Religion, Science, and Humility

I’ve been listening to the “Beyond Belief” workshop, where many very bright people discuss the role of science and religion in society.  I need to go back and re-listen to some of them, but I was struck by the attached clip from the very end of Session 4.

In this 5-minute audio clip, Darren Schreiber, UCSD Political Science, make the point that science shows little humility.  He continues to claim that his religion is what motivates him for humility, to face the unknown with a humble, searching perspective.

His comments are followed up by Ann Druyan, the wife of the late Carl Sagan, in which she essentially says that science and its methods promote the utmost humility.  We are not afforded absolute truths, and if whatever knowledge that we are most confident in gets disproved then science will give its highest honor to the person disproving it.  She points out that science brings us out of a childish narcissism, a key part of nearly all religions, which demands that we are central to the universe.

 

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3523697345-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=https://sites.google.com/site/bblais/AnnDruyanResponds.mp3?attredirects=0&d=1

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About brianblais

I am a professor of Science and Technology at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, and a research professor in the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems, Brown University. My research is in computational neuroscience and statistics. I teach physics, meteorology, astonomy, theoretical neuroscience, systems dynamics, artificial intelligence and robotics. My book, "Theory of Cortical Plasticity" (World Scientific, 2004), details a theory of learning and memory in the cortex, and presents the consequences and predictions of the theory. I am an avid python enthusiast, and a Bayesian (a la E. T. Jaynes), and love music.
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