I recently listened and watched a conference that has brought scientist and philosophers together to discuss the conflict between religion and science. The code word for the conflict in the USA is the question of intelligent design versus evolution. I am finding the discussion both interesting and intellectually challenging. The people are very concerned about the rise in fundamentalism in the world and the debate is what is the cause and what to do. Many of the participants believe that science and reason are the answer. Have a look at the site: http://beyondbelief2006.org
Much of the discussion has been provoked by a book by Sam Harris called The End of Faith.
I learned much about the various points of view and how dogmatic belief in anything can be very dangerous.
A interesting debate is occurring between Harris and Scott Atran. Scott Atran is Research Director at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France, has experimented extensively on the ways scientists and ordinary people categorize and reason about nature. He currently is an organizer of a NATO working group on suicide terrorism. Sam Harris has authored the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason which won the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction, and Letter to a Christian Nation. His essays have appeared in Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, The Boston Globe and elsewhere. He is currently researching the neural basis of religious belief while completing a doctorate in neuroscience.
Harris claims that fundementalist religion must take the wrap for the suicide terrorism. Altran says there is no scientific evidence to support Harris’s claim. They may use their religious authority to justify the action but he questions whether any research has verified that it is a the real motivation. Harris says there is lots of evidence.
I learned many things and saw some awesome pictures of the universe. One picture taken by some space craft of Saturn with the sun behind it. The rings are just beautiful and there is a little dot in one of the rings which is the earth behind Saturn.
I find it interesting that some people think that because they can find a chemical change in the body for a religious experience that it invalidates that experience. Scientist seem to think if they can attach some physical explanation to an event it becomes "nothing but."