If you check the Internet Archive where many of our Future Salon videos are stored, the one with the best Batting Average as in how many people have viewed it in comparison to just look at the page with over 20% it is Jaron Lanier's talk. Here some more details about that interesting evening.
I didn't know that Deepak Chopra is supporting intelligent design:
Somehow I doubt Deepak Chopra is a big Republican supporter, for instance, but by promoting Intelligent Design he discourages reality-based thinking and therefore encourages our current sorry crop of reality-challenged leaders ...
I like the perspective that religion should focus on profound empathy:
Isn't the truest sign of divinity composed of such things as compassion, empathy, service, forgiveness, and so on? The divinity described in the traditional religions encompasses both magical events, like walking on water, and profound empathy, so why not emphasize the empathy, and demote the question of the authenticity of the magical events until it's practically a moot point? After all, a clever alien could have performed the magic, and that by itself wouldn't mean a thing.
Here some more, but read the whole post it's great:
The goal should be better informed kids who think it's cool to work towards honestly understanding the world (which is a quick populist shorthand for doing science.) ...
I don't see why religious feeling can't be a motivator of honest scientific activity. As it happens, the most profound aspects of religion are the ones that can work best to motivate scientists. A quest for moral improvement does no harm to science, so long as it doesn't fall into the manipulative orthodoxies of a church power structure. A call to service, a sense of compassion and empathy; these fit perfectly with the current opportunities to further medical science. A profound sense of awe at existence is just right for science. Metaphysics need do no harm to physics and is more profound and beautiful than supernatural claims, which turn God into nothing but a nerd superhero in the sky.