Tag: What is human?

Free will and determinism: are they compatible?

This page in brief …. Neuroscientists tend to conclude that the processes in our brains follow known physical laws, and so our thinking is determined by physics – meaning we don’t have genuine free choice. But our experience is that we do indeed make choices and they seem to be free most of the time, […]

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?

Can we be human without free will?

Do human beings have free will? Can we choose among different possible actions and beliefs? Or are we controlled by our genetics, or by blind physical processes in our brains? And if we couldn’t make genuine choices, would that diminish us? Would we be any different from animals, except a little smarter … perhaps? And […]

Do we live in a moral universe? How do human rights fit in?

When Martin Luther King said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”1, most of us like to believe he was expressing a deep truth. We want to see justice done, at least for causes we believe in. But do we live in a moral universe? What does that even […]

Can life have meaning without God? Five views

Most of us want to be happy, and most of us want our lives to be meaningful. And psychologists confirm that we are happier when we feel our lives have meaning and purpose But what gives our lives meaning? It used to be that religion gave life meaning. Even if life was hard drudgery, or […]

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 […]

Science vs religion: Is scientific thinking different to religious thinking? Is it better?

Science has been one of the success stories of the past few hundred years Through science we know more about the world. We can predict outcomes like weather, the paths of space rockets and the prognosis for cancers. And we can treat many sicknesses, travel all over the world, communicate to virtually anyone anywhere and […]

Experiencing God?

Many people claim to have experienced God directly in some way. They claim to have seen a vision, or received divine healing, or they have had some deep spiritual experience, or God has turned their lives around in some way. They come from different religions, even from no religion and atheism. Sometimes the experience changes […]

“We measure our days out In steps of uncertainty”

One of the pleasures in having an old vinyl record collection is getting an old album out of the storeroom and playing it after years, maybe decades. Some albums stand up, some sound outdated. And some songs still hit you with all the old force. Here’s one.

Logical truth and psychological truth

Most of us like to think that our beliefs are logical and based on the evidence. But we also know that very few things can be known with certainty – after all, this may all be a dream. But we need to live our lives and make choices. So sometimes we have to act despite […]