    Humans have a sense of right and wrong. Does this mean that morality is absolute? [26 minutes]

  • How Many Universes Exist? (#203)

    How could multiple universes be generated and can we ever find evidence, one way or another? [26 minutes]

  • Can Brain Explain Mind? (#204)

    What is it about the brain that enables some scientists to claim they can explain mind? [26 minutes]

  • What Is The Mind-Body Problem? (#205)

    Learn how brain cells, passing chemicals and shooting sparks are literally inner mental sensations. [26 minutes]

  • Is Time Travel Possible? (#206)

    What does time travel reveal about space and time and the laws of physics under extreme conditions? [26 minutes]

  • Did God Create Time? (#207)

    Relating the two mysteries of God and Time probes the nature of God and the existence of a Creator. [26 minutes]

  • Does Evil Disprove God? (#208)

    Theologians have no tougher task than explaining evil, its enormity even more than its existence. [26 minutes]

  • Why Are Black Holes Astonishing? (#209)

    Black holes can warp space and time and trap light so it can't escape. What can we learn from them? [26 minutes]

  • What Is Free Will? (#210)

    A discussion about nonphysical souls and the idea that every event is determined by prior events. [26 minutes]

  • Arguments for Atheism? (#211)

    Atheists take their best shots at disproving God and theists deflect the arguments, defending God. [26 minutes]

  • How Could God Interact with the World? (#212)

    If God exists and ordains history and makes miracles, how does He do it? Fiddle with every atom? [26 minutes]

  • What's the Far Future of Intelligence in the Universe? (#213)

    Take a deep breath and try to consider humanity's progress three billion years in the future. [26 minutes]

  • How Could God Know The Future? (#301)

    Theologians battle among themselves on whether God knows everything about what is to come. [26 minutes]

  • Is The Universe Fine-Tuned for Life and Mind? (#302)

    If the universe had been ever so slightly different, human beings might not have ever existed. [26 minutes]

  • How Does Beauty Color The Universe? (#303)

    Questions what scientists mean when they call the laws and regularities of nature "beautiful"? [26 minutes]

  • What Things Really Exist? (#304)

    This simple question inspires such profound insight and can allow you to see the whole world anew. [26 minutes]

  • Where Are They, All Those Aliens? (#305)

    Most scientists assume there must be alien intelligences in universe but why is there zero evidence? [26 minutes]

  • Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? (#306)

    Forget science and God. This is the ultimate question: What if Everything had Forever been Nothing? [26 minutes]

  • Can Many Religions All Be True? (#307)

    Many believe only their own religion to be True. Some claim all religions reflect the same Truth. [26 minutes]

  • Is Consciousness Fundamental? (#308)

    Is mental life a random accident, or is there something deeply special about conscious awareness? [26 minutes]

  • Is There A Final Theory of Everything? (#309)

    The Holy Grail of physics is having all particles and forces of nature explained by easy equations. [26 minutes]

  • How Can Emergence Explain Reality? (#310)

    "Emergence" describes how wondrously our world works. But is it a real mystery? [26 minutes]

  • Is This The End Time? (#311)

    In every generation some religious believers imagined their time to be the end time. Why is this so? [26 minutes]

  • Eternal Life Is Like What? (#312)

    Each religion paints its own portrait of the hereafter, some collective and others individual. [26 minutes]

  • Do Science and Religion Conflict? (#313)

    Meaning and purpose hang in the balance as the battle between science and religion rages on. [26 minutes]

  • Why Is Consciousness Baffling? (#401)

    When all mental functions are explained, the mystery of what it "feels like" inside will remain. [26 minutes]

  • What Is God Like? (#402)

    A conversation about what can we know about God. If there is a God, God must have traits. [26 minutes]

  • What Does An Expanding Universe Mean? (#403)

    The universe began with something infinitesimally small, but how did it become majestically large? [26 minutes]

  • Is The Person All Material? (#404)

    Questions what makes a human being a "person" and what provides our sense of unity and continuity. [26 minutes]

  • Arguments Against God? (#405)

    Belief in God is too important to be determined by cultural circumstances. [26 minutes]

