War of the Worldviews
Science Vs. Spirituality
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
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Two bestselling authors first met in a televised Caltech debate on “the future of God,” one an articulate advocate for spirituality, the other a prominent physicist. This remarkable book is the product of that serendipitous encounter and the contentious—but respectful—clash of worldviews that grew along with their friendship.
In War of the Worldviews these two great thinkers battle over the cosmos, evolution and life, the human brain, and God, probing the fundamental questions that define the human experience.
How did the universe emerge?
What is the nature of time?
What is life?
Did Darwin go wrong?
What makes us human?
What is the connection between mind and brain?
Is God an illusion?
This extraordinary book will fascinate millions of readers of science and spirituality alike, as well as anyone who has ever asked themselves, What does it mean that I am alive?
Deepak Chopra is the author of more than sixty books translated into over eight-five languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers in both the fiction and nonfiction categories, and a leading figure in the field of emerging spirituality.
Leonard Mlodinow received his doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley. He teaches at Caltech and is the New York Times bestselling author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives and the #1 New York Times bestseller The Grand Design, which he co-authored with Stephen Hawking. His other books include Euclid’s Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace and Feynman’s Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life. He also wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
“We need a worldview grounded in science that does not deny the richness of human nature and the validity of modes of knowing other than the scientific. If we can bring our spirituality, the richness and wholesomeness of our basic human values, to bear upon the course of science in human society, then the different approaches of science and spirituality will contribute together to the betterment of humanity. This book points the way to such a collaborative endeavor.”—His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“Deepak Chopra did an excellent job explaining why the all-embracing holistic quantum field suggests a dynamic, alive cosmos. This is an interesting and provocative book which will be read and talked about for a long time to come.” —Hans Peter Duerr, Director Emeritus, Max-Planck-Institute for Physics and Astrophysics
"Bravo! This delightful book is bound to be the Gold Standard by which all other books on science/spirituality will be measured. Bold, refreshing, lucid, and insightful, this thoughtful collection of essays seeks to unveil the mysterious of our very existence. Is there a purpose to the universe? What is our true role in the cosmos? This book dares to ask some of the deepest, most profound questions about our very existence, and comes up with some surprising, even shocking answers."--Michio Kaku Prof. of Theoretical Physics, City Univ. of NY. Author of the New York Times best sellers Physics of the Future, and Physics of the Impossible.
“Science is rapidly gaining the capability to explore the nature of consciousness, and the origins of all things—a domain sacred to Eastern spirituality. The inevitable result, as science encroaches on spirituality’s turf, is this compelling clash between scientist Leonard Mlodinow and spiritual advocate and physician Deepak Chopra.”
—Kip S. Thorne, The Feynman Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Caltech, and author of Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
“Two compelling figures of our time mindfully joust on the battlefield of brain, cosmos, and evolution. This is a win-win for the authors and for every reader.”
—Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D., The Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
“Whether you root for science or spirituality, you will find in these incisive, insightful essays more than enough ammunition to get you through your next debate over the two opposing ways of seeing the world. And you just may find that ‘the other side’ scores some points, too. A fascinating, thought-provoking tour through some of the deepest questions of existence.”—Sharon Begley, author of Change Your Mind, Train Your Brain and science writer, Newsweek
“This book, by two outstanding intellectuals, is a timely revival of the debate between science and spirituality. In alternate chapters each author defends his position without disrespecting the other and the result is a remarkable contribution to the history of ideas; eminently readable, no matter which side of the fence you are on.”
—V.S. Ramachandran, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego and author of The Tell Tale Brain
“A lively, engaging and far ranging debate between a sharp-witted physicist and a proponent of Eastern spirituality whose poetic metaphors about science appeal to the heart.”—Christof Koch, Chief Scientific Officer, Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology, California Institute of Technology, and author of Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist
“In War of the Worldviews, Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow have given us one of the most compelling, important, and significant books written on the relation of science and spirituality in today’s world.”—Ken Wilber, author of The Integral Vision
“Quantum mechanics demonstrates the reality of particle entanglement. The reality of today's world is that all of our lives are entangled. The dialogue between these two extraordinary writers serves as a source of awe and inspiration to all of us.”—James R. Doty, M.D., Professor of Neurosurgery, Founder & Director, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), Stanford Institute of Neuro-innovation and Translational Neuroscience, Stanford University School of Medicine
“A refreshing and more useful approach to the old combat between science and religion. The two authors want the best for humanity, and their zeal is revealed even when they fiercely disagree. The value of this book will only become greater and more appreciated with time.”—Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Dean, Schmid College of Science, Vice Chancellor for Special Projects, Chapman University
“There is nothing more important than the worldview you hold. It determines nearly everything you think, do, and say. Like the fish who notices not the water in which he swims, we live in our worldviews without even noticing them. Yet most conflicts in life can be traced to worldview differences, and none more so than the worldviews of science and religion. War of the Worldviews is the best single volume I've ever read on this vital subject. Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow well capture the essence of the debate and do so in such an engaging style that you can't stop reading. I know both authors well, and even though I side with one worldview over the other, I found myself compelled to read Deepak deeper to understand his worldview. Those on Deepak's side will feel the same compulsion to read Leonard's contributions. Either way, this book is a game changer in the science-and-religion wars.”—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist Scientific American, adjunct professor Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University, and author of Why Darwin Matters and The Believing Brain
