Tuesday, 28 July 2009

God and science

The news that Richard Dawkins starts his atheist summer camps for children today inspired me to include this snippet from The God choice by Barbara Hagerty USA Today
Armed with new technology, scientists are peering into the brain to better understand human spirituality. What if, they say, God isn’t some figment of our imagination? Instead, perhaps brain chemistry simply reflects an encounter with the divine.

A few years ago, I witnessed two great British scientists in a showdown. Nine other journalists and I were on a Templeton fellowship at Cambridge University, and on this particular morning, the guest speaker was John Barrow. Almost as an aside to his talk, the Cambridge mathematician asserted that the astonishing precision of the universe was evidence for "divine action." At that, Richard Dawkins, the Oxford biologist and famous atheist, nearly leapt from his seat.

"But why would you want to look for evidence of divine action?" demanded Dawkins.
"For the same reason someone might not want to," Barrow responded with a little smile.
In that instant, I thought, there it is. God is a choice. You can look at the evidence and see life unfolding as a wholly material process, or you can see the hand of God.
For the past century, science has largely discarded "God" as a delusion and proclaimed that all our "spiritual" moments, events, thoughts, even free will, can be explained through material means.
But a revolution is occurring in science. It is called
neurotheology, and it is sparked by researchers from universities such as Pennsylvania, Virginia and UCLA. Armed with technology Freud never dreamed of, these scientists are peering into the brain to understand spiritual experience. Perhaps, they say," God is not a figment of our brain chemistry; perhaps the brain chemistry reflects an encounter with the divine."

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