SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVES ON HUMAN BEHAVIOR: AN INTRODUCTION

Authors

  • Karl E. Peters,

    1. Karl E. Peters is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, Rollins College, and a former editor and coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. He can be reached at 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035, USA; e-mail: kpeters396@cox.net. Barbara Whittaker-Johns has served in Unitarian Universalist Parish Ministry and Leadership Roles in the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) since 1985. She can be reached at PO Box 888, South Orleans, MA 02662, USA; e-mail: revdrbwj@comcast.net.
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  • Barbara Whittaker-Johns

    1. Karl E. Peters is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, Rollins College, and a former editor and coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. He can be reached at 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035, USA; e-mail: kpeters396@cox.net. Barbara Whittaker-Johns has served in Unitarian Universalist Parish Ministry and Leadership Roles in the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) since 1985. She can be reached at PO Box 888, South Orleans, MA 02662, USA; e-mail: revdrbwj@comcast.net.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Abstract In June 2011, the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) considered the topic “Doing Good, Doing Bad, Doing Nothing: Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Human Behavior.” Plenary speakers discussed evolutionary, biological, and neurological roots of bad and good behavior (Melvin Konner); unconscious prejudice (Mahzarin Banaji); cultural production of evil and how hope arises in suffering (Cheryl Kirk-Duggan); causes and consequences—neurological and social—of developmental trauma (Laurie Pearlman); social conditions for genocide and mass violence and responses that enable healing and prevent further violence (Ervin Staub); practices for conflict transformation, reconciliation, and peace building (Robert and Alice Evans); and from Eastern religions diagnoses of and prescriptions for overcoming central obstacles to fullness of life (Barbara Jamestone). The papers published here by William Shoemaker, Ervin Staub, and Karl Peters carry forward these evolutionary, neurological, social, and religious analyses and offer ways to become more active in diminishing harmful and nonresponsive behaviors and in enhancing human good.

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