Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 28, 2007


Host: Jose Cardenas

Democratic Presidential Debate


  • PBS is airing a debate between eight people running for President on the Democratic ticket. Three journalists of color will be asking the candidates questions in PBSí All-American Presidential Forums on PBS. Cronkite Eight Poll Director Bruce Merrill will preview the debate.
Guests:
  • Dr. Bruce Merrill - Director, Cronkite-Eight Poll
  • Paul Davies - Director,
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Josť Cardenas:
Tonight on "Horizon," a look at the presidential race as PBS airs a debate between the Democratic candidates for the White House tonight. Did you know airplane evacuations slides are made in only two places in the world, one right here in Arizona?
And, an internationally acclaimed ASU physicist talks about the possibility of intelligence beyond earth and universes. All that is coming up tonight on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight. Members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Jose Cardenas:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." PBS will air a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates tonight, the "All-American Presidential Forums on PBS" hosted by Tavis Smiley, featuring three journalists of color asking the questions. It airs at 9:00 p.m. tonight on eight. Earlier tonight I talked to Dr. Bruce Merrill, director of the Cronkite eight poll, about the presidential race. Bruce, thanks for joining us on "Horizon." PBS is airing the debate tonight between the top democratic presidential candidates. Let's look at the national polling first. Is Hillary still leading there?

Bruce Merrill:
She is but generally within margin of error, we say. It's very, very close, and it's getting closer all of the time between Obama and Clinton.

Jose Cardenas:
At the national level?

Bruce Merrill:
At the national level.

Jose Cardenas:
What about the primary states?

Bruce Merrill:
In the primary states, I think that's a very important question, because these national polls really mean very little this early. What's important is particularly what's happening in Iowa and what's happening in New Hampshire, because whoever wins in those particular states, the media propels as major contenders nationally. And in most states, on the Democratic side, Obama and Clinton are almost tied. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney is actually leading the race among Republicans in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Jose Cardenas:
But he's not doing so well at the national polls.

Bruce Merrill:
He's not doing well in the national polls, but I would argue that the national polls are meaningless this early in the campaign, because you determine the delegates state by state, and particularly those early states give a candidate momentum if he or she wins in them.

Jose Cardenas:
As we sit here today, what's your sense as to who the top Republican candidate is?

Bruce Merrill:
Well, I think the problem -- and I suspect I'm going to be probably pretty unpopular by this. I don't think the Republicans have a real strong candidate. I think that's why you see Fred Thompson doing so well. I think, among the republicans that are running, I think McCain is still probably the frontrunner. He's a military hero. We've always been infatuated with military people. He's run before, so I think he is certainly a contender. I think Giuliani is still a possibility. And Mitt Romney is certainly coming up. And Fred Thompson, the fascinating thing about Thompson is here is an actor that's got cancer, that hasn't even announced, and he is now pushing Giuliani in the national polls to lead the preference. What that indicates to me is, number one, particularly the conservatives do not have a strong candidate. Therefore they're looking at him as a possible candidate.

Jose Cardenas:
Who would be the strongest Democratic candidate, though, against any of those Republicans? Would it be Obama or would it be Clinton?

Bruce Merrill:
I -- you know, things change very rapidly in American politics. But if the war continues, if Bush's unpopularity continues, I think it's going to be difficult for a Republican to run successfully against either Obama or Clinton. I think people are really frustrated, and I think they're looking for a change in direction. They may be looking -- particularly it might help Obama in the sense that they maybe want someone younger, fresher, who would take us in a new direction. I think, again, anybody that would bet against the Clintons and Hillary Clinton, these are bright people that understand the political process. I think it's going to come right down to the wire between the Clintons and Obama.

Jose Cardenas:
Are there some wild cards there, though? You've got Bloomberg going independent, and the suggestion is he might launch an independent campaign that would hurt the democrats more than republicans. Do you agree with that?

Bruce Merrill:
I do. And I think that, because of so much money -- we're talking about taking it -- spending $500 million in these primary races. I think you may see a lot of candidates, even somebody like Gore that says, "Ok, you guys go ahead and spend all that money. I'm going to wait till that process is over, and then I'm going to jump in." We're in a time when we may see some very strong neo-populace candidates, a candidate that comes forward and says pox on both of your houses. I don't care about being a Republican or Democrat. Our problems are so severe in this country, we've got to get the best and the brightest. I don't care if they're Republicans, Democrats, black, brown or white; we've got to get the best people to solve these problems.

Jose Cardenas:
Common wisdom is that those people don't win. They're spoilers. And so you had Ross Perot who polled very well and thinking that that's what got Clinton elected. Ralph Nader in the Gore/Bush election. Is Bloomberg going to be any department -- different?

Bruce Merrill:
No. Remember Wallace got almost 22 percent of the vote and the day after the election had no power whatsoever. I think that the role of third-party candidates has been to change the major parties in one direction or another and to be a spoiler, and I think that's more than likely to happen in this election.

Jose Cardenas:
And if Bloomberg did get in, would he tip the balance in favor of the Republicans in a match-up between --

Bruce Merrill:
Probably would because of his liberal policies. He was a Democrat much of longer than he was a Republican, and I think he would tend to take more of the Democratic vote. On the other hand, you may have a conservative third-party candidate get in that would take votes away from the Republican.

Jose Cardenas:
Do you expect senator McCain to drop out of this race?

Bruce Merrill:
I really don't. I think he's committed. It's still early. I still think he's a major contender. And he's -- he works harder in American politics than any candidate I've ever known or been associated with, and I don't look for him to drop out. He could, but I don't think so. It depends on the money.

Jose Cardenas:
Bruce Merrill, "Thanks for joining us on "Horizon." Tonight we wrap up "Made in Arizona" by telling you about a product you hope you never have to use. Airplane evacuation slides are made in just two places in the word, one right here in Arizona. The other factory is in New Jersey. Producer Mike Sauceda and videographer David Riffle take us on a tour of the Goodrich Evacuation Slide Factory in Phoenix.

[Sound of air releasing]

Larry Fink:
I've run into people, especially when I'm traveling. One of the things that I may point out is I work for the place that builds evacuation systems for the planes and tell them the process. People are always very interested. We build a product that we hope never gets used. It's much like an air bag in your car. You don't want to use it, but you want that peace of mind, knowing that it's there. We make evacuations systems for planes, and what those are is, if there's ever an emergency and you need to evacuate the plane quickly, we -- those doors are opened. The chutes deploy. And the plane is evacuated very quickly. We make them for all of the different manufacturers of aircraft. Our biggest customers are Boeing, Airbus. We do do the Embrey air slides, which are much smaller. This is a farming cable. This is the safety pin. When you open the door --
Before you chute it, you take it out. When they're ready, they give us the thumbs up. Five, four, three, two, one.

[Sound of air releasing]

Larry Fink:
Most of them are made from either a neoprene, nylon-based fabric -- and I know that that sounds technological, but essentially, if you imagine the cloth on your shirt being coated with neoprene or urethane, that's technically what it is. In layman's terms, that's essentially what it is. Each pattern that we cut has a specific length. So we'll roll that off of the roll of fabric to that length. We'll then cut it. We'll go to the computer. They'll punch in what units are going to be building. And for that pattern, it'll cut and mark both sides so that it's ready to go to the joining aspect where they can put it together. The edges of each panel have markings to whether or not they need to be cemented. So if they need to be cemented, then we'll clean that, wipe it down, apply the adhesive, and then that'll have a match mark that comes over from another panel, and they'll physically put those together, whether it's a butt seam or --

Mike Sauceda:
Not all the pieces are joined with adhesives. Some are sewn together.

Larry Fink:
They're sewing actual live the small parts. Many of our units have a canopy on them, so they'll sew the canopy. Because those aspects aren't holding air, those pieces aren't holding air; they don't need to be leak-proof.

Mike Sauceda:
The next step is airing up the device for the first time. After that, the slides have markings applied. Some are painted, while some already come in the silver color that most of the slides end up being. The air tanks that make it possible for the slides to fill so rapidly are put together in a separate room where they are fitted with valves and tested to make sure they can sustain the pressure.

Larry Fink:
We used a mixed-gas cylinder, 50/50 of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. That is put through the aspirator. The regulator releases it. It then creates a suction from ambient air, pushes it into the unit.

Mike Sauceda:
The slide is now ready to be packed for the first time.

Larry Fink:
This is the final step in the process. They're going to take it from being fully inflated to insulated packed, which is roughly three feet by two feet across and ready for the functional test, which we'll do later on in the process. And then, at the end, it will be put in a different container ready to ship to the customer:

Mike Sauceda:
Slides are folded in a precise manner based on patterns. A lot of muscle is required to squeeze the slides into a relatively small container.

Larry Fink:
It's a lot of muscle you are exactly right. There is some finesse to it. Initially they'll lay it out, suck out all of the air. They have some precise folds that they need to make. As you get it into the actual pack cord, it does become very much a muscle game, if you will, in that they are pulling it, trying to get it into the contour.

Mike Sauceda:
After the initial packing, each and every slide is tested to make sure it can hold air, then repacked into the appropriate pack board and are ready for service just in case.

Jose Cardenas:
Paul Davies is the director of "Beyond, Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science" here at ASU he's a theoretic physicist and cosmologist by profession but also works in astrobiology. He seeks to understand the origin and evolution of life. He's the author of several books including "The Mind of God" and his most recent, "Cosmic Jackpot." he discussed his new book recently with Larry Lemmons.

Larry Lemmons:
What is Beyond, The Center for Fundamental Concepts and Science?

Paul Davies:
By profession, I'm a theoretic physicist, but I've worked many years in cosmology and astrobiology, the attempt to find life elsewhere in the universe and understand how it started on earth. I've also had a strong philosophical bent. That's a pretty diverse mix of interests. And President Crow was kind enough to say, well, establish a center that somehow encompasses this broad sweep. And so it's a center for fundamental concepts and science, and it can be any science. It doesn't have to be physics, though that's my preference. So it's physics and biology and, to a certain extent, chemistry and astronomy and cosmology, right across the sciences. I'm finding ways to integrate these different disciplines and build bridges between different departments in the university.

Larry Lemmons:
Your book, "the mind of god" was extremely successful. Now you have a new book, "the cosmic jackpot."

Paul Davies:
Yes, I do.

Larry Lemmons:
Feel free to pick that up and show that. Why is our universe is just ripe for life. Why is that so?

Paul Davies:
Well, this is a puzzle that goes way back in my career. I was a student in London in the late 1960's. And my PhD thesis advisor gave me a paper by a British cosmologist, Brandon Carter, in which he noted the fact that, if the laws of physics had been just a little bit different from what they are, there would be no life in the universe and no Brandon Carter. And I thought, well, that's a pretty intriguing idea. Because normally in science you accept the underlying laws, say the laws of physics, so you work out their consequences. What you don't do is ask where the laws come from or why the laws are of the form they are. You sort of get the impression, well, they're just any old laws and it doesn't really matter. But it does matter. If you tweak those laws just a little bit -- imagine playing God and you've got a design machine. You twiddle this knob and make gravity a bit stronger and so on. Well, we can't do the actual experiment. We don't have the funding for it. But the theoretic exercise, what difference would it make, you find adjusting those knobs is enough to wreck any life in the universe. Life literally hangs on a knife edge. I'm not talking about the special conditions on earth. I'm talking about the underlying laws of the universe. To use the expression fine-tuned for life. Fred Hoyle, who gave me my first job at Cambridge University in 1970, was saying it's as if a super intellect has been monkeying with physics. I don't think a super intellect has been monkeying with physics, but we need to come up with an explanation. A popular one is that what we've all along been calling the universe is really nothing of the kind, just a tiny fragment in some vast, more elaborate system called the multiverse that consists of a lot of different universes, each a little different. We can imagine lots of big bangs going off in space and time without this immense multiverse. Each universe comes with its own set of laws. Maybe randomly distributed. Instead of the law of physics being absolute, universal mathematical relationships, they're more like local bylaws or maybe state laws as opposed to federal laws. And a lot of people think that is the explanation, that the reason that we find the universe is just right for life is because most of these universes in the multiverse would not be suitable for life. This one is fit for life, and it's no surprise we find ourselves living in one where life can appear 'cause we could hardly live in one where life is impossible. So I developed my thinking about that, which draws rather heavily upon the work of john wheeler, the man who coined the term "black hole" and about 30 years ago was also intrigued by this weird bio-friendliness of the universe. He thought there was a way the universe would engineer its own bio-friendliness that this some way the emergence of life and observers linked back in time to the conditions in which the universe was born. And so I've taken that idea and run with it, because I think it can be turned into a real research program.

Larry Lemmons:
Which reminds me of the observations made today could shape the reality of the past.

Paul Davies:
Sounds pretty whacky, but all the explanations for why the universe is what it is are pretty wacky. We've either got an unexplained got, an unexplained set of physical laws, a mass of squiggly universes you can never see or we've got some mechanism from within the universe that somehow causes it to engineer its own bio-friendliness. You can only get away with that if you give up the idea that the laws of physics have somehow been imprinted on the universe forever. Physicists don't like to talk about it, but if you go to a physicist's department and say what are the laws of physics to you and press them, they will say, well, these laws sort of exist in some transcendent realm. They're there.

