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The God vs. Science Smackdown:
Keith Ward vs. Michael Shermer

Noted British author, theologian and philosopher Keith Ward of Oxford University will take on scientist and skeptic Michael Shermer in a debate at Chapman University on the nature of reality, science and religion, and God’s existence. The debate will address such questions as: Can science really explain the origin of the universe, life, consciousness and morality without recourse to God? Or does science in fact provide enough evidence to make belief in God rational?

This epic event, in which one of the world’s leading theists will debate one of the world’s leading atheists, takes place Monday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Chapman University’s Memorial Hall. Chapman chancellor and president-designate Daniele Struppa will moderate the proceedings. The event will be recorded and posted for viewing afterward.

Read about the speakers. Admission is free and open to the public. Get visitor parking information. For more details, call 1-714-997-6636.

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Vikings Exhibition at Discovery Times Square: Setting History Straight-ish

The Viking exhibition that has just opened in New York wants to bust myths, but the exhibit’s spokespeople are busting myths that aren’t myths.

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About this week’s feature

In this week’s eSkeptic, scientist and historian, Michael Shermer, responds to evolutionary biologist and anthropologist, David Sloan Wilson, about ancient warfare and the notion the blank slate.

Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. He is the author of numerous bestselling books, including The Science of Good and Evil and The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom.

On Slates and Tweets: A Reply to David Sloan Wilson on Ancient Warfare and the Blank Slate

by Michael Shermer

On January 21, 2016 I posted a tweet that read:

The reference is to those who adhere to the blank slate theory of human nature and those rather aggressive anthropologists who insist that war is a recent invention and that our ancestors lived in relative peace and harmony with one another and nature. The link is to a recent archaeological study that uncovered the fossilized remains of 27 prehistoric hunter-gatherers who were massacred around 10,000 years ago at a place called Nataruk near Lake Turkana in Kenya. Most of the skeletons showed signs of a violent death: blunt-force trauma to the head, broken hands (some of which were bound), shattered knees, cracked ribs and, most revealing, arrowhead projectile points in the skull and thorax and arrow lesions in the neck. The research team, headed by Dr. Marta Mirazon Lahr from Cambridge University, concluded that one band of people was most likely attacked by another band, explaining:

The deaths at Nataruk are testimony to the antiquity of inter-group violence and war. These human remains record the intentional killing of a small band of foragers with no deliberate burial, and provide unique evidence that warfare was part of the repertoire of inter-group relations among some prehistoric hunter-gatherers. […]

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The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters

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How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean B. Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions, and shows how their discoveries matter for our health and the health of the planet we depend upon.

One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated—there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar—there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet. Order The Serengeti Rules from Amazon.

Call 1-626-794-3119 now to reserve.

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