Religion and Human Enhancement; blog post by Calvin Mercer

On a Himalaya trek around the Kashmir Valley, I surveyed a frontier that was expansive, wild, unpredictable, and potentially both dangerous and beneficially satisfying for my fellow travelers and myself. Members of the International Society for Science and Religion, whether they’ve trekked the Himalayas or not, well understand that radical human enhancement technology is all that, and especially unpredictable in its many possible outcomes. “CRISPR babies,” recently making headlines, is just one example of the wild and unpredictable nature of this human enhancement. Helping us journey farther into this frontier is the newest book in the “Palgrave Studies in the Future of Humanity and Its Successors” series. Titled Religion and Human Enhancement: Death, Values, and Morality, the collection is co-edited by Tracy Trothen and myself, Calvin Mercer. Major

By | 2019-01-29T17:04:04+00:00 January 29th, 2019|Categories: Blog, News|

It Keeps Me Seeking: The Invitation from Science, Philosophy and Religion; blog piece by Andrew Steane, book co-authored with Andrew Briggs and Hans Halvorson

Sometimes spouses will look back on the time of their getting to know one another and say, half-jokingly, that on a given occasion one was putting the other to the test. A person keen on hill-walking might invite their loved-one on an expedition in the Lake District; they want to know if their friend will enjoy it and thus “pass”. One keen on theatre might invite a loved-one to a play; they want to know if their friend will appreciate it and thus “pass”. Such “tests” are, up to a point, a natural part of any developing friendship, but you can’t spend your whole life that way. If it is just test after test then the friendship is not developing, and indeed is liable to drain away. Eventually

By | 2018-12-04T15:20:01+00:00 December 3rd, 2018|Categories: Blog, News|

Religion Hurts, a Q&A with John Bowker

John Bowker's new book Religion Hurts draws together sciences and religions to show how they can create a new and different understanding of human nature. This latest book applies this understanding to the world of conflict and violence in which religions seem often to be involved. It shows how sciences and religions illuminate each other.   John Bowker spoke with Norah Myers of SPCK Publishing about his new book Religion Hurts. He considers the intersection of science and religion, and challenges assumptions about how they work together. John Bowker’s book is available here.   1. Why was it important to write Religion Hurts? We live today in a world in which there seems to be as much conflict, war and violence as there ever was in the past.

By | 2018-12-03T16:55:12+00:00 November 20th, 2018|Categories: Blog, News|

Temples of Modernity: Nationalism, Hinduism, and Transhumanism in South Indian Science, by Robert M Geraci

“Religion and science in India are not like in your country. I don’t think religion and science have anything to do with each other here, but if you really want to talk that would be fine.”   That’s an amalgamation of what dozens of Indian scientists and engineers said to me (an American) when I invited them to interviews about the relationship between religion and science in contemporary India. Of course, that was before Prime Minister Modi publicly promoted the belief that ancient Indians possessed modern technology, a belief that I came across in my fieldwork and was thus unsurprised to see become politically relevant in 2014.   My new book, Temples of Modernity: Nationalism, Hinduism, and Transhumanism in South Indian Science (Lexington 2018) was born out of

By | 2018-11-04T12:18:12+00:00 November 3rd, 2018|Categories: Blog, News|

The Dialogue Between Science and Religion in an Orthodox Country, by Magda Stavinschi

I am an astronomer and a Christian Orthodox. During the Communist era, I kept my faith in the family. This was a time when the Bible was discreetly kept at home, protected from the eyes of an uninvited guest, and when school education was atheistic-scientific (note the order of the words here!). It is hard to imagine the void not only in our souls, but also in the Romanian culture, that still preserved its faith as it was centuries ago, only in the monasteries – the ones that remained anyway. Who could answer my questions standing alone in the wide-open astronomical dome facing the stars?   The fall of Communism in Romania in December 1989 certainly led to the freedom of faith, among other things. In my country,

