Beyond Belief 3: Candles in the Dark
By THE SCIENCE NETWORK, SAM HARRIS, AC GRAYLING, ROGER BINGHAM
Added: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Richard Prins for the link.
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Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark is the third in an annual series of conversations: an ongoing project to foster and promote the use of reason in formulating social policy. This year, we asked participants to propose a Candle -- a potential solution to a problem that they have identified in their area of expertise or informed passion.
In The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan wrote:
Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
At The Science Network, we embrace scientific meliorism (last year's meeting, after all, was entitled Enlightenment 2.0). We support science in its search for solutions. Can we better understand the neural underpinnings of human nature, our decision-making processes, the dynamics of trust and fear and human flourishing?
This U.S. election year, when science and reason in the nation's deliberations have been repeatedly challenged as irrelevant or elitist, and science seems to be estranged from society, Sagan's words sound prophetic -- an alarm call. Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark is our response.
Kyle Hill - JREF Comments
If we want people to understand the full range of skepticism we have to also stress the affirmatives. We need to live up to the charge of promoting science and critical thinking
Jon White - New Scientist Comments
Indian rationalist Sanal Edamaruku faces a Catholic backlash after insisting that the "holy" water dripping from a statue of Christ came from a leaky drain
Matthew Hutson - Wired Comments
"If there's no obvious responsible party, we find a scapegoat. And what happens if no acceptable scapegoats are in sight? We credit a supernatural one."
Jonah Lehrer - The New Yorker 106 Comments
While philosophers, economists, and social scientists had assumed for centuries that human beings are rational agents—reason was our Promethean gift—Kahneman, the late Amos Tversky, and others demonstrated that we’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe.
Chris Michaud - Reuters 91 Comments
Nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime and 10 percent think the Mayan calendar could signify it will happen in 2012.
Daisy Grewal - Scientific American 41 Comments
How Critical Thinkers Lose Their Faith in God