Bonobos-zoo

HuffPost: Why Valentine’s Day Is also World Bonobo Day

I have a piece up this week at The Huffington Post on the first annual World Bonobo Day, which is Valentine’s day. Here it is:

February 14 is Valentine’s Day; it is also the inaugural World Bonobo Day (#WorldBonoboDay)—begun by conservationists at The Bonobo Project to help bring awareness to an endangered and gentle species.

Read full article at HuffPost.

Photo Credit: W. H. Calvin 2006. Social gathering of six bonobos at the San Diego Zoo. Wikipedia.

Jesse-Oricco-Brain-2

HuffPost: Study Shows Counterfactual Thinking Increases Faith In God

It’s been almost two years since I last wrote for HuffPost and a little longer for the science section, but I have a piece up this week about an interesting study I recently read. “There But for the Grace of God: Counterfactuals Influence Religious Belief and Images of the Divine” is in this month’s Social Psychological and Personality Science. Want to know more about the research, click to my article at HuffPost below.

In this new study (“There But for the Grace of God: Counterfactuals Influence Religious Belief and Images of the Divine”), published in this month’s Social Psychological and Personality Science, authors Anneke Buffone (University of Pennsylvania), and Shira Gabriel and Michael Poulin (State University of New York at Buffalo), found that religious faith was increased in participants when they were asked to deliberately consider the “it could be worse” scenario.

Read the full article at The Huffington Post…

Ohio Northern University

At The Midwest American Academy of Religion

This weekend I’ll be delivering two papers at the Midwest American Academy of Religion meeting at Ohio Northern University. Both papers reflect are reflective of the time I spent in the Evangelical world and my academic interest in the perceptions of science by the religious.

Teaching Religion

The first paper is Saturday at the Teaching Religion section at 4:15 p.m., and the title is “Observations from Teaching in an Evangelical Seminary: Strategies for Communication between Scientists and Wary Religious Non-Specialists on Controversial Issues” (Dukes Hall room 254).

Ecology and Science in the Study of Religion

The second paper is for the Ecology and Science in the Study of Religion section on Sunday morning at 8:30 (Dukes Hall, room 153) and the title is “Redacting the Book of Nature?: The Reception of Neuroscience in the Last Two Decades and Its Attending Ramifications for the Soul Among American Evangelicals.”

If you’re going to be there, stop by and say hi.

 

Neurons

On Faith: Does Science Have Anything to Say About the Soul?

I have a short article up at On Faith this week (“What Does Science Tell Us About the Soul?”) that introduces some of the problems posed by brain science to the traditional idea of the soul. The short version of it: “everything we associate with the human soul may just be happening in our heads.” I go into a little more background to it over at The Discarded Image, but if you want to cut straight to the article, here you go:

“….Last year, a Harris poll discovered that 64 percent of Americans believe in the survival of the soul after death, with 68 percent convinced of a heaven and 58 percent of hell. Many beliefs are discarded over time, but the existence of the soul isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon. There are good reasons, however, to think it should….

…When philosopher René Descartes said, “I think, therefore, I am,” he probably hadn’t considered the development of Brain Control Interfaces (BCI). For a while now, scientists have worked to create brain-to brain-interfaces, with initial success coming in the form of a remotely connected human moving a rat’s tail. That was quickly followed by other research, with the most recent being two remotely connected human brains, with one playing a videogame through the hand of another person…” Read the full article at On Faith.