This new programme from the BBC pulls together some strings from evolutionary biology and neuroscience to attempt to explain religious and other beliefs.
I think these programmes will only be available to UK listeners, but if I can find a transcript I’ll put up a link.
From the programme information…
Part 1: Evolution:
We are programmed by our genes to believe in supernatural powers and to obey moral codes. Is this because it gave our ancestors an evolutionary advantage? Iranians, Scandinavians, Papuans, chimpanzees, twins and wedding rings offer some startling answers.
Part 2: Neurology
Almost half the population claim to have felt the presence of a power beyond themselves. But what happens in the brain during religious experiences? If magnetism can produce visions, then what price mysticism and meditation? What’s the difference between sainthood and schizophrenia? And why are many believers convinced that God speaks to them in their dreams?
There may be plenty of British Muslims that are perfectly peaceful, want nothing more than to be allowed to follow Islam on a personal basis.
But that isn’t where the trouble for democracy lies. This Telegraph article, and this Channel 4 Dispatches programme, show the real intent of many ‘politicised’ Muslims. But it’s not as if being ‘politicised’ is restricted to a few fundementalists. Islam is both a religious and a political movement, and it’s long term intentions are made clear over and over again. And the concept of infiltrating organisations that have views or policies that are incompatible with Islam (i.e. with Sharia) with the intent of taking control and applying Sharia wherever they can, is perfectly compatible with the long term aims of Islam.
Are you worried you know nothing at all about our environmental problems? Do terms like Greenhouse Gas, Climate Change and the like have you concerned, but you simply don’t understand how basic atmospheres work and how important they are to life? Then check this programme out while you can.
Thin Blue Line, Brian Cox, BBC iPlayer
This is probably one of the best popular explanation of why we need an atmosphere that’s appropriate for life, and how fragile atmospheres can be. There’s no doom mongering, just pure unadulterated enthusiasm for how our planet’s atmosphere works. In the context of other planets and moons you get a real feel for how special our planet is, and why we should consider, at the very least, what we are doing to it.