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Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe [Kindle Edition]

Bob Berman , Robert Lanza
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (389 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world—a US News & World Report cover story called him a “genius” and a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe.

Every now and then a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationship with the world. For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of Earth as ball of rock was nonsense. The whole of Western, natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, increasingly being forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory, and at the same time, towards doubt and uncertainty in the physical explanations of the universe’s genesis and structure. Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around.

In this paradigm, life is not an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics. Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe—our own—from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism will shatter the reader’s ideas of life—time and space, and even death. At the same time it will release us from the dull worldview of life being merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal.

The 21st century is predicted to be the Century of Biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to begin the century by turning the universe outside-in and unifying the foundations of science with a simple idea discovered by one of the leading life-scientists of our age. Biocentrism awakens in readers a new sense of possibility, and is full of so many shocking new perspectives that the reader will never see reality the same way again.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“I found the attack on physics to be pretty compelling ... Lanza's theories [are] certainly worth debate.”
Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger, SciGuy blog

“What makes this book both interesting and worth the effort of reading it; is the unique perspective Lanza brings to the subject matter as a physician. ... From the way [Lanza] chooses to present his arguments, it's clear he has a solid grasp of esoteric disciplines like quantum theory, special relativity and particle physics. And what makes his presentation more compelling than other efforts I've encountered is his ability and willingness to weave personal experience into the thoughts and ideas presented. His style is conversational and warm which tends to pull you along through the exposition gently. And his sense of wonder and befuddlement at shop worn enigmas like the double slit experiment, Bell's theorem, non-locality and Schrödinger's cat is as infectious as it is delightful ... I very much like what Lanza has to say in Biocentrism.”
Midwest Book Review

Endorsements for Robert Lanza’s essay on which Biocentrism is based:
“For several days now I have read and reread your article and thought about it. Like ‘a brief history of time’ it is indeed stimulating and brings biology into the whole. Any short statement does not do justice to such a scholarly work. Almost every society of mankind has explained the mystery of our surroundings and being by invoking a god or group of gods. Scientists work to acquire objective answers from the infinity of space or the inner machinery of the atom. Lanza proposes a biocentrist theory which ascribes the answer to the observer rather than the observed. The work is a scholarly consideration of science and philosophy that brings biology into the central role in unifying the whole. The book will appeal to an audience of many different disciplines because it is a new way of looking at the old problem of our existence. Most importantly, it makes you think.”
E. Donnall Thomas
Thomas was awarded the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington and Director Emeritus of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“It is genuinely an exciting piece of work. I am very familiar with some of the things you say. The idea that consciousness creates reality has quantum support, as you suggest, and also coheres with some of the things biology and neuroscience are telling us about the structures of our being. To put what you are doing in a larger context, it exhibits a dramatic new Copernican reversal. Just as we now know that the sun doesn’t really move but we do (we are the active agents), so you are suggesting that we are the entities that give meaning to the particular configuration of all possible outcomes we call reality. I think this is a great project.”
Ronald Green
Green is the Eunice and Julian Cohen Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Values, and Director of Dartmouth College’s Ethics Institute. Professor Green is a well-known religious studies scholar and former Chairman of the Department of Religion

“Robert Lanza, a world renowned scientist who has spanned many fields from drug delivery to stem cells to preventing animal extinction, and clearly one of the most brilliant minds of our times, has done it again. ‘A New Theory of the Universe’ takes into account all the knowledge we have gained over the last few centuries, and correlates them to our own beings, placing in perspective our biologic limitations that have impeded our understanding of greater truths surrounding our existence and the universe around us. This new theory is certain to revolutionize our concepts of the laws of nature for centuries to come.”
Anthony Atala
Atala is an internationally recognized scientist, and the W.H. Boyce Professor, Chair, and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“As an astrophysicist, I focus my attention on objects that are very large and very far away, ignoring the whole issue of consciousness as a critical part of the Universe. Reading Robert Lanza’s work is a wake-up call to all of us that even on the grandest scale we still depend on our minds to experience reality. Issues of “quantum weirdness” do have a place in the macroscopic world. Time and space do depend on perception. We can go about our daily lives and continue to study the physical Universe as if it exists as an objective reality (because the probabilities allow that degree of confidence), but we do so with a better awareness of an underlying biological component, thanks to Dr. Lanza. I cannot speak for NASA or other NASA scientists, but personally I look forward to hearing a more detailed explanation of this biocentric view of the Universe from Dr. Lanza.”
David Thompson
Thompson is an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His contributions include the building and flying of prototypes of EGRET, which was launched by the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1991. He is currently with the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, and has received both the Goddard Space Flight Center & NASA Group Exceptional Achievement Awards.

