The Conversion of Abraham to Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Added: March 31, 2008
Abraham is often described as the common father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three traditions that venerate his memory. Noted Harvard Professor of Jewish Studies, Jon D. Levenson argues that Abraham both separates and links the surviving Abrahamic religious communities and does so in interesting ways.

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Coping With Stress - Staying Sane Through Difficult Times

Added: March 26, 2008
Stress is ubiquitous and on the rise. How we learn to manage it can have profound effects on our health and well being. This series explains how our bodies experience stress and demonstrates effective strategies to help you thrive in a fast-paced world. On this edition, Susan Folkman, Professor of Medicine and Director, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF explores how to stay sane through difficult times.

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What the Bleep Do We Know - Down the Rabbit Hole


What the Bleep do We Know ?

What the Bleep Do We Know!? (also written What tнe #$*! Dө ωΣ (k) πow!? and What the #$*! Do We Know!?) is a 2004 film, followed by an extended 2006 DVD release, which combines documentary-style interviews, computer-animated graphics, and a narrative that posits a connection between quantum physics and consciousness. The film suggests that individual and group consciousness can influence the material world through quantum mechanical means. The plot follows the story of a fictional deaf photographer as she struggles with her life.

Academic reaction
Scientists who have reviewed What the Bleep Do We Know!? have described distinct assertions made in the film as pseudoscience. Amongst the concepts in the film that have been challenged are assertions that water molecules can be influenced by thought, that meditation can reduce violent crime rates, and that quantum physics implies that "consciousness is the ground of all being." The film was also discussed in a letter published in Physics Today that challenges how physics is taught, saying teaching fails to "expose the mysteries physics has encountered [and] reveal the limits of our understanding." In the letter, the authors write "the movie illustrates the uncertainty principle with a bouncing basketball being in several places at once. There's nothing wrong with that. It's recognized as pedagogical exaggeration. But the movie gradually moves to quantum 'insights' that lead a woman to toss away her antidepressant medication, to the quantum channeling of Ramtha, the 35,000-year-old Atlantis god, and on to even greater nonsense." It went on to say that "most laypeople cannot tell where the quantum physics ends and the quantum nonsense begins, and many are susceptible to being misguided," a situation which the authors attribute to how in the current teaching of quantum mechanics "we tacitly deny the mysteries physics has encountered."
Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion" stated that "the authors seem undecided whether their theme is quantum theory or consciousness. Both are indeed mysterious, and their genuine mystery needs none of the hype with which this film relentlessly and noisily belabours us", concluding that the film is "tosh". Professor Clive Greated wrote that "thinking on neurology and addiction are covered in some detail but, unfortunately, early references in the film to quantum physics are not followed through, leading to a confused message". Despite his caveats, he recommends that people see the movie, stating, "I hope it develops into a cult movie in the UK as it has in the US. Science and engineering are important for our future, and anything that engages the public can only be a good thing." Simon Singh called it pseudoscience and said the suggestion "that if observing water changes its molecular structure, and if we are 90% water, then by observing ourselves we can change at a fundamental level via the laws of quantum physics" was "ridiculous balderdash." According to João Magueijo, reader in theoretical physics at Imperial College, the film deliberately misquotes science. The American Chemical Society's review criticizes the film as a "pseudoscientific docudrama", saying "Among the more outlandish assertions are that people can travel backward in time, and that matter is actually thought."
The film's central theme -- that quantum mechanics suggests that a conscious observer can affect physical reality -- has also been refuted by Bernie Hobbs, a science writer with ABC Science Online. Hobbs explains, "The observer effect of quantum physics isn't about people or reality. It comes from the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and it's about the limitations of trying to measure the position and momentum of subatomic particles... this only applies to sub-atomic particles - a rock doesn't need you to bump into it to exist. It's there. The sub-atomic particles that make up the atoms that make up the rock are there too." Hobbs also discusses Hagelin's experiment with Transcendental Meditation and the Washington DC rate of violent crime, saying that "the number of murders actually went up." Hobbs also disputed the film's use of the ten percent myth.
David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make it appear that he endorses the film's thesis that quantum mechanics are linked with consciousness. He says he is "profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness."
In the film, during a discussion of the influence of experience on perception, Candice Pert notes a story, which she says she believes is true, of Native Americans being unable to see Columbus's ships because they were outside their experience. According to an article in Fortean Times by David Hambling, the origins of this story likely involved the voyages of Captain James Cook, not Columbus, and an account related by historian Robert Hughes which said Cook's ships were "...complex and unfamiliar as to defy the natives' understanding". Hambling says it is likely that both the Hughes account and the story told by Pert were exaggerations of the records left by Captain Cook and the botanist Joseph Banks. Historians believe the Native Americans likely saw the ships but ignored them as posing no immediate danger.