Larry Lemmons:
A sort of paternal, platonic realm--

Paul Davies:
Exactly. Mathematics was real but resulted in some sort of otherworldly world, a platonic heaven. The laws of physics are these wonderful equations and other mathematical relationships in this platonic realm, that somehow Mother Nature has plucked out a few pieces and those laws are fixed. You're never going to explain that bio-friendliness if you adopt that view. But if you adopt the view that the laws are somehow emergent with the universe, that they're not absolutely infinity precise statements, relationships, that there's a certain sort of flexibility, laws in the law, as I call it, then there's a possibility that, if there's enough wiggle room, somehow the universe can maneuver itself to engineer then self-awareness.

Larry Lemmons:
So thinking about in terms of the observer looking at the universe, it almost implies that that kind of action, the self-awareness, was fixed into the universe from the beginning. And I know that you had mentioned the word "design," and I know that you mentioned the word "God," but you did not believe in what has been popularly coined "intelligent design."

Paul Davies:
Right. Of course I don't run away from the issues you've just discussed. There's a chapter in here called "intelligent or not so intelligent design, because I think this so-called intelligent design move," which is largely an a American phenomenon, I have to say, is about a crass notion of a designer, and it's bad science and it's bad theology, and I have no time for it. But I think what interests people is not so much was there some sort of preexisting cosmic magician, a super being who decided, well, this would be a good universe. I'll make that one. Bang, away you go. It's, I think, more sophisticated theologians that really are not after that. What they are really after is there something like a meaning or a purpose in the universe? You don't have to have a designer, a cosmic magician. The question is: is there something in the universe beyond the daily realm? Human beings like to believe in a bigger scheme of things. Although I do away with any sort of notion of design in the usual sense and do away with any sort of super being, there is a place for the mind. There's a place for life, and there's a place for mind. There's a place for human beings. It's not a central place. We're not the pinnacle of creation or anything like that. But the emergence of life and mind I think are fundamental to the workings of the universe. Many scientists wouldn't agree. They'd say life is just an irrelevant embellishment, an accident in a little by way in a corner of the galaxy with no significant to the whole. I've always disagreed with that. I think life is such an extraordinary phenomenon and the mind is different from any sort of thing that I don't regard life and mind as just other phenomena, other sorts of things along with rocks and clouds and things of that sort. I think they are special in a number of ways. And they play a special role in the story of the universe. So I wouldn't say -- I would certainly never use the word "intelligence." I think the key thing is "observer," that there are beings who cannot only watch the show but come to understand it. This has always been a key theme in my philosophy in my career, which is that science, to me, is something much more significant than most people imagine. If we take science for granted -- it's all around us. We see the products of science and people think, well, of course it works. You look at this and measure that, and poof. We'll figure out what's going on. I think the fact that human beings can do science, that we can unravel the secrets of nature; we can decode the hidden sub text on which nature runs, namely the fundamental underlying laws, is just a fact of stupendous significance. Why can we do it? Why is it possible using these arcane procedures of laboratory experiments? You go to a lab, it's all these weird glass things and wires and tubes and whatnot. What's going on there? It's very unnatural. We're taking something out of nature and we're subjecting it to really peculiar procedures. And then you stand at a blackboard or white board and cover it in squiggles. What's that about? So here human beings have discovered these weird procedures that enable us to figure out what's going on in the universe. It's not just a matter of we're observers who are watching the show, which is all it takes in the multiverse explanation for why the universe is fit for life. We've actually unraveled the plot as well. And I think that's something which is very much essential to anything. The universe not only engineered its own self-awareness. It's engineered its own self-comprehension, a fact which is really, really deep. And so towards the end of the book, what I do is to look at: where does that take us. Well, is that part of the story? And I think it is, and I think we cannot just shrug it aside as being just another quirky little coincidence. Oh, not only has life bubbled up in this part of the universe and, oh, not only has intelligence and consciousness emerged just a quirky little incidental side issue, but goodness, yes, this consciousness has led to beings who have figured out the rules of the universe. Oh, just luck. I think it's too significant can't for that.

Larry Lemmons:
Thank you, Dr. Davis, for coming by and visiting us today.

Paul Davies:
Thank you.

Jose Cardenas:
That's tonight's show. I'm Jose Cardenas. Be sure to join Howie Fischer tomorrow night for the "Journalist's Roundtable."

Made in Arizona: Evacuation Slides


  • Itís a product that you never hope to use, yet itís a good thing itís there. Evacuation slides for jets are made in just two places in the world, one of them being right here in Arizona. Learn more about the evacuation slides made by Goodrich in Phoenix.
Guests:
  • Dr. Bruce Merrill - Director, Cronkite-Eight Poll
  • Paul Davies - Director,
Category: Business/Economy

View Transcript
Josť Cardenas:
Tonight on "Horizon," a look at the presidential race as PBS airs a debate between the Democratic candidates for the White House tonight. Did you know airplane evacuations slides are made in only two places in the world, one right here in Arizona?
And, an internationally acclaimed ASU physicist talks about the possibility of intelligence beyond earth and universes. All that is coming up tonight on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight. Members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Jose Cardenas:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." PBS will air a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates tonight, the "All-American Presidential Forums on PBS" hosted by Tavis Smiley, featuring three journalists of color asking the questions. It airs at 9:00 p.m. tonight on eight. Earlier tonight I talked to Dr. Bruce Merrill, director of the Cronkite eight poll, about the presidential race. Bruce, thanks for joining us on "Horizon." PBS is airing the debate tonight between the top democratic presidential candidates. Let's look at the national polling first. Is Hillary still leading there?

Bruce Merrill:
She is but generally within margin of error, we say. It's very, very close, and it's getting closer all of the time between Obama and Clinton.

Jose Cardenas:
At the national level?

Bruce Merrill:
At the national level.

Jose Cardenas:
What about the primary states?

Bruce Merrill:
In the primary states, I think that's a very important question, because these national polls really mean very little this early. What's important is particularly what's happening in Iowa and what's happening in New Hampshire, because whoever wins in those particular states, the media propels as major contenders nationally. And in most states, on the Democratic side, Obama and Clinton are almost tied. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney is actually leading the race among Republicans in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Jose Cardenas:
But he's not doing so well at the national polls.

Bruce Merrill:
He's not doing well in the national polls, but I would argue that the national polls are meaningless this early in the campaign, because you determine the delegates state by state, and particularly those early states give a candidate momentum if he or she wins in them.

Jose Cardenas:
As we sit here today, what's your sense as to who the top Republican candidate is?

