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tv   Countdown With Keith Olbermann  MSNBC  September 10, 2010 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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5% of you said yes, 95% of you said no. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schulze. up next "countdown with keith olbermann." >> breaking news. wayne sapp, the associate pastor of the church in florida says the planned koran burning there during saturday's 9/11 commemorations is not canceled bt merely "suspended." as a new controversy swirls upward, was the extremist pastor operating under a delusion that he made some kind of deal that he would stop the burning if the park 51 islamic center in new york were to be moved? which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? >> if they were willing to move it away from that location, we would consider that a sign from god.
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we have or he has been in contact with the imam in new york city. he has agreed to move the location. >> but from sources in the office of the imam no deal to move park 51 and the man in the middle -- >> i have made this morning contact with the office of the imam and got the commitment to fly out to new york and meet with him in the company of pastor jones to discuss and come to a decision on relocating the mosque. our special guest, imam mohammad mosri. >> rendition is still unchecked. an appeals court tosses the lawsuit that challenges the company that flew its victims. jonathan turley joins me. steven hawking's argument. no god is needed to create a
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universe. just gravity and quantum theory. our guest, his co-author and david letterman and i play for a possible 2012 presidential candidate. >> it could be another bush. we haven't had enough of them. >> that's his campaign slogan. >> i'll reveal what it is so somebody called jeb up and tell him to watch. all of the news and commentary now on "countdown." good evening from new york. this just in from kerry sanders in florida. we're a little back to square one he now quotes pastor terry jones of the dove church in that state. i'm praying, he tells sanders, to decide what to do next. two days before the ninth anniversary of 9/11, 48 hours before the planned burning of
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korans by a small florida church and our fifth story on the "countdown" tonight. the koran burning has been suspended. originally the pastor of the church said the burning was canceled. the ugly ramifications, it is too late to call back no matter what happens next already rippling through afghanistan. we'll have that later in the hour. we begin with pastor jones of the dove world outreach center in gainesville, florida, who decided months to go to burn korans to take a stand against radical islam and what he described as american accommodation of it. despite a direct appeal by president obama via abc news today on that program and despite a personal appeal in a phone call from defense secretary gates today because of the violence it could inspire against u.s. troops. jones continued to say only god's word would sway him. that word apparently came today from our guest or via our guest standing by, imam muhamma muhammad musri, standing by from the islamic society of central florida who
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says he has arranged a meeting between jones and imam rauf of the islamic center planned for two blocks from ground zero in new york city. jones described this as a deal to move that islamic center in new york and said then that not only was he canceling his koran burning saturday but that no one should burn any korans. that was what he said then. >> we are, of course, now against any other group burning korans obviously. we have accomplished our goal. we have accomplished what we feel god wants us to do. we would right now ask no one to burn korans. we are very, very strong on that. as strong as we were that they should burn korans. it is now not the time to do it. >> mr. jones was told, however, that new york organizers of that islamic center said they have not agreed to move it. jones was asked whether he felt tricked in exactly what he was told. >> that the imam would move the mosque from ground zero. i was told he cannot move it tomorrow. i said that is fine.
