Just 40 years after a famous TIME magazine cover asked "Is God Dead?" the answer appears to be a resounding "No!" According to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in a recent issue of Foreign Policy magazine, "Why God is Winning."
Religions are increasingly a geopolitical force to be reckoned with. Fundamentalist movements — some violent in the extreme — are growing. Science and religion are at odds in the classrooms and courtrooms. And a return to religious values is widely touted as an antidote to the alleged decline in public morality.
After two centuries, could this be twilight for the Enlightenment project and the beginning of a new age of unreason? Will faith and dogma trump rational inquiry, or will it be possible to reconcile religious and scientific worldviews? Can evolutionary biology, anthropology and neuroscience help us to better understand how we construct beliefs, and experience empathy, fear and awe? Can science help us create a new rational narrative as poetic and powerful as those that have traditionally sustained societies? Can we treat religion as a natural phenomenon? Can we be good without God? And if not God, then what?
This is a critical moment in the human situation, and The Science Network in association with the Crick-Jacobs Center brought together an extraordinary group of scientists and philosophers to explore answers to these questions. The conversation took place at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA from November 5-7, 2006.
Sunday, November 5, 2006
Session 1(watch) -->
Steven Weinberg, Lawrence Krauss, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer
Session 2(watch) -->
Neil deGrasse Tyson; Discussion: Tyson, Weinberg, Krauss, Harris, Shermer
Session 3(watch) -->
Joan Roughgarden, Richard Dawkins, Francisco Ayala, Carolyn Porco
Session 4(watch) -->
Stuart Hameroff, V.S. Ramachandran
Monday, November 6, 2006
Paul Davies, Steven Nadler, Patricia Churchland
Session 6(watch) -->
Susan Neiman, Loyal Rue, Elizabeth Loftus
Session 7(watch) -->
Mahzarin Banaji, Richard Dawkins, Scott Atran
Session 8(watch) -->
Scott Atran, Sir Harold Kroto, Charles Harper, Ann Druyan
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Session 9(watch) -->
Sam Harris, Jim Woodward, Melvin Konner; Discussion: Harris, Woodward, Konner, Dawkins, Paul Churchland
Session 10(watch) -->
Richard Sloan, V.S. Ramachandran, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Terry Sejnowski