Weaving a Dialogue Between Science and Religion and Spirituality
Weaving a Dialogue Between Science and Spirituality
There is widespread agreement that the nature of mind is among the greatest mysteries in contemporary science: who are we as conscious beings and how do we relate to the physical world we find ourselves in? How does our mind / consciousness relate to our brain and body? Questions concerning the nature of mind can easily evoke associations to spirit and soul, and the many emotional reactions people may have in response to these notions. This can bring us close to what is often considered the domain of religion (and apparently outside the domain of science), a proximity that can be disturbing to some. I argue that the science of mind is poised at a revolutionary turning point, with profound implications for an evolving dialogue between science and spiritual / religious traditions. Indeed, I view this evolving dialogue as perhaps the major challenge of our present era.
David E. Presti teaches neurobiology, psychology, and cognitive science at UC Berkeley, where he has been on the faculty in molecular and cell biology for 28 years. His classes on topics related to brain, mind, consciousness, neurochemistry, and psychopharmacology typically reach more than 1,400 Berkeley students every year. For more than a decade he worked in the treatment of addiction and of post-traumatic-stress disorder at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco. And for the past 15 years, he has been teaching neuroscience and conversing about science with Tibetan Buddhist monastics in India, Bhutan, and Nepal. He is author of Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey (2016) and of Mind Beyond Brain: Buddhism, Science, and the Paranormal (2018).
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