Saturday, 25 April 2009

Science and Religion

I went to a series of talks with this title at Conway Hall today, sponsored by the Centre for Inquiry. My main reason for going there was to hear Mary Warnock speak on "Religion as Humanism" but unfortunately she pulled out at the last minute.

She was replaced by Raj Persaud who spoke on a different subject (mainly the psychology of internalising or externalising blame and reward). The other scheduled talks were by Jack Cohen on the Omphalos theory of Philip Gosse, Simon Singh on the Big Bang, and Stephen Law on Theodicy. Frankly I didn't learn from these much that I didn't know already, though Singh's talk was thorough and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed his joke mathematical "proof" that the teletubbies are evil!

However, once I came home I watched, thanks to RichardDawkins.Net, a much more edifying lecture by Andy Thomson on Why We Believe in Gods. This is a tour-de-force on the most modern research into the Cognitive Neuroscience of Religion. Some of his language is difficult to follow, but we are likely to hear much more of it as these concepts and methods develop further.

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