93 posts tagged with religion and science.
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The Dalai Lama talks with neuroscientist about craving, suffering and choice

Traveling a lot this weekend? Long drive, plane or train ride? You can use that transit time to listen to the Dalai Lama talk for more than four hours with neuroscientists and Buddhist scholars on the topic of craving, suffering and choice. Part one. Part two. [iTunes links] If you're stuck at home, you can watch the video. The video link has the full list of participants.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 21, 2007 - 11 comments

Surrealistic Lilliputian Realm

The Inner Life of an Intelligently Designed Cell? Remember The Inner Life of a Cell animation (discussed here)? Apparently the Discovery Institute (recently discussed here) is showing it in presentations with a new title and narration, and without attribution.
posted by homunculus on Nov 20, 2007 - 20 comments

An 18th Century Debate About Intelligent Design

Sex Ratio Theory, Ancient and Modern - An 18th Century Debate about Intelligent Design and the Development of Models in Evolutionary Biology [pdf file]. The design argument for the existence of God took a probabilistic turn in the 17th and 18th centuries. Earlier versions, such as Thomas Aquinas’ 5th way, usually embraced the premise that goal-directed systems (things that “act for an end” or have a function) must have been created by an intelligent designer. This idea – which we might express by the slogan “no design without a designer” – survived into the 17th and 18th centuries, and it is with us still in the writings of many creationists. The new version of the argument, inspired by the emerging mathematical theory of probability, removed the premise of necessity. It begins with the thought that goal-directed systems might have arisen by intelligent design or by chance; the problem is to discern which hypothesis is more plausible. From Professor Elliott Sober.
posted by amyms on Nov 8, 2007 - 28 comments

The Pope with the Robotic Head

Gerbert D'Aurillac: mathemetician and engineer, Pope, ghost, and meddler with dark forces. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Nov 1, 2007 - 17 comments

Neuroscience and Mysticism

Searching for God in the Brain. "Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith." [Via MindHacks, which points out a few niggling omissions in the article.]
posted by homunculus on Oct 9, 2007 - 57 comments

art with a lot of concept

Fate, Absolute Life and Death, the Aleph, the Zeitgeist, the sinking of the Atlantis, the World Trade Center, the formation of the universe...what more could you want from art? There's probably already been a been a post on this guy, Paul Laffoley, but I should hope more people could get a glance at some of this man's work. Crazy or brilliant, you make your decision. A video from his website.
posted by moonbizcut on Aug 31, 2007 - 24 comments

Science and Islam

Science and the Islamic world—The quest for rapprochement. "Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong."
posted by homunculus on Aug 7, 2007 - 19 comments

Embryo-free Embryonic Stem-Cells

Simple switch turns cells embryonic. "Researchers have finally hit the jackpot: Embryo-free embryonic stem-cells!"
posted by homunculus on Jun 7, 2007 - 55 comments

Slate's special issue on the brain

Brains!
posted by homunculus on Apr 27, 2007 - 11 comments

Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief. Google Video of the complete proceedings of the conference Beyond Belief: Science, Reason, Religion and Survival, which took place on November 5-7, 2006 at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. (There are ten sessions, which average about two hours each.) Bios of the speakers who attended. A NYT article on the conference: "By the third day, the arguments were so heated that Dr. [Melvin] Konner was reminded of 'a den of vipers.' " Further conversation concerning the conference, in which Scott Atran writes, "I find it fascinating that among the brilliant scientists and philosophers at the conference, there was no convincing evidence presented that they know how to deal with the basic irrationality of human life and society other than to insist against all reason and evidence that things ought to be rational and evidence based. It makes me embarrassed to be a scientist and atheist."
posted by Prospero on Jan 9, 2007 - 114 comments

This just in: Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance

...Objectives    This double-blind study evaluated the acute and longer-term psychological effects of a high dose of psilocybin relative to a comparison compound administered under comfortable, supportive conditions...

Results    Psilocybin produced a range of acute perceptual changes, subjective experiences, and labile moods including anxiety. Psilocybin also increased measures of mystical experience. At 2 months, the volunteers rated the psilocybin experience as having substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance and attributed to the experience sustained positive changes in attitudes and behavior consistent with changes rated by community observers.

Conclusions   When administered under supportive conditions, psilocybin occasioned experiences similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences. The ability to occasion such experiences prospectively will allow rigorous scientific investigations of their causes and consequences.
Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance
posted by y2karl on Oct 16, 2006 - 58 comments

Jesus was way cool. But did he exist?

