Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lewis Wolpert - The Evolutionary Origins For Belief

Download mp3 interview

Six Impossible Things before Breakfast - BUY from HASSERS Amazon bookshop

Atheism is unnatural; supernaturalism is natural. People see strange things - explanation for causes of things; toolmaking leads to belief in God, things move because of a force, animals don't have idea of cause and effect. Hard to get people to change beliefs. Need to know what is wrong with us - all knowing. Religion really helps people - against people who interfere with lives of non religious people. Zero evidence for gods. Examines belief in paranormal / religion / communicating with the dead - was an evolutionary advantage. Healing power of crystals / prayer. Belief in god different in belief of alternative medicine. No evidence for paranormal phenomenum. Does not pursue ethical and moral issues in this book. Evolutionary psychology - David Sloan Wilson - ethical issues. Hard wired for religion - invention for tools - religion will always be with us eg Mormon Church growing (15M members). In UK and Europe - Church going has decreased.

July 25, 2008

Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology of University College, London, focusing his research on the mechanisms involved in the development of the embryo. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and the Royal Society of Literature. He has presented science on both radio and TV for years, and was Chairman of the Committee for the Public Understanding of Science in the UK. Among his books are Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy of Depression (the basis for the BBC documentary entitled 'A Living Hell"), The Triumph of the Embryo, and A Passion for Science (with Alison Richards). His most recent book is Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief.

In this discussion with D.J. Grothe,

Lewis Wolpert explores the evolutionary origins of belief, and argues that atheism is unnatural while belief in gods is not.
He details the relationship between tool-making and belief in God, and shows how human primates are unique in this regard.
He explains why he thinks it is so hard for people to give up their unbelievable beliefs.
He shares his views on organized religion, including how it benefits believers, and examines if the same tools of science and reason can equally be applied to beliefs about the paranormal.
He also debates the usefulness of argumentation with believers.

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