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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Field Notes

Science & Religion on the Big Screen
Even if you haven't been paying very close attention lately, the chances are that you could not help but notice the increasing degree to which the relationship between religion and science is being featured in recent popular films. At its best—so the story goes—religion gets in the way of scientific discovery, innovation, and human progress. At its worst, religious belief may ultimately lead to the cataclysmic and violent destruction of all life on planet earth. (Joshua Moritz, Theology and Science)

YouTube No Longer Blocked at Brigham Young University
BYU's Honor Code requires students and faculty to avoid Internet content that is not "virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy," material that certainly can be found on YouTube. Yet the site is increasingly a vehicle for quality cultural, religious, scholarly and political material. (Brian Maffly and Donald Meyers, The Salt Lake Tribune)

Why We React to Dangers Deemed Immoral—and Ignore Other Threats
Evidence is accumulating that the human brain systematically misjudges certain kinds of risks. In effect, evolution has programmed us to be alert for snakes and enemies with clubs, but we aren’t well prepared to respond to dangers that require forethought. (Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times)

Comic-Book Creator Writes Letter Explaining Islamic Superheroes to his Sons
Dr. Naif al Mutawa: At the age of 32, I uncapped my pen to create a concept that could be popular in the East and the West. I would go back to the very sources from which others took violent and hateful messages and offer messages of tolerance and peace in their place. I would give my heroes a Trojan horse in the form of THE 99. Islam was my Helen. I wanted her back. THE 99 references the 99 attributes of Allah—generosity, mercy, wisdom and dozens of others not used to describe Islam in the media when you were growing up. But if I am successful, by the time you read this, you will not believe that such an era could have ever existed. (BBC News)

How Do You Treat People of Other Faiths?

Recent polling by Gallup tried to determine the amount of what they call “interfaith cohesion” around the world, by asking respondents how they treat and are treated by members of other faiths—whether they would object to someone from a different faith moving next door, for example. Respondents were then classi´Čüed as either “isolated,” “tolerant,” or “integrated.” Among countries in western Europe and North America, only the United States had more respondents who rated as “integrated” (and fewer who rated as “isolated”) than Canada. (Michael Petrou, Maclean's)