Why People “Fly from Facts”

“Research shows the appeal of untestable beliefs, and how it leads to a polarized society

“As public debate rages about issues like immunization, Obamacare, and same-sex marriage, many people try to use science to bolster their arguments. And since it’s becoming easier to test and establish facts—whether in physics, psychology, or policy—many have wondered why bias and polarization have not been defeated. When people are confronted with facts, such as the well-established safety of immunization, why do these facts seem to have so little effect?”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-people-fly-from-facts/?WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20150303

What The IRS Could Learn From Mormons

How does a person’s notion of faith affect their charitable giving? How does it affect how honestly they donate their money? In an interesting Planet Money podcast and accompanying article, economists study how Mormons think about what they give to the church and what they don’t and principles the IRS could learn from them.

“I asked a Mormon bishop in Salt Lake City if a few more rules defining income might make tithing easier on Mormons or bring in more money for the church. He said all this soul-searching about what you owe God is kind of the point.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/03/02/147749784/what-the-irs-could-learn-from-mormons

Evolution vs. Creationism Debate: Bill Nye v Ken Ham

Below are some links about the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham from early 2014 about whether evolution or creationism better explains life on Earth.

Some interesting questions emerge from this debate. How do proponents of evolution and creationism approach knowledge and truth differently? This can be extended to the natural science and religious knowledge systems. Both look to find answers and truth and construct knowledge in fundamentally different ways. The two articles get into this issue a bit. You can watch the debate itself, it’s a bit long but worth watching at least a little bit.

1.Why Bill Nye Won the Creationism Debate Last Night

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/02/bill-nye-ken-ham-evolution-creationism-refuted

2. Bill Nye v Ken Ham: should scientists bother to debate creationism?

The public debate between Bill Nye and the president of a US creationist museum gives creationism a scientific legitimacy that it isn’t entitled to

http://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2014/feb/05/bill-nye-vs-ken-ham-creationism-science-debate

3.Bill Nye versus Ken Ham: Who won? 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0205/Bill-Nye-versus-Ken-Ham-Who-won-video

Ann Druyan Talks About Science, Religion, Wonder, Awe . . . and Carl Sagan

An interesting essay written by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan’s widow. Carl Sagan was a famous scientist and creator of the original Cosmos television show.

“It is a great tragedy that science, this wonderful process for finding out what is true, has ceded the spiritual uplift of its central revelations: the vastness of the universe, the immensity of time, the relatedness of all life, and life’s preciousness on our tiny planet.”

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/ann_druyan_talks_about_science_religion/

Dr. Gupta: When religion and medicine meet

Dr. Gupta interviews Joel Osteen.

He started by telling the story of his own mother, Dodie Osteen, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer back in 1981. She was told “there was no treatment that could be given to her.”
It was liver cancer, and she was just 48 years old. Osteen told me, “She prayed, she believed, and she quoted scripture. Thirty-something years later, she’s alive.”
Osteen is describing a sort of faith healing or at least the power of prayer, and it is an issue that deeply divides the medical community.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/21/health/gupta-religion-medicine/