Science & Religion
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Why we should trust scientists

Why we should trust scientists | Science & Religion | Scoop.it
Many of the world's biggest problems require asking questions of scientists -- but why should we believe what they say? Historian of science Naomi Oreskes thinks deeply about our relationship to belief and draws out three problems with common attitudes toward scientific inquiry -- and gives her own reasoning for why we ought to trust science.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Should we have faith in science? Yes, because of its method. However, it is a common belief that what distinguishes science from religion is that the former studies the physical, while the latter has to do with the metaphysical, which is supposedly not amenable to the scientific method. In his book Minimalism, the late William Hatcher shows that the metaphysical CAN be addressed using the scientific method, and gives some examples of doing just that. So another question might be: should we have faith in science when its method is applied to the metaphysical?

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Here's What Einstein Told A Sixth-Grader About Prayer

Here's What Einstein Told A Sixth-Grader About Prayer | Science & Religion | Scoop.it
"Do scientists pray?" That's the question that occupied the thoughts of a sixth-grade Sunday school class at The Riverside Church, and who better to pose it to than one of the best scientific minds of our time, Albert Einstein?
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Towards the bottom, there is an interesting array of quotes by other scientists on the existence of God.

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Jonathan Haidt: Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt asks a simple, but difficult question: why do we search for self-transcendence? Why do we attempt to lose ourselves? In a tour through the science of evolution by group selection, he proposes a provocative answer.

 

Jonathan Haidt studies how -- and why -- we evolved to be moral. By understanding more about our moral roots, his hope is that we can learn to be civil and open-minded.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Hard to decide whether this fabulous talk should go under the "Interfaith Issues", the "Science & Religion" or the "Human Nature and Culture of Peace" topic. It is at the intersection between the two, and as such highly valuable. 

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Stuart Firestein: The pursuit of ignorance

What does real scientific work look like? As neuroscientist Stuart Firestein jokes: It looks a lot less like the scientific method and a lot more like "farting around … in the dark." In this witty talk, Firestein gets to the heart of science as it is really practiced and suggests that we should value what we don’t know -- or “high-quality ignorance” -- just as much as what we know. Stuart Firestein teaches students and “citizen scientists” that ignorance is far more important to discovery than knowledge.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

We need to acknowledge our ignorance in both science and religion in order to cultivate an attitude of humble, unfettered search and learning in both areas. This alone will enable us to work together constructively and move forward in both fields.

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175 Years of Scientific Evolution

In 1812, four men at Cambridge University met for breakfast. What began as an impassioned meal grew into a new scientific revolution, in which these men -- who called themselves “natural philosophers” until they later coined “scientist” -- introduced four major principles into scientific inquiry. Historian and philosopher Laura Snyder tells their intriguing story.

 

Laura Snyder weaves tales of Victorian-era scientists that have been described as “fit for Masterpiece Theater.”

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Although it makes no direct mention of the relationship between science and religion, this is a useful reflection on how science became what it is -- or is perceived to be -- today, and how it evolved away from the rest of our culture (including religion). 

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BBC: The Story of God, #3. The God of the Gaps

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Interesting discussion on science and religion, within the context of the existence of God.

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Why Strict Atheism Is Unscientific | RCScience

Why Strict Atheism Is Unscientific | RCScience | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

"Scientists, if you're not an atheist, you're not doing science right," PZ Myers -- a well-known blogger, biology professor and atheist -- regularly preaches.


Via Ulrich Pontes
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Huston Smith: The Primordial Tradition

Huston Smith, Ph.D., author of Forgotten Truth, delineates the common threads that run through spiritual traditions of all cultures. Because the science of acoustics has nothing to say about beauty, he says, does not mean that Brahms isn't beautiful. Similarly, the notions of the soul and spirit persist regardless of their lack of relevance to a modern, materialist world view.

