According to Sir Lloyd, his latest book ‘From the Big Bang to God – our awe-inspiring journey of evolution’ (published in May 2013) was inspired by his participation at Science Express at Te Papa in October 2010, where he addressed the question: ‘What is the biological significance of religion?’
Central to the book are ideas derived from a series of notable thinkers including Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872), Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), and Karl Popper (1902-1994). Like them, Sir Lloyd describes the world as we know it in terms of 1) the physical world, 2) the mental world, and 3) the mental product world. Sir Lloyd explains that gods and God are constructs of the human mind, simply products of collective human thought. In a nutshell, we humans made God.
He explains so clearly the biological advantage that we humans have gained over all other biological entities on Earth: the evolution of language and hand in hand with it, our extraordinary mental capacity. Once you understand this, it becomes immediately apparent that any collective human constructs of the ‘human thought world’ are simply unexpected artefacts of evolutionary potential.
I urge you to grab a copy . Everyone should read this book. It is all about the machinations of the collective human mind and its most conspicuous products: culture, religion and science. It is a ‘new Great Story’, a modern explanation of everything. It is fluent, concise and very readable. You won’t be able to put it down.
Senior scientist, GNS Science and geologist at Te Papa
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Week 6 Questions
Chapter 10.5 – Who Are We? (2)
1 – What do you think about relative vs. absolute values?
2 – If you disagree with the idea that we (people) are here just by chance, is there anything scientific that you can point to to justify your position? OR How would you discover a purposeful path for evolution?
3 – What is the problem with human purposed evolution? What can (or should) we do about it?
Chapter 11 – Where Are We Going?
4 – If you had one hope for the future, what would it be?
5 – If you were in our group when we studied “The World to Come”, review Geering's scenarios of the future on pg. 138.
6 – Which Holocaust do you favor? What are you doing / can you do to prevent it? What is our church doing about any of them?
7 – Consider writing about one of the “Religion Words” we voted on last Sunday on the basis of what you see as the new religion Geering speaks of. (Chosen words: Grace, Faith, Wisdom, Atonement, Hope, Mercy, in that order)
8 – What are important characteristics of your “Kingdom of God”?
Week 5 Questions
Chapter 9 – Homogenesis
1 – In what ways do you operate as a humanist and what ways not?
2 – How long has it been since you've read Ecclesiastes? It's short, you might want to give it another round.
3 – How does the snapshot of Jesus given by our author differ from your picture of Jesus?
4 – Where does the rift between science and religion come from?
5 – Comment on Feuerbach's ideas.
6 – How would you change the final paragraph of Chapter 9?
Chapter 10 – Who Are We? (1)
7 – What do you think will happen when cultural change becomes so rapid that few can keep up?
8 – How well do you understand the problem with “creation science” and “intelligent design”?
9 – What do you think is the best example of (cultural) progress?
Week 4 Questions
Chapter 7 – Polytheogenesis
1 – What do you think would be evidence of what the first people thought?
2 – Do you understand the analogy of human evolution to a baby developing?
3 – What do you like best about stories?
4 – What do you find most interesting in Geering's comparison of Maori and Christianity?
5 – What do you see as the most important idea of the axial age?
Chapter 8 – Monotheogenesis
6 – Does a scale from polytheism → henotheism → monothiesm → atheism make sense to you? Why? And on a sale from 10 to 0, where would you place yourself?
7 – How strongly do you feel about Occam's razor?
8 – What is the primary advantage of rational thought over revelation?
9 – How do you feel about the demise of God?
Week 3 Questions
Chapter 5 – Logogenesis
1 – How do you wake up in the morning? Does it take some time for your brain to begin working?
2 – What is the difference between what Geering is saying and John 1:1?
3 – What do you know (or can you discover) about the physiological differences between us and apes with regard to speech?
4 – What makes a good writer (author)?
5 – What is the connection between language and safety?
Chapter 6 – Noogenesis
6 – How different do you think your understanding of the world is from your spouse (or BFF)?
7 – Does technology get us closer to “bare facts”?
8 – Is a dualistic world view a result of language?
9 – What does World 4 look like?
10 – Do you or have you played virtual reality games?
Week 2 Questions
1 – Did the hydrosphere cover the whole earth? If it did, what must the elevation difference between the deepest ocean and the highest mountain have been?
2 – Which (if any) of the explanations for the beginning of life on earth do you favor? Why?
3 – What are some of the changes you would like to see (envision would be a better word) in the next four billion years?
4 – Are there any “things” for which you would rather have a supernatural explanation than a natural explanation?
5 – What is a fundamental difference between scientific story and pre-scientific story?
6 – If Lucy is 3.2 million years old, how many 50,000 year ice ages has “man” endured?
7 – What will be some of the characteristics of the species that replace homosapiens?
8 – Why are animals the size they are? What do you know about the new largest dinosaur?
Week 1 Questions
1 – Is there any way that you can see science conflicting with your religion?
2 – How do growth and evolution differ? How are they the same?
3 – What are some (or one) of the problems you see with the scientific story?
Chapter 1 – Cosmogenesis
4 – If the age of the universe is represented as a 50 foot timeline drawn on the wall of the museum, how long is your life (to 4 figures of accuracy)?
5 - “We cannot attribute the Big Bang to a First Cause” Comments?
6 – What do you think about the universe being “...an astronomically immense living being.”?
7 – What is the fifth force in the universe?