“Astrophysicist Sir James Jeans wrote: ‘The Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.’ This is the essence of Chopra’s view: that a great consciousness—which we share—is the basis of the Universe and all reality. From Mlodinow’s perspective it is unimaginable that consciousness could be anything more than brain chemistry at work and certainly not something capable of creating a universe. The book presents a lively and articulate debate on this and that most important human question: are we simply complex biological machines destined for oblivion at death... or are we immortal spiritual beings temporarily experiencing reality through physical bodies.”—Bernard Haisch, astrophysicist
“Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow argue convincingly for their particular worldviews. However reading this book convinces me they should call a truce: Science and spirituality are two sides of a quantum coin.”—Stuart Hameroff MD, Professor, Anesthesiology and Psychology, Director, Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
“Finally! The beginning of a dialog in the true spirit of open-ended science that should be inclusive of all phenomena including spirituality. Congratulations to Chopra and Mlodinow for the breakthrough. May their book become a trendsetter!”—Amit Goswami, quantum physicist and author of The Self-Aware Universe and How Quantum Activism Can Save Civilization
“We physicists are concerned with observations of the physical universe, and the mathematical theories that explain them. Others seek enlightenment through a focus on subjective experience. In this book these approaches meet, often throwing off sparks, occasionally agreeing, and always remaining both illuminating and entertaining.”—Jay Marx, Executive Director, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Laboratory, Caltech
“Is consciousness an aspect of nature that had no precursor prior to the appearance of life, or is it a feature of nature that was in some form always present? This question is debated in this lively, informative, and entertaining book co-authored by skilled writers Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow. On the basis of their extensive coverage of much of what we know about the cosmos—from its origin, to the origin and definition of life, to the issue of what makes us human—Chopra argues for the pervasiveness of consciousness, while Mlodinow argues for emergence of everything from the purely physical, in the absence of adequate scientific evidence to the contrary. This book is a good read even if, and particularly if, you already have a fixed opinion on the matter.”—Dr. Henry P. Stapp, Physicist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics and Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer
“Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow have opened the discussion on the fundamental physics of the spirit.”—Juliana (Brooks) Mortenson, MD, Founder, General Resonance
“Ours is a time of unprecedented change and complexity. Never before have so many worldviews, belief systems and ways of engaging reality converged. Such a moment of contact has many consequences. On one hand, there are abundant instances of conflict and intolerance, as people fail to see other points of view. On the other hand, it can lead to the creative emergence of new and more sustainable ways of being together in our otherwise fragmented world. Such is the promise of this thoughtful and provocative book. As Chopra and Mlodinow, two masters in their respective fields, come together to consider the challenges of merging science and spirituality, they offer an essential guidebook for shaping the future of our shared humanity.”—Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D., President and CEO, Institute of Noetic Sciences
“In this latest skirmish of the age-old War of the Worldviews, we find a spirited defense of science (Mlodinow) vs. spirituality (Chopra). The authors are masters of their domains, and their debate makes it crystal clear that the battle will not be settled any time soon. Reading this book may make your brain hurt, but it is an experience that is fascinating, exasperating, and definitely worthwhile.”—Dean Radin PhD, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology, Sonoma State University, Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences
“A tension exists between the way that we think about the laws of physics and
our own subjective experience. Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow ponder both perspectives in their lively debate, leaving the reader enriched to see the world with a new depth. War of the Worldviews offers clear choices for these rapidly changing times.”—Jeff Tollaksen, Director, Center for Quantum Studies, Head of Physics Faculty,
Schmid College of Science, Chapman University
“As a brilliant scientist and mathematician Leonard Mlodinow believes that physics can account for the creation of the universe through the laws of nature, without the participation of a deity. To Deepak Chopra, the truth exists in consciousness. The time has come for humanity to open its mind to all levels of reality.”—Lothar Schäfer, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arkansas
“War of the Worldviews offers a fascinating and detailed debate focusing on how the spiritual and the scientific approaches to understanding reality often clash. Physician Deepak Chopra and Physicist Leonard Mlodinow provide a rich set of reflections and easy-to-understand introductions to the various topics, from the nature of mind and consciousness to God and the brain. Diving into the conceptual friction and heated emotional tension of this important and passionate conversation between two leaders in these fields inspires us to weave a tapestry of our own, blending the hard-won insights from an empirical approach to reality with the important journey to make a life of meaning and interconnection in our daily lives.”—Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine, Executive Director, Mindsight Institute
In this latest skirmish of the age-old War of the Worldviews, we find a spirited defense of science (Mlodinow) vs. spirituality (Chopra). The authors are masters of their domains, and their debate makes it crystal clear that the battle will not be settled any time soon. Reading this book may make your brain hurt, but it is an experience that is fascinating, exasperating, and definitely worthwhile.”
—Dean Radin PhD, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology, Sonoma State University, Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences “In War of the Worldviews, Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow prove to be eloquent proponents for their respective points of view. The questions they address are the ones that must be tackled if there is to be reconciliation between science and spirituality. Though it is clear they remain far apart on many issues, the mere act of these two acclaimed thinkers addressing them together provides hope that the divide can be narrowed.”
—Jim B. Tucker, M.D., Division of Perceptual Studies, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia Health System