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Discovering Our Legacy

Date: 05-17-14
Host: Lisa Garr
Guests: Paul Von Ward, Robert Powell

Cultural historian and cosmologist Paul Von Ward joined host Lisa Garr (email) to discuss why we should reassess what we believe about the universe and our place in it, and develop a new cosmological outlook. According to Von Ward, we inhabit a living universe that is both filled with life and itself an organism of its own. The universe is 15 billion years old and humans have only been self-aware for the last 200,000 years, he explained, positing that life forms must have arisen on multitudinous other planets long before us. "We are probably not the sole conscious species... we probably have cousins in many parts of the universe," Von Ward proposed. He characterized the universe as an organism that has a mind of its own, is self-actualizing, conscious and evolving. The universe is alive and humans are part of it," he revealed.

"I think we are going in a self-destructive direction," Von Ward continued. He compared humanity to adolescent boys who are seemingly unaware of their potential to hurt themselves, others, and the environment. Von Ward suggested looking back to various lost ancient civilizations, such as Atlantis, to learn important lessons that could help us avoid the same cataclysmic fate. We must pay attention to our impact on nature as we are likely destroying our current geophysical situation, he warned. Von Ward believes our species is being held back by a rift between science (materialism) and religion (supernaturalism). He recommended a more consensual view of what the planet is about and how humans fit into the picture. We exist in a conscious living universe and are completely responsible for our part of it, Von Ward admonished.

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Life on Other Planets

In the first hour, researcher Robert Powell (book link) talked about the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe and how one day we might actually find it (or it might find us). Astronomers with the aid of space-based telescopes have discovered more than 3,600 planets orbiting other stars, Powell explained. Many of these newly found planets are Earth-like with liquid water available at least part of the year and an environment conducive for developing life, he added. "If you have the right conditions, life seems to always form," Powell revealed. It's not unreasonable to think that some of the life that exists in other parts of the galaxy is intelligent, he continued. In fact, an alien civilization might be far more advanced, know that humans exist on Earth, and possibly be able to travel here, he suggested.

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