Bruce Merrill:
Well, I think the problem -- and I suspect I'm going to be probably pretty unpopular by this. I don't think the Republicans have a real strong candidate. I think that's why you see Fred Thompson doing so well. I think, among the republicans that are running, I think McCain is still probably the frontrunner. He's a military hero. We've always been infatuated with military people. He's run before, so I think he is certainly a contender. I think Giuliani is still a possibility. And Mitt Romney is certainly coming up. And Fred Thompson, the fascinating thing about Thompson is here is an actor that's got cancer, that hasn't even announced, and he is now pushing Giuliani in the national polls to lead the preference. What that indicates to me is, number one, particularly the conservatives do not have a strong candidate. Therefore they're looking at him as a possible candidate.

Jose Cardenas:
Who would be the strongest Democratic candidate, though, against any of those Republicans? Would it be Obama or would it be Clinton?

Bruce Merrill:
I -- you know, things change very rapidly in American politics. But if the war continues, if Bush's unpopularity continues, I think it's going to be difficult for a Republican to run successfully against either Obama or Clinton. I think people are really frustrated, and I think they're looking for a change in direction. They may be looking -- particularly it might help Obama in the sense that they maybe want someone younger, fresher, who would take us in a new direction. I think, again, anybody that would bet against the Clintons and Hillary Clinton, these are bright people that understand the political process. I think it's going to come right down to the wire between the Clintons and Obama.

Jose Cardenas:
Are there some wild cards there, though? You've got Bloomberg going independent, and the suggestion is he might launch an independent campaign that would hurt the democrats more than republicans. Do you agree with that?

Bruce Merrill:
I do. And I think that, because of so much money -- we're talking about taking it -- spending $500 million in these primary races. I think you may see a lot of candidates, even somebody like Gore that says, "Ok, you guys go ahead and spend all that money. I'm going to wait till that process is over, and then I'm going to jump in." We're in a time when we may see some very strong neo-populace candidates, a candidate that comes forward and says pox on both of your houses. I don't care about being a Republican or Democrat. Our problems are so severe in this country, we've got to get the best and the brightest. I don't care if they're Republicans, Democrats, black, brown or white; we've got to get the best people to solve these problems.

Jose Cardenas:
Common wisdom is that those people don't win. They're spoilers. And so you had Ross Perot who polled very well and thinking that that's what got Clinton elected. Ralph Nader in the Gore/Bush election. Is Bloomberg going to be any department -- different?

Bruce Merrill:
No. Remember Wallace got almost 22 percent of the vote and the day after the election had no power whatsoever. I think that the role of third-party candidates has been to change the major parties in one direction or another and to be a spoiler, and I think that's more than likely to happen in this election.

Jose Cardenas:
And if Bloomberg did get in, would he tip the balance in favor of the Republicans in a match-up between --

Bruce Merrill:
Probably would because of his liberal policies. He was a Democrat much of longer than he was a Republican, and I think he would tend to take more of the Democratic vote. On the other hand, you may have a conservative third-party candidate get in that would take votes away from the Republican.

Jose Cardenas:
Do you expect senator McCain to drop out of this race?

Bruce Merrill:
I really don't. I think he's committed. It's still early. I still think he's a major contender. And he's -- he works harder in American politics than any candidate I've ever known or been associated with, and I don't look for him to drop out. He could, but I don't think so. It depends on the money.

Jose Cardenas:
Bruce Merrill, "Thanks for joining us on "Horizon." Tonight we wrap up "Made in Arizona" by telling you about a product you hope you never have to use. Airplane evacuation slides are made in just two places in the word, one right here in Arizona. The other factory is in New Jersey. Producer Mike Sauceda and videographer David Riffle take us on a tour of the Goodrich Evacuation Slide Factory in Phoenix.

[Sound of air releasing]

Larry Fink:
I've run into people, especially when I'm traveling. One of the things that I may point out is I work for the place that builds evacuation systems for the planes and tell them the process. People are always very interested. We build a product that we hope never gets used. It's much like an air bag in your car. You don't want to use it, but you want that peace of mind, knowing that it's there. We make evacuations systems for planes, and what those are is, if there's ever an emergency and you need to evacuate the plane quickly, we -- those doors are opened. The chutes deploy. And the plane is evacuated very quickly. We make them for all of the different manufacturers of aircraft. Our biggest customers are Boeing, Airbus. We do do the Embrey air slides, which are much smaller. This is a farming cable. This is the safety pin. When you open the door --
Before you chute it, you take it out. When they're ready, they give us the thumbs up. Five, four, three, two, one.

[Sound of air releasing]

Larry Fink:
Most of them are made from either a neoprene, nylon-based fabric -- and I know that that sounds technological, but essentially, if you imagine the cloth on your shirt being coated with neoprene or urethane, that's technically what it is. In layman's terms, that's essentially what it is. Each pattern that we cut has a specific length. So we'll roll that off of the roll of fabric to that length. We'll then cut it. We'll go to the computer. They'll punch in what units are going to be building. And for that pattern, it'll cut and mark both sides so that it's ready to go to the joining aspect where they can put it together. The edges of each panel have markings to whether or not they need to be cemented. So if they need to be cemented, then we'll clean that, wipe it down, apply the adhesive, and then that'll have a match mark that comes over from another panel, and they'll physically put those together, whether it's a butt seam or --

Mike Sauceda:
Not all the pieces are joined with adhesives. Some are sewn together.

Larry Fink:
They're sewing actual live the small parts. Many of our units have a canopy on them, so they'll sew the canopy. Because those aspects aren't holding air, those pieces aren't holding air; they don't need to be leak-proof.

Mike Sauceda:
The next step is airing up the device for the first time. After that, the slides have markings applied. Some are painted, while some already come in the silver color that most of the slides end up being. The air tanks that make it possible for the slides to fill so rapidly are put together in a separate room where they are fitted with valves and tested to make sure they can sustain the pressure.

Larry Fink:
We used a mixed-gas cylinder, 50/50 of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. That is put through the aspirator. The regulator releases it. It then creates a suction from ambient air, pushes it into the unit.

Mike Sauceda:
The slide is now ready to be packed for the first time.

Larry Fink:
This is the final step in the process. They're going to take it from being fully inflated to insulated packed, which is roughly three feet by two feet across and ready for the functional test, which we'll do later on in the process. And then, at the end, it will be put in a different container ready to ship to the customer:

Mike Sauceda:
Slides are folded in a precise manner based on patterns. A lot of muscle is required to squeeze the slides into a relatively small container.

