Four distinguished thinkers join in a provocative discussion of Science and Faith, recorded at the 2006 International Achievement Summit in Los Angeles, California. Two are religous believers and two are self-described atheists.
Benjamin Carson is the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer in his field. In his operation on the Binder Siamese twins in 1987, he succeeded where all predecessors had failed, in separating twins joined at the head.
Francis Collins has dedicated his career to mapping and identifying genes that cause human diseases including cystic fibrosis and Huntington's disease. For 15 years, he served as Director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, one of the largest undertakings in the history of science. Under his leadership, this effort charted the entire human genome, and is on its way to unlocking all of the mysteries of human heredity. In 2009 Dr. Collins was sworn in as the 16th Director of the National Institutes of Health.
One the most influential scientists of our times, Richard Dawkins has been called "Darwin's rottweiler" for his outspoken defense of evolutionary theory. His 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, brought about a revolutionary change of perspective, in which the gene itself is seen as the object of natural selection. He has aired his critical view of religious belief and the role of religion in history in a television documentary, The Root of All Evil?, and in his 2006 book, The God Delusion.
Daniel Dennet is Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. In his magnum opus, Consciousness Explained, Dennett confronted the philosophical problem of individual awareness, synthesizing advanced research in neurology, psychology, linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence to construct a persuasive model for the neurological basis of consciousness. He continues to explore the implications of his groundbreaking ideas in Freedom Evolves and Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.
The discussion is moderated by journalist Kathleen Matthews.