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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  July 6, 2013 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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they tend to spend a lot of money on fancy joy and this is looking at how to spend money and have better habits of your kids. >> this is a wonderful diary. it is a diary of a woman from chicago who grew up in chicago during the war. she was really smart, started at the university of chicago. and her daughter from her journals much later in life and published them. they publish this and it was a glimpse of what it was like to be part of the war. ..
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>> i'm going to turn it right over to curtis. i'm a long-time admirer of curtis white. published in "harper's magazine" and on the editorial advisory board is a quarterly and they turned to him for wisdom in darkness which often comes over me and i'm going to let him begin by explaining. you want him to talk as much as
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possible and so you can set up the premise of the book and then i have a few stray questions that i will ask you if the silence falls. >> well, from what i can tell so far one of the things that people out there whoever they are, readers, journalists, want to know was why i decided to write this book. i'm a novelist and not a science writer and the answer to that question is familiar for me but curious probably for everybody else. [laughter] >> i just had to turn it off. sorry, okay. >> as has happened more than once in my writing lifetime i was driving in the car,
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listening to npr and i just happened to hear a think it was on fresh air for those of you who know my book the middle mind. you will have a certain attitude towards fresh air and they were interviewing a journal where -- jonah lehrer whose book had just come out imagine how creativity works. as they drove along i was doing a slow boil as lehrer explained how creativity was basically a mechanical function and a chemical function of the brain. i dropped a -- and whatever he was saying. the other thing was how little resistance he seemed to get. i don't think it was terry gross but it was somebody and help
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basically the interviewer's attitude was how interesting, how interesting that is. but for me it was sort of a lebowski moment where i was staying this aggression will not stand, man. you know that famous line from lebowski. usually i am very poor as a writer as artist being told or given ideas for what to write and i really am very dependent upon these big lebowski moments. so i got the book and i started thinking about you know, what it amounted to and it sort of grew over time to become a much broader kind of critique of scientific technical rationality in the united states. it's important social implications. this book, "the big science delusion" has many moving parts.
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and so i thought that it would be good for all of us but especially good for me if ii, rather than trying to explain it by the seat of my pants by simply reading the introduction which is very short what will give us some common ground as we proceed into the evening. so if you will bear with me. oneone of the most astonishing spectacles of popular intellectual culture is the first decades of the 21st century has been the confused alarms of struggle and fight rising from the clash between the christian evangelicals and the scientists. at the very moment that the neocons take their child minded mythologies of christian right in defining ideology of the republican party scientific liberalism produced a series of
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triumphal books proclaiming the victory of science and reason over religion. the commercial success of these works led by richard dawkins, christopher hitchens "god is not great" rosenberg the atheist guide to reality and of course bill maher's lethal dose the movie religious is a phenomenon in the book world trade in any case it is clear that the story these writers have to tell this one from a powerful part of our culture once told an emphatically so. more recently a separate series of extraordinarily successful books lectures and articles have appeared concerning the advancement of scientific knowledge about the human brain, howard or somehow it possesses capacities that until now we have called consciousness and creativity. i will be focusing on three science writers, science journalist jonah lehrer and
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neuroscientist tony adovasio and sebastian soon. these writers are typical representatives of the field that their work is just a sliver of the total output. between the neuroscientist and their allies among the literature explaining the brain's wiring is fast and technically intimidating. unlike those scientists and critics at war with religion it is much less clear these writers have an antagonist or a part of our culture wars but it is obvious that there'll scientists are trying to explain phenomena that until a few decades ago were thought to be in the domain of philosophy, the arts and humanities. the surprising thing is how much interest and enthusiasm neuroscientist and their advocates have generated in the media and among readers. for example until his unfortunate fall from grace for lapses in journalistic ethics layer's imagine how creativity
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works was a bestseller and sebastian soon's lecture on the connect him has had over half a million views. there have been a few critiques of his work from academic philosophers like thomas nagel and alfred neale but there has been nothing remotely like the popular response to neuroscientist encroachment on the humanities. shouldn't there be voices as prominent as lair's asking questions? are we really just the percolating of electrons as alex -- believes. in our emotional lives have we been for all this time nothing better than they humiliated effort of the sandman who falls in love with olivia a seductive piece of clockwork? for all these centuries have our soulmates as monty teo called his electronically simulated
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girlfriend, then mere congeries of wiring chemical? our best ideas, are our ideas best understood as a gene like means for which the most important consideration is not truth but adapt the fitness? is the best way to understand our social behavior by tagging the genes, the selfish gene, the violence gene, the altruism gene, that passion gene, the romance gene. these are real things by the way. google them. or real claims. most importantly whether the neuroscientists are correct about all of this are not what are the social and political consequences of believing that they are correct or nearly so. i would like to ask in his interest to these scientists provocative is right into wet and? they would like us to think that their only interest is the establishment of knowledge that i will suggest that their claims
