Saturday, July 16, 2011

Breaking the Spell of Religion (audio)

Exploration with Dr. Michio Kaku (Saturday, July 16,
Breaking the Spell (

Can science explain religion as a natural phenomenon -- or set of phenomena useful to human beings in spite of the absence of a "God" as conceived of in human cultures?
Dr. Dennett, an atheist and liberal, takes a serious look at the possibility that religions may serve an important and beneficial evolutionary purpose. He is interviewed by theoretical physicist, cofounder of string field theory, and peace activist Dr. Kaku, City College of New York (CUNY). This is followed by a discussion with Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate: the Modern Denial of Human Nature.

In The Blank Slate, one of the world's leading experts on language and the mind explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings.

With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Steven Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits -- a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century -- denies our common humanity.

It also denies our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts.

Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.

Skeptic Society's Michael Shermer speaks on "strange beliefs" at TED

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