So, according to famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, it’s time to free ourselves from Mother Earth. “I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space,” Hawking tells Big Think. “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.”
Hawking says he is an optimist, but his outlook for the future of man’s existence is fairly bleak. In the recent past, humankind’s survival has been nothing short of “a question of touch and go” he says, citing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963 as just one example of how man has narrowly escaped extinction. According to the Federation of American Scientists there are still about 22,600 stockpiled nuclear weapons scattered around the planet, 7,770 of which are still operational. In light of the inability of nuclear states to commit to a global nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the threat of a nuclear holocaust has not subsided.
In fact, “the frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future,” says Hawking, “We shall need great care and judgment to negotiate them all successfully.” (…)
Cosmos Magazine featured an article by Hawking earlier this week called To Boldly Go: My Life in Physics, which is a edited version of the address he gave at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada in June this year.
In addition there’s a lecture on YouTube he gave at Boston University for The Institute for Human Sciences in 2007:
Slovenian-born Slavoj Žižek, a postmodern philosopher and cultural critic, addresses perception, identity, and the “other” in an engaging lecture titled Fear Thy Neighbor as Thyself: Antinomies of Tolerant Reason. The lecture takes the audience on an enlightening journey through the perceptions of identity and tolerance.
And finally there’s a program by the Dutch broadcaster VPRO on Žižek called Living in the End Times According to Slavoj Žižek:
Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, aka The Elvis of cultural theory, is given the floor to show of his polemic style and whirlwind-like performance. The Giant of Ljubljana is bombarded with clips of popular media images and quotes by modern-day thinkers revolving around four major issues: the economical crisis, environment, Afghanistan and the end of democracy. Žižek grabs the opportunity to ruthlessly criticize modern capitalism and to give his view on our common future.
We communists are back! is the closing remark of Slavoj Žižek’s provocative performance. Our current capitalist system, that everyone believed would be smoothly spread around the globe, is untenable. We find ourselves on the brink of big problems that call for big solutions. Whatever is left of the left, has been hedged in by western liberal democracy and seems to lack the energy to come up with radical solutions. Not Žižek.
Professor of Philosophy Elliott Sober analyzes Charles Darwin’s critique of religion and Christianity. Darwin’s stance that an omnipotent God would not have been so evil, Sober argues, was shaped by the amount of cruel suffering the naturalist observed while in the field.
The split between creationism and evolutionism has been the cause of massive debate, which has increased in recent years. One side, led by Richard Dawkins, uses the theory of evolution to disprove the existence of God, while the other uses their belief in the existence of God to disprove the theory of evolution.
Speaking as part of the Sydney Ideas lecture series, Philosopher Elliott Sober argues that it is philosophically consistent to believe in both God AND evolution, and examines the religious views of Charles Darwin, and his late-in-life crisis of faith.
Professor Elliott Sober received his PhD in philosophy from Harvard University. He has taught at Stanford University and the London School of Economics, and is currently the Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.