Over the years I have mentioned on this blog Dr. Robert L. Kuhn’s remarkable PBS series “Closer to Truth” probing the “great questions” related to “Cosmos, Consciousness, and Meaning” with interviews from leading scientists, philosophers, and theologians. Kuhn began the series, appropriately, in the year 2000, with the turning of the Millennium, and it has run continually since then. Kuhn is both creator and host, and he often makes the point that the show is carefully titled “Closer to Truth” rather than “Closer to the Truth,” reflecting the open-ended nature of scientific inquiry and our ongoing human quest for truth. The topics Kuhn covers, as well as the methods he has pursued, reflect very much his own quest as a scientist and thinker with a Ph.D. in Brain Research from UCLA. Kuhn’s skill as an interviewer is remarkable. He has the uncanny ability to talk to the greatest minds of our time, allowing them to speak freely with just the right mixture of sharp questioning and humor, to make each show captivating.
Last March, Kuhn and his production team decided to put the full nineteen seasons of programing on Youtube, and now more recently, live-streaming at the Closer to Truth web site for free. So far seasons 12-19 are up and 1-11 are coming soon.
The results have been truly remarkable, with millions of views and hundreds of thousands of subscribers. And now there is also a Podcast, so you can listen “on the go,” see the link here to sign up and subscribe. Kuhn just published a blog post, “Reflections on ‘Closer to Truth’ During the Pandemic on the International Society for Science and Religion web site in which he reflects on this emerging worldwide community of truth seekers from all avenues of inquiry.
I have known Robert since the late 1960s and we have closely followed one another over the years and had hundreds of hours of discussion on all the deep questions that have fascinated us both now for over 50 years. I use his “Closer to Truth” programs regularly in some of my Religious Studies and General Education courses at UNC Charlotte. A highlight for the students has been having Dr. Kuhn join us via video-conferencing at the end of a course where students can pose their own questions directly to him. Many have written in student evaluation that this face-to-face session with Dr. Kuhn is a highlight of the whole course. If you would like to see a sample of the questions we have asked him just last Fall here is a link. I have also done several interviews for the program, as a historian and biblical scholar, see the links here: https://www.closertotruth.com/contributor/james-tabor/profile
To get a taste of the programing and the wide range of topics covered, see the description of all nineteen seasons at Closertotruth. My plan this summer is to watch all of the shows. I hope many of you might join me. I am particularly intrigued with the upcoming programs exploring the role and importance of Art in inquiring what it means to be human–so stay tuned. You can hear interview samples at the web site.