 

NOTE: This is an excerpt from a 30-minute DVD. http://www.thinkingallowed.com/2hsmith.html

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What The Bleep?! Down The Rabbit Hole (1 of 16)

Delving deeper into the relationship between quantum physics and human consciousness, this follow-on to What the Bleep Do We Know!? uses the story of a photographer (Marlee Matlin) in turmoil to frame its thesis -- that biophysics and quantum mechanics confirm long-standing ideas about spiritual self-determination. Animated instruction, dramatic vignettes and talking-head interviews combine for an entertaining examination of the human experience.

 

A 16-part series that will delight, entertain and instruct!

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Reviews of articles in Zygon, the Journal of Religion and Science

Reviews of articles in Zygon, the Journal of Religion and Science | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

Zygon Watch Zygon, the Journal of Religion and Science, has been around for years.  While often overly academic and arcane, it does have good, informative articles written by knowledgeable, smart people.  Zygon Watch will alert Common Ground Zygon, the Journal of Religion and Science.

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The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

A Review of Francis Collins’ The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief Carol Skrenes Trabing, Ph.D. is a Philosopher of Science at the School of Social Science, UC Irvine where she teaches a popular course on Science and Religion. Dr. Trabings review of Francis Collins’ The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief from the point of view of an informed science and religion perspective is here.

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Anthology: “Science, Religion, and the Human Experience”

Anthology: “Science, Religion, and the Human Experience” | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

"Few topics are as important as science and religion,  “the two most potent forces in human life (Effendi 203).” Religion continues to dominate large parts of individual, family, and social life throughout the world, much as for untold centuries. Science and its spin-off worldviews, however, have become dominant in the commercial, medical, educational, technological, and intellectual spheres of the modern world and are rapidly encroaching on the traditional domains of religion, in many cases pushing religion aside."

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The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

By Ian Kluge In The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, Sam Harris endeavors to demonstrate that science is sufficient to build a system of ethics and values both for individuals and societies.

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Watch Bill Nye debate Ken Ham from the Creation Museum Feb. 4 - Local 12 WKRC-TV Cincinnati

Watch Bill Nye debate Ken Ham from the Creation Museum Feb. 4 -  Local 12 WKRC-TV Cincinnati | Science & Religion | Scoop.it
Watch Bill Nye debate Ken Ham from the Creation Museum Feb. 4
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

To call it a "debate" is to miss the point all together. Creationism and evolutionism are two models that are imagined as contradictory by those who mistakenly confuse models with that which is modeled (the map with the territory). This is also due to the false dichotomy of imagining God's will as contrary to or somehow divorced from the laws of nature. Baha'u'llah resolves this dichotomy by offering a complementarity-based approach by which the laws of nature are the expression of God's will in and through the natural world. Specifically, evolution is seen as the law by which God's will (i.e., the natural law) continually creates and re-creates all things, from atoms to universes and from single cells to complex societies.

 

George Box, an English statistician, said that "all models are false, but some are useful." For millennia, the Genesis story served as a useful model to make sense of the world and get vital messages across to the pre-scientific mind. Now we have new models, better adapted to the scientific mindset of the current age. However, to imagine today's non-deistic model as  the "Truth" (the territory) is as flawed as to imagine the Genesis model as the "Truth". That would be like arguing about whether an impressionistic painting or a mug shot of a person is more expressive of their true personality. Rather, we should ask what use both models have had and could have to further human understanding of and action in the world.

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A co-operative university

A co-operative university | Science & Religion | Scoop.it
The Social Science Centre In 2011, I helped set up a co-operative for higher education. It began as an idea that my colleague, Mike Neary, and I had been discussing the previous summer, and was par...
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

I am posting this here as an example of how the principle of "independent search for truth" towards social change can be integrated into an academic environment. For a more how-to approach, see http://peeragogy.org

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Dan Dennett: Let's teach religion -- all religion -- in schools

Philosopher Dan Dennett calls for religion -- all religion -- to be taught in schools, so we can understand its nature as a natural phenomenon. Then he takes on The Purpose-Driven Life, disputing its claim that, to be moral, one must deny evolution.

