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Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe (Anglais) Broché – 13 avril 2010

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Building on quantum physics, Biocentrism turns the planet upside down with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around. The central claim of Biocentrism is that what we call space and time are forms of animal perceptions rather than external physical objects. Lanza and Berman take readers on a fascinating journey through a foreign universe - our own - that will alter their perception of reality for ever.

Biographie de l'auteur

Robert Lanza "Robert Lanza was taken under the wing of scientific giants such as psychologist B.F. Skinner, immunologist Jonas Salk, and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. His mentors described him as a 'genius,' a 'renegade thinker,' even likening him to Einstein himself." --US News & World Report cover story Robert Lanza has been exploring the frontiers of science for more than four decades, and is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has several hundred publications and inventions, and 20 scientific books, among them, Principles of Tissue Engineering, which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. Others include One World: The Health & Survival of the Human Species in the 21st Century (with a foreword by President Jimmy Carter), and the Handbook of Stem Cells and Essentials of Stem Cell Biology, which are considered the definitive references in stem cell research. Dr. Lanza received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was both a University Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, and was part of the team that cloned the world's first human embryo, as well as the first to clone an endangered species, to demonstrate that nuclear transfer could reverse the aging process, and to generate stem cells using a method that does not require the destruction of human embryos. Dr. Lanza was awarded the 2005 Rave Award for Medicine by Wired magazine, and received the 2006 "All Star" Award for Biotechnology by Mass High Tech. Dr. Lanza and his research have been featured in almost every media outlet in the world, including all the major television networks, CNN, Time, Newsweek, People magazine, as well as the front pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, among others. Lanza has worked with some of the greatest thinkers of our time, including Nobel Laureates Gerald Edelman and Rodney Porter. Lanza worked closely with B.F. Skinner at Harvard University. Lanza and Skinner (the "Father of Modern Behaviorism") published a number of scientific papers together. He has also worked with Jonas Salk (discoverer of the polio vaccine) and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. Bob Berman "this is a fascinating guy" --David Letterman "fasten your seatbelts and hold on tight" --Astronomy magazine Bob Berman is the most widely read astronomer in the world. Author of more than one thousand published articles, in publications such as Discover and Astronomy magazine, where he is a monthly columnist, he is also astronomy editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac and the author of four books. He is adjunct professor of astronomy at Marymount College, and writes and produces a weekly show on Northeast Public Radio, aired during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 200 pages
  • Editeur : BenBella Books; Édition : 1 (13 avril 2010)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1935251740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935251743
  • Dimensions du produit: 1,9 x 15,2 x 22,9 cm
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6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Jan le 14 mars 2014
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
A completely different outlook on how life and the universe are entangled in a way that one cannot exist without the other. This book had me riveted. It made me look at the world in a different way. Often I'd stop reading and just look around me, to try and experience the theory.
Absolutely fascinating.
For those who enjoy the world of physics, quantum physics, spirituality and how we perceive 'reality'.
Very rare I read a book twice, with this one I did.
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Amazon.com: 528 commentaires
408 internautes sur 447 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Brilliantly written, challenging and kind of creepy 10 juin 2009
Par Free Thinker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Challenging assumptions is always excellent mental exercise. In this book Robert Lanza takes on one of the key tenets of modern thinking: that all scientific disciplines ultimately reduce to physics. In its place he offers the provocative thesis that biology is primary, and the Universe literally flows from the conscious perceptions of living creatures.

On its face this sounds absurd, which demonstrates all the more just how brilliant this man is. He draws on findings from quantum physics and anatomy studies to establish a series of foundational principles for his biocentric theory, which he then elaborates on and defends.

He begins by reminding us of something we all know but rarely think about: that reality is literally "all in our heads." We don't see the sunset, we see the interpretation of it our brain creates. We don't smell the rose, we experience the sensation of a scent created by a neural network.

We believe that these impressions are imposed on us by what Stephen Hawking calls the RWOT (Real World Out There). But our evidence for this belief amounts to subjective internal experiences! In pointing this out Lanza shifts the burden of proof to the physicalists, who assert that the outside world is what is truly real, while our qualia are illusory.