Jesus walked on the water ice. So sayeth... um... well, this guy at Florida State. Doron Nof has released a paper positing that when Jesus walked on the water in Galilee, he was actually walking on a patch of floating ice. What's interesting about science like this to me is that it both validates and invalidates scripture, since if Jesus was walking on ice... no miracle (although, it's a miracle he didn't slip and fall, har har har). But if Jesus was walking on ice, then at least he historically existed, which is still an open question at least in some quarters. In case you think you recognize Mr. Nof's name, you may be remembering his work explaining that the parting of the Red Sea was totally possible (flash video link).
posted by illovich on Apr 5, 2006 - 106 comments

Aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur

Prayer as placebo. Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found. And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Mar 31, 2006 - 137 comments

Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Prof. Daniel Dennett's (New York University, Philosophy) new book Breaking the Spell appears to have frightened its NYT book reviewer, Leon Wieseltier (The New Republic, Literary Editor). Wieselter claims "The question of the place of science in human life is not a scientific question. It is a philosophical question", and promptly proceeds to demonstrate that he himself knows nothing about philosophy. Dennett responds.
Prof. Brian Leiter (University of Texas, Philosophy) responds that "'The view that science can explain all human conditions and expressions, mental as well as physical' is not a 'superstition' but a reasonable methodological posture to adopt based on the actual evidence, that is, based on the actual expanding success of the sciences . . . during the last hundred years."
b l o g s s and serious reviews.
posted by jeffburdges on Mar 7, 2006 - 142 comments

Paul Tillich: the Apostle to the Intellectuals

Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was a German thinker who came to America in 1933 after losing his job for opposing the national socialism movement. Tillich was at once a protestant theologian and an existentialist philosopher and humanist who attempted to intellectualize religion and bring it to contemporary audiences in the age of science. His brilliant writings and speeches would typically weave together biblical passages with discussions of philosophy and science. In this most famous work, The Courage to Be, Tillich laid out his case of how man can resolve the existential crisis of facing non-being. In echoes of Soren Kierkegaard and Freud, Tillich attempted to explain how man could resolve the fear of nothingness with the Courage to Be in the face of Non-being. Throughout his life, Tillich's ultimate concern was to try to help man understand the real value of faith and meaning by divorcing the concepts from the myths and the religious and social dogmas which cramp the mind of modern man.
posted by dios on Feb 2, 2006 - 55 comments

Alister McGrath on Atheism, Christianity, Religion and Science

Breaking the Science-Atheism Bond. "When I was growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the 1960s, I came to the view that God was an infantile illusion, suitable for the elderly, the intellectually feeble, and the fraudulently religious."
posted by brownpau on Jan 24, 2006 - 160 comments

Elvis didn't do no drugs!

"A Helpful Hand" - Penn & Teller call Bullshit! on the "bestselling book in the world," the Holy Bible. (link is to entire episode approx 29mins - *language, flash)
posted by hypersloth on Dec 14, 2005 - 120 comments

Einstein strikes back!

Einstein Speaks from Beyond the Grave... To issue a vigorous challenge to the muddled claims coming from all sides about the inherent incompatibility of science and religion. (No secondary links to go with this, but in my opinion, this link is interesting enough to stand on its own.)
posted by all-seeing eye dog on Oct 28, 2005 - 69 comments

No, you're wrong! No, YOU'RE wrong!!

If You're a Christian, Muslim or Jew - You are Wrong - A rant over at the Huffington Post.
And let's be clear about this, it IS a rant, and a beaut at that. But it's a sentiment that's run through the head of everyone who isn't a member of the three mentioned groups. No one in the mainstream media says things like this, I wonder why?
The post is made. Let the emphatic agreements, and the vicious denials... begin!
posted by JHarris on Oct 23, 2005 - 259 comments

bounce wid de wickedness

Baron Winston of Hammersmith in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham: Why do we believe in God?
posted by thirteenkiller on Oct 16, 2005 - 26 comments

The Vagaries of Religious Experience

Is God nothing more than an attempt to explain order and good fortune by those who do not understand the mathematics of chance, the principles of self-organizing systems, or the psychology of the human mind? Daniel Gilbert, a professor of Psychology and head of the Social Cognition and Emotion Laboratory at Harvard, discusses his latest research and soon to be published study about the vagaries of religious experience.
posted by pmbuko on Sep 30, 2005 - 66 comments

God's Darwin or Chance's Drawin'?

