Posts tagged god
During a panel discussion at the SETIcon II conference in Santa Clara, Calif., over the weekend, scientists discussed the Big Bang and whether there was a requirement for some divine power to kick-start the Universe 13.75 billion years ago.
Unsurprisingly, the resounding answer was: No.
“The Big Bang could’ve occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there,” said astrophysicist Alex Filippenko of the University of California, Berkeley. “With the laws of physics, you can get universes.”
When pushed to think in a more rational way, people experience a dip in their religious beliefs, found a new study. Simply looking at pictures of Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker,” for example, was enough to make people less likely to agree with statements like, “Nothing is as important to me as serving God as best I know how.”
The effects were subtle, and encouraging critical thought is unlikely to destroy anyone’s faith. But the findings suggest that rational analysis interacts with gut instinct in the brain to help distinguish between people who believe fully in God and those who abandon religion.
“This could help people take a broader approach to debates about whether religion is true or not, and realize that subtle cognitive differences might be influencing where people end up on that debate,” said Will Gervais, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, who added that understanding why some people are more religious than others doesn’t say anything about who’s right.