Is death the final frontier? We ask scientists, philosophers, and spiritual leaders about life after death.
- Death is inevitable for all known living things. However on the question of what, if anything, comes after life, the most honest answer is that no one knows.
- So far, there is no scientific evidence to prove or disprove what happens after we die. In this video, astronomer Michelle Thaller, neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, science educator Bill Nye, and others consider what an afterlife would look like, what the biblical concepts of 'eternal life' and 'hell' really mean, why so many people around the world choose to believe that death is not the end, and whether or not that belief is ultimately detrimental or beneficial to one's life.
- Life after death is also not relegated to discussions of religion. "Digital and genetic immortality are within reach," says theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. Kaku shares how, in the future, we may be able to physically talk to the dead thanks to hologram technology and the digitization of our online lives, memories, and connectome.
In some countries, religiosity and pro-science attitudes are actually positively correlated, according to the results of a recent study.
- Americans have longed seemed to view science and religion as competing forces.
- A new study examined views on science and religion among roughly 70,000 people across 60 countries.
- The results showed that while many countries show a negative correlation between religiosity and science views, the correlation is far more consistent in the U.S.
Pixabay<p>The results showed that, for Americans, religiosity is consistently associated with negative views toward science. To find those associations, the researchers analyzed the results of nine studies that measured the religious-scientific views of 2,160 Americans. These studies measured things like interest in science-related activities, selection of science-related topics, general attitudes toward science and implicit attitudes toward science.</p><p>Americans who scored high in religiosity were much more likely to hold explicitly and implicitly negative views toward science. But that's not quite the same as being anti-science.</p>
Pixabay<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It's important to understand that these results don't show that religious people hate or dislike science," study author Jonathan McPhetres told <a href="https://www.psypost.org/2020/08/study-suggests-religious-belief-does-not-conflict-with-interest-in-science-except-among-americans-57855" target="_blank">PsyPost</a>. "Instead, they are simply less interested when compared to a person who is less religious."</p><p>To find out whether this negative correlation exists elsewhere, the researchers examined data from the World Values Survey (WEVs) that was collected from 66,438 people in 60 countries. The results showed that while most countries did show a negative correlation between religiosity and science views, those correlations were smaller and less consistent than in the U.S. What's more, further analysis of five understudied countries revealed that religiosity is positively associated with science attitudes in parts of the world.</p><p>One phenomenon that was consistent across the world, however, was moral prejudice against atheists.</p>
Improving science communication<p>Why do Americans seem especially uninterested in science? The study didn't seek to answer that question, exactly. But the researchers did note that future research could explore why Americans show higher rates of biblical literalism and strong overlap between religious fundamentalism and politically conservative values. </p><p>But the key finding is that the belief that science and religion are inherently in conflict does not generalize around the world. This suggests scientists and science communicators are able to change attitudes.<br></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"There are many barriers to science that need not exist," McPhetres told PsyPost. "If we are to make our world a better place, we need to understand why some people may reject science and scientists so that we can overcome that skepticism. Everyone can contribute to this goal by talking about science and sharing cool scientific discoveries and information with people every chance you get."</p>
The year 2020 will go down in history as one that shook our inner and outer worlds.
- A 2019 study in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion found that religious believers are more likely to own dogs than cats.
- Researchers found that hardcore evangelicals are less likely to own pets than more the progressive religious.
- Pet ownership also skews political: Democrats prefer cats while Republicans choose dogs.
Jackson Galaxy's Top Tips For Cat Owners | My Cat From Hell<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bfc883e7258e80ec94eb01e1ccae29ab"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Rjol1zMVcos?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>For this study, Perry and Burge used a 2018 survey with 2,348 respondents. Half replied to questions about pet ownership, with mean average of 1.72 pets per household. They broke down statistics on the three largest religious groups: evangelicals, mainline Protestants, and Catholics.</p><p>Biblical significance only affects evangelicals. Since the Bible isn't exactly PETA-friendly, with all the directives about lording over the kingdom, hardcore religious appear less likely to support animal rights and are more likely to tolerate cruelty toward other species.</p><p>On a related note, pet ownership is political: dogs are more likely to live in rural, Republican-leaning regions, while cats dominate urban, Democratic strongholds. </p><p>The most interesting aspect of their study involves speculation about pet owner psychology. Apparently, the most religious households think about what a pet can <em>do</em> instead of adopting them for what they <em>are</em>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We would expect that Christian conservatism―as indicated by evangelical affiliation and more literalist interpretations of the Bible―would predict the ownership of family pets that have more practical utility such as dogs, but not necessarily cats."</p><p>Cat owners are often considered isolated, neurotic individuals, whereas "dog people" are social and extraverted. Indeed, dog park visits and walking around the neighborhood appear to be motivating factors for owning a dog. Larger families tend to be more religious <em>and</em> own more dogs as well. </p><p>The antisocial aspect of cat owners has recently been downplayed. A few crazy ladies can't ruin the image for the rest of us. Pet ownership is psychologically healthy: Having an animal reduces your anxiety and depression, as well as increases self-esteem among adults and children.</p>
All that matters is the here and now.
- While bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer doesn't believe in God or any outside force that cares about us, he also doesn't think that the existence of one would give our lives meaning.
- Shermer argues that it is up to us to create purpose for ourselves in various ways, including through meaningful work, familial and romantic relationships, and a connection and respect for the wonder of nature.
- "It doesn't matter what happens billions of years from now or whether there's a God or not, whether there's an afterlife or not," he says. "It's irrelevant. This is the life that matters."