May 21, 2014

© 2014 Microsoft CorporationHow Would the Public React to a Presidential Candidate Who Doesn’t Believe in God?
Atheists are still the most mistrusted group in the U.S., and a godless politician is still the least likely candidate to win votes in a presidential election. But atheist leader Todd Stiefel is celebrating “a lot of hope” in the fine print of a new Pew Research survey on political leanings. True, 53 percent of Americans said they are least likely to choose a candidate who doesn’t believe in God, according to a survey conducted in April. But in 2007, that number was 63 percent. And those who said a candidate’s lack of belief didn’t matter to their vote rose, from 32 percent in 2007 to 41 percent today. (Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religion News Service)

Doubts About Discovery of Evidence of Cosmic Inflation
Two months ago, a team of cosmologists reported that it had spotted the first direct evidence that the newborn universe underwent a mind-boggling exponential growth spurt known as inflation. But last week a new analysis suggested the signal, a subtle pattern in the afterglow of the big bang, or cosmic microwave background, could be an artifact produced by dust within our own galaxy. (Adrian Cho, ScienceNow, Science)

Louis C.K. on Science and Religion
When comedian Louis C.K. hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time earlier this year, he made the bold move of using his monologue to tell an extended joke about God murdering his wife. In a new interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross released Monday, C.K. explained why he decided to use that material in front of such a large audience and why he thinks delving into big issues like religion in comedy is so important. (Matt Wilstein, Mediaite)

The Domesticated Brain

“We have been self-domesticating through the invention of culture and practices that ensure that we can live together,” Bruce Hood writes. Our brains, he believes, are getting downsized by domesticity. Domestication tends to have that effect. According to Hood, every species that has been domesticated by humans has lost brain capacity as a result. (Jonathon Keats, New Scientist)

Kidding Ourselves

Joseph T. Hallinan: It is here, at rock bottom, that superstition appears to do the most good. When the chips are down, when the pressure is on, when we are up against it, simply believing that we have some sort of edge can be enough to actually give us that edge, whether we realize it or not. (Discover)

Category: Field Notes


Leave a Reply