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are based upon assumptions many report are dubious if not outright deluded that the culture their delusions support is lamentable. i say lamentable because it is too late to say dangerous. it's already here and well established. one thing that can be safely said is that these ideas are not entirely new. nevermind the fact that they are at the cutting-edge of scientific knowledge. the truth is that the fundamental assumptions of modern scientific culture are part of the ideological baggage of the enlightenment. in his famous lectures on the roots of romanticism isaiah berlin express the ideology in this way. the view is that there's an nature of things such that if you know this made your know yourself and no yourself the norwegian shipped to this nature and understand the relationships between everything that composes the universe then your goals as well as the fact about yourself
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must become clear to you. at about all these things occur but there is such knowledge that is the foundation of the entire western tradition. the view is that of a jigsaw puzzle of which we must fit in the fragments of the secret treasure which he must seek. the essence of this view is that there is a body of facts to which we must submit. science submission science is being guided by the nature of things, scrupulous regard for what there is nondeviation from the facts understanding knowledge adaptation. my claim in this book is that the message of neuroscience at the kit is much the same as the so-called new atheist and the two should be considered together. the new atheist speak on behalf of science just as the neuroscientist do in the message of both camps is confess to the superiority of science and reason but it is not only through evangelicals that is
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directly dissents. it is also sent through another historical adversary art philosophy and the humanities. they are the directive goes something more like this. the human mind and human creations are not the consequence of something called the will or inspiration or communion with the diamond and least of all the result of genius. all that is nebulous. it is the week minded religion of the poets. the human mind is a machine of flesh neurons and chemicals. daniel dennett calls it moist robots. sometimes i think scientists don't see their own sense of humor. i don't think he is kidding. with enough money and computing power to jigsaw the puzzle of the jane -- my brain will be computed and we will know what we are and how we should act.
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the problem is to know just who it is that tends to believe in retail this enlightenment story. is this what science or popular science thinks or is it simply an abuse of science by people with social and political agendas? i think to bearing and unknowable degrees it is all three. it is certainly historically what most scientists in their heart of hearts have thought and still think. it is usually the fundamental assumption of popular science and science journalism and it is certainly an abuse of the real value of science is one of the great ongoing human endeavors. it is in its essence science ideology or scientism as it is often called. unfortunately, scientism takes its too two comfortable place in the broader ideology of social regimentation, economic exploitation and environmental construction and industrial
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militarism. that's for lack of a better word we still call capitalism. the ideology of science meshes with the broader ideology of capitalism will be a consistent interest of my investigation here. the only remaining question as is to what degree western culture are some meaningful part of that culture can free itself from the delusions and they are delusions, on which the ideology of science is based and find the resources to compose an alternative narrative about what it means to be human. i hope to show that many of those resources are to be found in the poorly understood tradition of romanticism. it was the nebulous movement that first challenged sciences jigsaw view of the world and yet on what grounds it did so and in the name of what contrary idea of nature and humanity it acted. all that is mostly lost to us now. the romantic tradition certainly is not in the public presence that science and rationalism
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presently enjoy. it cannot organize the equivalent of richard dawkins reason rally of 20,000 atheists in front of the washington monument. my more modest hope is to begin a process of remembering some part of that movement of artists, philosophers and yes social revolutionaries in order to see just what they might have to say to us now. i hope you will find that they can still speak very powerfully. >> well, that should be clear enough. maybe you can begin, let's take down you know continue with the lebowski moment and take down some of the semantics and then take down what you called it disgraceful book by hitchens, "god is not great." >> and intellectually shameful look. >> but one of the ways that you approach the delusion of science
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and let me read two sentences of your own. physics may be written in the language of mathematics but it is a very different thing to say that nature is written in the language of mathematics. physics is dependent upon mathematics that mathematics is not a science. math validity cannot be tested. in fact mathematics has no relation to experience at all. d may equal mc squared but that does not mean that we know what e is. that seems to me your central and to my mind extremely pertinent and correct take down of the -- people who i can't bear. go on about that. explain why. >> i think you are touching on the heart of an
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ideology and that goes back to what is essentially the galilean perspective on things, which is very close to what berlin called a jigsaw puzzle approach. in other words galileo felt two things. one, that ultimately everything was excludable and two, that reality, that mathematics was adequate to all of reality. so, that is sort of the starting point for a description of the ideology of science. beyond that, we can also say the fundamental dogma of science is a simple idea that there are objects. there are objects and those objects are related to each other mechanically.