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but it cannot be in ten years. these are the exact words that i said. the man said that's fine. i said now he has agreed to move the mosque away from the ground zero area. yes, he has. that's what i was told. do i feel tricked? >> yes. >> yes, of course. i don't feel tricked. i was lied to. that's why at this time i'm not prepared to believe that. i'm not prepared to make that accusation. i want to just wait and see and i'm right now believing his word. i find it very hard to believe that he would lie to me. >> that was followed by jones' associate pastor coming out to reporters this evening and suggesting they might return to being just as for burning korans as they are currently against burning korans if the new york city islamic center does not move. >> we have not canceled the burning on saturday. we've suspended it until we get a confirmation on the information we were given today in a meeting full of different
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members of the church on what was said. >> with us now as promised, imam muhammad musri from the islamic society of central florida. thank you for joining us today. we appreciate it sincerely. >> thank you, keith. glad to be here. >> where does this stand? do you know? pastor jones seem to think the leaders of the new york center agreed to move the center further away from the location of ground zero. is he mistaken about that? what exactly did you tell him? >> prior to going inside to meet with him when i submitted a request to meet with him, i spent an hour in the sun and during that time i talked to the media and explained exactly what i came to do. and that's exactly what i went inside and did and that is i told him i arranged for a meeting between me, himself and imam abdul rauf,
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that the imam in new york has through his office agreed for us to meet up in new york if he gives up the event on saturday. i told him clearly i am not in any way connected to the event in new york. i have no control over it. i cannot promise you that it will be moved but my position is for it to be relocated to a more ideal position somewhere we can avoid the controversy going on on that side. i said i advocate for that prior to this incident here and i'm willing to go personally to new york to do that. he clearly understood that there were no cut deals over there in new york. neither him nor i spoke to the imam in new york and we were
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under no fallacy that a deal had been made. a deal where he gives up this and the imam in new york gives up that. >> if there was no deal, what's your reaction to him saying he was going to new york to arrange how quickly and far away the park 51 center was going to be moved? >> the main reason that we came out and he agreed to call off the event on saturday was not centered on what's happening in new york or not. it was based on the fact that today is the last day of ramadan, that tomorrow morning in a few hours in the middle east and in the world, muslims will be celebrating one of the two holiest days and during that hundreds of millions
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of people will be heading to mosques where a message will be delivered by imams, some of whom are radical and may use his event on saturday to radicalize the use and to turn people against us in the united states so i told him time is of the essence. if you wait until friday or saturday, it will be too little too late anyway. you have to make a decision now and so people across the world will hear your message that you canceled this so that tomorrow morning we would not see riots and see demonstrations in the streets of pakistan, afghanistan and elsewhere. >> imam musri, the premise of this as you left the first meeting with pastor jones, as you understood it and as you understood him to understand it was you believe that it would be a good gesture if the new york center was moved further away from ground zero. he certainly did. you were going join him in new
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york to talk to imam rauf to talk about the prospect of doing and that perhaps to advocate for that as a gesture of good will as the stopping of the burning of korans would be. is that the way you thought it was when you left that meeting? >> precisely. i repeated that three or four times inside the building. yes. >> then, let me ask you -- ask you one question about that that equates -- essentially the burning of the korans and building of this islamic community center in new york at some distance from ground zero, these two things have somehow become equated or perhaps conflated. why n your opinion, as a leader of your faith, are these things even remotely connected and why shouldn't there be an islamic center exactly where they have it planned at 51 park place in manhattan? >> i did not think they were connected at all.
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i thought that he connected them clearly when he stepped out in front of the cameras but inside i told him those are two separate issues completely separate. and the issue of burning the koran is something that will trigger reaction across the muslim world and it is not congruent with his christian beliefs but the project in new york is something totally different. it is not breaking any law. it is in the constitutional rights of the muslim community of new york to do it. i told him my personal take on it, that respecting the wishes of large number of americans who feel the controversy could be avoided by relocating the mosque, i said i'm for that position at this point.
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and i wish to talk to the imam in new york on that but these two events are not linked at all, in my opinion. >> i'll close where i began in that malstrom of trying to understand where it all stands rite now. do you understand where it all stands right now? is this church going to go ahead with the latest pledge not to do anything on saturday? is that at least going to happen? will there be a meeting? are you going to new york? >> i believe that pastor jones would keep his words. that's what i urge of him. and otherwise all that we have done for two days in a row will go to waste. it wasn't just what i told him but it was the many christian leaders who called him and the messages from president obama to the secretary of defense, everybody talked to him. it wasn't me but i gave him a face to see a muslim in front of him and talk to him and direct
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his frustration and anger towards me rather than to something he never seen. and towards a book. so he feels that we have a deal, and he is going to give me the time to make the contact with new york and arrange for the meeting and follow through with our planned event to meet with imam abdul rauf and try to reach a deal there. but i do not believe at this time that pastor jones will go back to what he was planning to do on saturday. >> hopefully that is the truth. imam muhammad musri of the islamic society of florida, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you, keith. >> let's turn to michael eric dyson.
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welcome back, professor. >> always good to be here, brother olbermann. do you think you know what happened here and happening here and the imam's faith that we are not going to have a koran burning on saturday justified? >> i think it is overreaching. he's a kind and gentleman, a supremely gifted orator for the profound beliefs of the islamic world, but i think he's overreaching here unfortunately because i think that the unpredictable and arbitrary terrorism being practiced, the rhetorical terrorism, the bigotry of pastor jones has to be called for what it is. this is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to engage in the most narcissistic form of manipulation of media and the broader world. a 50-member church commanding international and global awareness precisely because of his recalcitrants and refusal to
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acknowledge the basic principles of his faith which teach him not to hate other people, not to dog other people, not to demonize other people. even jesus says i have members and sheep of other flocks that you don't even know about. we have to at least have enough religious humility to say he may not be christian, other religious faiths have honorable members who deserve to be heard equally as much as christians themselves. >> to say nothing of standing in the bible. how do the politics look to you on this at the moment? the president spoke indirectly to jones. i said directly i meant indirectly via the interview with george stephanopolous. but the defense secretary spoke to him directly, on the other hand, with one or two exceptions here, the republicans here who have spoken out have done so reluctantly or belatedly. john mccain did it today. why did our political leaders have such trouble on this one? >> i think let's be honest here. it's troubling to admit on the far right pastor jones may express opinions and beliefs of some of the core ideological
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tenets that are hailed by these folk that they don't want to come out and say. he becoming both whipping boy and icon at the same time. he's useful on both sides of the debate. on the other hand, i think that mr. obama speaking indirectly and secretary gates directly suggests that i thought we didn't deal with terrorists, and we didn't negotiate with terrorists here and here's a man commanding such international and global media ink precisely because he refuses to acknowledge the fundamental principles of decency that any religion should teach. people said to martin luther king jr. constantly, don't build your mosque. no. don't bring your march here. don't come to birmingham, alabama. it's going tear the fabric of society, it's going to rip the y unity that we have. you're an extremist. seven clergymen got together in good faith and said don't build your movement here. don't bring it here. martin luther king jr. said i must do it now. they said be gradual. he said we can't take the drug of gradualism. we must talk about the fierce urgency of now and he said you call me an extremist.
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i used to be upset by that but now i say an extremist for was? an extremist for bigotry or extremist for love? i think if pastor jones were an extremist for love and compassion that would be a great thing. i'm afraid that even if the imam decided to move the mosque, that looks like a victory for compassion and sensitivity. in reality it's a concession to the worst form of bigotry and reactionary forces that would indeed have the upper hand again. >> lastly, is there still some kernel of good news in this? because of all the things we don't know and we discussed it, and obviously the imam doesn't know and the associate pastor doesn't know and pastor doesn't know, the parts of the deal that we seem to believe are intact. koran burning canceled. moderate new york muslims to meet with fundamentalist florida christian. is that good news? >> it's good news when people sit down at the table of brotherhood so to speak and sisterhood and talk across ideological differences and religious
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differences. at the same time, i think it's problematic again because it looks as if there's a distinction between us and them. the problem is them over there. the muslims. and those of us over here, the christians, we're right. there are problems within christian fundamentalism that are problematic. so i'm an ordained baptist minister. i find problematic the beliefs of christian fundamentalists. we ostensibly supposedly serve the same god, but at the end of the day it doesn't look like that to me. the problem is not between us and them. it's between divisive and bigoted beliefs, and howard thurman, the great preacher said the bigot is a person who makes an idol of his commitments. we can't worship at the altar of our commitments. we have to worship at the altar of a god who loves everybody. and my faith teaches me we should be open to that. so conversation is great. conversion to humanity and compassion even better. >> georgetown university professor michael eric dyson, it's always a pleasure. thank you again. >> thank you for having me. just the threat of koran burning led to distribution of pamphlets.
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threatening american service personnel in afghanistan. we'll talk to the father of one of our troops stationed in the exact area where those threats were made next on "countdown."
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the reaction to the prospect of a koran burning in afghanistan bad enough that the secretary of defense contacted the pastor in florida today. leaflets threatening american servicemen are distributed. we'll talk to the father of a serviceman who is stationed in the province and also more breaking news on this. we'll talk to a reporter who has spoken to the wife of the imam in the new york city park 51 center about what happened today and what may or may not happen tomorrow and saturday. meantime, the president already has a win. jonathan turley on the unfortunate ruling that rendition of alleged terrorism suspects is still court approved. his orchestra played a song by bighead todd and the monsters as i walked on stage. it got better after that. highlights ahead. and it's been mischaracterized as he said science has proved there's no god. his co-author will explain that all you need is gravity and quantum physics.
