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War of the Worldviews: Where Science and Spirituality Meet - And Do Not Paperback – 2 Oct 2012

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (CA); Reprint edition (2 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307886891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307886897
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 336,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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 shockinganswers."--Michio Kaku Prof. of Theoretical Physics, City Univ. of NY. Author of the "New YorkTimes" 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 betweenscience 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 Schafer, 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

"From the Hardcover edition.""

Book Description

Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow enter the territory of Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins, with this remarkable discussion of science versus spirituality --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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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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Format: Hardcover
This is a great book which I believe to be very important. It is interesting and readable, and I highly recommend it. It is a discussion from two contrary viewpoints about some of the basic questions of existence, as how the universe and life as we know it came about and what we are as living beings. It gives an overview of the current scientific view on these questions, and at the same time presents an alternative spiritual view. The two participants of the debate are Deepak Chopra, whose viewpoint is considered spiritual, and Leonard Mlodinow, whose position is that of common objective science. Their disagreements and different approaches to the basic questions of existence really made me think deeply on them, and that is what I believe is the real value of the book.

In earlier history, mans view of life was very much dominated by religion. In the latter decades, a more materialistic and atheistic scientific position has gained ground. It is based on actual observations and measurements of animate and inanimate physical objects, such as cells and structures of living organisms. Contrary to religion, it is considered by its proponents to be a purely rational approach to reality, as it is based on observable facts and not on religious dogmas.

The question is, however, if the materialistic science that Leonard and many other prominent scientists represent actually is as rational as they claim it to be. For instance, if I interpret Leonard correctly, it is a common view among scientists that creation could have sprung from a state of nothingness, and thus that life could have sprung from non-life, that intelligence, purpose and the laws of nature could have sprung from non-intelligence and that consciousness could have sprung from non-consciousness?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book presents a lively and engaging discussion that will hold something for most people interested in this debate. However - although this may just be a symptom of my own intellectual bias - I have to confess to yawning and/or despairing through much of Chopra's musings. I think it is a fair criticism of the book - rather than just of Chopra - that it wasn't so much a battle between `Science' and `Spirituality', but between `Science' and Deepak Chopra. By and large I feel Mlodinow succeeded in presenting an erudite and skilled overview of the scientific worldview, as understood and espoused by scientists. Chopra on the other hand uses `spirituality' as a vessel to promote his own particular brand of belief, that rejects much of organised religion, and embraces ideas of a universal quantum consciousness and thinking universe - which may well have succeeded in recruiting some agnostics to the Chopra Centre. I therefore expect many towards the spiritual/religious end of the spectrum will feel unrepresented by Chopra's arguments, and, in this format, would need to see a whole series of discussions to have their worldview adequately represented. So maybe this should be seen more as "War of the Worldviews: Science vs Chopra" and we should look forward to "Science vs Gellar", "Science vs Icke", "Science vs Scientology" in due course ...or at least until a proponent can be sought to represent spirituality in a less parochial and self-interested way?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"War of the Worldviews" contains a debate on science and spirituality between Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow. Chopra is a neo-Hindu/New Age self-help writer with at least one foot in Hollywood. Mlodinow is a quantum physicist who co-authored several books with Stephen Hawking. Subjects covered in the book include Darwinism, the mind-body problem and the future of religious belief.

Despite all the hype (both Larry King and the Dalai Lama recommends the book), "War of the worldviews" is incredibly boring. Both Deepak and Leonard - they use their first names throughout - pull a few verbal punches, but these sound contrived in the extreme. War? What war? At bottom, both writers agree that somehow science and spirituality can or should be harmonized, and both reject creationism or the hard line ID position. This, of course, narrows the battlefield considerably. Besides, Chopra and Mlodinow apparently worked together on their book, making the war metaphor even more contrived. If you want a real war, let Dawkins argue with Ted Haggard or Yousef al-Khattab!

Personally, I wish to declare neutrality in this war. I suppose I "should" support Deepak, but many of his concrete arguments are quite bad. Thus, I'm sceptical to the idea that quantum physics "prove" spirituality. At best, it suggests that a certain kind of crude materialism simply can't be the whole picture. However, I fail to see how a wave function is spiritual? Chopra's arguments against Neo-Darwinism also miss the mark (and no, I don't consider myself Neo-Darwinist). Thus, he doesn't make a clear distinction between genetic and reciprocal altruism, which Neo-Darwinism can explain, and "real" altruism, which it arguably cannot. It's also unclear why Chopra sees the intelligence of Border Collies as mysterious?
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