  • Are There Extra Dimensions? (#406)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Would Intelligent Aliens Undermine God? (#407)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Did God Create Evil? (#408)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • How Do Human Brains Think and Feel? (#501)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Does A Fine-Tuned Universe Lead to God? (#502)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Wondering About God (#503)

    The 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. [26 minutes]

  • What's The Far Far Future of the Universe? (#504)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Solutions to the Mind-Body Problem? (#505)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • How Is God The Creator? (#506)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • What Would Multiple Universes Mean? (#507)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • What Things Are Conscious? (#508)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Can Religion Be Explained Without God? (#509)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • What's Real About Time? (#510)

    Time seems natural and absolute: the flow of moments one following another from the indeterminable 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? [26 minutes]

  • How Do People Maintain Their Identity? (#511)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Is God a Person? (#512)

    If God exists, perhaps the 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. [26 minutes]

  • Asking Ultimate Questions (#513)

    I 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. discoveries offer radical powers of explanation. Can "Why Questions" belong to science? What about the biggest "Why" of them all? [26 minutes]

  • Arguing God from Natural Theology (#601)

    From biblical times to Darwin, natural theology tried to detect God by sensing His presence in the world-without revelation. But after Darwin's theory of evolution, natural theology was rejected, even ridiculed. Why, now, its surprising revival? [26 minutes]

  • What Is The Grand Structure of the Universe? (#602)

    Galaxies and clusters of galaxies, untold billions of them, adorn the cosmos. How did such large-scale structure of the universe come about? [26 minutes]

  • Could Esp Reveal Spirit Existence? (#603)

    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, reach into unknown non-physical realms? [26 minutes]

  • Is God All Knowing? (#604)

    What does it mean for God to be all knowing? Does God being "omniscient" make sense? If so, can deep insights be gleaned about God? If not, could the whole concept of God be flawed? [26 minutes]

  • Why Is The Quantum So Strange? (#605)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Can Metaphysics Reveal Surprises? (#606)

    Does metaphysics help us to understand 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? [26 minutes]

  • Is God Necessary? (#607)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Would Multiple Universes Undermine God? (#608)

    Arguments for God, and against God, each count the universe as evidence. Believers invoke the universe's apparent fine-tuning. Non-believers envision a vast number of universes, so that anything can happen by accident, including us. [26 minutes]

  • Do Human Brains Have Free Will? (#609)

    Free will seems the simplest of notions. Why then does free will vex philosophers? Here's why: No one knows how free will works! Science, seemingly, permits no "gaps" in which free will can operate. [26 minutes]

  • Arguing for Agnosticism? (#610)

    Agnostics claim that they do not know whether or not God exists. Theists surmise they're reprobates. Atheists suppose they're cowards. Can agnostics be passionate? [26 minutes]

  • Are Science and Religion at War? (#611)

    For centuries, science and religion have been battling, with science advancing, religion retreating. We follow the current battles. We propose no truce. [26 minutes]

  • Why Explore Cosmos and Consciousness? (#612)

    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 profoundly about consciousness. [26 minutes]

  • A New Heaven and a New Earth? (#613)

    The Judeo-Christian scriptures tell of "a new heaven and a new earth." What could this mean? [26 minutes]

  • Why Is The Universe Breathtaking? (#702)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Does Consciousness Have Meaning? (#703)

    How has "inner experience" radically emerged from cosmic dust? Is consciousness only an accident of biology? Or does consciousness have deeper meaning? [26 minutes]

  • Arguing God from Miracles? (#704)

    I 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. [26 minutes]

  • Marvels of Space-Time? (#705)

    Einstein 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? [26 minutes]

  • What Makes Brains Conscious? (#706)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Is God Perfect? (#707)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • What Are The Scope and Limits of Science? (#708)

    How much can science discover? Are there boundaries to science? Are there truths, real truths, beyond science? [26 minutes]

  • Is Human Consciousness Special? (#709)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • If God Knows The Future, What Is Free Will? (#710)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Can Science Talk God? (#711)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Do Persons Survive Death? (#712)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Is Theism Coherent? (#713)

    "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. [26 minutes]

  • What's Beyond Physics? (#802)

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  • Can Esp Reveal A New Reality? (#803)

