“But just having a strange and powerful experience doesn’t determine what you believe. I walked off that train with a new respect for why people believed in magic, not a new understanding of reality. Sometimes people have remarkable experiences, and then tuck them away as events they can’t explain.”
“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?”
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.”
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
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
3.Bill Nye versus Ken Ham: Who won?
“Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can — and should — be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.”
“Sometimes faith is used as an alternative to reason, a way to designate (and sometimes denigrate) beliefs that are aren’t based on arguments or evidence, or that aren’t assessed critically. On this view, science and faith almost certainly conflict; science is all about arguments, evidence and critical assessment.”
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.”
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.
“Zepps asked deGrasse Tyson to respond to comments from another recent HuffPost Live guest, pastor Joel Osteen and who talked about his faith and science.”