science and religion

fundies_aspies

Fundies and Aspies

Ned Spodos has seen it from both sides.

./b_over_b_rect.eps

Big Bang Fingerprints

We all leave our traces. Even campers who fastidiously carry their garbage out of the woods leave footprints behind. Flora and fauna from millions of years ago are found fossilized in the sand. The universe leaves traces behind, too. On March 17, scientists announced that the Big Bang, the universe-creating explosion, left its own traces…

Killing the Buddha

The Problem With Jerry Coyne

In case you missed this August’s issue of the biology journal Evolution, it’s worth taking a look for a grim, late-summer illustration of the state of science-religion dialogue in the United States. Biologist Jerry Coyne, a professor at the University of Chicago and a New Atheist firebrand, offers a paper entitled “Science, Evolution, and Society:…

Killing the Buddha

Science and Religion–Sibling Rivalry?

Marilynne Robinson shouldn’t make me mad. She is a lovely Midwestern fiction writer, with long white hair and a demure voice, whose lecture on Religion, Science, and Art my fellow KtB editor Quince Mountain and I had the privilege of listening to at last week’s University of Iowa conference “Futures and Illusions.” And yet, as…

Killing the Buddha

Creationism and Conspiracism

Katha Pollit has an interesting piece in The Nation about why it matters that so many Americans are creationists. It isn’t that 46 percent of respondents are creationists (“God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last ten thousand years or so”). Or that 32 percent believe in “theistic evolution”…

Killing the Buddha

Scientist Pushback

Morgan Meis’s piece “Religion Island” has riled up the scientists. From the mailbag, here’s theod / usa: This is an extremely silly & ignorant meme. Scientists are busy discovering/codifying/organizing new information, which is a lot harder and time-consuming than it looks to the non-scientist. The world is a complicated place; specialization of labor is in…

Photo courtesy of Bradford Daly.

Strangers In The Bible Belt and The Holy Land

Immigration legislation in Alabama and Israel.

Definitely not African.

Adam and Eve or Bust

You’ve probably heard about Professor John R. Schneider, who lost his job at Calvin College, a Christian school, for claiming that Adam and Eve could not have been real people. Science agrees that the number of genetic mutations it takes to go from from homo erectus to homo sapiens couldn’t have emerged from a population…

"The Fall of Man, after Hendrick Goltzius" by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com, via Flickr.

Edens Everywhere

It wouldn’t be paradise if it weren’t already lost.

paradiselust_302

An Eden Full of Dudes

The end is the beginning is the end (that’s a Smashing Pumpkins line), and all are in Eden. Today at Religion Dispatches, Brook Wilensky-Lanford and I talk about her brand new book, Paradise Lust, out this week. It tells the stories of some bold explorers from the past few centuries who have tried to figure…

Ryoji Ikeda's "The Transfinite." Photo by James Ewing.

Oh, Infinite Stream of Data and Light

Ryoji Ikeda’s sublime, mathematical awe-machine.

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How to Instigate a God Debate

Last week I had the chance to catch what was probably the biggest God debate of the year, in this genre of blockbuster, YouTubed, college-campus bouts. The topic was “Is Good from God?”—is religion necessary for objective morality? The debaters were William Lane Craig, the evangelical philosopher, and Sam Harris, who launched the New Atheism…

"Saving God" by Mark Johnston.

The God of This World

Isn’t it obvious that God, or at least our idea of God, needs saving as much as we do? He—forgive me if necessary for saying “He”—has been run through the mud by terrorists, televangelists, New Atheists, and grandmothers’ guilt. The rest of us are supposed to have a relationship with this guy? Or even just…

Train of Thought

Stephen Hawking Decrees God Away

This afternoon on the New York subway I came across this little gem, this “train of thought” meant to inspire who-knows-what among riders in the course of their usual hum-drum existences. It’s a passage by the great wheelchair-bound British physicist Stephen Hawking from his bestselling 1988 book A Brief History of Time. Just below, for…

Elsewhere on the behaviorist research scene, a cat learns to fire a cannon.

NYT Buries Researcher’s Ex-gay Legacy

Twenty days after his death, and long after KtB did so, the Times finally got around to publishing a piece on autism pioneer Ivar Lovaas. The article is fairly long and covers Lovaas’ career in some detail, even gracefully qualifying Lovaas’ use of electroshock, slapping, and other harsh reinforcements. Especially given the span of the…

Killing the Buddha

A Behaviorist’s Ex-gay Legacy

Since Dr. Ivar Lovaas died last week, he’s been memorialized tenderly on autism sites and elsewhere. I remember learning about Lovaas in my community college Pscyh 101 class. He’s rightfully credited with shifting the focus away from psychogenic theories of autism so that we no longer blame distant “Refrigerator Mothers” for their children’s social impairments—a…

Killing the Buddha

Does Science Need Religion?

When one is out to study religion, or to cover the religion beat, it can be awfully tempting to see religion everywhere you look as the all-satisfying explanation for everything. It’s the whole if-you-have-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail effect, right? Today at Religion Dispatches I’ve got a review of the new book by Steve Fuller, a rather audacious and…

"Brain (Left)" and "Brain (Right)," © Don Stewart.

The Struggle for the (Possible) Soul of David Eagleman

A neuroscientist imagines life beyond the brain.