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can somebody get this to pastor jones in a hurry?
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think progress has spoken to the wife of imam abdul rauf in new york, daisy kahn, about a conversation she had or had earlier today with imam mohammed musri from orlando. he joins us now by phone. walk us through this. what did daisy tell you? >> hi, keith. i just got off the phone with daisy, i'll just read from my notes if you have a second. >> please. >> she said we have not agreed to anything other than meeting with the pastor at a future
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point down the road when cooler heads prevailed. she also said we reject any comparison to what we were prepared to build in new york and what the pastor was ready to destroy in florida. again, she said that she emphasized that the meeting was not planned for saturday but rather at a point in the future when people have had time to reflect on it. the last point she made was we do not want to take away from the solemn day of 9/11. that's why they don't want to meet on saturday. she said our center is not about 9/11. the koran is not about 9/11. we wish to commemorate 9/11 with prayers for the families of the victims. >> did the imam in orlando, did he call daisy khan with an offer basically? or how did this transpire? do you know the nature of the transaction supposedly involved here and how that happened? >> from what we understand imam musri in orlando called daisy in a bit of a panic saying i'm here talking to pastor jones and i want to give him something to
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try to negotiate this compromise. initially he said would you be willing to renegotiate the location of the center? she said no, of course not. and then he said, well, would you agree to meet with him? she said sure, we'll meet with anybody but we would like to meet with him down the road at some point. she was a bit surprised when imam musri and jones suggested they were going to come up almost immediately. >> so, are we getting a picture of this now that imam musri said i got you the meeting to discuss moving park 51 and i personally think it should be moved and that's what he said and pastor jones heard we've got a meeting to discuss when it's going to be moved? >> forgive me for my cynical take on this. i think pastor jones was trapped in a box. i think he felt like he had to back down after the call from secretary gates. the "ground zero mosque" was never an issue he was talking about. it was not on his radar and not
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the ostensible reason for burning the koran. i think in trying to get out of the box he was in, he tried to shift and do bait and switch and shift on to the mosque issue and so i think that's a little bit of at least a strategy of jones trying to put the onus back on imam rauf and say this is his issue, he has to deal with it when pastor jones was hijacking the nation with this ridiculous koran burning attempt. >> faiz shakir of think progress, recounting his conversation with the wife of the imam in new york, thanks for being with us on short notice. thank you. whether the florida pastor goes through with his pledge or not, the cliche of "fahrenheit 451" coming to life has already sparked anti-american protests. in our fourth story, those demonstrations most notably in afghanistan and already an attempt by insurgents there to capitalize on it with anti-american pamphlets. also, the state department has issued a travel alert to americans traveling abroad.
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in kabul, demonstrations and violence broke out today. hundreds of protesters burnt effigies and chanted death to america. nothing particularly unusual about that except for the timing. a cleric at a mosque in kabul said of the planned koran burning quote, it's an insult to the whole muslim world. sending a distracting message to the u.s. and all muslims. another protest is planned for money if the florida koran burning happens over the weekend. in another province of afghanistan, northeast of kabul, near bagram air base, 500 to 700 protesters attacked a security post but the afghan national police reportedly prevented the post from being overtaken. abc news is reporting that afghan insurgents are distributing anti-american leaflets to villagers in logar province, entitled "shocking news." according to an abc translation, it states this time these people have decided once again to insult our religion, our koran and our holy sites. an unnamed military officer telling abc "our assessment is that the insurgents here in logar, province afghanistan are
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seizing on the opportunity of the florida koran-burning story to rally a portion of the ambivalent population in our area to conduct attacks against our forces. the reality on the ground is this the koran burning event has the strong possibility of resulting in the injury or even death of coalition forces and possibly afghan civilians here in our area of operations as a result. as previously stated, the state department issued a worldwide travel alert for u.s. citizens due to the possibility of widespread anti-american demonstrations. let's turn to craig watson whose son, private parker watson, is now serving as a medic in afghanistan. thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you, keith. >> we just went through some of the reaction in afghanistan to the possibility of korans being burned in florida. are you personally concerned about the damage that's already been done and what that means for your son? >> yes, to a certain extent, yes. before we get started i would like to say go army. 173rd airborne. parker, we miss you. hope you're doing well. can i have the question again, keith? >> are you concerned about the
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risk perhaps that's been increased already no matter what happens or doesn't happen in florida over the weekend? >> like i said, to a certain extent, yes. the reason being, you know, my son is over in afghanistan fighting to defend this country and defend our freedoms and defend the constitution, and so this gentleman in florida that wants to burn the constitution -- i mean, burn the koran, you know, that's his choice under the first amendment. so we're kind of conflicted here. we're fighting to defend the constitution yet people are upset about his right to burn the constitution. kind of conflicted there. as a former police officer, i've operated under the concept of reasonableness and you know is this a reasonable thing at this time? no, i don't think so. >> has your son expressed to you either before this became an issue or since it's become an issue how fragile the sentiment is among afghans about
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americans? >> yes, as a matter of fact i was able to talk to him yesterday on the phone. he said the tensions are high in the region already due to provincial elections, and i explained to him what was going on over here in the united states, and he seemed to think that that would just be, you know, pouring gasoline on an already out of control fire. again, it's tough under the first amendment and this is this guy's right to do that. >> one of the possible protests that we mentioned in afghanistan scheduled for monday would apparently not go forward if the koran burning does not happen. is it your hope at this point that it's not too late to dispel some of the anger that the controversy has already generated? >> yeah. you know, i hope, like i mentioned earlier, our family,
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we've always acted out of reasonableness and i would hope that people can come to a reasonable terms on this matter. you know, whether you're liberal or conservative, you need to be reasonable. and i just hope that that's the way people go towards. >> craig watson, father of army private parker watson, great thanks for your time and the best to you and obviously to your son. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you, sir. >> rendition lives. first a brief sanity break. something like a sanity break. david letterman and me. are you a safe driver? yes. discount! do you own a home? yes. discount! are you going to buy online? yes! discount! isn't getting discounts great? yes! there's no discount for agreeing with me. yeah, i got carried away. happens to me all the time. helping you save money -- now, that's progressive. call or click today.
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why the dismissal of a lawsuit against an air carrier means rendition can continue.
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jonathan turley ahead. first the sanity report. speaking of a head, a big head, let's play "oddball." we begin at the ed sullivan theater. for the really big show. fun with jan brewer, julianna margolise. great band called the black angels blew the proverbial lid off the joint in between two old guys. ♪ >> beautiful. what was that? >> big head todd and the monsters. >> thank you very much. >> here we go. >> that's not nice. >> size 8. my mother to the day she died complained about it. >> you're a good looking man, my friend. don't worry about anything. >> the imam who is involved in the mosque came back from his tour on behalf of the request of the united states government to build hearts and minds and try to improve our relationships around the word and said, by the
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way, this wasn't mentioned a lot in the coverage of this thing but we're going to have separate prayer centers inside the facility for christians, jews, unitarians. i think he mentioned everything but the first church of the gooey death and atheists. not sure they should have a spot for atheists as well, prayer center for atheists. just complete the whole thing. there's also a culinary institute in this place. so we're going to have terror chefs obviously being trained. i know a few terror chefs. >> they work at the cbs commissary. >> yeah. >> thank you for bringing them over from nbc. >> and sarah palin, she -- >> how much do you want her to run? how much? >> it would be great for us speaking selfishly. >> are you thinking the same thing i am? >> i'm thinking she's not going to run is what i'm concerned about. who is it going to be? mitt romney? >> it's not cost effective. >> will it be mitt romney or somebody? >> could be. could be pawlenty. could be jeb bush. could be another bush. we haven't had enough of them.
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>> yeah. and i was talking to -- >> hey, it may be different this time. that's his campaign slogan. >> it may be different. >> it may be different this time. >> to the oakland alameda county coliseum where last night your oakland a's defeated the mariners, 4-3. the best play of the game came not on the field but in the stands. coco crisp, one of the best names in baseball, lines one over the wall. let's watch the replay of the effort by the fan. the only one in the stands. full extension. the ball rolls away and into the camera pit. the guy nearly did too. that would stop most fans but not him. got to get that $9 baseball, buddy. the human fly. he didn't secure it and it rolls back down. cameraman eventually gets him the ball and there was much rejoicing. he definitely gets an oakland a for effort. remember when the word rendition was reserved for the national anthem, and now jose
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feliciano's rendition of an anth anthem, the bad kind going.
