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Does God have a place in 21st century human affairs? For many, the answer is an unapologetic yes. Belief in a higher power, they argue, is the foundation of human consciousness and the soul of all social, political, and scientific progress. Further, some claim, humans are biologically predisposed to embrace religion and require faith to live moral lives. Others are far more skeptical. For them, adherence to faith and religious tradition serves only to fracture communities and prevent humanity from embracing a more enlightened, reasoned, and just social order. As we look to the future in uncertain times, should spirituality and religion play a central role in human evolution, innovation, and discovery? Or has God become obsolete?

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For:

Heather Berlin

7 Items
Heather Berlin
  • Cognitive Neuroscientist
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"Understanding the neural basis of consciousness requires an account of the neural mechanisms that underlie both conscious and unconscious thought, and their dynamic interaction."

 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Is there anything more to consciousness than just neural activity? Heather Berlin responds. Berlin also discusses her differences in opinion with Dr. Deepak Chopra on consciousness. He believes it just exists and is immaterial, and Berlin believes it’s a process in the brain.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Being creative is a neural experience, where the brain is making lots of conscious connections.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Can thoughts survive death? As a neuroscientist, Heather Berlin argues that there’s no evidence for this. But, she concedes, it is comforting to feel like the dead can hear us.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thoughts come from your brain, and what’s out there in reality doesn’t necessarily correlate with what you perceive. Neuroscience explains this because when we perceive something, or become conscious of something, it’s like a coalition of neurons firing together. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015
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Heather Berlin discusses the neuroscience of awareness and neural activity associated with being conscious.

 

Monday, October 19, 2015

“Berlin emphasized that no evidence that consciousness can exist without the brain, and that these experiences are not anything more than an altered brain state.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
For:

Michael Shermer

22 Items
Michael Shermer
  • Founder, The Skeptics Society & Best-Selling Author
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“Science and faith do battle as arch rivals Michael Shermer and Deepak Chopra debate in this ABC Nightline Face-off.”

 

Monday, March 1, 2010

“Science is a verb and a way of thinking about things.”

Friday, September 1, 2006

Shermer and D’Souza debate whether religion is a force for good or evil in the world, and whether morality requires God.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Michael Shermer gives his argument against the existence of God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

“Are atheists who believe in aliens falling for one of humanity's oldest brain biases?”

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Shermer discusses his new book and argues, among other things, that religious and scientific attempts at the afterlife are problematic. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

“Religion was the first social institution to canonize moral principles, and God as an explanatory pattern for the world took on new powers as the ultimate enforcer of the rules. Thus it is that people are religious and believe in God.”

Saturday, August 1, 2009

“I believe that it is time to step out of our religious traditions and embrace science as the best tool ever devised for explaining how the world works, and to work together to create a social and political world that embraces moral principles and yet allows for natural human diversity to flourish.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“Religion and philosophy have had their say for thousands of years what’s moral and not moral. I’m just saying let’s add to our quiver the arrow of science.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

“Why the decline? One factor is the dramatic spread of democracy around the globe over the past half a century.”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

“The arc of the moral universe bends not only toward justice, but toward truth and freedom, and these positive outcomes have largely been the product of societies moving toward more secular forms of governance and politics, law and jurisprudence, moral reasoning and ethical analysis.”

Sunday, February 1, 2015

“Religion. It is religion more than anything else that keeps people from wanting others to have the same rights as they do.”

Friday, April 3, 2015

“’There is no one answer to what makes a perfect society,’ he [Michael Shermer] says, and the attempt to create an earthly paradise can turn murderous.”

Friday, September 1, 2017

“Shermer begins with a simple notion: Humans are mortal, and yet it is near impossible to imagine our mortality. You cannot picture your death because you would no longer exist to experience it.”

Friday, December 22, 2017

“Skepticism, it would seem, is context-dependent.”

Monday, January 1, 2018

“We live in the here and now, not the hereafter, so our actions must be judged according to the criteria of this category, whether or not the category of a God-granted hereafter exists.”

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

Shermer explores what created the universe and explains multiple universes, M-theory, quantum foam creation, and other hypotheses still in their formative stage.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
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Shermer discusses 12 possible answers to the question of why there is something rather than nothing.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

Forget about resurrection - the only way to reach immortality is by creating a legacy.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
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Shermer examines the difference between supernatural design (creationism) and natural design (evolution).