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that is what makes it possible for a complete mathematical description of the world. of course what is left out of that account, what is underestimated by the galilean point of view is the fact that in order to have these arguments one must have an observer. so we are very familiar with einstein's theory of relativity which argues that you know, that time can vary depending upon where the observer is. whether the observer observers traveling in something close to the speed of light, time will slow down, right? but what the einsteinian and tradition seems interested in is the question is what is the observer? in other words science presupposes the existence of an observing subject.
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and it's not curious about just exactly what we mean by an observing subject. and of course a lot of 19th century philosophy was very interested in what it meant to be an eye, what it meant to be a subject, what it meant to be in relationship to the world. and one of the primary discoveries of that tradition and 19th century philosophy was of course that you never seem to be able to get back to a purer eyes. there is always something contaminating it and that contaminants for them i wrote and i didn't use the word in a pejorative sense, was that contaminants for them was language. or the symbolic. so from the point of view of many of the artists and
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philosophers that i talk about in the look, it's critical to understand that our relationship to the real is always mediated in one way or another. no matter how thin that distance between the self and its world is, it's always there. and that needs to be explained. that needs to be taken into account, but it is something that most scientists especially of the ideological sort are very impatient with. they don't want to have to talk about how the eye is constituted in what it and what it means to be an observer. they want simply to be able to say like doctors stand l. johnson famously did, does the world exist? isaiah does. that sort of gesture for them cuts through the malarkey of how to think through the function of
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language and the subject. but to me, when science behaves in that way or thinks enough way it's obvious to me at least that it's important to be able to account for what it means to be an observer and what the role of language and observation is, with the world of symbolic observation is amiss. this goes back to the philosopher immanuel kant. he called the thing in itself unknowable. what we have instead of the thing itself was experience and the only way we knew how to make sense of experience at the time was what he felt was a prioritize structure of language
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and mathematics. that's only way we know how to make sense of experience. experience with self means nothing without language. i'd go so far in the book as to say that you know, this universe , scientists are so legitimately interested in, it's not present at all without the presence of language errors or symbol there is. the university exist because of language as the philosopher martin heidegger says language is the house of beams. i voiced then persuaded by that. >> the point is that the it is and the i am is a joint venture. >> exact way. >> the world is something that we find but we also invented. >> exactly. >> the mathematics is a very poor language.
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it's not as rich a language as the poetry, pure and simple. you talk about it is presented to us between faith on one hand and reason on the other hand and you suggest a third modus operandi which is home zero analogous, the making of metaphor, the making of a symbol. and man is the maker of symbols and the maker of language and the reality in which we all live is each and every one of us is again a joint project of what is there and it's like the heisenberg visible. and the thing that is so wonderful about your book is not only do you show the delusion of the scientists who think somehow
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mathematics is a science but then people like hitchens and dawkins who have this ideology. they actually don't know anything about religion. they assume that human decency is innate. they assume that reason is defined but they offer no proof of that and they cannot say what the reason is. so talk about that too because, and then take apart the scientific delusion. take apart -- people like hitchens and then get to german romanticism and where you are finding -- i was not familiar when i read
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this book because i am a romantic. [laughter] get us back to a little bit on hitchens, the reason crowd and then get back to german romantics. >> right. i think one of the saddest things that i discovered in writing this book was just how willfully ignorant the new atheists are at the history of religion. i mean, i am an atheist myself. it is being an atheist means to believe not in the certain ceo god that's it's god visits out there beyond things and twiddles his thumbs. god has two thumbs. we hope.
