Philosophy Now‘s April/May edition was on the ever popular question whether God is (really) dead? In the edition both opponents and proponents of theism get their say, and especially ‘The New Atheism’ gets some focus.
Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence at the Univeristy of Leiden contributed an article on the varieties of atheist experience (and the various interpretations of the term itself):
Paul Cliteur asks: if an atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in God, which God don’t they believe in?
What is atheism? Although much used in contemporary language, not many people specify what they mean by the word. ‘Atheism’ has this in common with ‘religion’, at least. (…)
A PDF version of the article can be found here.
You can also find an article he wrote last year for the Journal of Religion and Society called The Definition of Atheism which touches on similar aspects.
Concealed patterns beneath life’s variety (PhysOrg)
Although the tropics appear to the casual observer to be busily buzzing and blooming with life’s rich variety when compared with temperate and polar regions -a fact that scientists have thoroughly documented -the distribution of species in space and time actually varies around the globe in surprising and subtle ways. So explains Janne Soininen of the University of Helsinki in an article published in the June 2010 issue of BioScience.
Natural selection for moderate testosterone surprises scientists (ScienceDaily)
A field study of the relationship between testosterone and natural selection in an American songbird, the dark-eyed junco, has defied some expectations and confirmed others. Scientists report that extreme testosterone production — high or low — puts male dark-eyed junco at a disadvantage in both survival and reproduction outside their semi-monogamous breeding pairs.
New species of plant-eating dinosaur named for ‘grinding mouth and wrinkle eye’ (ScienceDaily) >
A team of paleontologists has described a new species of herbivore dinosaur based upon an incomplete skeleton found in western New Mexico. The new species, Jeyawati rugoculus, thrived near the shore of a vast inland sea 91 million years ago.
Mars was Wet, but was it Warm? (PhysOrg)
Mars is frozen today, but when it was young there may have been liquid water on its surface. What does the latest evidence indicate about the ancient martian climate? Understanding the past environment of Mars can help future missions “follow the water” in the search for alien life.
Did fornicating Farm Girls boost the rise of atheism in Britain? (Epiphenom)
These days, Britain is one of the most atheistic countries around. It wasn’t always like that, of course, but one of the problems with trying to work out how the present state of affairs came about is that there are very few statistics on religion the stretch back far enough.
Continue reading Science Shorts 20100601
Via Big Think comes another series on a theme, this time of seven videos (of which four are currently available):
How do you reconcile a belief in science and a religious faith? Are modern day atheists leading a crusade of their own or will religion become more of an integral aspect of our increasingly science-based world? This special series highlights some particularly vexing issues at the intersection of religion and science. From a computer science professor who was injured by the Unabomber to an outspoken anthropologist who argues that people are religious because the act of believing in God boosts “feel good” neurochemicals in their brains, this series will challenge the ideas of believers and non-believers alike.
James Randi: Science Will Never Support Religion
James Randi has shunned faith since he was a kid spending collection plate money on ice cream. “If my dad and mom are up there someplace… I ask them to forgive me.”
David Gelernter: The Danger of Crusading Atheists
The Yale computer guru decries the dangerous trend of know-it-all scientists (Richard Dawkins?) telling people that “religion is trash.”
Richard Dawkins: Richard Dawkins’ Faith
Surrounded by a puzzling and often frightening world, people from almost every culture have come to trust in the improvable and supernatural. Here Richard Dawkins remembers when he broke from this pattern.
Robert Wright: Finding Harmony With Cosmic Order
“Reconciliation is possible” between science and faith, though it will mean defining the latter by its moral truths and not its supernatural claims.
Lionel Tiger: The Brain Creates Religion
Believing in God generates soothing “juices” in the brain that make us feel good.
The videos are mostly excerpts from larger interviews. Clicking on the speaker’s name will take you to their page where more material is available. Clicking on the titles takes you to the individual videos in this series.