By | 2018-10-02T17:22:42+00:00 October 1st, 2018|Categories: Blog, News|

ISSR Project: Religion and the Social Brain, by Fraser Watts

ISSR is currently running a major research project on Religion and the Social Brain, directed by Michael J. Reiss and co-ordinated by myself, with a grant of £759,320 from the Templeton Religion Trust. The ‘social brain’ theory of human evolution has been developed by Robin Dunbar, a Fellow of ISSR, who is one of the key researchers on the project. Other ISSR Fellows working on it are Léon Turner and Miguel Farias. There are subgrants to the University of Oxford and to Coventry University. ‘Social Brain’ is a broad approach to human evolution, unlike the Cognitive Science of Religion which focuses specifically on religion. There is an outline of the Social Brain theory in Dunbar’s Pelican Introduction to Human Evolution. Though he takes a view of how and

By | 2018-09-07T12:16:44+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Blog|

A 21st Century Debate on Science and Religion, by Shiva Khalili

  A 21st Century Debate on Science and Religion (2017), published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing was edited by Professor Fraser Watts, Dr Harris Wiseman and myself, Professor Shiva Khalili. The book is made up of 12 chapters, written by selected speakers from the Vienna Congress ‘Science and/or Religion: a 21st Century Debate’. The congress was held as a joint project between the 27-29th August 2015, at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna, Austria.   For me the book also marks a milestone within a personal journey, my own inner dialogue and debate regarding the question of ‘science and/or religion?’ This question is part of my reflections on my own meaning-giving beliefs and narratives; and furthermore, reflects challenges within my religious, national and gender identities. As a Muslim Iranian,

By | 2018-07-30T17:17:08+00:00 July 30th, 2018|Categories: Blog, News|

A Teacher’s Guide to Science and Religion in the Classroom, by Berry Billingsley

‘We don’t ask those questions anymore!’ – a new Routledge teachers’ guide to help students ask questions about science and religion “There’s the science part of me that says ‘no it’s the big bang’, and then there’s the religious part of me that said ‘it was God’ so it was quite confusing,” said a student giving her perspective on whether science and religion fit together. According to the LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion) research hub at Canterbury Christ Church University, expressions of confusion or conflict in the minds of students are not unusual. With parents and teachers often struggling to know what to say to their children about how science and religion relate – the experience for primary and secondary students is typically that there doesn’t seem to

By | 2018-06-18T17:50:30+00:00 June 18th, 2018|Categories: Blog|

“If Neurotheology is the Answer, What is the Question?”, by Andrew Newberg

I would like to thank ISSR for inviting me to write a little about my latest book titled: Neurotheology: How Science Can Enlighten Us About Spirituality. I am very excited about this book from Columbia Press as it helps to circumscribe the current state of the field of neurotheology. Of course, part of the hope of this book is to help establish neurotheology as a field by reviewing the current scholarship, both scientific and spiritual, and help demonstrate how an interdisciplinary approach might help us address some of the great questions that have challenged humanity since our origins. First, I think mapping some of the territory is an important thing to do here. This is a blog piece after all, an invitation to look further and deeper. To

By | 2018-04-10T15:08:51+00:00 April 10th, 2018|Categories: Blog, News|

Apocalypses Now: Modern Science and Biblical Miracles, by Mark Harris

 (Boyle Lecture, St Mary-le-Bow Church, London, 7 February 2018)   Before I begin, I’d like to thank all of those responsible for placing me in this pulpit: in the science-and-theology world there’s no greater honour than being invited to give the Boyle lecture, and I’d like to say a heartfelt thanks to the organising committee for granting me this enormous privilege. In the matter of organisation, I also want to say a special word of thanks to Michael Byrne for all of his help in organising the lecture, and also to the Rector, George Bush, and to Matthew Power here in St Mary-le-bow. Finally, I was delighted when John Hedley Brooke agreed to respond to my lecture. I’ve known John since I was a student at Oxford, and

By | 2018-03-22T13:45:56+00:00 March 22nd, 2018|Categories: Blog|
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