Wednesday, 3 October 2007
Closer to Truth
Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the creator and host of the PBS television series Closer to Truth, the author or editor of numerous books, a long-time advisor to the Chinese government, and Senior Advisor at Citigroup (investment banking). He holds a Ph.D. in anatomy/brain research from UCLA and an M.S. in management from MIT.
(Adapted from the potted bio. in Skeptic)
It's an impressive resume, but to my way of thinking it misses out Robert Kuhn's finest accomplishment: as Plain Truth writer and wunderkind protégé of Herbert W. Armstrong.
Actually, I owe a personal debt to Kuhn. With his unknowing help I once snatched a rare "A" on an essay in my second year at Hamilton Teachers College. The lecturer was most impressed with my cogent research on animal language, but was puzzled at the frequent references to articles by Kuhn. Could I provide her with copies? I mumbled something, knowing full well that I'd never get around to that task - not unless I wanted a regrading in the general direction of South. The articles in question - coauthored by Kuhn and HWA - were on the subject of "animal brain and human mind" then appearing in the PT.
There's quite a leap between writing for The Plain Truth and Michael Shermer's feisty journal Skeptic, but Kuhn has hurdled the divide with a dense article in the last issue (no.2, 2007) called Why This Universe? - including four and a half pages of notes and references in small print! My science literacy stretches only as far as dipping into New Scientist, but Kuhn's article pushed me so far up the learning curve I developed a two-Panadol headache after the third paragraph. I won't embarrass myself by trying to offer a précis.
What did interest me was that Kuhn straddled the skeptic's fence by drawing on Shermer at one end of the spectrum, and anglogelical theologian Keith Ward on the other. It's an intriguing possibility that we live in a multiverse rather than a universe (see for example Parallel Universes Born Again in the 22 September New Scientist) but Kuhn remains aloof from drawing any conclusions. Obviously someone who is traumatized by the question "why not nothing?" at the tender age of 12 has brain wiring different from mine.
Such issues will apparently feature in the new series of Closer to Truth. Maybe it'll be a little clearer then.