 

Dan Dennett argues that human consciousness and free will are the result of physical processes. His 2003 book "Freedom Evolves" explores how our brains evolved to give us -- and only us -- the kind of freedom that matters, while 2006's "Breaking the Spell" examines belief through the lens of biology.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

The evolution of religion as a natural phenomenon - interesting idea! It is certainly an inherently human phenomenon. One aspect of that is what Baha'i call "progressive revelation", and another is how each religious dispensation goes through a cycle that includes stages of heroism, formation, a golden age, and decline, followed by a new revelation.

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Eternea - The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

Eternea - The Convergence of Science and Spirituality | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

Eternea's goal is to help create a better future for Earth and its inhabitants by promoting an understanding of seven postulates  concerning the nature of reality, predicated on evidence from contemporary research in science and medicine . This research suggests that some core aspect of  consciousness exists beyond the brain, survives bodily death and continues eternally.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

A follow-up Web page of Dr. Eben Alexander's best-selling book "Proof Of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into The Afterlife"

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Vatican seeks to rebrand its relationship with science

Vatican seeks to rebrand its relationship with science | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

Monsignor Tomasz Trafny, the Director of the Vatican's Science and Faith Foundation, which was created last year, thinks that the new pope will continue the progress already made in building ties with the scientific community. He says the Vatican today has a very positive relationship with science.

 

"There was a time when theologians thought they understood everything, but we learned the lesson from history", he told CNN. Acknowledging that the Galileo era was a dark period for the church, Trafny says that the modern-day Vatican is much more careful not to tread on the toes of science. "If you look at what is going on today you will see that theologians are very careful about what they are thinking or speaking about related to scientific issues."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Wonderful news for those of us who see the historical divorce between science and religion as one of the root causes of today's dilemmas! May these two greatest potential forces for positive change once again learn to work hand in hand in building a better world for all.

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Blind faith is not Biblical faith

Blind faith is not Biblical faith | Science & Religion | Scoop.it
Noted British philosopher and humanist Bertrand Russell had this to say of the practice of “faith”:
"Where there is evidence, no one speaks of 'faith'.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

"Blind faith does not make much sense in the scheme of scripture. Blind faith in what? The teachings of the Bible? How did those teachings arise, and how does one know that they have selected the correct teachings in which to invest their blind faith? John instructs his readers to test the spirits. This implies that there is a standard of evidence higher than simple emotion against which to test them."

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Huston Smith, "Why Religion Matters: The Future of Faith"

Kenan Institute for Ethics - Speeches & Panels - Video - Why Religion Matters: The Future of Faith in an Age on Disbelief - 2000-10-26, Huston Smith lecture on "Why Religion Matters: The Future of Faith in an Age on Disbelief." Huston Smith is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Syracuse University.

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Science and Religion Today

Science and Religion Today | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

Heather Wax, Editor, is a science writer and the former features editor of Science & Spirit. She has also written for Scientific American, Ode, The Boston Globe, MIT’s Technology Review, and the UU World, among other publications.

 

Dan Messier, Assistant editor, has edited the book sections of both Science & Spirit and Science & Theology News.

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Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists

Here is a collection of writings that bridges the gap between science and religion. Quantum Questions collects the mystical writings of each of the major physicists involved in the discovery of quantum physics and relativity, including Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, and Max Planck. The selections are written in nontechnical language and will be of interest to scientists and nonscientists alike.

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Book Reviews Cited By Courosh Mehanian

Book Reviews Cited By Courosh Mehanian | Science & Religion | Scoop.it
Are you looking for a stimulating book to read? Or maybe you've just read one and you want to find out what others thought of it. Perhaps you're just looking for a summary and critique of content. Book reviews can help.
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PHD Comics: Tales from the Road: Dark Matters

PHD Comics: Tales from the Road: Dark Matters | Science & Religion | Scoop.it

"Recently, I sat down with Physicists Daniel Whiteson and Jonathan Feng to talk about dark matter and how CERN's collider is helpin understand the question: what is it?"

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Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity

Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity | Science & Religion | Scoop.it
The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity by Hyam Maccoby My rating: 1 of 5 stars I was impressed with Maccoby's attempts to manipulate the reader's perceptions, but disappointed in his scholarship.
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