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Religion, the Brain and Evolution: Are Human Wired to Be Religious? (Grand Rapids)

January 9, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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The Sweet House
254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

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Organized by:
Jennifer Beahan
Phone: 616-698-2342 x801
Email: jbeahan@centerforinquiry.org


Some humanists have decried religion as misfiring brain circuits, while others have suggested that human beings are naturally wired to be religious. While humanists disagree with religion, it is important to understand why, despite centuries of scientific progress, religion seems so tenacious.

In this talk, Dr. Mark Reimers will present his thesis: that religion co-opts genetic changes to our brains that have been important in human evolution for strengthening community bonds and enabling flexible cooperation in small bands of hunter-gatherers.

In this presentation he will discuss some of these changes and how they have enabled humans to transmit culture and accumulated knowledge as well as belief. It’s important to understand that religion is not a monolithic entity, and he will touch briefly on the evolution and diversity of religions, and varieties of human engagement with religion, and will conclude with some prospects for the future of humanism and religion.

Meetings are open to the Public and are held in the Auditorium on the lower level. Please use the door on the south side of the building on the lower level (by parking lot).

After the meeting, join us at Vitale’s Sports Bar, 834 Leonard NE, Grand Rapids, MI to socialize. View Map

The Auditorium is wheelchair accessible via a lift immediately inside and to the left of the lower level door.

Center for Inquiry Michigan values full participation for all attendees at all of our events, including participation from individuals with disabilities. Requests for reasonable accommodation may be made by contacting Jennifer Beahan at jbeahan@centerforinquiry.net or 616-706-2029 at least three days prior to the event.

Learn about Parking, Accessibility, and more.

Cost: FREE / Suggested Donation $5. Ways to Support CFI & Donate Online

Contact: Jennifer Beahan, michigan@centerforinquiry.net, 616-698-2342

About Mark Reimers, PhD

Professor of Neuroscience, Michigan State University

Dr. Mark Reimers studies brain function by applying advanced statistical and computational methods to the very large data sets of brain activity measures now being generated in neuroscience. In particular he tries to understand how brain dynamics changes between different activities and states of mind. Dr. Reimers has worked at the US National Institutes of Health, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics in Richmond. He is the co-author of many publications about brain genetics, development and evolution in several leading science journals, including three articles in Nature and two in Science.