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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is the conflict between science and religion hardwired into our brains?

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Found on MSNBC:

Experiments headed up by psychologist Jesse Preston of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her colleague Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago provide some data to support the argument that the conflict is inherent, or hard-wired. They found that subjects apparently cannot easily give positive evaluations to both God and science as explanations for big questions, such as the origin of life and the universe, at the same time.

They conclude that the conflict is hardwired, but I question their results. Or, rather, I question how the hardwiring occurs. They seem to be saying it's something biological rather than cultural, but since our neural pathways change according to our experiences and knowledge, I'm not sure I can agree completely with what they say. It may be that the conflict is hardwired into individuals, but is that hardwiring the result of our upbringing and the indoctrination we experience nearly from infancy, or is it truly biological?