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

Scientology’s origins were based in a science fiction’s writer’s desire to earn money and have no actual basis in science.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Against:

Dr. Deepak Chopra

15 Items
Dr. Deepak Chopra
  • Integrative Medicine Advocate & Best Selling Author
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Heather Berlin discusses the neuroscience of awareness and neural activity associated with being conscious.

 

Monday, October 19, 2015

“Science and faith do battle as arch rivals Michael Shermer and Deepak Chopra debate in this ABC Nightline Face-off.”

 

Monday, March 1, 2010

“We’re entangled: body, mind, energy, information. As long as you think of yourself as separate, then you have no power. But as soon as you recognize that you are inseparable from all that exists, then you have immense power.”

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chopra argues that spirituality is the journey to self-awareness.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chopra discusses spirituality, the turbulence in the world, and infinite possibilities.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Deepak Chopra argues that your body is an activity and a process.

Friday, July 18, 2014
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

“Jesus embodied the highest level of enlightenment.”

Thursday, February 21, 2008
Source

“The more conscious you are in your ability to respond, the more creative you’ll be.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

“What is exceptional and inviting about Deepak Chopra is his belief that spiritual reality must be grounded in our practical everyday world. He focuses on our ability to enhance the everyday lives of people around the globe by using the ‘collective intelligence, creativity, intention, and problem solving.’”

Monday, August 5, 2013

“Science and religion — or more broadly speaking, spirituality — have arrived at core issues about the nature of reality. These issues center on the unsolved problem of what is ultimately real and how the human mind works.”

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

“In my own conception of God as the source of consciousness, creativity, intelligence, love and evolution, the reason to be spiritual is to increase all of those qualities.”

Thursday, April 2, 2015
Source

“Recorded history contains no time when human evil didn’t exist, although only very recently has it been called a problem. Traditionally, evil was looked upon as something much worse than a problem–the fruit of sin… It has taken thousands of years to get past such thinking, and when atrocities arouse public fear and hatred, the old explanations return. But on the other hand, it has become possible to think of evil in terms of psychology and its insights, which is a mark of progress.”

Monday, March 12, 2018

“The existence of two realities that cannot be bridged means that reality as a whole appears incurably split. Physicalism only pretends to heal the split, yet it’s obvious that science cannot explain where thoughts come from, why we are conscious beings, and why the human mind is creative.”

Monday, July 17, 2017

“Overall, being socially supported and taking comfort from your faith makes you seven times more likely to survive major heart surgery than someone who has neither of those things in their life.”

Monday, February 19, 2018
Against:

Dr. Anoop Kumar

7 Items
Dr. Anoop Kumar
  • Emergency Physician & Author, “Michelangelo’s Medicine”
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Deepak Chopra interviews Anoop Kumar and asks him about healing and consciousness.

 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

“Do we want a healthy and sustainable society for each and every one of us — the world over — for the first time in… forever? If so, the price of inattention to our collective consciousness is too steep to pay.”

 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Anoop Kumar argues, “You begin to recognize that religion, spirituality, philosophy, and science are ways of arriving at what is real, or what is true. Science approaches it through objective study, by quantifying the world. Spirituality approaches it through subjective study. But what is real is neither objective nor subjective, because it's not a perspective.”

 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

“There has never been the slightest proof that the basic chemical components of the brain can think, feel, or have experience. In fact, it’s extremely naïve to assume such a thing—and yet neuroscience insists upon it.”

 

Monday, August 14, 2017

“Despite many tragedies, we as a society have not acted upon the understanding that the world we see is a reflection of our own state of consciousness. We are a part of every problem and every solution.”

 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

“The vast majority of scientists and other so-called thought leaders have not diligently explored the possibility that “matter” is actually an experience we are having in consciousness, not unlike the objects that populate dreams, which are mind-made.”

 

Monday, October 16, 2017

“Consciousness is often spoken about as if it's another piece of the puzzle of life, like matter or our thoughts. While it may seem that way, a close analysis reveals that consciousness is of a different order, because everything we know and believe, including perception, science, history, philosophy, and even supernatural phenomena, depends on consciousness being present to begin with.”

 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Background

9 Items
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"Religion is both a force of good and evil because religion is a man-made institution, and human beings are both good and evil.”

Friday, November 24, 2017
Source
Reza Aslan and Lawrence Krauss

“Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
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Kari Paul

“Is churchgoing and religious adherence really in ‘widespread decline’ so much so that conservative believers should suffer “growing anxiety”? Two words: Absolutely not.”

