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War of the Worldviews: Science Vs. Spirituality Hardcover – October 4, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0307886880 ISBN-10: 0307886883 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307886883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307886880
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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. ...

About the Author

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.
www.DeepakChopra.com
 
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.
www.its.caltech.edu/~len

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Customer Reviews

Overall, I found this book to be interesting and a rewarding read.
Guitar Man
I found this debate between Leonard Mlodinow and Deepak Chopra an excellent book to show the different approaches between spirituality and the scientific process.
Amazon Customer
Try reading with a very open mind and just see if you can come to appreciate both sides better.
Michael Brooks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Howgate on November 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In Plato's Allegory of the cave human beings live confined and restricted in a subterranean cave which has a mouth open at one end to the light outside. The human occupants of this cave have been there since childhood and are shackled in such a way that there heads are immobile, with there gaze constantly fixed on the back of the cave, opposite the opening, upon which are projected shadows. Knowing no different, the constrained humans take the shadows on the cave wall to be reality. Some of the cave dwellers, being of a scientific disposition, spend their whole lives studying the movement of the shadows, recognising regularities and patterns, speculating as to their origins. Some shadows exhibit such regularity that laws of shadow behaviour are developed. So hypnotised by the shadow play are these cave dwellers that they little suspect the reason for there being any shadows at all is due to the light - that non of them have ever directly seen - coming from the mouth of the cave.

This scenario pretty much sums up the theme of this book. Deepak Chopra considers materialistic science to be engaged in the study of shadows. At the same time he feels science is ignoring, and indeed hostile to, the very thing that gives the shadows any reality at all, the light i.e. consciousness or spirit (both words are used interchangeably by Deepak as pointers to THAT which is itself formless and empty but which gives rise to all forms and potential).

Leonard Mlidinow argues that, without good reason to think otherwise, we must confine our interests, our studies, our investigations and inquiries to the shadows (the material world), limiting our hopes, dreams and desires to the shadow world. It is a naïve and vain hope to think there is anything else.
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97 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Lynette Diaz on October 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Being an admirer of Dr. Chopra for more than 10 years now and a perpetual seeker of truth, I was extremely curious about how he would stand against such a renowned and accomplished theoretical physicist and author who has famously collaborated with the single greatest scientific mind of our time, Stephen Hawking.

The initial difficulty I had with this work is that for every topic of discussion, no agreed-upon definition of terms was established. As a result, although they used the same terminologies, half of the time Chopra and Mlodinow appear to be discussing completely different subjects. Mlodinow in fact acknowledged this by stating: "It is easy to use words imprecisely in an argument, but it is also dangerous, because the substance of the argument often relies on the nuances of those words." After a few chapters however, along with the acceptance of this inconsistency, I began to completely enjoy each argument. Chopra is tenacious in living up to his role as a "researcher of consciousness". Mlodinow is lucid, erudite, engaging and effective as a writer.

During the course of reading this book, I went from having a teleological view of the world to what I can only describe as nihilistic -- and then back; only to find myself, at the end, to be somewhere in between. I think most readers will have a similar experience whether they are currently on the side of spirituality or science -- which speaks loudly of the effectiveness and significance of this collaboration.

What's most surprising (and ironic) to me at the end is the realization that Mlodinow's arguments have successfully reached into my soul -- he made me laugh, cry and marvel at the universe and humanity's existence. After reading this book, I'm in awe in finding myself wanting to become more of a student of science than of spirituality -- although one could argue that they are just two sides of the same coin of truth.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Dave Cunningham VINE VOICE on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I predicted I would favor Deepak Chopra's side of this age-old debate, since I have enjoyed several of his books ... but Leonard's clear, no-nonsense thinking and writing won me over. He makes the scientific approach sound so damn logical and irrefutable. At times during this read, I felt I was listening to Spock and Kirk arguing over the merits of logic vs. emotion, but in the end, Deepak's positions seemed untenable, no matter how hard he tried to squeeze out a convincing argument for that which cannot be supported by anything other than belief. I recommend the book for anyone who has wrestled with the science vs. spirituality debate in their own mind.
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72 of 86 people found the following review helpful By A. Burke VINE VOICE on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Physicist Leonard Mlodinow (co-author of The Grand Design) and popular New Age author Deepak Chopra team up for War of the Worldviews, a debate book which puts spiritualism against science. The book is divided up into sections about the universe, life, the mind, and religion, each of which contain several chapters phrased as questions. In these chapters the authors both answer these question in terms of their "worldview" and respond to one another over disagreements.

I generally enjoyed Mlodinow's sections. Though I disagreed with some points here and there (and though I'm sure other readers will disagree with entire swaths of his sections), he wrote in a very clear way which laid bare the way he looks at the world as a scientist. He explained the virtues he sees in skepticism and warned against wishful-thinking in the face of reality.

Chopra's sections, on the other hand, are a mess. Throughout the book he never makes his views very clear. He certainly distances himself from various forms of orthodox and fundamentalist religions, but in discussing his beliefs he prefers to use vague New Age buzzwords like "consciousness," "spirituality," and "evolution," where he is never consistent with their definitions. When he discusses evolution, for example, it's very difficult to tell whether he means biological evolution, the general concept of change, or some type of personal growth.

It is worth noting too that Chopra champions Darwin's theory, but he continuously fails to grasp basic concepts like "natural selection." This pattern is repeated for other areas of biology, as well as subjects within physics, cosmology, and neurology. Luckily, Mlodinow is usually there to set things straight on these scientific issues.
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