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a former gitmo prisoner and four others say they were kidnapped and tortured by the cia. they sought to sue the company that helped the agency with logistics. the government invoked state secrets privileges. the case got thrown out by a federal appeals court. our third story, the bush administration's extraordinary rendition program goes unchecked yet again. johnathan turley will join us. the 6-5 ruling from the ninth circuit court of appeals. upholding the government's decision to invoke the state secrets doctrine. the majority determining the plaintiffs cannot sue a boeing subsidiary, jeppesen for the assistance they provided to the cia. the men claiming the company provided flight planning and logistical support services to government officials. the men were apprehended and transported to secret interrogation sites abroad where they claim they were beaten, starved, subjected
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to humiliation, degradation, physical and psychological torture by u.s. officials. the government is not disputing many of the key facts of the case including the torture. a spokesman telling the "los angeles times" the attorney general adopted a new policy last year to ensure the state secrets privilege is only used in cases where it is essential to protect national security, and we are pleased that the court recognized that the policy was used appropriately in this case. the majority reluctantly concluding that the national security interests trump quote, even the most compelling necessity to protect the fundamental principles of liberty and justice. five judges dissented, calling the decision premature and calling the government's torture a gross, notorious act of despotism. the bush administration invoked the state's secret privilege when the suit was first filed in 2007. the case was later reviewed by attorney general holder who endorsed the bush administration decision. the aclu arguing the case for the plaintiffs. attorney ben wisner noting if the physician is allowed to stand, the u.s. would have closed its courtroom doors to torture victims, adding to date
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not a single victim of the bush administration torture programs has had a day in court. joining us now, a constitutional law expert and law professor at george washington university. jonathan turley. john, good evening. >> hi, keith. >> you were the counsel on was has been cited as the leading state secrets case, area 51. now that this ninth circuit known as a liberal circuit ruled on this, what are the odds that the supreme court hears that and/or overturns it? >> the court has been avoiding this issue for years. they avoided it in the area 51 case that i had. the problem is that the entire privilege is based on a case called united states versus reynolds from 1953. that case was built on a demonstrable lie, that at the time, various families that were suing over b-52 crash in georgia, say the that the government was simply lying and hiding evidence by claiming national security. well, in the year 2000, those documents were, in fact, unsealed and declassified, and
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the families were right. the government did lie. they did use national security for purely tactical reasons. but the privilege continued. you had a privilege that was born in abuse and continues that form of abuse. and so what the supreme court will do is hard to say because they have avoided this issue for decades. they created what's become a corrosive and corrupting influence within our legal system. >> more than that though, is this not kind of a magical elixir for the executive branch, a president files whatever he wants to file under state secrets and that's the end of it? >> it is. this is more than a pass given to administrations. this is a virtual invitation by these judges. national security is a lot like gas in a closed space. if you expand the space, the gas expands to fill it. what they're saying here is that basically you have victims in plain view but they are invisible to our legal system.
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it makes a mockery of our legal system, but it invites abuse. in this case when attorney general holder says we made careful efforts to make sure it's not being overused, all the country cited in this claim of privilege, they actually released documents. these countries have actually acknowledged their role. the united states invoked privilege to shield this administration and past administration from embarrassment and admission that they are concealing a torture program. >> how would we know if this statement was true? we're pleased that the court recognized that the policy was used appropriately in this case, meaning state secrets policy. how would we ever know that? >> that's the problem. they've created a system that defies judicial review. you have five of these judges that heard this evidence in closed session and decided this was a mockery, it was actually despotism to make these arguments.
