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Discussions & Debates

2011 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate: The Theory of Everything

Can the entire universe be explained with a single, unifying theory?  This is perhaps the most fundamental question in all of science, and it may also be the most controversial. Albert Einstein was among the first to envision a unified theory that could account for the behavior of all matter and energy in the cosmos, but a definitive solution has eluded physicists to this day. As the 21st century progresses, “string theory” remains the leading candidate to be the “theory of everything”—although some have come to question whether string theorists are on the right track. Still others doubt that a “theory of everything” exists at all—and consider the search for such a theory an outdated philosophy of our search for cosmic truths.

Join Director of the Hayden Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson as he hosts and moderates six of the world's leading voices in this great scientific debate.



Are We Ready For the Coming 'Age of Abundance?'

Of all the forces that will impact business in the future, several mega-trends stand out: disruptions in technology, demographics and emerging markets.

This is a Big Think panel made up of Michael Schrage, MIT Sloan School of Management research fellow, theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, Peter Diamandis, Founder and Chairman of the X-Prize Foundation, and Isabel Aguilera, former CEO of Google’s Spain & Portugal operations.

The sparks certainly did fly on this panel, which represented the views of both theorists and practitioners who have been grappling with the dual challenges and opportunities of a rapidly-changing global economy.



Debate - Hitchens, Harris, Dennett vs Boteach, D'Souza, Taleb.



Does God Exist?

More than 10,000 watched as the acclaimed theist William Lane Craig, research professor of philosophy at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology, and atheist and journalist Christopher Hitchens debated the question of God’s existence in an unprecedented event Saturday evening, April 4, 2009. The question of the night’s debate, hosted by Biola University’s Master of Arts program in Christian Apologetics and Associated Students, Does God exist? attracted a diverse audience of Christians, non-Christians and atheists alike.

Craig gave his opening arguments first in which he presented five arguments for the existence of God. Craig remained focused on the issue at hand — the existence of God, rather than making a case for religion as a whole or whether or not religion is good. Hitchens argued that there is not a God or intelligent designer, however, humans evolved over time. He emphasized that a claim as large as that would need substantial evidence, stating that there is no plausible reason there is a God.

Craig used cosmological argument, teleological argument, moral argument and the resurrection of Jesus and the immediate experience of God as his main arguments. Craig noted in his closing argument that Hitchens failed to engage any of these arguments throughout the debate. Hitchens resolved back to the argument that morality is not dependant upon God throughout most of the night and that he saw a lack of evidence for a supernatural realm. At the end of the evening, he stated that unbelief will insure you against evil.

Hitchens, a devoted atheist and author of the bestselling God is Not Great, is among the best known critics and controversial writers in today’s media. Debating frequently, he represents those hostile to religion in general, and Christianity in particular. Craig, one of the leading contemporary philosophers and Christian apologists in the world, is one of the most formidable debaters in the Christian world. Craig, an eminent scholar and debater, advocates for the Christian side on a wide range of topics.



Does Good Come From God?



From the Big Bang to Irreducible Complexity

This program from the Focus on Origins series features an exclusive interview with Dr. Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. Dr. Behe discusses a number of inferences to intelligent design including the Big Bang, the fine using of the Cosmos, irreducibly complex molecular machines, and the ability of natural selection to inhibit major evolutionary change.
 



God, The Universe and Everything Else

In a studio setting, Stephen Hawking, Arthur C. Clarke and Carl Sagan (who joins them via satellite) discuss the Big Bang theory, God, our existence as well as the possibility of extraterrestrial life.



Religulous

Bill Maher interviews some of religion's oddest adherents. Muslims, Jews and Christians of many kinds pass before his jaundiced eye. Maher goes to a Creationist Museum in Kentucky, which shows that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time 5000 years ago. He talks to truckers at a Truckers' Chapel. (Sign outside: "Jesus love you.") He goes to a theme park called Holy Land in Florida. He speaks to a rabbi in league with Holocaust deniers. He talks to a Muslim musician who preaches hatred of Jews. Maher finds the unlikeliest of believers and, in a certain Vatican priest, he even finds an unlikely skeptic.