    [26 minutes]

  • Arguing God from Personal Identity (#804)

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  • Does The Cosmos Provide Meaning? (#805)

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  • What Maintains Personal Identity? (#806)

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  • Arguing God from Being? (#807)

    I'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. [26 minutes]

  • Can Science and Theology Find Deep Reality? (#808)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • What's Wrong with Immortal Souls? (#809)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Does God Have A Nature? (#810)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Are There Things Not Physical? (#811)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • How Free Is God? (#812)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Immortality and Eternal Life (#813)

    I'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? [26 minutes]

  • Fallacies In Proving God Exists (#901)

    The 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. [26 minutes]

  • Is Life and Mind Inevitable in the Universe? (#902)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Arguing God with Analytic Philosophy (#903)

    I 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. [26 minutes]

  • Does A Creator God Work? (#905)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Mysteries of Cosmic Inflation (#906)

    The very early universe likely underwent a period of enormous expansion called "inflation." The theory stunned cosmology. Here's the story of its discovery. [26 minutes]

  • How Is God All Powerful? (#907)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Does Metaphysics Reveal Reality? (#908)

    Some think metaphysics is ancient nonsense; others that it's the bizarre occult. Real metaphysics asks the most profound questions, seeks the deepest truths. [26 minutes]

  • Complexity from Simplicity? (#909)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Do Humans Have Free Will? (#910)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • What Is God About? (#911)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Does Consciousness Point to God? (#912)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • The Mystery of Existence? (#913)

    Call all-that-exists "something." Why is there "something" rather than "nothing"? The question haunts me. Why is there anything at all? [26 minutes]

  • Is The Universe Religiously Ambiguous? (#1001)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Is Consciousness An Illusion? (#1002)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • What Is God? (#1003)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Do General Principles Govern All Science? (#1004)

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  • Are Brains and Mind The Same Thing? (#1005)

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  • Diverse Arguments for God (#1006)

    I 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. [26 minutes]

  • Why Science and Religion Think Differently (#1007)

    Science 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? [26 minutes]

  • What Are Dreams About? (#1008)

    Throughout history, dreams have fascinated and mystified. Messages from God? Images of the subconscious? Much about dreams is myth. What's real? [26 minutes]

  • Can God Face Up Evil? (#1009)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • How Belief Systems Work (#1010)

    We 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." [26 minutes]

  • Do Religions Complement Or Contradict? (#1011)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Why Is Free Will A Mystery? (#1012)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Does The Brain Abolish Free Will? (#1013)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Time at Sea (#1101)

    Is 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? [26 minutes]

  • What Is Time? (#1102)

    To appreciate Time is to touch the texture of reality. Does Time differ from our common perceptions of it? Is Time fixed or flexible? [26 minutes]

  • Why Believe In God? (#1103)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Alternative Concepts of God (#1104)

    Philosophers explore novel ideas of what God may be like. They challenge classical theism-the personal creator of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. [26 minutes]

  • Pantheism: Is The World God? (#1105)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • How Do Brains Work? (#1106)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • What Would An Infinite Cosmos Mean? (#1107)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • What Is God's Eternity? (#1108)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Why Is Free Will A Big Question? (#1109)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Is Free Will An Illusion? (#1110)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • What's in a Resurrection? (#1111)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Does Hell Reveal God? (#1112)

    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 God would be like? [26 minutes]

  • Confronting Consciousness (#1113)

    Consciousness is what mental activity feels like inside-the private inner experience of sensation, thought and emotion. Consciousness is like nothing else. [26 minutes]

  • Did The Universe Have A Beginning? (#1201)

    Some scientists claim that the universe did not have a beginning. Some theologians contend that the universe did not need a beginning. [26 minutes]

  • How Do Humans Differ from Other Animals? (#1202)

    Physically, humans and animals seem similar. Mentally, humans seem so superior. What's so special about human nature? [26 minutes]

  • What Would It Feel Like to Be God? (#1203)

    God is said to be all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good. But what is God's private mental life? Is this asking too much, going too far? [26 minutes]

  • What's The New Atheism? (#1204)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • How Does Personal Identity Persist Through Time? (#1205)

