Saturday, March 13, 2010

'Is God dying?' Questions on morality, evolution and the mind - Faith & Reason

'Is God dying?' Questions on morality, evolution and the mind - Faith & Reason

Science Magazine

Are we evolving away from belief in God? Why did thousands of intelligent people let themselves be deceived by investment fraud king Bernie Madoff? Is morality really in decline in the West and can it be reconstructed?

Such questions are in the air at a seminar on science, morality and the mind at Cambridge University, this weekend sponsored by the Templeton Foundation. I've participated in the Templeton-Cambridge Fellowships in Science & Religion since 2005. And for the next few days, I'd like to bring you along for a taste of the lectures and discussions.

By Dr Jose Liht, NONE
It all starts with questions. Fraser Watts, a professor of theology and science, and Director of Studies, Queens' College set the program off with a wave of his own: What can science tell us about the origin and workings of morality? How did moral capacity arise? Is it all evolutionary? What's the role of neuroscience? What goes on in the brain when we're making moral judgments? Can we use this knowledge to reconstruct morality?

Michael Reiss, Professor of Science at the Institute of Education University of London, a specialist in evolutionary biology (and an ordained Anglican priest) walked us through the history of theories on altruism as an evolutionary phenomenon (like vampire bats who support each other by offering up blood if a mate didn't succeed in his own hunting) and the advantages of being good at deception (think Bernie Madoff).

By Martin Redfern
Even so, just knowing something has an evolutionary origin "tells you nothing about whether it is valid or useful," Reiss says.

So understanding how the mind can evolve to do mathematics is separate from deciding if a particular theorem is good. Translated to evolution, biology and society, it means it might have been safer in some times and societies if you thought there were gods. "But that doesn't answer the question of whether there actually are Gods."

"Is God actually dying?" mused Barbara Bradley Hagerty of National Public Radio.

"I'm not a prophet," quipped Reiss. "I have absolutely no idea." Still, he observed, human conceptions of the divine are very different today than in the past, different often than their own parents, and that it would not be surprising if they continued to change.

Whose idea of God is the definitive one, the one that can be said to be living, dying or changing?Where do you think God came from and if our idea of God vanishes, does God?

No comments:

Post a Comment

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. All comments on this blog must be approved before being published. If you use profanity, hate-based or blatently offensive racist statements, or in general are just a stupid troll your comments will not be posted here. So if you want to have your posting actually show up on this blog, I suggest you stick to the rules. No off topic posting allowed either. Stick to the subject matter.
MY blog, MY rules
"The battlegrounds of idiots are the playgrounds of geniuses"-Anne Punohu