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Lawrence Krauss on Singularity.FM: Keep on Asking Questions

Prof. Lawrence Krauss is a world-famous theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and activist against superstition whom I have dreamed of interviewing for years. So, when we finally booked the date, I feverishly spent a full week reading his last 2 books and watching 20+ hours of his past interviews and documentaries. Alas, I got the flu and didn’t manage to sleep at all the last couple of days before the interview. Lawrence, in turn, had a root canal done just the day before. And so I feel that I could have and should have done a much better job of this interview but, as Krauss says, “most experiments fail the first time”. Good news is that I will use this as an excuse to ask for another interview.

During our 82 min discussion with Lawrence Krauss we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: his desire to enjoy the universe and have adventures; his activism in support of freedom from religion; the current case of a young Saudi Arabian sentenced to death for blasphemy; Krauss’ concerns about democracy in general and President Trump in particular; growing up in Canada and how that’s impacted on his view of the government; why he wears red Converse sneakers on stage; The Greatest Story Ever Told… So Far; his take on the technological singularity; Ray Kurzweil, futurism and teleology; why, like me, he disagrees with Jaan Tallinn on the greatest existential risk to humanity; D-Wave Quantum Computers and the  Penrose-Hameroff Quantum Theory of Consciousness; Frank J. Tipler’s claim about quantum mechanics and Christianity; the strengths and weaknesses of science and technology; free will, determinism, and ethics; death, immortality and the importance of asking questions

My favorite quote that I will take away from this interview with Prof. Lawrence Krauss is:

“The world is an amazing place that doesn’t need myth and superstition, but open questioning, awe and wonder.”

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. To show your support you can write a review on iTunes or make a donation.

Who is Lawrence Krauss?

Lawrence M. Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe.  He is currently Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Project, a national center for research and outreach on origins issues, from the origins of the universe to human origins, to the origins of the consciousness and culture.

Krauss received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982), then joined the Harvard Society of Fellows. In 1985 he joined the faculty of the departments of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University. In 1993 he moved to Case Western Reserve University as the Ambrose Swasey Professor and Chairman of the department of Physics.  He moved to take his current position in 2008.

Lawrence Krauss is the author of over 300 scientific publications, as well as numerous popular articles on physics and astronomy. He is the author of 10 popular books, including the international bestseller The Physics of Star Trek (1995) and most recently A Universe from Nothing (2012), which immediately became New York Times Bestseller and has now been translated into 24 different languages. It argues that not only can our universe naturally arise from nothing, without supernatural effects, but that it probably did.  His newest book, The Greatest Story Ever Told… So Far came out in March of 2017.

Prof. Krauss is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and writing and is the only physicist to have received the major awards from all three U.S Physics Societies.  His Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize from the American Physical Society (2001) summarizes his impact “For outstanding contributions to the understanding of the early universe, and extraordinary achievement in communicating the essence of physical science to the general public”.  In 2005 he was also awarded the Joseph P. Burton Forum Award from the American Physical Society for his work on issues of science and society.  In 2012, he was awarded The National Science Board’s prestigious national Public Service Award for his many contributions to public education and understanding of science around the world.

Hailed, by Scientific American as a rare scientific Public Intellectual, he frequently contributes to newspapers, including the New York Times and Wall St. Journal and regularly appears on television and radio, and he has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, and was a jury member at the Sundance Film Festival.  Krauss is also the subject of a new full-length feature film, The Unbelievers, which follows Krauss and Richard Dawkins around the world as they discuss science and reason. In this regard he has dedicated his time, throughout his career, to issues of science and society and has helped spearhead national efforts to educate the public about science, ensure sound public policy, and defend science against attacks at a variety of levels.  He serves as the chair of the Board of Sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and is on the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Scientists, and helped found ScienceDebate, which, in 2008, and 2012 helped raise issues of science and sound public policy in the Presidential elections in those years.