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but i have been a student of theology and religion and i find it really fascinating. it is fascinating as a human document, as a metaphorical document but there is no evidence that hitchens who has no -- for not knowing this history in -- history or know anything about it. for instance the gospel can come from very different intellectual worlds. one is jewish, one is gnostic, the book of john is gnostic and then of course paul is, of course he was not one of the gospel writers but paul is his own creature. nor is he interested in the history of sort of the development of the church and the way in which the nicene
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council essentially was the declaration of war on christianity by christianity. and made what was then called the area in christianity. we all know that aryans if you know anything about unitarianism they are direct descendents of the aryans. so all that seems to me really significant and important. moreover, they seem to have no interest in the romantic or existential secularizing of the christian traditions and christian theology in the works for examples of some german idealists or the famous works in the great said criticisms of
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christendom as he called it are people like martin lugar or paul tillich. that just seems completely absent and what seems to me to be sad about that is it's not simply that they were willing to be so intellectually dishonest about what they were doing, but that the culture as such or at least a part of the culture is such was so enthusiastic about christianity. what that implies to me is that nobody seems to know these stories anymore. and so are willing to take what is essentially propaganda, ideology in a sense to heart. gather with richard dawkins in front of the washington monument. >> these thoughts in these ideas
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were dangerous in the 17th and 18th century and these are clip jobs on voltaire and mark twain and robert ingersoll. it's pathetic. >> hitchens in particular. other than to say he was an utterly dishonest person i can't understand how he didn't know that stuff and why he didn't feel was possible for providing it in his work. >> i knew christopher and liked him but -- >> you probably drank scotch with him, didn't you? >> i did. he could drink more but then i could though. he was a washington correspondent for harvard magazine for a while and a brilliant polemicist and sophists but i mean he was very good about making the argument where the money was.
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so as you say, that retreading of the discovery that "god is not great" which is old news. all right, talk about -- no, you have a wonderful passage in the look where you talk about metaphor and you talk about your parents and you say that parents don't do metaphor. now explain that and explained why human beings do metaphor, so the human being is the only creature that can say what it's like to be a parent. >> this was a brief aside to the book and i take issue with the philosopher thomas nagel's
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famous -- on what it's like to be a bat and he argues essentially that there must be something that it's like to be a bat and the problem for philosophy and the problem for scientist to find out what it's like to be a bat. my repost to that was you know using my parents as an example as i often do for anything, for my parrots, it's like nothing is like being a parrot. they are simply a parrot and they are very good at being a parrot. i have this one little footnote that i put in there just because i can't entirely suppress my common theme in which i asked one of my pet parrots what she was like and she said good girl. to which i said, i replied and that made me think the parrot
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didn't have any idea what they were like because she is the farthest thing from a good girl. we actually call her -- her name is albertine after the harrowing so we call her teeny, teeny one to many, one too many birds. >> all right, now let's take another idea or one of the other ideas. this book but the way is magnificently rich with ideas. you can go on all kinds of directions but in the introduction you read you talked about scientism as the conserve and of capitalism. the language of numbers, the human being as product, as code and the strength of your romanticism is in language.