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what these cases often amount to is an act of collusion by courts. they tend to be very impressed by the secret sessions. but if you look at the record, it's ridiculous because the rendition program, the torture programs are so public that some of the parties like hayden, cheney are out there talking about it. but when victims try to get simple judicial review, when the court just says we couldn't possibly give you relief or review because that would disclose national security secrets. you know, if torture is a national security secret, it should be disclosed. >> constitutional law professor jonathan turley. john, always a pleasure. thanks for your time tonight. >> thank you, keith. >> what if we use rendition to take pastor terry jones somewhere where he had to listen to dr. stephen hawking convince him it's irrelevant because science can prove no god is necessary to create a universe according to science. the hawking argument ahead and when rachel joins you at the top of the hour, the koch brothers are back at it, taking to a
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>> he did not say he proved there is no god just that you don't need a god to create this universe here. his co-author joins us next. n
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paul ii, world renowned first cyst stephen hawking revealed instructions he was given by the pontiff at the vatican. the pope said it's okay to study the universe and where it began but not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of creation and the work of god. stephen hawking and his fellow physicists are doing what galileo did hundreds of years before them and ignored the pope's advice. the co-authors write in their book that god was not necessary for the creation of the universe. mr. mlodinow joins me presently. why is there something rather than nothing? why do we exist? hawking and mlodinow assert that when asking who or what created the universe, the answer god only serves to kick the can down the road because there is the other one, who or what created
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god. the authors believe the origin of universe can be explained scientifically. as recent advances suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something, it is not necessary to invoke god to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going. the book does not explicitly rule out the existence of god, but religious leaders are getting bent out of shape. rebuttals to the book have been issued and baroness susan greenfield a british scientist and member of the house of lords told the bbc "they can make whatever comments they like but when they assume rather in a taliban-like way that they have all the answers, then i do feel uncomfortable." joining me now, cal tech physicist, a co-author with stephen hawking, leonard mlodinow. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> the baroness has half apologized for comparison to taliban.
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neither of you are claiming to know everything, are you? >> well, if she half apologized i should half thank her for the apology. no, of course we're not claiming to know everything. the book is about, as you said, two main questions. where did the universe come from and why are the laws of nature what they are? we give scientific answers to those questions and we conclude that god isn't necessary for either of those. that's all we say. we don't pretend to prove that there's no god. we don't give mathematical proof there's no god. we don't say you shouldn't believe in god. that it's bad to believe in god. we don't even say that god didn't create the universe. we say that god is not necessary as an answer to those questions. if i might add, i think some of the histrionics around this such as the comments you quoted are counterproductive and poison the whole discussion. >> as they always do when they come from religious leaders whether it's about a movie or a book of science or about galileo's work but often it ends up with the work getting greater distribution than it would have had otherwise.
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let me play god's advocate to twist the old phrase. the laws of gravity and quantum theory are the cause of spontaneous creation of the universe, ultra-simplified version of the book, could not a god or a force of some sort have created the laws of gravity and quantum theory? >> well, keith, people have always looked around and asked themselves big questions and sometimes it seems to them to all of us that answers to these big questions could only be the work of some deity. for instance, people look at the human being and say this is such a magnificent creature, it could only be the work of god. darwin showed that wasn't true. science can explain that. we talked about two other issues. the creation of the universe and why laws of nature are what they are. it's a natural instinct to have that that could be the work of god. we show that science can answer those questions too. when we give those answers,
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science is based on laws. physics explain that. where do those laws come from? is that god? of course you can define god to be that way. whatever our answer is you can say but why and say that that's god. if people feel that they want to do that, that's fine. that's consistent with what we say. >> how is progress of cosmology going? is there a chance that we will ever know without doubt that it's correct or incorrect? >> physics isn't like mathematics. you don't prove things beyond doubt. using logic or reasoning or the laws of mathematics. physics is an observational science. when you have a theory, you gather evidence to either confirm the theory or disprove the theory. in the case of stephen's theories, the best place to look for that evidence is the cosmic
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microwave background, and satellites that was recently launched that we are analyzing that the cosmic background, the afterglow of the big bang and that has encoded in it how the universe began. from these sorts of observations we hope to find evidence supporting the theory or refuting a theory. and science goes on. and that's the march of science. and only after many observations that we have confidence in our theories. we don't claim to have the absolute answers in the way that religion does. >> last thing. 30 seconds f you have 30 seconds you can summarize it. the process of working with stephen hawking is like what? >> well, it was a lot of fun. he's obviously a brilliant man. he's a very stubborn man. he told me that his stubbornness is his great and worst quality. but i think in a scientist it's a great quality. quality and someone with his disability, it's a great quality. he has a great sense of humor. it was a lot of fun. it was intense. we took four years to work on the book. it was a great experience. >> congratulations on it. leonard, thank you again. that's september 9th. the 2,688th day since president