Did the discovery of evolution lead to Darwin's agnosticism, as claimed? Carl Zimmer wonders. More importantly, can evolution be reconciled with Christianity?
posted by daksya on Aug 11, 2005 - 90 comments

Evolution: Views Differ

Bush comes out in favor of teaching "intelligent design" alongside evolution in American schools. Is this the latest evidence of the White House willing to champion worthy but controversial ideas that have been sidelined by liberal bias, or strictly from Paul Krugman's theoretical headline, "Shape of Earth: Views Differ"? [Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Lone Star State, Texas educators ignite brouhaha by adding Bible study to the public-school curriculum].
posted by digaman on Aug 2, 2005 - 343 comments

Science! Sci-sci-science!

Source of stem cells idea sent me straight into my uncanny valley. (via aldaily)
posted by rainbaby on Jun 17, 2005 - 21 comments

Uh-uh-uh! You didn't say the magic word!

Fig-leaf-eating Velociraptor Scandal! Look, I've got nothing against religion but if you believe a word of it you are, in the words of Robert Burns, "a dumbass fuck".
posted by Pretty_Generic on May 22, 2005 - 181 comments

"Family Values, My Ass!"

"Family Values, My Ass!" That article in the Lexington Herald-Leader inspired me to look up the Nation article it referred to. Now I'm beginning to see why many women won't go to "evangelical Christian" MDs: this guy Hager (previously brought up on MetaFilter in 2003, in fact twice, and then again in 2004) is strongly anti-abortion -- so pro-conception that he tried to keep the "morning-after pill" known as "Plan B" away from women -- but he's apparently pro- sodomy and pro-rape. It almost sounds like fiction.
posted by davy on May 13, 2005 - 86 comments

Chaz has a posse!

Scientific American to stop reporting science, more creationism. There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming...But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.
posted by mr.curmudgeon on Mar 25, 2005 - 208 comments

The Tribe

Genes and Jews. And you thought Spock came up with that part of the shtick. It turns out that despite the racial and ethnic diversity of the Tribe, there are genetic markers that identify Cohanim, or the priestly descendants of Aaron (know any Cohens?). These markers help identify jewish identity in the most distant reaches of the diaspora. The fascinating intersection of anthropology, genetics, and religion. (btw first fpp)
posted by Kifer85 on Feb 14, 2005 - 26 comments

From the profane to the sacred

sacred science The scientific method is a tool for determining objective truth about the world around us, right? But not everybody thinks so. From being a proof of God's existance to a mere socio-pilotical construct, scientific humanism is under attack.
posted by MadOwl on Jan 12, 2005 - 50 comments

I know we can discuss this with intelligence and civility

Noted British atheist Antony Flew has changed his mind, persuaded by scientific evidence that God exists and that "intelligence must have been involved" in the origin of life. As Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at the University of Reading and the author of several influential books on the subject of atheism, Flew was once one of rationalism's leading lights. He now compares his beliefs with the predominantly American concept of Intelligent Design. "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads," he says.
posted by gd779 on Dec 10, 2004 - 172 comments

prove it!

"Students in tax-supported schools are being taught that evolution is a fact. We are convinced that evolution is a religion masquerading as science and should not be part of any science curriculum." Dr. Kent Hovind is offering $250,000 to anyone who can prove evolution. Dr. Hovind is also known for his 17-hour award-winning seminar series. While you're there, you can buy all sorts of goodies like fossil replicas! And if that's not enough, there's a great FAQ. [MI]
posted by exlotuseater on Dec 7, 2004 - 85 comments

Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life according to various rather famous people (Dennett, Fukuyama, etc). I'm watching the Dennett video at the moment and it starts rather weakly, but, by midway through, is rolling along nicely. With topics like "being good without god" and "the anthropic principle" it struck me as relevant to a couple of recent askmefi threads.
Dennett: [pause] i guess i'll say it again, more slowly...

