Faith and Science

Prominent clashes — both historical and contemporary — have led to the widely held conclusion that science and religion are fundamentally incompatible. Yet, many scientists practice a traditional faith, having found a way to accommodate both scientific inquiry and religious teaching in their belief system. Other scientists are bringing science to bear on the phenomenon of religion and spiritual belief — neuroscientists are studying what happens in the brain during religious experiences, while anthropologists are investigating how religion is linked to cooperation and community. This program provided an intimate look at what scientists have to say about their religious beliefs and what might be revealed by scientific studies of spirituality.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

The World Science Festival gathers great minds in science and the arts to produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries. Our mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.
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Original Program Date: May 31, 2008
Moderator: Bill Blakemore
Participants: Lorenzo Albacete, Nina Azari, Paul Bloom, William Phillips

Bill Blakemore Introduction 00:00

Participant Introductions 06:36

The facts about God 12:40

What happens in the brain when we think about religion? 15:37

Bill Phillips defines faith 26:54

The God question is an intellectual and conceptual problem 37:20

FMRI shows the experience of religion. 53:30

Atheists and theist agree 01:03:16
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