It was in fifth grade that I decided to become a scientist. The inspiration came not because I actually new what a scientist did, but through a book. Before I had read this revelatory text, my impression of what scientists did came from the movies. They had four standard attributes that would allow anyone to recognize one at a glance: (1) a muffed and wild hair style, Continue reading My Scientific Hero
As I contemplate the New Year, I’ve been thinking about manmade semi-wild places and what they mean to me. I’m about to teach a class called Religion and the Environment. I’ve watched with interest the debates this year about protecting wild places. And while I love the wild places, lately I’ve been thinking about the sort-of wild places: parks, orchards, and places the canal on which I take my daily jog. Continue reading Schenk Forest and Orchards
To get at the possibility of the evolution of spirituality let’s take a diversion into current attempts by evolutionary biologists to explain the evolution of religion. Pascal Boyer speculates that religion arose as part of evolving human cognitive abilities.
First, the mind evolved to the point it was able to imagine possibilities that do not exist in reality. We can consider counterfactuals. We can combine the stuff of thought in new ways that suggests possible worlds that really have no necessary tie to reality. Continue reading Flying Monkeys Illustrate the Evolution of Religion (as I win a bike race against an invisible rider)
Evolution: the Experience is an upcoming confrence held in Melbourne, Australia in February 2009: Here is a discription.