(oh, and the player interface is rather delicate - give it time to load and click play a few times...)
posted by andrew cooke on Oct 1, 2004 - 17 comments

ad aspera per astra

Ad Aspera Per Astra - an interview with Brother Guy Consolmagno, one of several full-time Vatican astromomers at the Vatican Observatory. He talks about the Church's take on astrobiology and the eventuality of encountering an alien race. The idea of the Church's mission beyond the Earth is something that's come up in a few good books, like The Sparrow and A Canticle for Leibowitz. Interesting to hear an actual Jesuit's take on the matter. [Via BoingBoing]
posted by ubersturm on May 13, 2004 - 8 comments

Paul Kurtz on the Enlightenment

Paul Kurtz on the Enlightenment. Unfortunately, there has been a massive retreat from Enlightenment ideals in recent years, a return to pre-modern mythologies. There has been a resurgence of fundamentalist religions worldwide—Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Orthodox Judaism. Added to this are occult-paranormal claims, which allegedly transcend the existing scientific paradigm. In the United States—the preeminent scientific-technological-military superpower in the world—significant numbers of Americans have embraced primitive forms of biblical religion. These focus on salvation, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. Evangelical Protestant Christians have made alliances with conservative Roman Catholics and neo-conservative Jews, and they have captured political power—power they have used to oppose secular humanism and naturalism. via the council for secular humanism
posted by skallas on Apr 5, 2004 - 75 comments

No stem cell research

Thou shalt not make scientific progress. "Medical research is poised to make a quantum leap that will benefit sufferers from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and other diseases. But George W. Bush's religious convictions stand in its way."
posted by homunculus on Mar 24, 2004 - 45 comments

Science vs. Religion?

Why do so many scientists believe in God? "Modern science did not emerge 400 years ago to challenge religion, the orthodoxy of the past 2,000 years. Generations of thinkers and experimenters and observers - often themselves churchmen - wanted to explain how God worked his wonders. Modern physics began with a desire to explain the clockwork of God's creation. Modern geology grew at least partly out of searches for evidence of Noah's flood. Modern biology owes much to the urge to marvel at the intricacy of Divine providence. But the scientists - a word coined only in 1833 - who hoped to find God somehow painted Him out of the picture... So although the debate did not start out as science versus religion, that is how many people now see it. Paradoxically, this is not how many scientists see it."
posted by gd779 on Sep 7, 2003 - 54 comments

Ethiopian Icons

Ethiopian Icons: Faith and Science. Richly hued religious art from an African Christian culture.
posted by plep on Apr 15, 2003 - 11 comments

Science and Religion

The Paradox of God, the Bible, and Religion have fascinated humans since the dawn of civilization. What are your favorite web pages and books on the intersection of science and religion? Do you feel that the human concept of God evolves through time? Is science displacing God? And what about miracles? Are miracles possible?
posted by Morphic on Nov 3, 2002 - 69 comments

Religion! What Is It Good For?

Religion! What Is It Good For? Absolutely nothing? Perhaps not. Michael Prowse, a lifelong atheist (and Financial Times columnist even!) had this to say in an article for Prospect:
"Having accepted that meanings are always contestable, I have found myself more able to focus on what religious people do, and less on what they say. Are they "better" people than the irreligious? Of course not. Are they better people than they would be were they not religious? Probably, and this is what counts for me.".
Meanwhile, another atheist, Jared Diamond, writing (brilliantly, as the author of Guns, Germs and Steel always does) in the current New York Review of Books, addresses religion in a (let us say) more scientific way and, though more sceptical, leaves a similar question mark hanging. So, in a nutshell: can there be something in (or about) religion for atheists too?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 29, 2002 - 142 comments

I know this much is true...

I know this much is true... For years, I have said that the greatest thing about the modern state of the US is that we hold nothing as "True". I was wrong. Apparently our "Truths" were just sleeping; now everyone seems to have some, and they're proving to be as divisive and factionalist here as elsewhere. So - apart from any particular issue - are there "Truths", or are there just perceptions of an issue? And, just to keep some edges sharp, in answering, are you at all religious?
posted by Perigee on Sep 19, 2001 - 77 comments

"Tired of praying and waiting for His second coming, a group of scientists aims to clone Jesus Christ and fulfill the much awaited biblical prophecy." [via the PDI]
posted by lia on Mar 21, 2001 - 35 comments

Essay by Richard Dawkins

Essay by Richard Dawkins (the scientist, not the game show host) on the supposed convergence on science and religion.
posted by Optamystic on Oct 19, 2000 - 47 comments

What is scarier than a cloned dinosaur?

What is scarier than a cloned dinosaur?
posted by thirteen on Sep 20, 2000 - 22 comments

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