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it's in poetry and let me read you something and ask you to comment on it along the same lines. this is the essayist george steiner who was saying that, he's talking about the loss of languages happening to us over the last 150 odd years with and coming of the television media and the internet here the true catastrophe of apple is not the scattering of tongues. it's the reduction of human speech to a handful of planetary multinational tongues. anglo-americans standardized vocabularies, grammar shaped by military technocratic megalomania and the imperatives of commercial greed. which is the voice of money talking to money and the voice that tony morrison when she accepted the nobel prize in 1993 denominated as the language that drinks blood. happy to admire its own
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paralysis, possessed of no desire or purpose other than maintaining the free-range of narcotic narcissism. , predatory, sentimental, exciting reference in school children providing a shelter or despot's. language designed to sanction ignorance and preserved privilege. that to me is the language of scientism. talk about capitalism. talk about the barbaric heart, another one of your books and connect the ideology of scientism with the capitalist devouring of the earth. >> one of the constant means if you will of scientism is the idea that we are machines, that we are like computers. if we want to talk about the brain we have to talk about its wiring. this is not only you know false
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on the face of it. it's actually no evidence that the brain is like this. they are using a metaphor. the brain is far more labile and dynamic and changeable then wiring will allow. this assumption, most of the books on narrow signs have been most consistent about and the ideological function of that idea is i think pretty clear. for example in relation to the sort of creativity and jonah lehrer's but there is this idea that if the same part of the brain lights up when beethoven writes a symphony or bob dylan writes a song, and when somebody
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comes up with a logo for a 10 issue which is essentially what he argues believe it or not, if the same part of the brain lights up the most activities go on they must be the same because when it be elitist for us to say that no, that part of dylan's brain lights up that it must be in some sense better than that part of the brain when it lights up for milton glaser and he comes up with the i heart new york, that you must live with everyday. what that allows that sort of sleight-of-hand, what it allows lehrer to do is to move creativity without denying -- it allows you to move creativity almost seamlessly into the workplace. so, for example eyesight the ge motto at present is a
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imagination an imagination at work which i point out is rhetorically identical to work makes you free but it also makes you creative. and so that seems to me a really powerful and troubling ideological consequence. thinking you are a machine. so the more you think you are like a machine the tendency would be that you would be more likely to accept the idea that you should accept a position and a roll and a function within your society that is as much machine like is that society can make it. so you know we have very limited role jobs that we are obliged to claim as our own. >> the division of charlie
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chaplin. >> exactly, modern times. >> we live in a world where does the machine that thinks that it's the man that does the function of the machine. >> these are not things that are new but they are sort of sadly out of the way right now. >> no, no they have been suppressed and you are here to revive them. >> i am trying in my own little way. >> talk about art. the end of the 18th century, 19th century romanticism is in art and particularly in music that you know you can quote shobha neisser and slagle and all those wonderful people but what do you mean by the human being reaching the height of philosophy through art rather than through mathematics?
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>> i talk a lot about romanticism in the book and one of the things i try to do is redefine its because now it's a 30 word. >> right and he's just a romantic or whatever. it's pejorative in most people associate the idea of growth romanticism with nature and walks in the woods and get inspired by a waterfall. that is actually a really lazy way of thinking about romanticism and a gross stereotype. the roots of romanticism are really in german he and i take great pains to make accessible for nonprofessional readers the philosophy of friedrich schiller and also friedrich shelling. shiller in particular is the
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touchstone for romanticism in general as i understand it and the primary thing is not the nature for shiller. it's anything but that. he said you can go out and see a flower. fine. it will alienate you. that is how you should think about romanticism. it starts with the idea of alienation of feeling that you are not part of your own world. now shiller blames this alienation by what he calls the misery of culture and i would say in the present the ideology of science is substantially responsible for the misery of culture. >> and it reinforces it. it's the defender of the misery. >> you are right. work in this country, the issue of work.
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the right part in shiller is his idea that the romantics as artists, their primary responsibility, their primary chore as an artist was to refuse the world as it was and the roles that have been provided for them as people, people like your co-workers that you work with and to move into art for the purpose of creating an alternative world and for the purposes of -- so if they didn't like the limited roles that coulter had provided for them they would invent their own roles. so the idea of the genius or the poet, are really new rules to be -- for people to inhabit just as the beatnik was, just as the bohemian was, all those new
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rules for human beings to an abbot as a way of fleeing the roles that the dominant culture had provided. so that is a very different way of thinking about the function of romanticism and it allows us to think that romanticism is not something that existed in a very limited kind of age, period at the beginning of the 19th century but something that has never stopped. we have boys had artist. there has always been art in which primarily identified with a certain kind of dissidents through the creation of art. one of my favorite philosophers that is the all art is rule governs the formation. it's not deforming, it's not art. the reason for that deformation
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is not a joy in the ugly or something like that. it's a desire to be free of a dominant culture. >> let me read again one of your sentences on precisely this point. for the romantic the most desirable cisada -- society is not one organize for the benefit of the nobility or the church or capitalism or even science and reason but one that maximizes the tolerance for play. artists play. the spirit is played. freedom is play. i am totally in agreement with that statement but you can go on about it. >> in preparing to write this book i read a lot of the early primary texts in german philosophy in romanticism and i was stunned by how often the word play was a primary ethic.