He expands on this thought by citing evidence from quantum physics.
The famous two slit experiment, observations of split photons switching spin directions simultaneously, and observations of true backwards causation (the present determining the past) are all cited. Einstein once asked a colleague if he truly believed that the moon wasn't in the sky if no one was looking at it. Lanza would reply "of course it's not!"

In reading this book I was reminded of some of the implications of Relativity. It occurred to me that there are no absolute measurements of length. What my tape measure says is three feet would not be that at all
for someone traveling at 99.99% of light speed. Nor would my estimation of the distance from my living room to Disneyland be the same as theirs. And their figures would be just as valid as mine! If space and time are completely dependent on the perspective of the observer, then in what sense are they real?

I have to also comment on Lanza's excellent writing style. He makes esoteric concepts understandable to laypeople like me. He also injects quite a bit of his life story into the text, talking about how he escaped from a less than ideal upbringing to become a medical doctor and a highly regarded research scientist. Being from a very similar background, I was able to identify with his struggles, though my resume is nowhere near as impressive as his.

This book so successfully challenged my current view of reality that it actually left me feeling a little unsettled, "creepy." But it also gave me an abundance of food for thought. Am I convinced he's right? Not yet. But I suspect he may be. So will you. This book gets my highest recommendation.
240 internautes sur 267 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fascinating proposal for a paradigm change 7 juillet 2009
Par Douglas Kings - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I've just finished reading the book and there is still a lot I need to process. The comments I have read (not so much here but on other sites) have been, not surprisingly, mostly negative. Personally I do think Lanza is on to something important. Reading the many criticisms of his ideas, however, makes me aware that evaluating biocentrism is going to be very difficult because it is a proposal for a paradigm shift. By definition, a new paradigm always appears to be nonsense from within the established paradigm. A proposal to change from one paradigm to another is very different than a proposal to replace one idea with another within a paradigm. Most of biocentrism's critics, it seems to me, are treating it as if it's the latter rather than the former.

It's been a long time since I read Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions but this is, I think, one of its most profound insights. For example,from the Ptolemaic perspective Copernicus and Galileo were crazy. Their critics and persecutors were not unreasonable. What Copernicus and Galileo were proposing, however, was a change in reason. As Kuhn shows, the shift from one paradigm to another is inevitably messy and chaotic. In the end, a new paradigm is finally adopted for very pragmatic reasons: it works, or at least works better than its predecessor.

For this reason, I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of what Lanza is proposing. He is being critiqued from within the assumptions of the paradigm he is seeking to replace, which is understandable and even inevitable, but nonetheless very confusing. For example, traditional Christianity and modern science have debated whether God created the universe or whether it originated spontaneously in an event like the Big Bang. When Lanza says consciousness creates the universe he is not now offering a third alternative. Rather, he is proposing a model in which origins-in-time questions are meaningless.

For Lanza, the universe is created and re-created in our consciousness every time we interact with it and this is its most important moment of creation. To many/most, such an observation will seem obvious and inconsequential. Lanza's assertion is that in practice this is much more significant a truth than we are aware. Ignoring the universe in our heads, he maintains, is leading scientists and others to numerous misunderstandings and on a whole assortment of fruitless quests (e.g. for a TOE/ "theory of everything or GUI/ "grand unified theory").

In the long run, biocentrism will be judged on its utility. Lanza is certainly right in identifying the many problems that exist with our current model of reality, which are more profound and consequential than probably most people realize. It will take awhile to see if biocentrism is the replacement model that both addresses these problems and opens up new avenues for exploration and problem solving. In any case, I think Lanza has opened up a path that needs to be explored.

Biocentrism is not overly long or technical and is well written, including several enjoyable and even moving passages from Lanza's own life. It will certainly make you think and see things from a different perspective, which I believe is always a good thing. Strongly recommended.
151 internautes sur 172 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Perhaps Lanza and Hawking converge? 11 juin 2009
Par Daniel J. Rose - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I must concur with all of the thoughtful reviews so far presented that Robert Lanza and Bob Berman have crafted a beautifully written account of a potentially revolutionary idea. Where as most current cosmological theories represent life and consciousness as emergent, and even accidental, properties of an otherwise lifeless universe. Dr. Lanza proposes, to the contrary, that life and consciousness are actually fundamental properties of the universe and all that it represents, so much so that the universe cannot possibly exist without life to give it reality.

