Readings

For our event on January 27th, 2021:

  • Scientific Explanations for the Mind and Religious Belief – Tania Lombrozo discusses scientific explanations for the mind and religious belief. (~18 minute video)
  • Religion and the Brain: A Debate – Does evolution explain why the human brain supports religious belief? Dimitrios Kapogiannis and Jordan Grafman, follow up on a recent scientific paper by stating that brain networks that evolved for other purposes have given rise to our capacity for religious belief and experience. Andrew Newberg, the radiologist and psychiatrist who wrote How God Changes Your Brain, takes a different approach. He argues that the brain may be an instrument of religious experience but is not necessarily the origin of that experience. Each side of the debate first wrote a position statement; the sides then exchanged statements and wrote rejoinders. (~17 pages if printed)
  • Does Evolutionary Psychology Undermine Religion? – A Closer to Truth interview with Justin Barrett. Description: Evolutionary psychology naturalizes religion. It seeks to explain elements of mind by selection and survival over time. Take altruism—individuals sacrificing themselves for the good of the group. Can humanity’s entire religion project be explained similarly? Does religion, its social systems and personal behaviors, generate favorable selection and survival? (~9 minute video)

For our event on November 12, 2020:

For our event on November 12, 2018:

For our event on October 1, 2018:

For our event on March 7, 2018:

For our event on February 13, 2018:

For our event on October 26, 2017 from Elsevier’s Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Official Journal of International Behavioral Neuroscience Society:

For our event on March 8, 2017:

  • NYTimes article: “I’m right! (For Some Reason)” – published Oct. 19, 2016
  • NYTimes article: “Why We Believe Obvious Untruths” – published Mar. 3, 2017

Readings for Nov. 1st, 2016 event:

Dear Roundtable participant, please read these three short pdfs to be prepared for discussion Tuesday night, Nov 1st. In the first brief reading, George Church is co-featured, and we read these opening statements:

“The development of technology that allows human genes to be edited has stirred tremendous excitement about the potential for treating debilitating and life-threatening diseases. The technology could lead to drugs that would treat cancers and other diseases that currently are incurable. But another facet of this breakthrough has many scientists and others worried: the possibility that the genetic makeup of sperm and eggs could be edited so that diseases that can be inherited won’t be passed on to children yet to be born.

One concern is that gene editing that affects future generations, not just an individual, is too risky given our still incomplete understanding of the human genome and how changes might affect it. Another is that the ability to edit heritable traits could result in so-called designer babies, with parents choosing traits such as intelligence or physical characteristics. Others say we can meet those challenges, and the potential benefits are too great to pass up.”

Read the full article here.

In the second reading, we read Professor Church’s very brief comments on the discussion of the first reading.

Though the third reading is the longest, a taste for the content may be found in this excerpt from James Sherley:

“Because scientific knowledge is generally reputed to have a unique and ideal character of not only being produced by dispassionate observation, experimentation, and systematic reason but also being falsified by independent experimentation, it stands apart from all other forms of human intellectual creation in the likelihood that it will be mistaken as unprejudiced and infallible.

Unfortunately, because social and political adversaries often are equally unequipped to tell the difference, as a result of this accorded preeminence, the invocation of Science in public and political discourse on any topic garners sometimes excessive homage, including begrudging acquiescence, whether it is represented accurately or inaccurately.”

 


Preparation for the event on Monday, March 7th, 2016:


Here are the readings for the event on Oct. 1st, 2015:

In this one link you will find TWO readings that we are asking participants to include in their preparation for our Thursday Oct. 1 Roundtable featuring Professor Walter Bradley and ASA President Dr. Randy Isaac on the topic of Cosmological Constants – are they evidence for the existence of God? 

With the permissions of the authors, the first reading is from Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe, chapter 1, recommended by Professor Bradley. The second reading is from Amir D. Aczel’s Why Science Does Not Disprove God, chapter 11, Between God and the Anthropic Principle, recommended by Dr. Isaac.


More of the pre-event readings for the April 27th roundtable event are coming soon.

Learn more about the presenters here:


Here are the pre-event readings for the April 6th roundtable event:

Learn more about our presenters here:


Below are the pre-event readings for the October 28th roundtable event: