Sunday, March 14, 2010

Upcoming lecture: Scott Atran at Hampshire College on Mar 25th

This is a heads-up for the next lecture in our Hampshire College Lecture Series on Science & Religion. Dr. Scott Atran will be our speaker on Thursday, March 25th. The topic will deal with the psychology of political violence - and is as timely as it can get. I will also post some of his relevant articles as a lead-up to his talk. If you are in the area, please join us for the talk. Here is the abstract:

Hampshire College Lecture Series on Science & Religion Presents

For Friends & Faith
Understanding the path and barriers to political violence

Dr. Scott Atran

Thursday, March 25, 2010
5:30p.m., Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
Hampshire College

Many creatures will fight to the death for their close kin, but only humans fight and sacrifice unto death for friends and imagined kin, for brotherhoods willing to shed blood for one another. The reason for brotherhoods-- unrelated people cooperating to their full measure of devotion--are as ancient as our uniquely reflective and auto-predatory species. Different cultures ratchet up these reasons into great causes in different ways. Call it love of God or love of group, it matters little in the end... especially for young men, mortal combat in a great cause provides the ultimate adventure and glory to gain maximum esteem in the eyes of many and, most dearly, in the hearts of their peers. This century's major terrorist incidents are cases in point.

Dr. Scott Atran is a research director in anthropology at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France. He is also visiting professor of psychology and public policy at the University of Michigan and presidential scholar in sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City. Dr. Atran's books include Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science, In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion, and The Native Mind: Cognition and Culture in Human Knowledge of Nature (co-authored with Douglas Medin).

For more information, please visit our Lecture website.


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