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for the romantics made sure was playful. nature was dynamic. nature was always sort of rolling the dice as einstein famously said. god does not roll the dice. but nature does, it certainly does. and play then became a kind of ethic for the romantic and the most desirable human society was when in which people were free is to create their own world, to create their own role within the world. that was a sort of ethical principle that moved the romantics most. i was really surprised at how often i found that wordplay. it is taken up by the coleridge because coleridge was the one who brought german idealism over to england and by the great
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english romantic poets of the period. >> it's also understanding media you have got a long riff on the object of life being played. what kind of time do we have? we are now at an hour. >> i now see the interview poll. >> questions? >> i think we have got and all the things out that we wanted to get out. [inaudible] science itself -- and i apologize for not reading the book yet. i'm not sure if you're familiar with his work but he wrote a book called the guest method where he argues that anything that really has a rigorous
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formulation is not true science and he uses the galilean revolutiorevolutio n as is an example of that and everything was called science before that when it was overturned by the work that galileo did an and similar things happen with einstein. i was wondering if you had anything to say hestia that science itself may be in antarctica process rather than one that follows through. >> i do talk about that at some length. in other words, the randomness that functions in science proper. this is not an anti-science book. i love reading science books. one of the great pleasures of retirement for me was that i got to from my university was finally being able to read this shelf, the books about science and the history of science the books about string theory, supersymmetry all this stuff.
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who knows if the string theory is true? it is absolutely an anti-empirical kind of theory but it is for me a delightful story. and i think one of the things that science as a community but certainly the science ideologist like dawkins don't understand is they are telling the story too. certainly the idea that everything, that there is no such thing as nature there is an ecosystem and everything is systematized, that is a story. the problem i think is the culture begins to believe that story. but science as such it has always been dependent upon what's his name clinics somebody. [laughter]
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[inaudible] >> you right. that's much too sciences credit. zients get most excited when it's turning over what it already established as new. that is much too sciences credit and that is a form of play. the thing that is disturbing is how much science ideologies want to dismiss the arts and philosophy from the room. they want to say that it's dead or you can't learn anything from it. i have extensive quotes from different books about this or that it's for entertainment only. so they don't really believe it but that is a fundamental function. >> george steiner has a recent book called the politics of thought and he analyzes the pros of important thinkers in some of the various thinkers.
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you think part of the problem with lehrer and gladwell is the paucity of their very language? do you think if they were writing more complexly they would have more room for an allowance for metaphor there? >> i think you would need a brain transplant. [laughter] or a very different drugs than the one they use. yeah. it's hard to imagine. i mean there are -- they are ideologues so they are doing what they want to do which is push a certain point of view because for some reason they think it's in their interest to do that. scientists like dawkins are very jealous of the idea as his lawrence krause with cosmologist very jealous of the idea that science has in the privileged perspective on what will count as fact or truth.