    Is the self an illusion? Decades roll by; every molecule of my body changes many times over. Yet I sense myself the same. Not just continuity, but unity. [26 minutes]

  • Can Philosophy of Religion Find God? (#1206)

    Does God exist? What are God's attributes and traits? How to examine such questions about God? Philosophy enables analysis and provokes insight. [26 minutes]

  • Why Do We Sleep? (#1207)

    Why do we spend so much of our lives not awake? What do sleeping and dreaming reveal about consciousness? [26 minutes]

  • Does Cosmic Fine Tuning Demand Explanation? (#1208)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Why Obsess About Free Will? (#1209)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Why Seek An Alternative God? (#1210)

    God, if there is a God, a personal, conscious, all-powerful Supreme Being? Some offer radically different concepts of "God". [26 minutes]

  • Panentheism: Is The World In God? (#1211)

    The search for God leads to strange ideas. Compare Pantheism, God is the world, with Panentheism, the world is in God but God is more than the world. [26 minutes]

  • What Is Nothing? (#1212)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Why Anything at All? (#1213)

    Why is there a world, a cosmos, something-instead of absolutely nothing at all? Of all the big questions, this is the biggest. Beware: this is no ordinary question. [26 minutes]

  • What Is Ultimate Reality? (#1301)

    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? [29 minutes]

  • What Is Consciousness? (#1302)

    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. [29 minutes]

  • Is This God? (#1303)

    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. [29 minutes]

  • Will The Universe Ever End? (#1304)

    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? [29 minutes]

  • Can The Divine Be A Person? (#1305)

    What if God were a 'person'? A person has sense, knowledge, will, intent, feelings. A person can be compassionate, sympathetic, empathetic. What's the difference if God were not a 'person'? [26 minutes]

  • Is Death Final? (#1306)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • What Causes Religious Belief? (#1307)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • What Things Are Real? (#1308)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Free Will for Moral Responsibility? (#1309)

    Philosophers and brain scientists argue that our 'will' is less 'free' than we think. How do debates about free will impact morality and civil society, including the judicial system and legal defenses? [26 minutes]

  • What Can We Learn from Alternative Gods? (#1310)

    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?" [26 minutes]

  • Why God, Not Nothing? (#1311)

    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'? [26 minutes]

  • Does God's Knowledge Ruin Free Will? (#1312)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • What Limits God's Freedom? (#1313)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Can The Mind Heal The Body? (#1401)

    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? [29 minutes]

  • Is God Responsible for Evil? (#1402)

    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? [29 minutes]

  • What Is Information? (#1403)

    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? [29 minutes]

  • Can Design Point to God? (#1404)

    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? [29 minutes]

  • What Is Truth? (#1405)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Does Information Create The Cosmos? (#1406)

    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'. [26 minutes]

  • Why A Body in a Resurrection? (#1407)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Must Multiple Universes Exist? (#1408)

    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? [26 minutes]

  • Toward A Science of Consciousness (#1409)

    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." [26 minutes]

  • Big Questions In Free Will Part I (#1410)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Big Questions In Free Will Part II (#1411)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • Can Free Will Survive God's Fore-Knowledge (#1412)

    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. [26 minutes]

  • How Can God Not Be Free? (#1413)

    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? [29 minutes]

  • Does The Cosmos Have A Reason? (#1501)

    [26 minutes]

  • Can The Cosmos Have A Reason? (#1502)

    [29 minutes]

  • Implications of Cosmology? (#1503)

    [26 minutes]

  • What Is God About? (#1504)

    [26 minutes]

  • What Is God About? (#1505)

    [29 minutes]

  • Thinking About God Differently (#1506)

    [26 minutes]

  • Does Esp Reach A Larger Reality? (#1507)

    [26 minutes]

  • Can Esp Reach A Larger Reality? (#1508)

    [29 minutes]

  • Arguing for God (#1509)

    [29 minutes]

  • What Causes Religious Belief? (#1510)

    [29 minutes]

  • What Is Causation? (#1511)

    [29 minutes]

  • Is Consciousness Ultimate Reality? (#1512)

    [29 minutes]

  • Suppose Consciousness Is Ultimate Reality? (#1513)

    [26 minutes]

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