Larry Fink:
It's a lot of muscle you are exactly right. There is some finesse to it. Initially they'll lay it out, suck out all of the air. They have some precise folds that they need to make. As you get it into the actual pack cord, it does become very much a muscle game, if you will, in that they are pulling it, trying to get it into the contour.

Mike Sauceda:
After the initial packing, each and every slide is tested to make sure it can hold air, then repacked into the appropriate pack board and are ready for service just in case.

Jose Cardenas:
Paul Davies is the director of "Beyond, Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science" here at ASU he's a theoretic physicist and cosmologist by profession but also works in astrobiology. He seeks to understand the origin and evolution of life. He's the author of several books including "The Mind of God" and his most recent, "Cosmic Jackpot." he discussed his new book recently with Larry Lemmons.

Larry Lemmons:
What is Beyond, The Center for Fundamental Concepts and Science?

Paul Davies:
By profession, I'm a theoretic physicist, but I've worked many years in cosmology and astrobiology, the attempt to find life elsewhere in the universe and understand how it started on earth. I've also had a strong philosophical bent. That's a pretty diverse mix of interests. And President Crow was kind enough to say, well, establish a center that somehow encompasses this broad sweep. And so it's a center for fundamental concepts and science, and it can be any science. It doesn't have to be physics, though that's my preference. So it's physics and biology and, to a certain extent, chemistry and astronomy and cosmology, right across the sciences. I'm finding ways to integrate these different disciplines and build bridges between different departments in the university.

Larry Lemmons:
Your book, "the mind of god" was extremely successful. Now you have a new book, "the cosmic jackpot."

Paul Davies:
Yes, I do.

Larry Lemmons:
Feel free to pick that up and show that. Why is our universe is just ripe for life. Why is that so?

Paul Davies:
Well, this is a puzzle that goes way back in my career. I was a student in London in the late 1960's. And my PhD thesis advisor gave me a paper by a British cosmologist, Brandon Carter, in which he noted the fact that, if the laws of physics had been just a little bit different from what they are, there would be no life in the universe and no Brandon Carter. And I thought, well, that's a pretty intriguing idea. Because normally in science you accept the underlying laws, say the laws of physics, so you work out their consequences. What you don't do is ask where the laws come from or why the laws are of the form they are. You sort of get the impression, well, they're just any old laws and it doesn't really matter. But it does matter. If you tweak those laws just a little bit -- imagine playing God and you've got a design machine. You twiddle this knob and make gravity a bit stronger and so on. Well, we can't do the actual experiment. We don't have the funding for it. But the theoretic exercise, what difference would it make, you find adjusting those knobs is enough to wreck any life in the universe. Life literally hangs on a knife edge. I'm not talking about the special conditions on earth. I'm talking about the underlying laws of the universe. To use the expression fine-tuned for life. Fred Hoyle, who gave me my first job at Cambridge University in 1970, was saying it's as if a super intellect has been monkeying with physics. I don't think a super intellect has been monkeying with physics, but we need to come up with an explanation. A popular one is that what we've all along been calling the universe is really nothing of the kind, just a tiny fragment in some vast, more elaborate system called the multiverse that consists of a lot of different universes, each a little different. We can imagine lots of big bangs going off in space and time without this immense multiverse. Each universe comes with its own set of laws. Maybe randomly distributed. Instead of the law of physics being absolute, universal mathematical relationships, they're more like local bylaws or maybe state laws as opposed to federal laws. And a lot of people think that is the explanation, that the reason that we find the universe is just right for life is because most of these universes in the multiverse would not be suitable for life. This one is fit for life, and it's no surprise we find ourselves living in one where life can appear 'cause we could hardly live in one where life is impossible. So I developed my thinking about that, which draws rather heavily upon the work of john wheeler, the man who coined the term "black hole" and about 30 years ago was also intrigued by this weird bio-friendliness of the universe. He thought there was a way the universe would engineer its own bio-friendliness that this some way the emergence of life and observers linked back in time to the conditions in which the universe was born. And so I've taken that idea and run with it, because I think it can be turned into a real research program.

Larry Lemmons:
Which reminds me of the observations made today could shape the reality of the past.

Paul Davies:
Sounds pretty whacky, but all the explanations for why the universe is what it is are pretty wacky. We've either got an unexplained got, an unexplained set of physical laws, a mass of squiggly universes you can never see or we've got some mechanism from within the universe that somehow causes it to engineer its own bio-friendliness. You can only get away with that if you give up the idea that the laws of physics have somehow been imprinted on the universe forever. Physicists don't like to talk about it, but if you go to a physicist's department and say what are the laws of physics to you and press them, they will say, well, these laws sort of exist in some transcendent realm. They're there.

Larry Lemmons:
A sort of paternal, platonic realm--

Paul Davies:
Exactly. Mathematics was real but resulted in some sort of otherworldly world, a platonic heaven. The laws of physics are these wonderful equations and other mathematical relationships in this platonic realm, that somehow Mother Nature has plucked out a few pieces and those laws are fixed. You're never going to explain that bio-friendliness if you adopt that view. But if you adopt the view that the laws are somehow emergent with the universe, that they're not absolutely infinity precise statements, relationships, that there's a certain sort of flexibility, laws in the law, as I call it, then there's a possibility that, if there's enough wiggle room, somehow the universe can maneuver itself to engineer then self-awareness.

Larry Lemmons:
So thinking about in terms of the observer looking at the universe, it almost implies that that kind of action, the self-awareness, was fixed into the universe from the beginning. And I know that you had mentioned the word "design," and I know that you mentioned the word "God," but you did not believe in what has been popularly coined "intelligent design."