With quotes from major figureheads like Thomas Jefferson, George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden, Bill Maher, with a Jewish-Catholic background, sets out to prove that having faith and seeking directions from God is basically ridiculous and may be due to a neurotic disorder. Interviewing Christians, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, scientists, gays, and atheists, he cites that the number of non-believers is increasing in North America. He attempts to prove his point by citing inconsistencies in the Bible, the controversial birth of Lord Jesus, the inability of religious heads to account for His absence for over 18 years, as well as the absence of any concrete evidence that disproves the theory of evolution.



Resolved: The Evolutionists Should Acknowledge Creation

William Buckley hosted a creation/evolution debate on the PBS show Firing Line 19 December 1997. The cast of debaters was impressive with four respected names representing each side. The debate was organized into a series of mini-debates, some one-on-one between two individuals, and some involving the whole group.



Something From Nothing: Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins

Join critically-acclaimed author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and world-renowned theoretical physicist and author Lawrence Krauss as they discuss biology, cosmology, religion, and a host of other topics.

The authors will also discuss their new books. Dawkins recently published The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, an exploration of the magic of discovery embodied in the practice of science. Written for all age groups, the book moves forward from historical examples of supernatural explanations of natural phenomena to focus on the actual science behind how the world works.

Krauss's latest book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing, explains the scientific advances that provide insight into how the universe formed. Krauss tackles the age-old assumption that something cannot arise from nothing by arguing that not only can something arise from nothing, but something will always arise from nothing.



The Black Hole War

Recognizing a contradiction in Stephen Hawking's claim that things disappear in black holes, Susskind and Gerard t'Hooft offered a counterargument aimed at disproving this controversial theory.

Susskind discusses the story behind the black hole conflict and how it has led to a better idea of how our universe works.



The Four Horsemen

On the 30th of September 2007, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens sat down for a first-of-its-kind, unmoderated 2-hour discussion, convened by The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and filmed by Josh Timonen.

All four authors have recently received a large amount of media attention for their writings against religion - some positive, and some negative. In this conversation the group trades stories of the public's reaction to their recent books, their unexpected successes, criticisms and common misrepresentations. They discuss the tough questions about religion that face the world today, and propose new strategies for going forward.



The God Debate II: Is Good From God?

The second annual God Debate features atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris and Evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig as they debate the topic "Is Good from God?"



The Nature of Human Beings and the Question of Their Ultimate Origins

Oxford University held its first debate on the subject of evolution in 1860, just months after the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Then, the Bishop of Winchester, Samuel Wilberforce, famously enquired of the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley whether it was through his grandmother or his grandfather that he traced his descent from a monkey. The response he drew from the man known as "Darwin's bulldog" ensured that the exchange went down in history.

On February 23rd, 2012, the university hosted what seemed tantalisingly like a similar clash of great minds, between the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and Professor Richard Dawkins – like Huxley, a bulldog on behalf of Darwin's theories. But anyone hoping for a dust-up would have been sorely disappointed, for the conversation was conducted with utmost politeness. The cleric even confessed his belief in evolution, and agreed with Dawkins that humans shared non-human ancestors. Wilberforce would be turning in his grave – assuming, as Williams does, that the soul survives death.



Voices of Reason - Aubrey Manning



Voices of Science - David Buss



Voices of Science - Lawrence Krauss

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss sat down for a public discussion at Stanford University on Sunday, March 9th 2008. The focus was on Science education, but the discussion also covered religion, physics, evolution and more.



Voices of Science - PZ Myers



Voices of Science - Steven Weinberg



What Best Explains Reality - Theism or Atheism?

Filmed at The College of New Jersey, Frank Turek and Christopher Hitchens meet again in their second debate to give their arguments for what best explains reality.