Sunday, January 28, 2018
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Glenn T. Stanton

“Most U.S. adults now say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values (56%), up from about half (49%) who expressed this view in 2011.”

Friday, October 6, 2017
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Gregory A. Smith

“Looked at another way, only 54% of U.S. adults think of themselves as religious – down 11 points since 2012 – while far more (75%) say they are spiritual, a figure that has remained relatively steady in recent years.”

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Source
Michael Lipka and Claire Gecewicz

“By 2060, the unaffiliated population is expected to reach 1.2 billion. But as a share of all people in the world, religious ‘nones’ are projected to decline from 16% of the total population in 2015 to 13% in 2060.”

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Source

“Religion in the United States is worth $1.2tn a year, making it equivalent to the 15th largest national economy in the world.”

Sunday, September 25, 2016
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Harriet Sherwood
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Source
Nicholas Wade

Current Events

4 Items
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“The split in evangelical Christianity isn’t new, but it appears to be widening under Trump.”

Friday, March 2, 2018
Source
Perry Bacon Jr. and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

“Ever since his election in 2013, Francis’s efforts at reform have made him deeply unpopular with conservative Catholics, some in positions of influence within the Vatican itself.”

Friday, February 18, 2022
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Catherine Pepinster

“President Trump has issued new policies to ensure religious freedom is a priority throughout the Federal Government.”

Thursday, February 8, 2018
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“Certainly, all people should be allowed to practice their religion without governmental interference. But religious freedom cannot be permitted to eclipse other fundamental rights, and HHS’s proposed rule does precisely that.”

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
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Mirah Curzer and Melissa Lee

For The Motion

5 Items
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“When researchers ask people to report on their own behaviors and attitudes, religious individuals claim to be more altruistic, compassionate, honest, civic and charitable than nonreligious ones. Even among twins, more religious siblings describe themselves are being more generous. But when we look at actual behavior, these differences are nowhere to be found.”

Monday, March 12, 2018
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Dimitris Xygalatas

“Religion is rapidly becoming less important than it’s ever been, even to people who live in countries where faith has affected everything from rulers to borders to architecture.”

Friday, April 22, 2016
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Gabe Bullard

“The authors do not claim to prove that religion causes an innovation deficit. However, they hypothesise that theocratic models of government, in which political leaders are strongly influenced by religious institutions, may provide a channel for anti-scientific views to influence public policy.”

Monday, March 12, 2018
Source

Besides being a source utility for some agents, religiosity could also have a direct effect on growth, e.g. by promoting greater trust and trustworthiness among individuals (at least, up to the point where it becomes a source of civil strife), or by legitimizing the authority of the ruler and state, thereby reducing agency problems.

Sunday, December 1, 2013
Source
Roland Bénabou, Davide Ticchi and Andrea Vindigni

“Places with higher levels of religiosity have lower rates of scientific and technical innovation, as measured by patents per capita.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Source
Chris Mooney

Against The Motion

7 Items
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“In humans’ mysterious journey to become intelligent, socializing creatures like no other in the animal world, one innovation played an essential role: religion.”

Monday, February 27, 2017
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Julie Zauzmer

“Does religious faith lead to these healthy behaviors? Or is something else, independent of faith, causing them?”

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
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David Leonhardt

“Previous research suggests the "happy person" is young, healthy, well-educated, well-paid, optimistic and extroverted. The same research found the happiest people tend to be religious, married, with high self-esteem and job morale and modest aspirations.”

Sunday, February 25, 2018
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Kayonda Hubert Ngamaba

“What’s more, many of the people who work as civil servants, educators, charity workers and business leaders are motivated by their religious faith, to bring about positive change in cities.”

Monday, December 11, 2017
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Chris Ives and Andre Van Eymeren

“Secularism is indeed correlated with greater tolerance of gay marriage and pot legalization. But it’s also making America’s partisan clashes more brutal.”

Saturday, April 1, 2017
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Peter Beinart

“Local churches are instrumental in the effort [of resettling refugees], since they’re tasked with welcoming and resettling a refugee in the community, a process that can take several months.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016
Source
Priscilla Alvarez

“America is far from becoming a churchless nation. On any given Sabbath, for instance, some 4 out of 10 Americans will make their way to churches and synagogues, mosques and temples – a number that hasn’t fluctuated dramatically in the past half century.”

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Source
Mary Beth McCAuley