Paul Davies:
Right. Of course I don't run away from the issues you've just discussed. There's a chapter in here called "intelligent or not so intelligent design, because I think this so-called intelligent design move," which is largely an a American phenomenon, I have to say, is about a crass notion of a designer, and it's bad science and it's bad theology, and I have no time for it. But I think what interests people is not so much was there some sort of preexisting cosmic magician, a super being who decided, well, this would be a good universe. I'll make that one. Bang, away you go. It's, I think, more sophisticated theologians that really are not after that. What they are really after is there something like a meaning or a purpose in the universe? You don't have to have a designer, a cosmic magician. The question is: is there something in the universe beyond the daily realm? Human beings like to believe in a bigger scheme of things. Although I do away with any sort of notion of design in the usual sense and do away with any sort of super being, there is a place for the mind. There's a place for life, and there's a place for mind. There's a place for human beings. It's not a central place. We're not the pinnacle of creation or anything like that. But the emergence of life and mind I think are fundamental to the workings of the universe. Many scientists wouldn't agree. They'd say life is just an irrelevant embellishment, an accident in a little by way in a corner of the galaxy with no significant to the whole. I've always disagreed with that. I think life is such an extraordinary phenomenon and the mind is different from any sort of thing that I don't regard life and mind as just other phenomena, other sorts of things along with rocks and clouds and things of that sort. I think they are special in a number of ways. And they play a special role in the story of the universe. So I wouldn't say -- I would certainly never use the word "intelligence." I think the key thing is "observer," that there are beings who cannot only watch the show but come to understand it. This has always been a key theme in my philosophy in my career, which is that science, to me, is something much more significant than most people imagine. If we take science for granted -- it's all around us. We see the products of science and people think, well, of course it works. You look at this and measure that, and poof. We'll figure out what's going on. I think the fact that human beings can do science, that we can unravel the secrets of nature; we can decode the hidden sub text on which nature runs, namely the fundamental underlying laws, is just a fact of stupendous significance. Why can we do it? Why is it possible using these arcane procedures of laboratory experiments? You go to a lab, it's all these weird glass things and wires and tubes and whatnot. What's going on there? It's very unnatural. We're taking something out of nature and we're subjecting it to really peculiar procedures. And then you stand at a blackboard or white board and cover it in squiggles. What's that about? So here human beings have discovered these weird procedures that enable us to figure out what's going on in the universe. It's not just a matter of we're observers who are watching the show, which is all it takes in the multiverse explanation for why the universe is fit for life. We've actually unraveled the plot as well. And I think that's something which is very much essential to anything. The universe not only engineered its own self-awareness. It's engineered its own self-comprehension, a fact which is really, really deep. And so towards the end of the book, what I do is to look at: where does that take us. Well, is that part of the story? And I think it is, and I think we cannot just shrug it aside as being just another quirky little coincidence. Oh, not only has life bubbled up in this part of the universe and, oh, not only has intelligence and consciousness emerged just a quirky little incidental side issue, but goodness, yes, this consciousness has led to beings who have figured out the rules of the universe. Oh, just luck. I think it's too significant can't for that.

Larry Lemmons:
Thank you, Dr. Davis, for coming by and visiting us today.

Paul Davies:
Thank you.

Jose Cardenas:
That's tonight's show. I'm Jose Cardenas. Be sure to join Howie Fischer tomorrow night for the "Journalist's Roundtable."

Paul Davies


  • A conversation with Paul Davies, the director of the Beyond Institute for Fundamental Concepts in Science at ASU. Davies is a renowned quantum physicist and author of several books, including, Cosmic Jackpot and The Mind of God.
Guests:
  • Dr. Bruce Merrill - Director, Cronkite-Eight Poll
  • Paul Davies - Director,
Category: Science

View Transcript
Josť Cardenas:
Tonight on "Horizon," a look at the presidential race as PBS airs a debate between the Democratic candidates for the White House tonight. Did you know airplane evacuations slides are made in only two places in the world, one right here in Arizona?
And, an internationally acclaimed ASU physicist talks about the possibility of intelligence beyond earth and universes. All that is coming up tonight on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight. Members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Jose Cardenas:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." PBS will air a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates tonight, the "All-American Presidential Forums on PBS" hosted by Tavis Smiley, featuring three journalists of color asking the questions. It airs at 9:00 p.m. tonight on eight. Earlier tonight I talked to Dr. Bruce Merrill, director of the Cronkite eight poll, about the presidential race. Bruce, thanks for joining us on "Horizon." PBS is airing the debate tonight between the top democratic presidential candidates. Let's look at the national polling first. Is Hillary still leading there?

Bruce Merrill:
She is but generally within margin of error, we say. It's very, very close, and it's getting closer all of the time between Obama and Clinton.

Jose Cardenas:
At the national level?

Bruce Merrill:
At the national level.

Jose Cardenas:
What about the primary states?

Bruce Merrill:
In the primary states, I think that's a very important question, because these national polls really mean very little this early. What's important is particularly what's happening in Iowa and what's happening in New Hampshire, because whoever wins in those particular states, the media propels as major contenders nationally. And in most states, on the Democratic side, Obama and Clinton are almost tied. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney is actually leading the race among Republicans in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Jose Cardenas:
But he's not doing so well at the national polls.

Bruce Merrill:
He's not doing well in the national polls, but I would argue that the national polls are meaningless this early in the campaign, because you determine the delegates state by state, and particularly those early states give a candidate momentum if he or she wins in them.

Jose Cardenas:
As we sit here today, what's your sense as to who the top Republican candidate is?

Bruce Merrill:
Well, I think the problem -- and I suspect I'm going to be probably pretty unpopular by this. I don't think the Republicans have a real strong candidate. I think that's why you see Fred Thompson doing so well. I think, among the republicans that are running, I think McCain is still probably the frontrunner. He's a military hero. We've always been infatuated with military people. He's run before, so I think he is certainly a contender. I think Giuliani is still a possibility. And Mitt Romney is certainly coming up. And Fred Thompson, the fascinating thing about Thompson is here is an actor that's got cancer, that hasn't even announced, and he is now pushing Giuliani in the national polls to lead the preference. What that indicates to me is, number one, particularly the conservatives do not have a strong candidate. Therefore they're looking at him as a possible candidate.

Jose Cardenas:
Who would be the strongest Democratic candidate, though, against any of those Republicans? Would it be Obama or would it be Clinton?

Bruce Merrill:
I -- you know, things change very rapidly in American politics. But if the war continues, if Bush's unpopularity continues, I think it's going to be difficult for a Republican to run successfully against either Obama or Clinton. I think people are really frustrated, and I think they're looking for a change in direction. They may be looking -- particularly it might help Obama in the sense that they maybe want someone younger, fresher, who would take us in a new direction. I think, again, anybody that would bet against the Clintons and Hillary Clinton, these are bright people that understand the political process. I think it's going to come right down to the wire between the Clintons and Obama.

Jose Cardenas:
Are there some wild cards there, though? You've got Bloomberg going independent, and the suggestion is he might launch an independent campaign that would hurt the democrats more than republicans. Do you agree with that?

Bruce Merrill:
I do. And I think that, because of so much money -- we're talking about taking it -- spending $500 million in these primary races. I think you may see a lot of candidates, even somebody like Gore that says, "Ok, you guys go ahead and spend all that money. I'm going to wait till that process is over, and then I'm going to jump in." We're in a time when we may see some very strong neo-populace candidates, a candidate that comes forward and says pox on both of your houses. I don't care about being a Republican or Democrat. Our problems are so severe in this country, we've got to get the best and the brightest. I don't care if they're Republicans, Democrats, black, brown or white; we've got to get the best people to solve these problems.