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  • kevinee

    You’ve got to admire the clarity of his intellect.

  • Yes indeed. And the even more impressive stuff is that, at least in my view, he is a much better writer than he is a speaker. So his books read even better than when he speaks, even though cosmology and theoretical physics are not exactly the easiest subjects, regardless of what Krauss says 😉

  • coop5571

    With someone as intelligent as this man you would certainly think he would know how much he doesn’t know. He obviously does not.

  • At 34:24 min:sec into this interview, the discussion turns to physicist and mathematician Prof. Frank J. Tipler. Physicist Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss incorrectly states that he destroyed Tipler in a debate. However, Krauss’s rebuttals to Tipler in that debate consisted of irrelevant arguments and bare assertions. One can view a video of this 2007 debate in the following resource, wherein I also give commentary on it:

    * James Redford, “Video of Profs. Frank Tipler and Lawrence Krauss’s Debate at Caltech: Can Physics Prove God and Christianity?”, alt.sci.astro, Message-ID: jghev8tcbv02b6vn3uiq8jmelp7jijluqk[at sign]4ax[period]com , July 30, 2013, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.sci.astro/KQWt4KcpMVo , https://archive.is/a04w9 .

    Prof. Krauss is a particle physicist. Whereas Prof. Tipler is not only an expert in quantum field theory (i.e., Quantum Mechanics combined with special-relativistic particle physics) but also an expert in Global General Relativity and computer theory. Global General Relativity (which is General Relativity applied on the scale of the universe as a whole) is the field created by Profs. Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking during the formulation of their Singularity Theorems, and it is the most elite and rarefied field of physics.

    Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology is a mathematical theorem per the known laws of physics (viz., the Second Law of Thermodynamics, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics), of which have been confirmed by every experiment to date. Hence, the only way to avoid the Omega Point Theorem is to reject empirical science. As Prof. Stephen Hawking wrote, “one cannot really argue with a mathematical theorem.” (From p. 67 of Stephen Hawking, The Illustrated A Brief History of Time [New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1996; 1st ed., 1988].)

    Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology has been published and extensively peer-reviewed in leading physics journals. It is a proof (i.e., mathematical theorem) demonstrating that sapient life (in the form of, e.g., immortal superintelligent human-mind computer-uploads and artificial intelligences) is required by the known laws of physics to take control over all matter in the universe, for said life to eventually force the collapse of the universe, and for the computational resources of the universe (in terms of both processor speed and memory space) to diverge to infinity as the universe collapses into a final singularity, termed the Omega Point. Said Omega Point cosmology is also an intrinsic component of the Feynman-DeWitt-Weinberg quantum gravity/Standard Model Theory of Everything (TOE) correctly describing and unifying all the forces in physics, of which TOE is itself logically forced by the aforesaid known physical laws.

    The Omega Point final singularity has all the unique properties (quiddities) claimed for God in the traditional religions. For much more on Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology and the details on how it uniquely conforms to, and precisely matches, the cosmology described in the New Testament, see my following article, which also addresses the societal implications of the Omega Point cosmology:

    * James Redford, “The Physics of God and the Quantum Gravity Theory of Everything”, Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Sept. 10, 2012 (orig. pub. Dec. 19, 2011), 186 pp., doi:10.2139/ssrn.1974708, https://archive.org/download/ThePhysicsOfGodAndTheQuantumGravityTheoryOfEverything/Redford-Physics-of-God.pdf , https://purl.org/redford/physics-of-god .

  • Nicholsp03

    “…..why is it that I am totally failing at this interview” – LOL. You didn’t fail. The conversation revealed the philosophies of two men. Perhaps if viewed in the context of Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle, Lawrence sat on the apex of Logos as you desperately tried to move him towards the Ethos corner. You almost got him but when you swung your efforts towards Pathos, he took advantage of your weakened pull and slammed you. Take heart. It was a telling interview. Thank you.

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