Ara Norenzayan’s New Book “Big Gods” Is Out

Read a Q&A with the professor of psychology at The University of British Columbia about his new book, in which he looks at how humans went “from morally indifferent gods with limited powers, to the vast majority of people today worshipping Big Gods”—and what that shift meant for conflict and cooperation.

Biological Science and Ideology

Denis Alexander, director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, and historian of science Ron Numbers have edited a new book of essays, Biology and Ideology: From Descartes to Dawkins. They’ll be at Heffers bookstore in Cambridge tomorrow to officially introduce the book, in which experts look at the various ways that interest groups have used science to serve their social and political agendas, from the 15th century to today.

Does Moral Action Depend on Reasoning?

That’s the question that thirteen thinkers, including both scientists and theologians, respond to in a new booklet of short essays published by the Templeton Foundation as part of its “Big Questions” series.
Their answers? In short:

Michael Gazzaniga: Not really.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: Yes and no, happily.
Aref Ali Nayed: No, it does not!
Alfred Mele: Only if we’re free.
Stanley Fish: It depends …
Christine Korsgaard: Yes, if …
Joshua Greene: Less than it should.
Jonathan Sacks: Reason isn’t enough.
John Kihlstrom: Yes, within limits.
Jonah Lehrer: Not so much.
Jean Bethke Elshtain: Not entirely.
Antonio Damasio: Yes and no.
Robert George: Yes, by nature.

U.S. Scientists’ Religious Views—By the Numbers

From Elaine Howard Ecklund‘s new Science vs. Religion (plucked by Razib Khan):