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War of the Worldviews: Where Science and Spirituality Meet -- and Do Not [Kindle Edition]

Deepak Chopra , Leonard Mlodinow
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $11.40
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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?

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews


“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, author of The Self-Aware Universe and How Quantum Activism Can Save Civilization

“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

“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, Director of Genetics and Aging, Massachusetts General Hospital

“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 s...

About the Author

DEEPAK CHOPRA is the author of more than fifty books translated into over thirty-five languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers in both the fiction and nonfiction categories.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2123 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307886891
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4X2WG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,922 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less of a war.More of a misunderstanding. November 4, 2011
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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99 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time! October 5, 2011
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 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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73 of 87 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mlodinow's sections made the book a worthwhile read. 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to understand for me
I am learning new things with this book but it's hard to understand a lot of the scientific terms.
Published 7 days ago by Philip A. Kelley
2.0 out of 5 stars Everyone Gets to Go Home With a Prize
The book started out as a one sided dialogue between the two authors (which is to say Chopra ranted and Mlodinov addressed it), but that only lasted about four chapters, at which... Read more
Published 13 days ago by J.
3.0 out of 5 stars I can't like Chopra's part
The book has two parts: Mlodinow's part and Chopra's part.
As a scientist, I can't like Chopra's part. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Felipe
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for the few not satisfied with science.
Do not recommend this book for everyone, but if you have a reasonable understanding of science it's a terrific book. If you love current science theory you will hate this book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joseph J Veverka
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my favorite authors!
Published 2 months ago by P. Davis
1.0 out of 5 stars A painful read
I normally like Mlodinov's writing. This is more of a "bantering" back and forth from two of the most opposite viewpoints you can ever imagine. Read more
Published 6 months ago by W. Cotter
5.0 out of 5 stars A good companion book is "The Clockwork Universe" by Edward
A thoughtful exploration of why we are here...with reasonable arguments on both sides. A good companion book is "The Clockwork Universe" by Edward Dolnick
Published 7 months ago by NHR
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fight of Facts Against Faith
This book is a cordial debate between physicist Leonard Mlodinow and New Age author Deepak Chopra on the fundamental questions of existence. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Timothy Walker
3.0 out of 5 stars Mlodinow's part was great, Chopra's not so much
No stars for Deepak Chopra, 5 stars for Leonard Mlodinow. Chopra spouts plenty of word salad deepities (it sounds profound but really has either trivial meaning or no meaning at... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lyle Sanders
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
Thought I would have to be a scientist to understand much of this book but it turned out to be fascinating and thought provoking. Think I might read it again.
Published 10 months ago by Ellen Baird
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