“Yes, it is appropriate to ask whether our perception of space and time is a consequence of our particular neurophysiology. Yes, it is appropriate to ask how it happened that the conditions worked out to be just right for life to appear somehow on earth and then to evolve from the archaea through the eukaryotes to us. ... I’ll bet the book gets a good audience. And I like to see books published that challenge my own ideas and thoughts in ways that make me think, but not ones that simply throw dogma at me. The essay is definitely of the former kind.”
R. Stephen Berry
Berry is James Franck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago. Professor Berry is a member (and recent Home Secretary) of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. He was also former Vice President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and MacArthur Prize “Genius” Fellow.

“Science has a token of freedom that motivates scientists to study all logical possibilities that may explain the world. Robert Lanza has come up with an innovative approach to investigate reality from the viewpoint of biology. His article demands an answer to the question of whether scientists have exhausted all possible tools for studying nature. Can science bring biology into grand unified theory? A solution is suggested that involves a new concept, biocentrism. Lanza goes beyond the individual human attribute calling for interconnectedness among all living creatures forming the fundamental basis for understanding reality. A book that expands upon this unique approach is warranted, not only to alert society, but to call on it to test this novel new hypothesis.”
Gunther Kletetschka
Kletetschka is a geophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He is also a Research Professor of Physics at Catholic University of America and leading scientist working on the James Web Space Telescope.

“It’s a masterpiece—truly a magnificent essay. Bob Lanza is to be congratulated for a fresh and highly erudite look at the question of how perception and consciousness shape reality and common experience. His monograph combines a deep understanding and broad insight into 20th century physics and modern biological science; in so doing, he forces a reappraisal of this hoary epistemological dilemma. Not all will agree with the proposition he advances, but most will find his writing eminently readable and his arguments both convincing and challenging. Bravo.”
Michael Lysaght
Lysaght is Professor of Medical Science and Engineering at Brown University and Director of Brown’s Center for Biomedical Engineering.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Robert Lanza's essay "A New Theory of the Universe," on which Biocentrism is based:

"Like A Brief History of Time, it is indeed stimulating and brings biology into the whole.... The book will appeal to an audience of many different disciplines because it is a new way of looking at the old problem of our existence. Most importantly, it makes you think." ―E. Donnall Thomas, 1990 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine

"It is genuinely an exciting piece of work.... The idea that consciousness creates reality has quantum support ... and also coheres with some of the things biology and neuroscience are telling us about the structures of our being. Just as we now know that the sun doesn't really move but we do (we are the active agents), so [it is] suggesting that we are the entities that give meaning to the particular configuration of all possible outcomes we call reality." ―Ronald Green, director of Dartmouth College's Ethics Institute

"Robert Lanza, a world-renowned scientist who has spanned many fields from drug delivery to stem cells to preventing animal extinction, and clearly one of the most brilliant minds of our times, has done it again. `A New Theory of the Universe' takes into account all the knowledge we have gained over the last few centuries ... placing in perspective our biologic limitations that have impeded our understanding of greater truths surrounding our existence and the universe around us. This new theory is certain to revolutionize our concepts of the laws of nature for centuries to come." ―Anthony Atala, internationally recognized scientist and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine


Product Details

  • File Size: 825 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B004P7T9YC
  • Publisher: BenBella Books; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003PJ6UHA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,063 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
352 of 387 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, challenging and kind of creepy June 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Challenging assumptions is always excellent mental exercise. In this book Robert Lanza takes on one of the key tenets of modern thinking: that all scientific disciplines ultimately reduce to physics. In its place he offers the provocative thesis that biology is primary, and the Universe literally flows from the conscious perceptions of living creatures.

On its face this sounds absurd, which demonstrates all the more just how brilliant this man is. He draws on findings from quantum physics and anatomy studies to establish a series of foundational principles for his biocentric theory, which he then elaborates on and defends.

He begins by reminding us of something we all know but rarely think about: that reality is literally "all in our heads." We don't see the sunset, we see the interpretation of it our brain creates. We don't smell the rose, we experience the sensation of a scent created by a neural network.

We believe that these impressions are imposed on us by what Stephen Hawking calls the RWOT (Real World Out There). But our evidence for this belief amounts to subjective internal experiences! In pointing this out Lanza shifts the burden of proof to the physicalists, who assert that the outside world is what is truly real, while our qualia are illusory.

He expands on this thought by citing evidence from quantum physics.
The famous two slit experiment, observations of split photons switching spin directions simultaneously, and observations of true backwards causation (the present determining the past) are all cited. Einstein once asked a colleague if he truly believed that the moon wasn't in the sky if no one was looking at it. Lanza would reply "of course it's not!
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207 of 231 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating proposal for a paradigm change July 7, 2009
Format:Hardcover
I've just finished reading the book and there is still a lot I need to process. The comments I have read (not so much here but on other sites) have been, not surprisingly, mostly negative. Personally I do think Lanza is on to something important. Reading the many criticisms of his ideas, however, makes me aware that evaluating biocentrism is going to be very difficult because it is a proposal for a paradigm shift. By definition, a new paradigm always appears to be nonsense from within the established paradigm. A proposal to change from one paradigm to another is very different than a proposal to replace one idea with another within a paradigm. Most of biocentrism's critics, it seems to me, are treating it as if it's the latter rather than the former.

