To the Best of Our Knowledge
Public Radio International

Science and the Search for Meaning: Five Questions

Part Five

Can Science Be Sacred?

What if you don't believe in God, and the thought of church makes you queasy? Can you still experience the sacred? There's a growing movement of secular scientists who revel in the awe and wonder of nature. In fact, many consider this a religious experience - without God. This hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge examines the search for a science-based spirituality, and a leading animist philosopher gives his point of view.

Original Air Date: December 19, 2010
 
Segment 1

Steve Paulson reports on a growing movement among secular scientists and philosophers, E.O. Wilson, Ursula Goodenough, Joel Primack, George Vaillant, Jane Goodall and Stuart Kauffman. They believe the natural world around us is full of marvels and mysteries, but they typically don't believe in God. Neither do they like the term "atheist." Some prefer "Religious Naturalist." Steve fills us in on "the awe and wonder crowd."

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Segment 2

Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a botanist and medical biochemist. Her new essay collection is called The Global Forest. She tells Anne Strainchamps that the lives of trees and human beings are inter-related all the way down to the molecular level. Also, Arthur Zajonc (rhymes with science) is a physicist at Amherst College, and a long time meditator. He's talked on various occasions with the Dalai Lama about physics and the contemplative life. He tells Jim Fleming that Einstein's idea of god is common to many top scientists. We also hear from orangutan researcher Birute Galdikas.

Press Play to Listen (Running Time 21:03)

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Segment 3

David Abram is an environmental philosopher and author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. He's something of an animist who finds a living presence in just about everything. Abrams tells Steve Paulson about his beliefs and recounts a remarkable story about a shaman who could turn himself into a raven.

Press Play to Listen (Running Time 10:31)

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Print
Science and the Search for Meaning: Five Questions
Perspectives on the Self: Conversations on Identity and Consciousness
What is Life?
November 21, 2010
 
What Does Evolution Want?
November 28, 2010
 
 
 
Can Science Be Sacred?
December 19, 2010

WITH SUPPORT FROM

The Nour Foundation: Exploring Meaning & Commonality in Human Experience
The John Templeton Foundation
Promega Corporation