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for me they are purveyors of truth. they are truth. >> you have been reduced to an odd silence. >> everyone agrees. that is what i think. >> one of my favorite passages in the book is where you talk about these crazy [bleep]. >> that can't pass. >> alienated that to be the outsider within the company. can you elaborate on that a little bit of? >> it's a form of co-optation. for example silicon valley
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claims a certain kind of hippie genealogy and bringing everybody in with their skateboards and their tattoos and their nose piercings or whatever. but sort of i call that fake bohemian culture. so silicon valley and that kind of capitalism, a creative economy is sort of knowingly manipulating the idea of dissidents that is part of the romantic tradition but putting it to work for a very come on a fight purpose. there is a quote in their the uses a word that we can't have on c-span in all likelihood, which i have used the word dude instead of the word that they use but this one guy employing
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what he called weird dudes in his madison avenue company you know makes no bones about it. he says you know we can't have all the straight guys and do advertising. we need creative types so we bring in these weird dudes and we milked some other weirdness and after a couple of years we bring in some more weird dudes. so there is no real respect for that the parents of the counterculture. it's a very fraudulent appearance. >> in large part also the flower children of the 60s were an invention of the media in order to sell clothes. [laughter] i mean if you look it up you will see that is the way it worked. >> i will go over another round as well. i respect that you are not calling out the sciences or any of the scientific advances and
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only the ideology behind it that i was curious what you think of some of the more mathematic -- though i was a little upset by some of the math bashing going on. there is bennett girdled primarily of beautiful mathematical formations to quantify the indecision of mathematical language and really almost any language you can really think of and i was wondering if you think that is germane to your point or a different thing? >> my problem with mathematics is with the claim that mathematics is entirely adequate to be real which is false. [inaudible] music is mathematics and a higher form. [laughter]
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>> so, i can't remember what i was going to say. so yeah i like it. nothing against meth. >> mathematics is a substructure. you see that in a lot of -- >> sure. that is the next thing on my retirement list. >> jonah lehrer was a bestseller but when it all came apart there was a great zeal and almost joy in taking him down. is there any, does that speak well of our society? >> frankly i mean journalists
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are getting in trouble all the time. visio as you say was almost like a lynch mob and it's the attitude toward him now is that he can never have a job again. how is the poor guy supposed to live? cut him some slack. but i think a lot of that fire comes from the fact not just that he committed journalistic sins that he was a spokesperson for a point of view. he was carrying a load. he was caring and massive load and he screwed it up. so it's really a mainframe that had gone out of him. >> in recognition of that, they didn't say that but a lot of their ire is that you made the position we gave you a responsibility. behind the scenes of course no one even has to be able to say it.
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he messed up. >> shall we call it there? i know i am tired. you are obviously in good shape. thank you all. >> making the transition from journalism to books is exhilarating and completely overwhelming and frightening but wonderful. >> why did you make that choice? >> i made that choice, i'd long wanted to be working on a book just because of the freedom it allows you to dive into a topic and use yourself and go off on tangents and have enough time to really explore it fully.
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>> sunday taboo scientist living in space the afterlife in the human digestive system. >> what are you reading this summer? booktv want to know. >> hi i am robert costa the washington editor of the "national review." i have a lot of books i want to read there is a political journalist i'm looking ahead to the 2016 presidential race at the candidates who are probably going to run space in the public inside one of the people i'm looking at is chris christie so i picked up his new book called chris christie the inside story of his rise to power by bob ingle and michael simon. it's a fun read so far and it takes you back to the chris christie political ascent in new jersey. before he became u.s. attorney he was a moore's county freeholder involved in a lot of county politics and so it takes us behind the story, behind a
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politician we see on the magazine covers with president obama new jersey and it really asks who is chris christie? as told by people who know new jersey politics. it's a fun read so far and i would recommend it. chris christie is a likely contender need you have to know where he came from and what his politics mean ahead of the election. the second book on my list is by a colleague kevin d. williamson who wrote in a book called the end is there and it's going to be awesome, how growing broker will weave america richer happier and more secure. one reason i think is because a lot of fun is the fiscal cliff early in 23 -- was a big stir recovered and "national review" but later this year we will have a story that consumes congress and ted williams and looks at the dead from a political perspective a historical perspective and talks about the consequences of debt and how does taking up a lot of congresses time, how could potentially run the country and may potentially go broke and he does it with some wit, with some fun so i think the end is near is a great look by kevin
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williamson. third on my list is this town by dark leivowitz. as a journalist in washington there's always talk about what's really happening behind the scenes and how stories really get written who is leaking to who the power struggles not only with the politics but the media. mark leivowitz has the ear of the beltway crowd is coming out with a book in july. this town is all about the inside scene in washington in dupont circle and bethesda and georgetown. the book gives us the story of washington and the political media establishment is all about. for fun a book i'm really looking forward to reading is called mickey and willie. the parallel lives of baseball's golden age and one of my favorite sportswriters allen baer. i was in spring training in arizona watching my cleveland indians in chicago cubs played baseball and play baseball and i ran into willie mays who is getting up there in age. this book looks at two men making man who came of age at the same time and started the
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same time and formed a lifelong friendship ,-com,-com ma something i never knew so that is a great book and a big book for baseball fans this summer. that is my list and looking forward to reading them all. ..

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