Science on Religion

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Richard Dawkins to debate the Archbishop of Canterbury

Sophia_EuropaOxford University has announced that it will host a debate between famed science writer and atheist Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The event on February 23rd, which will be webcast live here, is sponsored by the Oxford theology faculty. The theme of the debate is “The nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin,” and it will be moderated by Anthony Kenny, a philosopher at the university.

A look back at 2009

2009 was a big year for science and religion with evolution claiming the biggest headlines.CMHRimageThe 200th birthday of Charles Darwin caught the public’s attention in February and the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species in November brought debates over evolution and religion into prominence worldwide. While issues around evolution and Darwin received most of the public attention, scientific research on the biocultural components of religion continued at a dizzying pace.

Parkinson’s and religious semantics

INSWhen we hear only one word of a pair such as "holy" or "spirit," the other word tends to spring to mind because the words are associated in semantic networks in our brains. Even if we don't attach any specific meaning or importance to these "religious" words, we know that they belong together. These kinds of connections between words and the concepts they represent are an important part of what makes the lived experience of religion possible. It is one of the ways we form the complex associations that make up religious beliefs and practices. According to a new study, patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease were found to have difficulty recalling these connections compared to a control group, and this is leading to some interesting conclusions about how religious semantic networks function.


New religion surveys online

Check out, a website filled with fascinating, research-grounded surveys about religion, morality, and belief. Sign up to get incisive feedback about your religious motivations and inner life – and help researchers learn more about science, religion, and culture in the process.

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