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Explanations That Transform the World

Hour 1: How important is our understanding of the world and universe we inhabit, and how does our understanding change over time? We’ll talk this hour with David Deutsch, Fellow of the Royal Society and professor of physics at Oxford University. His new book is “The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World” (Viking, 2011).

  • Jill Womack

    Love these programs that stretch my mind!  Thank you so much for the opportunity!

  • Dean Tinney

    Firstly, I a big fan of Krys Boyd.  She is able to interview truly deep thinkers with real and relevant questions developed with her team.  I immediatly sought a copy of this book at the nearest bookstore, where it was sold out.  The search will continue until I lay hands on this very important work.

    As to David and this particular book/topic:  These are the views of a great scientist as both researcher and philosopher.  Rather than relying on dogma to reinforce what is already believed; David Deutsch embraces his neotonous nature by realizing that the source of true progress is a combination of open minded curiosity and scientific method.  I would like to have made it into the call cue to discuss his comments on “intelligence”, since I am asked about this frequently.  My thoughts on this seem to be parallel  with Davids and I am curious to hear an expanded ’clarification’ on his description.  When people ask me about my IQ and its metrics, I try to explain that what is generally thought of as ‘Intelligence’ might be better understood as curiosity, knowledge storage and recall and realization or comprehension skills.  I believe that these traits are innate in some and can be developed in some who don’t naturally exercise them.
    The world needs to consider Davids thoughts on many topics, not the least of which is progress itself and all that is related to it.  As long as people continue to seek miniscule improvements on an existing technology, they will completely overlook the development of entirely new resources.  Most don’t realize that there is another way, so they spend time and money trying to ‘sharpen the existing axe’ rather than starting at the proper point of beginning…approach the new design by seeking to accomplish the bifurcation of the log through the most efficient means.  At the very least, to employ the axe in an entirely different way.
    We may not need to squeeze more efficiency out of petroleum fuel, we may be better served by searching for an entirely new energy resource or at least a completely new method of leveraging our current ones.  For instance, a scientist recently announced the development of photon antennae, gathering photon energy through the use of DNA components in a highly miniaturized array…now that’s the kind of innovation that will get us somewhere.  My Wife was stunned to hear this, since I’ve been saying for years that the only way to truly advance solar power systems is just like any other real advancement… a completely new harvesting system employing radically different components.  If only there was more time and more funding, I’d love to be on many of the teams that espouse this approach to development work.
    My hat is off to David Deutsch and as always, to Krys Boyd.


    Dean Tinney

  • Elliot Temple

    Thanks for doing the interview.

    If anyone is interested in more information about the book like an excerpt of the beginning, other interviews, etc…, check out:

  • Robinburke_ie

    Absolutely awesome show!!! A huge thanks to everyone at the Think show and KERA for broadcasting it.

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