From this simple idea, some might immediately assume that Dr. Lanza is seeking to justify a form of Intelligent Design or Creationism, but that would be a huge mistake. Dr. Lanza is a consummate scientist who fully embraces the latest knowledge that science has brought us, from evolutionary theory to relativity and quantum mechanics. His biocentrism, in fact, proposes to make sense of some of the most perplexing discoveries that quantum mechanics has revealed together with Einsteinian relativity, and he does this in the most engaging, patient (to this layman), and conversational style, with a minimum of mathematics. He even takes the time to explain the little math that he uses for the most innumerate among us to understand.

Basically, he contends that any unobserved universe can only exist in a state of probability that requires living observation and measurement to give it any certain reality. Some have assumed that Lanza refers only to human consciousness and question the idea on this very basis: what gave the universe reality before humans arrived? However, it is clear that he is referring to consciousness as it exists, to one degree or another, in all forms of life, known and unknown. While for an individual, what is not perceived may not exist for them, clearly the larger reality is far more complex than that, and such, at the very least, is the work that remains to be understood.

A previous reviewer draws a distinction between Robert Lanza's biocentrism and Stephen Hawking's sense of the "RWOT (Real World Out There)." However, from a recent article on Dr. Hawking's latest thinking, it appears that Lanza and Hawking may actually be converging on the same point. Hawking is quoted in the July/August 2009 issue of Discover magazine as follows ("Return of the Invisible Man," pp. 50-51):

"Hawking's most recent work explores the implications of the notion that the universe is a giant quantum phenomenon. The problem with conventional attempts to understand the cosmos, he now believes, is that researchers have failed to appreciate the full, bizarre implications of quantum physics. These efforts to create a unique theory that would explain all the properties of the universe are therefore doomed to fail. Hawking refers to such attempts as `bottom-up' theories because they assume the universe had a unique beginning and that its subsequent history was the only possible one.

"Hawking is now pushing a different strategy, which he calls top-down cosmology. It is not the case, he says, that the past uniquely determines the present. Because the universe has many possible histories and just as many possible beginnings, the present state of the universe selects the past. `This means that the histories of the Universe depend on what is being measured,' Hawking wrote in a recent paper, `contrary to the usual idea that the Universe has an objective, observer-independent history.'"

Dr. Lanza insists that future theories of the universe will be biocentric in nature. That Dr. Hawking might agree, in a complete reversal from his past writing about this, certainly raises the most intriguing of possibilities, does it not?
67 internautes sur 78 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Compelling and Relevant Book 10 août 2009
Par Michael L. Gooch - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This is a brave new book. For me, it exhibits the same courage as the 2006 The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

In the August '09 issue of Discover Magazine, Roger Penrose participated in an interview in which he states that physics has been looking in the wrong corners. He believes some of the newer theories may not be valid and calls for a new way of thinking. That's how I recall the article anyway.

The same week I read this magazine, Amazon delivers Biocentrism to my doorstep. While Lanza and Berman may not be kindred spirits with Penrose, they most certainly attend the same family reunion. That is, I believe Biocentrism addresses a large part of the problems espoused by Penrose.

This book sets forth a new look at the universe. Lanza and Berman contend that our current theories of the physical world simply don't work. Instead of placing life as an accidental by-product, the authors place life at the apex of universal existence and purpose. It is a very thrilling and disturbing read. And I also could use the adjectives, compelling and relevant as the arena of physics seems to be moving in a direction of silliness (multiverse, string theory, etc.) that can possibly never be proved.

While the proposals made in Biocentrism seem radical and counter-intuitive at first, a bit of reflection will soon make the images clearer and place us on the pathway to a better and more commonsensical mindset.

You may also enjoy Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality, The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World, The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life?, Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe and The Conscious Universe: Parts and Wholes in Physical Reality

I hope you find this review helpful.