Jose Cardenas:
Common wisdom is that those people don't win. They're spoilers. And so you had Ross Perot who polled very well and thinking that that's what got Clinton elected. Ralph Nader in the Gore/Bush election. Is Bloomberg going to be any department -- different?

Bruce Merrill:
No. Remember Wallace got almost 22 percent of the vote and the day after the election had no power whatsoever. I think that the role of third-party candidates has been to change the major parties in one direction or another and to be a spoiler, and I think that's more than likely to happen in this election.

Jose Cardenas:
And if Bloomberg did get in, would he tip the balance in favor of the Republicans in a match-up between --

Bruce Merrill:
Probably would because of his liberal policies. He was a Democrat much of longer than he was a Republican, and I think he would tend to take more of the Democratic vote. On the other hand, you may have a conservative third-party candidate get in that would take votes away from the Republican.

Jose Cardenas:
Do you expect senator McCain to drop out of this race?

Bruce Merrill:
I really don't. I think he's committed. It's still early. I still think he's a major contender. And he's -- he works harder in American politics than any candidate I've ever known or been associated with, and I don't look for him to drop out. He could, but I don't think so. It depends on the money.

Jose Cardenas:
Bruce Merrill, "Thanks for joining us on "Horizon." Tonight we wrap up "Made in Arizona" by telling you about a product you hope you never have to use. Airplane evacuation slides are made in just two places in the word, one right here in Arizona. The other factory is in New Jersey. Producer Mike Sauceda and videographer David Riffle take us on a tour of the Goodrich Evacuation Slide Factory in Phoenix.

[Sound of air releasing]

Larry Fink:
I've run into people, especially when I'm traveling. One of the things that I may point out is I work for the place that builds evacuation systems for the planes and tell them the process. People are always very interested. We build a product that we hope never gets used. It's much like an air bag in your car. You don't want to use it, but you want that peace of mind, knowing that it's there. We make evacuations systems for planes, and what those are is, if there's ever an emergency and you need to evacuate the plane quickly, we -- those doors are opened. The chutes deploy. And the plane is evacuated very quickly. We make them for all of the different manufacturers of aircraft. Our biggest customers are Boeing, Airbus. We do do the Embrey air slides, which are much smaller. This is a farming cable. This is the safety pin. When you open the door --
Before you chute it, you take it out. When they're ready, they give us the thumbs up. Five, four, three, two, one.

[Sound of air releasing]

Larry Fink:
Most of them are made from either a neoprene, nylon-based fabric -- and I know that that sounds technological, but essentially, if you imagine the cloth on your shirt being coated with neoprene or urethane, that's technically what it is. In layman's terms, that's essentially what it is. Each pattern that we cut has a specific length. So we'll roll that off of the roll of fabric to that length. We'll then cut it. We'll go to the computer. They'll punch in what units are going to be building. And for that pattern, it'll cut and mark both sides so that it's ready to go to the joining aspect where they can put it together. The edges of each panel have markings to whether or not they need to be cemented. So if they need to be cemented, then we'll clean that, wipe it down, apply the adhesive, and then that'll have a match mark that comes over from another panel, and they'll physically put those together, whether it's a butt seam or --

Mike Sauceda:
Not all the pieces are joined with adhesives. Some are sewn together.

Larry Fink:
They're sewing actual live the small parts. Many of our units have a canopy on them, so they'll sew the canopy. Because those aspects aren't holding air, those pieces aren't holding air; they don't need to be leak-proof.

Mike Sauceda:
The next step is airing up the device for the first time. After that, the slides have markings applied. Some are painted, while some already come in the silver color that most of the slides end up being. The air tanks that make it possible for the slides to fill so rapidly are put together in a separate room where they are fitted with valves and tested to make sure they can sustain the pressure.

Larry Fink:
We used a mixed-gas cylinder, 50/50 of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. That is put through the aspirator. The regulator releases it. It then creates a suction from ambient air, pushes it into the unit.

Mike Sauceda:
The slide is now ready to be packed for the first time.

Larry Fink:
This is the final step in the process. They're going to take it from being fully inflated to insulated packed, which is roughly three feet by two feet across and ready for the functional test, which we'll do later on in the process. And then, at the end, it will be put in a different container ready to ship to the customer:

Mike Sauceda:
Slides are folded in a precise manner based on patterns. A lot of muscle is required to squeeze the slides into a relatively small container.

Larry Fink:
It's a lot of muscle you are exactly right. There is some finesse to it. Initially they'll lay it out, suck out all of the air. They have some precise folds that they need to make. As you get it into the actual pack cord, it does become very much a muscle game, if you will, in that they are pulling it, trying to get it into the contour.

Mike Sauceda:
After the initial packing, each and every slide is tested to make sure it can hold air, then repacked into the appropriate pack board and are ready for service just in case.

Jose Cardenas:
Paul Davies is the director of "Beyond, Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science" here at ASU he's a theoretic physicist and cosmologist by profession but also works in astrobiology. He seeks to understand the origin and evolution of life. He's the author of several books including "The Mind of God" and his most recent, "Cosmic Jackpot." he discussed his new book recently with Larry Lemmons.

Larry Lemmons:
What is Beyond, The Center for Fundamental Concepts and Science?

Paul Davies:
By profession, I'm a theoretic physicist, but I've worked many years in cosmology and astrobiology, the attempt to find life elsewhere in the universe and understand how it started on earth. I've also had a strong philosophical bent. That's a pretty diverse mix of interests. And President Crow was kind enough to say, well, establish a center that somehow encompasses this broad sweep. And so it's a center for fundamental concepts and science, and it can be any science. It doesn't have to be physics, though that's my preference. So it's physics and biology and, to a certain extent, chemistry and astronomy and cosmology, right across the sciences. I'm finding ways to integrate these different disciplines and build bridges between different departments in the university.

Larry Lemmons:
Your book, "the mind of god" was extremely successful. Now you have a new book, "the cosmic jackpot."

Paul Davies:
Yes, I do.

Larry Lemmons:
Feel free to pick that up and show that. Why is our universe is just ripe for life. Why is that so?

