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Asha JohnRSS Feed of this column.

I am a writer based in Northern California. I have a BS in Journalism. Two topics I am most interested in - evolutionary basis of religion and living systems as information systems.... Read More »


Why science is a better way to explore morality.

We think of science as a noun, in reality it is a verb, a process. The scientific method is a codification of a specific technique of handling and processing information. This method involves meticulous documentation of observations, and clear transparent analysis.

More than the individual scientist performing the experiments, it is the integrity of this process that we as a society hold sacrosanct. Because it is this process that ultimately allows us to derive an understanding of our world, which remains consistent from one experimenter to another.

Pinker goes after Gladwell, for doing a sloppy job on picking and analyzing the research he uses, and then does it himself in his critique of Gladwell. Ooops!

By now many of you may have read Steven Pinker’s review of Gladwell’s latest book, What the Dog Saw in the New York Times over the weekend.

(Essay 3 in the Evolution and Morality Series)

Religious morality is by no means the only source of moral reasoning available to us. There is in fact a long history of secular philosophy dating all the way back to the 5
th century BC.  And not just the materialist philosophers of ancient Greece, mind you. The non-theistic religions of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism all date back to around the same time period in history.

Massimo had an interesting post on his “Rationally Speaking” blog last week about the rift between science and philosophy.

He feels that too many of the “new atheists” are being over enthusiastic in their support of science as the only means of understanding our world. This enthusiasm is often accompanied with an open disdain for philosophy. He argues science and philosophy should inform each other and work in complementary ways.

Nicholas Wade has a new article on the evolution of religion.

Evolution of the God Gene http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/weekinreview/12wade.html?hpw

He seems to be making the case for a conciliatory relationship between religion and science. Here is what he says:

(Essay 2 in Evolution&Morality Series)

The atheistic blowback to the overbearing religiosity of the Bush era has been something of a boon for the publishing industry. In an uncertain and weakening economy, they discovered a new profitable genre almost overnight. Clearly, all that oppressive God talk from the Bush administration had antagonized a sizeable group of readers. A few savvy editors were quick to recognize the appetite for books like God Delusion, End of Faith and God is not Great. Books, that took a more or less unapologetically contemptuous view of all things religious and God.