Michael L. Gooch
185 internautes sur 232 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Biocentrism: a good start 2 juillet 2009
Par Andres Betts - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Dr Lanza does present some interesting perspectives on the role of life and consciousness in the origin and nature of the Universe. He goes on to ascribe six principles to his Biocentrism hypothesis, where the role of the conscious observer is central to the very existence of the Universe itself; and that time and space, or physical objects themselves do not have an independent existence or reality without an observer. In fact, he concludes that life creates the Universe. It is a refreshing review of biology as being more central to the origin and evolution of the Universe over the more typical emphasis of physics and mathematics as the primary language of cosmology. Biology is intuitively more understandable than the application of advanced mathematics to describe the inner workings of the Universe. Dr Lanza provides an excellent biological emphasis for Cosmology to help individuals grasp the role of the observer in the understanding of the Universe, which is the foundation of his Biocentrism hypothesis.

The observer's role in the creation of the Universe stems from a "quantum weirdness" that describes how the act of observation effects the outcome of a quantum measurement. Most of this hypothesis is based on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics that posits the observer as the key element in determining the result of a quantum measurement. The experimental result of any quantum measurement remains undetermined (in a state of superposition) until a conscious observer looks at the quantum system. At the extreme view, no object exists until someone looks at it; not even the sun, moon, stars or the Universe itself. Unfortunately, this is by no means a new hypothesis: the eminent cosmologist John Wheeler had made a similar acertion more than 6 decades ago, that only the presence of a conscious observer brings the Universe into existence.
Dr Lanza asserts that it is biology that gives meaning to time and space; indeed that space-time does not exist without the perception by a biological observer. In other words, there is no existence beyond the self, which boils down to the philosophy of Solipsism. However, again, there is nothing novel or new in this position. He offers no clues as to what degree of consciousness an observer must possess to bring spacetime or a quantum measurement into reality. Does a dog, cat, insect, amoeba and quantum physicist equally qualify as an observer? Or, if only human consciousness qualifies, then at what point in time did the Universe come into being? Was Australopithecus sufficiently self aware to bring the Universe into creation by possessing tool making capability; or was it Homo Erectus, with the power to control fire, the evolutionary triggering point? None of these issues are discussed, much less even introduced into the argument for Biocentrism. Biocentrism emerges fully formed based on a human conscious observer, without regard to the consideration that human evolution and consciousness is a process that occurred over millions of years.

The Biocentric model, as Dr Lanza describes, hangs solely on human consciousness, but that is pure hubris in a Universe 13.7 Billion years old with trillions of stars with orbiting planets and moons, which may also support other intelligent life who gazed back at the universe as conscious observers long before earthly pre-hominids descended from trees. I was disappointed that these more expansive biological views of a Universe that was presumably designed to be observed was limited to that of only the Earthly human observer.
Consider, for example, in quantum mechanics, a set of entangled photos may be created to produce a diffraction pattern when not observed and a bimodal distribution pattern when observed no matter how far they are separated. If such a pair of entangled photons were produced from across the universe, then theoretically, if no diffraction pattern was measured when they arrive and measured by a conscious earthly observer, then they must have been previously observed by some other conscious entity. Therefore, it should be theoretically possible to detect extraterrestrial life in this manner. Now, that would have been a novel concept to bring to light in a Biocentric model of the Universe!

Dr Lanza often refers to consciousness as a DVR that contains information but only exists when the DVR is played back. However, a DVR can only play the past it cannot be played into the future and quantum information appears to be non-local such that either information comes from the future or there is supraluminal transmission of information.
As an aside, it is rather self-indulgent to devote several chapters on Dr Lanza's associations with several Nobel Prize winning scientists. As an undergraduate at UC San Diego, Francis Crick was one of my professors, as a medical student at UC San Francisco I performed research on oncogenes under J Michael Bishop (Nobel Prize Medicine 1989); and had dinner with James D Watson in Cold Spring Harbor when I presented at the Human Evolution conference held there in 1998. Therefore, it is certainly not unheard of for physician scientists to have multiple associations with prominent scientists, including Nobel Prize winners.

For readers interested in the origin and evolution of the Universe and the role of observers from a quantum mechanical viewpoint, there are several books that may be placed on the reading list, including John Gribbin's Schrödinger's Kittens or John Barrows Cosmological Anthropological Principle both are a more expansive extension of a Biocentric hypothesis.
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