“The Case Against Reality” and The Hard Problem of Consciousness with Professor Donald Hoffman

What is the true nature of reality? Does the objective reality reported back by our senses paint a complete picture of the true reality? Is it possible that the world we see is not objective reality and it is just an interface to a deeper, true reality. In his book “The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes” cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman Challenges leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality. He argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. He presents the evolutionary concept of “Fitness Beats Truth” to demonstrate that evolution very probably moulded our minds for fitness rather than accuracy, resulting in the mismatch between “things-in-themselves” and our perceptions of them. In this episode of Bridging the Gaps I speak with professor Donal Hoffman; we discuss his “Interface Theory of Perception” and dig deep on latest research in cognitive science and perception, and how it relates to our understanding of the true nature of reality.

Donald Hoffman is a professor of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He is a cognitive psychologist and popular science author. His research focuses on perception, evolution, and consciousness.

We begin by discussing the present understanding of the hard problem of consciousness. Then we talk about Hoffman’s view that all main scientific theories, such as Einstein’s theory, theories and our present understanding of Quantum Physics and the theory of natural selection, all inform us that our present approach of trying to understand reality is not working. I then ask him that why in his view we have evolved in a manner that we don’t see the real underlying reality and we just perceive a superficial realty. We then discuss in detail his theory and ideas about the nature of reality. We touch upon the question that do we live in a simulation. We also discuss Panpsychism. Finally I ask that how the research on the question of the true nature of reality should proceed.

Complement this discussion with From Consciousness to Synthetic Consciousness: From One Unknown to Another Unknown with David Chalmers and then listen to Why You Are Not Your Brain? A Conversation on Consciousness with Alva Noe.

By |July 19th, 2022|Neuroscience, Physics, Podcasts|

“The Joy of Science” with Professor Jim Al-Khalili

Can living scientifically empower us to navigate the complexities of today’s complex and unpredictable world? Can the joy of critical thinking and the effectiveness of the scientific method assist us in making better decisions? Can living a more rational life help us navigate modern life more confidently? In his new book “The Joy of Science” acclaimed physicist Jim Al-Khalili invites readers to engage with the world as scientists have been trained to do. He shows how the fundamental principles at the heart of scientific thinking, as well as the scientific process, are profoundly relevant to the perplexing times we live in and the tough choices we make. In this episode of Bridging the Gaps, I speak with professor Jim Al-Khalili and we thoroughly discuss very interesting and deeply intriguing ideas that he presents in this book.

Professor Jim Al-Khalili is a theoretical physicist at the University of Surrey where he holds a Distinguished Chair in physics as well as a university chair in the public engagement in science. He is a prominent author, broadcaster and one of Britain’s best-known science communicators.

I start our discussion with the question that how the discipline of science should be perceived. We acknowledge that there are many ways scientific work is carried out in many different disciplines. We discuss the issue of “relative truth” and how biases held by individuals impact their opinions and distort their view and lead them to their own version of truth. We explore how science deals with the issue of relative truth. We probe how the scientific method enables us to continue researching in the presence of uncertainty. We investigate the impact of misinformation and disinformation on the disciple and cause of science. We also touch upon how rational humans can become; can we think rationally only up to certain point. We discuss in detail how scientific information should be presented to policy makers that should enable and empower them to make better decisions and to make the right choices. Finally, I ask Professor Jim Al-Khalili to tell us about his research in the field of open quantum systems. This has been a fantastic discussion.

Complement this with Asking Better Questions for Creative Problem Solving, Innovation and Effective Leadership with Hal Gregersen and then listen to On Public Communication of Science and Technology with Professor Bruce Lewenstein

By |May 13th, 2022|Biology, Future, Information, Knowledge, Physics, Podcasts, Research, Technology|

“Nano Comes to Life”: DNA NanoTech, Medicine and the Future of Biology with Professor Sonia Contera

Nano Comes to Like on Bridging the Gaps

Nanotechnology allows scientists to better understand, interact with, and manipulate biology by creating and manufacturing artificial structures and even machines at the nanoscale out of DNA, proteins, and other biological molecules. From nanoscale machines that can target individual cancer cells and deliver drugs more effectively to nanoantibiotics that can fight resistant bacteria, to the engineering of tissues and organs for research, drug discovery, and transplantation, nanotechnology is revolutionizing medicine in ways that will have profound effects on our health and longevity.

In this episode of Bridging the Gaps I speak with Professor Sonia Contera and we discuss fascinating research that she presents in her book “Nano Comes to Life: How Nanotechnology Is Transforming Medicine and the Future of Biology”. The book introduces readers to nanotechnologies, which are fast advancing and allowing us to influence the basic building components of life. Sonia Contera provides an insider’s view of this new frontier, explaining how nanotechnology permits a new sort of transdisciplinary science that has the potential to give us power over our own biology, health, and lifestyles. Sonia Contera is professor of biological physics in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. Her work lies at the interface of physics, biology, and nanotechnology, with a particular focus on the role of mechanics in biology.

We start by discussing the scale at which nanotechnologies function. The evolution of instruments and technology that allow us to perceive and interact with matter on such a microscopic scale is then discussed. The convergence of numerous sciences that are at the heart of such breakthroughs are then discussed, allowing us to build nano-scale structures from the ground up. We then discuss the fascinating research that enables researchers to design proteins on a computer simulator, figure out what kind of GENOME will make such protein from that simulated protein, create that GENOME, and then put it in a real cell to create that protein in reality. We also touch upon the cutting edge research in DNA Nanotechnology and other enabling technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, and the future of biology and medicine. This has been a fascinating discussion.

Complement this discussion by listening to “Artificial Intelligence: Fascinating Opportunities and Emerging Challenges with Professor Bart Selman and then listen to Is Philosophy Dead? On the Bittersweet Relationship Between Science and Philosophy” with Professor Tim Maudlin.