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Beyond Belief

The science-religion debate flames on. Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg, Sam Harris, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, V.S. Ramachandran, Terry Sejnowski and a bunch of other world-class truth-seekers met at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, earlier this month for a conference called “Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival.” has a terrific package of stuff on the event, including video of sessions and links to articles by George Johnson of the New York Times and Michael Brooks of New Scientist, with whom I shared a Templeton Fellowship in Science and Religion two summers ago.

Couple of points: First, Johnson notes in the Times that the Templeton Foundation, which sponsors projects aimed at making peace between science and religion, took a lot of abuse at Beyond Belief for “smudging the line between science and faith.” I discussed my misgivings about the foundation in an article published last spring in the Chronicle of Higher Education and reprinted with commentary in I proposed that the foundation demonstrate its open-mindedness by giving its $1.5 million annual Templeton Prize to an atheist such as Weinberg or Dawkins. Harold Kroto apparently endorsed this proposal at Beyond Belief.

Second, Discover has just published an article, “The God Experiments,” that I hope will become part of the science-religion debate. The article, which begins with Dawkins gamely trying out a device called “the God machine,” reviews attempts to explain religion in terms of evolutionary, cognitive, neural and even chemical processes. This research, sometimes called neurotheology, may play out in unexpected ways. More later.



Mike Cook

I would contend that any type of paranormal phenomena rises to the level of relevancy in this debate. There are no partially mystical universes. As a person completely a believer in clairvoyence and psychic promptings and interventions in my own life, in a sense I am already convinced by my own empirical, rational evidence. I may not be able to share my internal experiences with you in a convincing way, but I really don't care.

We spend our lives getting to know what is true and dependable in our existence. It is unwise to the utmost to hide that hard-won knowledge under a bushel because it is not politically correct.

Do I have any paranormal testimony as to specific theology? Not really, but I do have plenty of dreams that are comforting in regards to an afterlife. As I age, that dream topic tends to come up more and more. . .

The comments to this entry are closed.

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