E.O. Wilson, one of America's foremost scientists and secular humanists, has penned a moving appeal for religionist and scientist alike to set aside their differences and focus together on preserving Earth's biological diversity for the benefit of today's and future generations (which, in the case of many bacteria and insects, will also begin and end today). In a beautiful prose reminiscent – no doubt intentionally – of Aldo Leopold, Wilson moves directly to share his sense of awe in the face of nature, and the plain facts about what science has discovered about the state of our planet's biodiversity. He also writes of what we do not yet know: of the countless species yet identified, the relationships amongst them yet unrecognized, and the increasing need for citizen and scientist alike to pursue this knowledge.
Results tagged “science and religion”
Review: The Creation, by E.O. Wilson
Post-Industrial, Peace-Seeking Religion; or, Science With Purpose
Author Robert Wright has posted a long op-ed piece to the New York Times, A Grand Bargain Over Evolution, in which he discusses how the militant fringes of science and religion could come to a detente over the question of evolution. For example, he discusses how the religionists, who rely on the argument that the moral sense must have been injected directly by God, need to pay attention to recent research in evolutionary psychology that demonstrate how this could have come to be.
Compare and Contrast: The new atheism, the Baha'i Faith
Dr. Steven Phelps, a researcher at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa Israel, has written a review of Richard Dawkins's God Delusion: The new atheism, reconsidered. Actually, he wrote it about a year ago. Anyway, he does a lovely job comparing and contrasting the "new atheism" with the tenets of the Baháí Faith, with probably the most positive review of Dawkins's work that you'll ever read from a monotheist :-).
The Descent Into Nihilism
Salon is carrying a terrific interview, titled The atheist delusion, with of all people a Catholic theologian. His is an analysis that I've been wanting to be brilliant enough to make about the three atheists, and the concept of science and/vs. religion in general. One of the issues he brings up is the concept of extreme atheism leading to nihilism, as demonstrated in the works of Nietzshe, Sartre, and Camus. I want to add one more person to his list: Dostoyevsky.
Response to "Is Religion Man-Made?"
Judging by everything I have read, in Stanley Fish's blog (NYT TimeSelect only) and elsewhere, about the 3 Atheists ' [Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris] arguments, it seems that most of their them pertain to ancient religious trends and do not necessarily address contemporary religion. So what if wheelbarrows might have been amazing to the (many) authors of the Bible? We humans still find existential consolation in many of their fine observations about our many natures (cf Ehrlich Human Natures). So humanity has progressed since that time. Likewise has religion progressed.
Conversations on Faith and Science
Continuing on the theme of science and religion...
- Lunging, Flailing Mispunching, a friend's blog posting on Richard Dawkins and why it is good that we ask "why" and not just "how"
- Darwin's God, a New York Times Magazine article on evolutionary/anthropological approaches to belief. Evaluates the main two camps: the byproduct theory and the adaptionist theory. Is religion a byproduct of other conditions that led to genetic fitness, or is it per se inducing of reproductive fitness? I'm definitely in the latter camp, believing strongly that religion influences culture influences genetics. Witness development of lactose tolerance in certain cultures.
- God and gorillas, an article I haven't actually read yet but have on good authority is worth it. "Anthropologist Barbara J. King explains what our distant cousins can tell us about religion and why it's OK for scientists to believe in God."
Science vs. Religion: A Way Forward
Way back in November I had entry discussing "science vs. religion", lamenting the growing "evangelism" of science. Since then I've been meaning to followup with a continuing theme of fundamentalism: specifically, agreeing that religious fundamentalism often stands in the way of applying scientific progress to social development and knowledge. I do not argue that with this group of arch-atheists. Perhaps I will come back to that theme another time. But today I want to look at the way forward — agreement on climate change.
Science vs. Religion, pt 1
I just came back from a wonderful interfaith dialogue that brought together a large number of each of Christians, Jews, and Muslims as well as a couple of Bahá'ís (but no Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. for some reason). I was reminded and really struck by one of the common elements that is found in the highest spiritual essence of every major religion — the importance of treating our fellow humans with dignity and respect, of greeting the stranger with hospitality and working together for our common betterment.
I Want to Be Like Bill; Religious Anti-Environmentalism
Updated 12/19. This Friday (12/17/2004) will be the last broadcast of Now with Bill Moyers on PBS, a fantastic show that takes journalism seriously and brings insightful — and sometimes harrowing — news to its viewers. I have often found myself unable to watch Now, knowing that what Moyers uncovers would only ruin my weekend (by usually confirming already held fears or introducing new ones). But like Moyers himself, I am an optimist in the end — I refuse to give in to despair at the condition of the world. Do you remember those "I want to be like Mike" Gatorade commercials with Michael Jordan? Well, I don't want to be like Mike. I want to be like Bill.
Reforming the Environmental Movement
At WorldChanging, Alex Steffen offers up excellent suggestions on reforming the environmental movement in his article Reframing the Planet, asking, "Environmentalism has been getting sand kicked in its face on the political beach for too long now. How do we beef it up?". Answering his own question, Steffen offers the beginnings of concrete ways that the greens can appeal to the American public.
Before my iBook was stolen, I had an essay in the works about the relationship of the environmental and interfaith/religious movements. Sadly that piece is gone and I've not had time to reformulate it. Below are two of the central points I was working towards.
Recommendations: "Blinded By Science", "The Optimism of
I have a couple of article recommendations for you all*: Blinded By Science: How 'Balanced' Coverage Lets the Scientific Fringe Hijack Reality; The Optimism of Uncertainty. Plus a few small comments…