2006 Beyond Belief Conference

2006 Beyond Belief Conference at the Salk Institute
Will faith and dogma trump rational inquiry, or will it be possible to reconcile religious and scientific worldviews? Can evolutionary biology, anthropology and neuroscience help us to better understand how we construct beliefs, and experience empathy, fear and awe? Can science help us create a new rational narrative as poetic and powerful as those that have traditionally sustained societies? Can we treat religion as a natural phenomenon? Can we be good without God? And if not God, then what?

This is a critical moment in the human situation, and The Science Network in association with the Crick-Jacobs Center brought together an extraordinary group of scientists and philosophers to explore answers to these questions. The conversation took place at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA from November 5-7, 2006.


Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 1 (11/5/2006)

Steven Weinberg, Lawrence Krauss, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 2 (11/5/2006)
Neil deGrasse Tyson; Discussion: Tyson, Weinberg, Krauss, Harris, Shermer

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 3 (11/5/2006)
Joan Roughgarden, Richard Dawkins, Francisco Ayala, Carolyn Porco

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 4 (11/5/2006)
Stuart Hameroff, V.S. Ramachandran

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 5 (11/6/2006)
Paul Davies, Steven Nadler, Patricia Churchland

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 6 (11/6/2006)
Susan Neiman, Loyal Rue, Elizabeth Loftus

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 7 (11/6/2006)
Mahzarin Banaji, Richard Dawkins, Scott Atran

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 8 (11/6/2006)
Scott Atran, Sir Harold Kroto, Charles Harper, Ann Druyan

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 9 (11/7/2006)
Sam Harris, Jim Woodward, Melvin Konner; Discussion: Harris, Woodward, Konner, Dawkins, Paul Churchland

Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 10 (11/7/2006)
Richard Sloan, V.S. Ramachandran, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Terry Sejnowski


I just finished the last segment of this amazing conference.After listening to hours of lecture and debate by these distinguished speakers I would like to recommend that anyone wrestling with their belief in a God or higher power take the time to experience this discussion. I don’t presume to know how it will affect others because we are all in the process of finding our own path but for me it was brain candy. I have to admit that I didn’t understand some of the technical terms and details because I am not a scientist…..I am an Artist,  but the respectful nature of the debates and the opportunity for alternative solutions to the question of “If not God and Religion then what?” was very refreshing and intellectually stimulating.


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