Nevertheless, the structure of the discussion had each person introduce themselves individually. One by one the speakers were introduced by the moderator in the center and then they spoke about what they perceive to be the ultimate reality and if it can be measured. Michael Shermer, the leading skeptic, claimed that he is a monist (one substance) and that the mind is a semantics issue. On his view, there is no dualism or higher reality then the physical universe. When a person speakers about the mind, in particular, they are merely referring to the function of the brain and there is nothing more to it. Deepak Chopra, on the other hand, claimed that consciousness is a grounding and basis for the ultimate reality since everything emerges from it. Consciousness is a realm of ultimate potential where no one can measure and science can not, in principle, discover its secrets. Leonard Mlodinow and a few other scientists tended to disagree with him on this point since it seemed Chopra was diminishing the scientific enterprise. But even if he was, we still have to appreciated the fact that he has a different viewpoint that we can use to tackle these bigger issues.
Overall, the discussion was great and had some good points to it. I can’t recall all of it but from what I remember it was certainly enlightening. I look forward to attending another one at Chapman if they will host it.