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I am surprised that Stephen cites M-Theory as the basis for his current book because M-Theory is not a real physics theory. Even M-Theorists admit it is merely a hope they have faith in. For the issues see Lee Smolin's "The Trouble With Physics." Lee is himself an M-Theorist. M-Theory is simply string non-theory with an extra dimension 11 instead of 10.
Stephen's co-author is seriously ignorant when he says there is no physics of consciousness.
Deepak and the Jesuit have won the debate as it were in my opinion.

I do agree with Stephen, however, on the politics and the need of space-exploration.

More details on how Grand Design is much too limited can be found at