What the Bleep part 1

Language and the Mind Revisited

Language and the Mind Revisited, The Biolinguistic Turn

UC Berkeley presents the The Charles M. and Martha Hitchcock Lecture series, featuring linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky. Chomsky examines biolinguistics - the study of relations between physiology and speech.

Language and the Mind Revisited - The Rest of the World

Influential linguist and political Activist Noam Chomsky discusses the properties, design and theories of language in this Hitchcock lecture presented at UC Berkeley.

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What Can Physics Say About Life?

A Nobel Laureate and distinguished physicist, Chu is credited with developing new methods to cool and trap atoms with laser lights. This groundbreaking scientific research uses advanced optical technology and has implications not only for physics, but also for biology. Presented as part of the Hitchcock Lecture series at UC Berkeley.

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Brain Mind and Behavior: Defining the Mind

Take a look into our current understanding of the function of the human brain and some of the important diseases that cause nervous system dysfunction. On this edition, Dr. Sophia Vinogradov of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center explores the mixing of visual perception, emotion, and memory and the interplay of the different functions of the brain.

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Bruce Feiler: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths

Bruce Feiler, best-selling author of six books including Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses, delivers a lecture based on his latest book, Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths. Feiler talks about the meaning of Abraham in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths and his personal quest to better understand this historical figure.

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The Diversity of Development: The Evolution of Complexity

The living world is made up of complex biological systems. At the level of the individual, the most complex of these systems is the human brain. But the process of evolution has produced even more complex systems, such as tropical reefs and rainforests, that are made up of millions of interacting species. UCSD Professor of Ecology Christopher Wills explores how this complexity evolved and what genetic and ecological processes complex systems have in common.

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Brain Mind and Behavior: Emotions and Health

Take a look into our current understanding of the function of the human brain and some of the important diseases that cause nervous system dysfunction. On this edition, Jason Satterfiled, director of behavioral medicine at UCSF, explores the emotions and health and the promise of mind-body medicine.

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How Does Your Memory Work? BBC Horizon

Aired: March 25, 2008 on BBC2

You might think that your memory is there to help you remember facts, such as birthdays or shopping lists. ... all » If so, you would be very wrong. The ability to travel back in time in your mind is, perhaps, your most remarkable ability, and develops over your lifespan.
Horizon takes viewers on an extraordinary journey into the human memory. From the woman who is having her most traumatic memories wiped by a pill, to the man with no memory, this film reveals how these remarkable human stories are transforming our understanding of this unique human ability.
The findings reveal the startling truth that everyone is little more than their own memory.

Horizon: How Does Your Memory Work?

The Muslim Jesus

The story of the Islamic Jesus – a man born of a virgin, and a man who performed miracles, but there was no crucifixion and no ... all » resurrection. Yet there is a Second Coming, when he shall descend in the clouds as a Muslim to destroy the Jews and 'the swine'.
The Muslim Jesus uses the Quran and other Islamic texts to explore the differing ways in which Christian and Muslim faiths both acknowledge Jesus.
Scholars, teachers, parents, rappers, poets and historians come together for the one hour special narrated by Melvin Bragg.
The differences between the Quran and Bible’s portrayal of Jesus are explored in detail, from the role of Mary and his death and resurrection, to the coming of the Anti-Christ.

The Muslim Jesus

Neil Turok: An African Einstein TED | Talks | 2008 TED Prize wish(video)

About this Talk

Accepting his 2008 TED Prize, physicist Neil Turok speaks out for talented young Africans starved of opportunity: by unlocking and nurturing the continent's creative potential, we can create a change in Africa's future. Turok asks the TED community to help him expand the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences by opening 15 new centers across Africa in five years. By adding resources for entrepreneurship to this proven model, he says, we can create a network for progress across the continent -- and perhaps discover an African Einstein.

TED | Talks | Neil Turok: 2008 TED Prize wish: An African Einstein (video)

Karen Armstrong:Charter for Compassion 2008 TED Prize wish: TED | Talks |(video)

About this Talk

As she accepts her 2008 TED Prize, author and scholar Karen Armstrong talks about how the Abrahamic religions -- Islam, Judaism, Christianity -- have been diverted from the moral purpose they share to foster compassion. But Armstrong has seen a yearning to change this fact. People want to be religious, she says; we should act to help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help her build a Charter for Compassion -- to help restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.