Q&A: Megan Lent & David Birnbaum

BOLD – are responses of David Birnbaum

Q & A 


Megan  Lent  

David Birnbaum  Summa Metaphysica  

Article on Outside Scientists


First,  let me say that – for precision – I view myself as a Conceptual Theorist. I hope you still allow me in your fine piece-to-come – DB   


How did David come to the conclusion that potential is the root of, and reason for, everything?

Megan – I searched for a concept which was both

(a) eternal

(b) which would lance the key metaphysical  issues   


Is the idea of potential similar to the idea of God, in any way?

My work Summa Metaphysica posits that Potential is divine in that it is all-transcendent – and life giving. 

The question is whether we view this as a – 

“religious’ divine” – akin to the biblical divine


as a “secular divine force” – which is not “personal” 

I believe – and state clearly in Summa – that a strong case can be made either way . 


Is science something anyone can pursue? David is well-educated, but is it a necessity to be a scientist or philosopher?


Science deals in testability. 


Metaphysics deals in concepts, often abstract concepts. As well, metaphysics is by its nature dealing ongoing with the infinite, which is somewhat hard to test.


Megan – I deal with your fine question in more depth later below. 


In a similar vein, other outsider scientists I’ve spoken to believe academia to be more or less an ivory tower, purposefully obscured. But David’s theological works have been taught at campuses, and he has sent his work to different professors. Is academia fundamentally flawed, or does it just need to change?


Science and the academic establishment need to have clearly in focus 24/7 that knowledge and truth are paramount. Any significant divergence from that – attempting to suppress discussion and ideas – is likely to position the scientific establishment  as akin to the medieval Vatican hounding and persecuting the iconic Galileo to death in the 1600s.                 


How do science and philosophy intersect?


According to the Summa Metaphysica hypothesis, science, philosophy, metaphysics and theology all intersect via my little Theory of Potential.


(Via its Quest for Potential hypothesis, Summa de facto unifies these great fields – which makes some academics craze. Note that many academics are avowed and vigorous advocates of atheism.)

Quest for Potential: Interaction with Science:  

Quest for Potential drives the cosmic order. Potential ignited the Big Bang, and is the guiding force behind life, evolution, consciousness and love, among other key dynamics.  

Quest for Potential’s interaction with Philosophy and Metaphysics: 


see  www.ParadigmChallenge.com
see  www.SequencedSumma.ccom


Summa’s Interaction with Theology:  

If there is a “classic God,” the potential for God must have been there first. Potential is both the ‘spark of the Divine; and is at the core of the Divine. 



Note that, for-the-record, Summa I: God and Evil has been used as a Course Text at over a dozen institutions of higher learning globally – from about 1989 thru the present.  The recent journalists seem to have forgotten to mention that little piece of the picture. Universities include UCLA, Brandeis and Hebrew University, among others. 


How was his reception at his conference at Bard last year?


separate potential article later, Megan  😉 

OK ? 



I think it’s amazing that David is both a successful jeweler and a great thinker and writer. Very much a Renaissance man. Why is there this stress on choosing just one thing to do and be?


I think that today we are all – each one of us – ‘Renaissance men and women.’ We all have ready-access to global knowledge. We are all radically better informed and we are all radically better able to access various and far-flung debates – in-depth. We have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. We are no longer satisfied to be told – “Do not ask too many questions, because we are the ‘priesthood,’ and we know much better than you ever will.”



I’m not sure the established philosophy hierarchy wants an outsider to ‘show them the light.’ I can try to understand why it might psyche them out – even if they are ostensibly dedicated to the advancement of knowledge. Rather, from their (apparently insecure) perspective,  best to destroy the outsider first, and then come back later – and have ‘one of our own’ present a slight variation of the same theory 10 years later – as coming “from within our esteemed ranks.”  Watch the play unfold at the esteemed University of Cambridge – as they have managed to snatch intellectual defeat from the jaws of intellectual victory 😉




However, in other parts of the world, as is well-known to the journalists covering the story, (but apparently not with one or two very fancy and entrenched    philosophy dons  on-their-backs?) the chessboard looks a bit different…. 
Just limiting the positive testimonials to major players who have called the work  (Summa Metaphysica I or II) a “masterpiece” would yield the following roster – Heritage Journal (American Jewish Historical Society, NY), Nahum Glatzer (Brandeis University), Dr. Sanford Drob (Founder, NY Jewish Review), William Johnson (Canon,  Episcopal Church ), Prof. Benjamin Blech (Yeshiva University), Prof. Masako Nakagawa (Villanova, University). 



Has the fact that he’s not “only” a scientist caused people to be skeptical of his contributions? 


Indeed, being an ‘outsider’ was initially a very major hurdle. It should be noted however, that the great classic philosophers which are taught in university, were more often than not, outsiders to academe. In the Jewish philosophical tradition this is particularly the case. For instance, Maimonides, a physician by day, Spinoza, a lens grinder by day, and M. Luzatto (the RamHal),  a gem dealer by day. The list goes on.   




A lot of outsider scientists seem to be looking for one answer for everything. Is this possible? I’m curious mostly because there are so many people, in mainstream and non-mainstream science, who think they have found the one simple answer for why everything is the way that it is. 


Definitely not just possible, but most probable.

The cosmic order ultimately vectors to one dynamic.

As you know, Summa Metaphysica posits this dynamic to be – Quest for Potential. According to my little work, the universe finds itself nurtured and growing and within what I call – the Cosmic Womb of Potential. 


I read a quote from I think the writer Margaret Wertheim that scientists outside of mainstream academia believe that modern science isn’t materialist enough, that it focuses too much on magic-seeming concepts like, say, string theory. I’m curious as to your thoughts about this.


I think that science is great. But, remember that by definition science requires   testability. And when we get to infinite realms like metaphysics, testability is not an option. Rather, the power-and-elegance of concepts becomes the key factor. 

However, metaphysics cannot contravene bona fide scientific fact. That is a precise nexus with metaphysics which should engage science.  There are two key aspects of this:

1)  Does the metaphysics at-hand help science fill-in the gaps in scientific theory?    
2)  Is there any bona fide scientific ‘fact’ (as opposed to theory) which the metaphysics at-hand seems to contradict? If so, let’s quickly do a reality-check if the theory needs fixing – or if the seeming fact needs more scrutiny. 



What are some challenges that science today is facing?

Interesting enough, the main challenges which science is facing, are so-to-speak potentially conceptually (but not scientifically) ‘answered’ by my little Theory of Potential. Current major scientific impasses include – Origins of the cosmic order;  delineating the force which ignited  the Big Bang; zeroing-in on the precise driving force behind Evolution;  conceptualizing the  catalyst for Consciousness. On all these issues, science, notwithstanding its greatness, is currently stuck. (In the area of Evolution there is very considerable advance, but no truly clearly focused consensus on the mechanics). Summa Metaphysica respectfully offers ‘Quest for Potential’ as a simultaneous conceptual solution to all of these seemingly intractable issues. If I were a scientist, a potential “simultaneous conceptual solution” might sound pretty tempting to me – as a possible basis for a working hypothesis 😉    


What is David’s main goal?


Shake the world.