I really enjoy the big surprises I sometimes get when following links from sites that relate to subjects I'm researching.
Not long ago, while reading a post on Science & Religion Today, I came across one that brought me to a site called Closer to Truth, which I'd never seen before (no surprise there), and which turned out to be a very rich and worthwhile stop currently focusing on three of the biggest topics around: Cosmos, Consciousness, and God. CTT, as it's also known, is the creation of Robert Lawrence Kuhn, an interesting guy who, among other things, is an international investment banker specializing in China, an advisor to the Beijing government on economic policy, a television producer, and an author. But he started out by studying human biology, eventually earning a Ph.D in brain anatomy from UCLA, which reminds me of a favorite line from one of my favorite songwriters, James McMurtry:
You never know when you leave the house / You might come home by a different route
McMurtry doesn't have a Ph.D, but he sure knows people.
Closer to Truth Opening Screen. Source: closertotruth.com
And Kuhn knows how to ask good questions and put together a compelling series. This is how CTT describes itself:
Closer To Truth is the definitive series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God, a global journey in search of the vital ideas of existence. It is the most complete, compelling, and accessible series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God ever produced for television.
Closer To Truth explores fundamental issues of universe, brain/mind, religion, meaning and purpose through intimate, candid conversations with leading scientists, philosophers, scholars, theologians and creative thinkers of all kinds. The shows are a rich visual experience, shot entirely on location in high definition with multiple cameras generating rich production values. The visual lushness of the high definition, on-location productions, combined with the intriguing titles of the shows, builds audiences already interested in mankind's greatest questions . . .
It is the mission of Closer To Truth to become the most publicly prominent venue for heightened understanding and thoughtful discussion of Cosmos, Consciousness and God for broad television audiences.
I don't know where they are in terms of a following, but the current group of 39 shows (13 each on the three main subjects) is airing on some 278 PBS stations across the U.S. All episodes, as well as shows from previous seasons, can also be watched in full or in part on the website. Some of the programs focusing on Cosmos are: Where are They, All those Aliens?, Does God Mix with Science?, Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life and Mind?, and How Vast Is the Cosmos? On Consciousness: Why Is Consciousness so Mysterious?, Do Persons Have Souls?, What Is the Mind-Body Problem? On God: What are Possible Worlds?, Is God Necessary?, Does Evil Refute God's Existence? I've sampled several already. Science fiction writer and space scientist David Brin is entertaining on "missing" aliens.
Brin is just one in a very large and diverse group of participants who engage in one-on-one conversations with Kuhn on these and other topics. It's an impressive cast all right, including some key figures in cosmology, planetary science, and extraterrestrial life.
Kudos to Robert Lawrence Kuhn for making this very human search real and accessible.
Next stop: Rare Earth
Banner bus photo credit: Dorothy Delina Porter.