It's been a long time since I read Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions but this is, I think, one of its most profound insights. For example,from the Ptolemaic perspective Copernicus and Galileo were crazy. Their critics and persecutors were not unreasonable. What Copernicus and Galileo were proposing, however, was a change in reason. As Kuhn shows, the shift from one paradigm to another is inevitably messy and chaotic. In the end, a new paradigm is finally adopted for very pragmatic reasons: it works, or at least works better than its predecessor.

For this reason, I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of what Lanza is proposing. He is being critiqued from within the assumptions of the paradigm he is seeking to replace, which is understandable and even inevitable, but nonetheless very confusing. For example, traditional Christianity and modern science have debated whether God created the universe or whether it originated spontaneously in an event like the Big Bang.
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129 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Lanza and Hawking converge? June 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must concur with all of the thoughtful reviews so far presented that Robert Lanza and Bob Berman have crafted a beautifully written account of a potentially revolutionary idea. Where as most current cosmological theories represent life and consciousness as emergent, and even accidental, properties of an otherwise lifeless universe. Dr. Lanza proposes, to the contrary, that life and consciousness are actually fundamental properties of the universe and all that it represents, so much so that the universe cannot possibly exist without life to give it reality.

From this simple idea, some might immediately assume that Dr. Lanza is seeking to justify a form of Intelligent Design or Creationism, but that would be a huge mistake. Dr. Lanza is a consummate scientist who fully embraces the latest knowledge that science has brought us, from evolutionary theory to relativity and quantum mechanics. His biocentrism, in fact, proposes to make sense of some of the most perplexing discoveries that quantum mechanics has revealed together with Einsteinian relativity, and he does this in the most engaging, patient (to this layman), and conversational style, with a minimum of mathematics. He even takes the time to explain the little math that he uses for the most innumerate among us to understand.

Basically, he contends that any unobserved universe can only exist in a state of probability that requires living observation and measurement to give it any certain reality. Some have assumed that Lanza refers only to human consciousness and question the idea on this very basis: what gave the universe reality before humans arrived? However, it is clear that he is referring to consciousness as it exists, to one degree or another, in all forms of life, known and unknown.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting concept about reality and consciousness.
Mind blowing. This book backs up in science what intuition has been saying to me for decades. The concept it presents is hard to swallow but forces you to think about this... Read more
Published 8 days ago by T-dog
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant!
Published 11 days ago by Brian Orion
5.0 out of 5 stars Your life will not be the same. Read this.
Fascinating to the core. a real eye opener about why we absolutely must change our way of thinking on mental health issues and take positive action. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Peter Blaxter
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting book on a very interesting subject
A very interesting book on a very interesting subject
Published 17 days ago by Juan Cahis Llugany
4.0 out of 5 stars I think his is a good book and it I will give it a 4 ...
I think his is a good book and it I will give it a 4 star, I like it and I thing you should red it also.
Published 21 days ago by rose
2.0 out of 5 stars Harry Potter Fantacy
Although it is apparent that Lanza is brilliant and his writing style is superb, I find his logic and use of scientific data are stretched into the realm of fantasy. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Lindsay
3.0 out of 5 stars good read
Not too deep in physics theory but enough to shake you a bit from what you think you know. Definitely will open your mind.
Published 24 days ago by L. L. Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
I liked the ideas... I wondered about his choices from his personal experience and wonder whether or not they supported the ideas..
Published 25 days ago by The Tank
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting time to be alive
Excellent book! Very accessible for people who are not scientists.Well written. Exciting points. Illustrates what a profound and wondrous time it is for us to be alive on this... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Janet Pearlman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fascinating. Well-written. Thought-provoking.
Published 1 month ago by Diana Tormey
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Biology trumps Physics
Exactly, I'm a layman with great interest in this subject and having a reasonable understanding of the progress in particle observation and theory coming out of it I agree physics needs more 'outside the box' thinking. I have a friend and a sister with degrees in physics and it has been difficult... Read More
Oct 27, 2009 by George Berreman |  See all 7 posts
Biocentrism and Christian Science
Thanks, Karen. You've convinced me to buy Lanza's book!
Oct 8, 2013 by jazzrascal |  See all 5 posts
C. Tucker
Well known??? Post some significant links that prove your delusional post. The fact remains that "many" investors whom believe in Dr. Lanza have lost tons of their "savings" which have greatly impacted their lives. While Dr. Lanza is off writing a book. These are reasonable... Read More
May 15, 2009 by C. Tucker |  See all 3 posts
Advanced Cell Technology
"calling people stupid on a message board "
I never called you "stupid", I simply stated that your question was stupid. Their is a big difference. My question is do you know Dr. Lanza? Have you walked any steps in his life? I bet you have not, so what makes you think you... Read More
May 5, 2009 by DeAngelo |  See all 9 posts
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