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'Science and Faith' Discussion

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Hear four distinguished thinkers -- Benjamin Carson, Francis Collins, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett -- in a provocative discussion of "Science and Faith," recorded in Beverly Hills, California in 2006. The discussion is moderated by journalist Kathleen Matthews.

At age 32, Benjamin Carson became Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer in his field. In his operation on the Binder Siamese twins in 1987, he succeeded where all predecessors had failed, in separating twins joined at the head. Through his books and lectures, Dr. Carson eagerly shares the story of his success with young people. In his own words: "You do have the possibility of controlling your own destiny if you are willing to put in the appropriate amount of time and effort." Or, as he tells young people everywhere, "Think Big."

After completing a doctorate in chemistry, Francis Collins enrolled in medical school, determined to learn if the new discoveries in molecular biology could uncover the causes of hereditary illnesses. Dr. Collins developed techniques to map and identify genes that cause human diseases including cystic fibrosis and Huntington's disease. Today he is Director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, one of the largest undertakings in the history of science. This effort has charted the entire human genome, and is on its way to unlocking all of the mysteries of human heredity.

One the most influential scientists of our times, Richard Dawkins has been called "Darwin's rottweiler" for his outspoken defense of evolutionary theory. His 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, brought about a revolutionary change of perspective, in which the gene itself is seen as the object of natural selection. He also introduced the term "meme," analogous to the gene, to explain how natural selection might account for the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena, giving rise to the theory of memetics. He has aired his critical view of religious belief and the role of religion in history in a television documentary, The Root of All Evil?, and in his 2006 book, The God Delusion.

From his original dissertation, Content and Consciousness, to his magnum opus, Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett has confronted the philosophical problem of individual awareness, synthesizing advanced research in neurology, psychology, linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence to construct a persuasive model for the neurological basis of consciousness. Since 1971, he has taught at Tufts University, where he is Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies. He continues to explore the implications of his groundbreaking ideas in Freedom Evolves and Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.



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