Tag: People

Ache, angst and aspiration

Do you ever find yourself waking up at night for no reason, and taking some time to finally fall asleep again? And if you do, what do you think about? Do you focus on emptying your mind so you can fall asleep again? Or maybe you go through your plans for the coming day? Or […]

Susan Blackmore: there’s no ‘me’!

Have you ever wondered: if the cells in our bodies change every 10 years or so, am I still the same person I was 40 years ago?

Chinese New Year, modern Buddhism and modern Christianity

It is Chinese New Year, and last Saturday we visited the celebrations at Hurstville, the suburb where we both grew up and now home to a large Chinese community. We watched the parade and checked out the stalls, and found plenty to interest us.

Stereoscopic vision and God

Stereoscopic vision is a useful and subtle aspect of how we, and some animals, see. Because our two eyes both face the front (unlike some animals and insects whose eyes face more left and right), they both see similar but subtly different views. For example, if two objects are in line, one behind the other, […]

Did Jesus suffer from a mental disorder?

In Mark 3, it is recorded that when Jesus’ family heard how he was attracting a great following, they thought he was “out of his mind”. These days a similar charge is sometimes made – that Jesus exhibited behaviour that suggests he suffered from a mental disorder. I’ve come across it several times, most recently […]

Religion is like seeing faces in nature?

Recently a friend referred me to a 2013 blog post (God: Personification ≠ Person) by Rev Michael Dowd, which explains his somewhat unorthodox views on God and religion. Dowd is a former Catholic who embraced Pentecostal christianity while serving in the army, got himself a theological education and served as a church pastor for a […]

Sam Harris and fake history

Sam Harris is a leading figure in the so-called “new atheists”, an author, speaker and polemicist who strongly opposes Christianity and (even more) Islam. So he is in great demand to speak on many issues of science, ethics and religion, not just the subjects of his university degrees – philosophy and neuroscience. As a “public […]

How to read the Bible if you’re an unbeliever

I reckon too many people, christian and non-christians alike, read the Bible in the wrong way. So how should an unbeliever approach the Bible if he or she wants to read it honestly, whether to learn from it or to critique it?

Are we alone in the universe?

Contact with aliens is a popular theme in science fiction stories. Some people even think they have seen, or been contacted by, aliens. But so far, despite more than 30 years of a scientific Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), no evidence has been found that there is any intelligent life “out there”. But some new […]

Atheism vs religion: is there a scientific explanation for why we believe or disbelieve?

Last post I looked at the differences between scientific thinking and religious thinking, at least as one social scientist sees it. But where does religious thinking come from? Religious belief has been an important component in virtually every culture in human history. Why is this so? Social scientists have studied this question extensively. Whether you […]