Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Andrew Sean Greer: On Religion

Andrew Sean Greer:

I was raised Unitarian and my mother said she took us to church so that we wouldn’t get religious later in life.  Both my parents were atheists and my grandmother was an atheist in rural Kentucky and so they were trying to make sure that my brother and I would be atheists too and it worked, which doesn’t mean that they didn’t teach us a lot of wonder of science and of nature and the world and all of that.  I think they gave us all of that, but they are both highly skeptical people and I got that.

Question:Were there any complications to being a kid atheist?

Andrew Sean Greer:  There didn’t seem to be.  No.  The only problem was that my mother’s parents were Southern Baptists and devout and it was very upsetting them to the idea that we didn’t believe in God, so I told them that I did because I thought that was really cruel because they were worried that we would go to Hell.  My grandmother asked me once, she said, “I don’t care about anything except that you tell me you believe in God,” and so I said I did.

Question: Do your characters struggle with religion?

Andrew Sean Greer:  I think in this next one I’m working on for sure because it’s definitely reared its head in modern day talking.  I just came from an interview where Lewis Black was coming in right after me and I had met him before and we talked about all of this and it’s everywhere.  Everyone is talking.  There’s, of course, a huge evangelical movement recently and now there’s an atheist movement that often seems to me, I was raised to be really nice to people and kind about their beliefs and so a lot of it seems overly self-righteous oddly in the same way that evangelicals are.  Whereas I just don’t believe in any of that stuff, but I’m not mad about it.

Greer is an atheist; his characters struggle with religious questions.

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Keep reading Show less

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
Keep reading Show less

Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

Image: metamorworks / Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
  • More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
  • SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast