Spirituality can be an uncomfortable word for atheists. But does it deserve the antagonism that it gets?
- While the anti-scientific bias of religious fundamentalism requires condemnation, if we take a broader view, does the human inclination towards spiritual practice still require the same antagonism? The answer, I think, is a definitive "No."
- Rather than ontological claims about what exists in the universe, the terms spiritual and sacred can describe the character of an experience. Instead of a "thing" they can refer to an attitude or an approach.
- One can be entirely faithful to the path of inquiry and honesty that is science while making it one aspect of a broader practice embracing the totality of your experience as a human being in this more-than-human world.
Adam Frank, a card-carrying atheist and physics professor, wonders if there might be more to life than pure science.
- With all due respect to Copernicus, writes Adam Frank, humans are at the center of it all.
- Science is just one of many sources of truth in the world. The lived, subjective experience of humans creates reality, and when science excludes subjective experience, we end up with a less useful kind of science.
- Can science and philosophy form a union that gets us to a far richer account of the world and a far richer science?
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.