The Modeling Religion Project at the Center for Mind and Culture in Boston uses computer simulations to refine and compare theories of religion, cognition, and culture.
As part of the 92nd St. Y’s “7 Days of Genius” Festival, get to the very heart of right and wrong with Professor Michael Shermer and Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman on “The Genius of Good and Evil.”
A “reasonable” person killed three people — and that fact should scare any of us who think pure rationality can make our world better.
Atheism and agnosticism are almost totally independent of each other — and in fact, many Jews (myself included) would likely self-identify as “agnostic theists.”
We hold certain beliefs, including beliefs about God — in particular, who or what God is (or is not) and how God acts (or doesn’t act) in the world. But what doesn’t happen often enough — whether someone is a fundamentalist, an atheist, or anything in between — is a willingness to rethink what we believe about God based on new ideas and new experiences.
Many of the things that make our brains happy are now more harmful than helpful. And some people place religion in that category, as well. Religion is like fatty foods, they claim — something we should outgrow and move beyond. But I think the better question is, what aspects of religion should we try to outgrow?
Either God exists, or God doesn’t. And we have absolutely no control over that fact. And so because there’s nothing we can do about whether there is a God or not, I’ve never found that question to be a particularly interesting one to ask. After all, when the question is framed in that way, there are really only three answers people can give — “Yes, I do,” “No, I don’t,” or “I’m not sure.”