Paul Davies:
Well, this is a puzzle that goes way back in my career. I was a student in London in the late 1960's. And my PhD thesis advisor gave me a paper by a British cosmologist, Brandon Carter, in which he noted the fact that, if the laws of physics had been just a little bit different from what they are, there would be no life in the universe and no Brandon Carter. And I thought, well, that's a pretty intriguing idea. Because normally in science you accept the underlying laws, say the laws of physics, so you work out their consequences. What you don't do is ask where the laws come from or why the laws are of the form they are. You sort of get the impression, well, they're just any old laws and it doesn't really matter. But it does matter. If you tweak those laws just a little bit -- imagine playing God and you've got a design machine. You twiddle this knob and make gravity a bit stronger and so on. Well, we can't do the actual experiment. We don't have the funding for it. But the theoretic exercise, what difference would it make, you find adjusting those knobs is enough to wreck any life in the universe. Life literally hangs on a knife edge. I'm not talking about the special conditions on earth. I'm talking about the underlying laws of the universe. To use the expression fine-tuned for life. Fred Hoyle, who gave me my first job at Cambridge University in 1970, was saying it's as if a super intellect has been monkeying with physics. I don't think a super intellect has been monkeying with physics, but we need to come up with an explanation. A popular one is that what we've all along been calling the universe is really nothing of the kind, just a tiny fragment in some vast, more elaborate system called the multiverse that consists of a lot of different universes, each a little different. We can imagine lots of big bangs going off in space and time without this immense multiverse. Each universe comes with its own set of laws. Maybe randomly distributed. Instead of the law of physics being absolute, universal mathematical relationships, they're more like local bylaws or maybe state laws as opposed to federal laws. And a lot of people think that is the explanation, that the reason that we find the universe is just right for life is because most of these universes in the multiverse would not be suitable for life. This one is fit for life, and it's no surprise we find ourselves living in one where life can appear 'cause we could hardly live in one where life is impossible. So I developed my thinking about that, which draws rather heavily upon the work of john wheeler, the man who coined the term "black hole" and about 30 years ago was also intrigued by this weird bio-friendliness of the universe. He thought there was a way the universe would engineer its own bio-friendliness that this some way the emergence of life and observers linked back in time to the conditions in which the universe was born. And so I've taken that idea and run with it, because I think it can be turned into a real research program.

Larry Lemmons:
Which reminds me of the observations made today could shape the reality of the past.

Paul Davies:
Sounds pretty whacky, but all the explanations for why the universe is what it is are pretty wacky. We've either got an unexplained got, an unexplained set of physical laws, a mass of squiggly universes you can never see or we've got some mechanism from within the universe that somehow causes it to engineer its own bio-friendliness. You can only get away with that if you give up the idea that the laws of physics have somehow been imprinted on the universe forever. Physicists don't like to talk about it, but if you go to a physicist's department and say what are the laws of physics to you and press them, they will say, well, these laws sort of exist in some transcendent realm. They're there.

Larry Lemmons:
A sort of paternal, platonic realm--

Paul Davies:
Exactly. Mathematics was real but resulted in some sort of otherworldly world, a platonic heaven. The laws of physics are these wonderful equations and other mathematical relationships in this platonic realm, that somehow Mother Nature has plucked out a few pieces and those laws are fixed. You're never going to explain that bio-friendliness if you adopt that view. But if you adopt the view that the laws are somehow emergent with the universe, that they're not absolutely infinity precise statements, relationships, that there's a certain sort of flexibility, laws in the law, as I call it, then there's a possibility that, if there's enough wiggle room, somehow the universe can maneuver itself to engineer then self-awareness.

Larry Lemmons:
So thinking about in terms of the observer looking at the universe, it almost implies that that kind of action, the self-awareness, was fixed into the universe from the beginning. And I know that you had mentioned the word "design," and I know that you mentioned the word "God," but you did not believe in what has been popularly coined "intelligent design."

Paul Davies:
Right. Of course I don't run away from the issues you've just discussed. There's a chapter in here called "intelligent or not so intelligent design, because I think this so-called intelligent design move," which is largely an a American phenomenon, I have to say, is about a crass notion of a designer, and it's bad science and it's bad theology, and I have no time for it. But I think what interests people is not so much was there some sort of preexisting cosmic magician, a super being who decided, well, this would be a good universe. I'll make that one. Bang, away you go. It's, I think, more sophisticated theologians that really are not after that. What they are really after is there something like a meaning or a purpose in the universe? You don't have to have a designer, a cosmic magician. The question is: is there something in the universe beyond the daily realm? Human beings like to believe in a bigger scheme of things. Although I do away with any sort of notion of design in the usual sense and do away with any sort of super being, there is a place for the mind. There's a place for life, and there's a place for mind. There's a place for human beings. It's not a central place. We're not the pinnacle of creation or anything like that. But the emergence of life and mind I think are fundamental to the workings of the universe. Many scientists wouldn't agree. They'd say life is just an irrelevant embellishment, an accident in a little by way in a corner of the galaxy with no significant to the whole. I've always disagreed with that. I think life is such an extraordinary phenomenon and the mind is different from any sort of thing that I don't regard life and mind as just other phenomena, other sorts of things along with rocks and clouds and things of that sort. I think they are special in a number of ways. And they play a special role in the story of the universe. So I wouldn't say -- I would certainly never use the word "intelligence." I think the key thing is "observer," that there are beings who cannot only watch the show but come to understand it. This has always been a key theme in my philosophy in my career, which is that science, to me, is something much more significant than most people imagine. If we take science for granted -- it's all around us. We see the products of science and people think, well, of course it works. You look at this and measure that, and poof. We'll figure out what's going on. I think the fact that human beings can do science, that we can unravel the secrets of nature; we can decode the hidden sub text on which nature runs, namely the fundamental underlying laws, is just a fact of stupendous significance. Why can we do it? Why is it possible using these arcane procedures of laboratory experiments? You go to a lab, it's all these weird glass things and wires and tubes and whatnot. What's going on there? It's very unnatural. We're taking something out of nature and we're subjecting it to really peculiar procedures. And then you stand at a blackboard or white board and cover it in squiggles. What's that about? So here human beings have discovered these weird procedures that enable us to figure out what's going on in the universe. It's not just a matter of we're observers who are watching the show, which is all it takes in the multiverse explanation for why the universe is fit for life. We've actually unraveled the plot as well. And I think that's something which is very much essential to anything. The universe not only engineered its own self-awareness. It's engineered its own self-comprehension, a fact which is really, really deep. And so towards the end of the book, what I do is to look at: where does that take us. Well, is that part of the story? And I think it is, and I think we cannot just shrug it aside as being just another quirky little coincidence. Oh, not only has life bubbled up in this part of the universe and, oh, not only has intelligence and consciousness emerged just a quirky little incidental side issue, but goodness, yes, this consciousness has led to beings who have figured out the rules of the universe. Oh, just luck. I think it's too significant can't for that.

Larry Lemmons:
Thank you, Dr. Davis, for coming by and visiting us today.

Paul Davies:
Thank you.

Jose Cardenas:
That's tonight's show. I'm Jose Cardenas. Be sure to join Howie Fischer tomorrow night for the "Journalist's Roundtable."

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