Nancy Ellen Abrams On A God That Scientists And Philosophers Can Believe In

WASHINGTON (RNS) When she was a teen, Nancy Ellen Abrams told her rabbi that humanity created God.

She’s still at it.

And according to her new book — “A God that Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science and the Future of Our Planet” — this God emerges from us, not the other way around.

Abrams grew up to become a philosopher of science, an attorney specializing in international science law, and co-author of books on dark energy and dark matter — the unseeable forces that comprise 95 percent of the universe — with her astrophysicist husband, Joel Primack.

Abrams’ God book is rooted in scientists’ discoveries in cosmology, the study of the origins of the universe. She expands her theory to the spiritual heavens by detailing a God that she could believe in after leaving Judaism and embracing atheism.

This God is definitely no relation to the loving, comforting, guiding God of the Abrahamic religions. Rather, Abrams says, the real God worthy of our attention is an “emergent force” generated by the collective consciousness of human beings. As she sees it, God is the “collective of our (best) aspirations.”

Abrams writes:

“Collectively we are influencing God. The worse we behave, measured against our deepest aspirations, the weaker God becomes, not only for us but also for future generations. The better we act, the richer God becomes and the more useful to future generations. We have the power to strengthen the very God we turn to. …”

“The spiritual challenge for us is to accept the scientific picture of the universe and with the real help of a real God figure out how to act accordingly — in every way, not just technologically but sociologically, psychologically, spiritually, educationally, politically and every other way.”

Then, Abrams writes, we can use our “god-capacity” to save the “still-evolving cosmic clan in which each —> Read More

Farmer Finds Prehistoric ‘Sea Monster’ On His Property

kronosaurus found

A farmer in Australia recently made a surprising discovery while tending to his land — the gigantic fossilized jaw of a 100-million-year-old sea creature.

The creature turned out to be an extinct carnivorous marine reptile known as Kronosaurus queenslandicus.

“I was out poisoning prickly acacia and saw some objects shining in the distance,” Robert Hacon, whose farm is near Neila in Queensland, said in a written statement. “At first glance I thought they were fossilized mussel shells, so I drove away. Ten minutes later my curiosity got the better of me and I turned back. I jumped out of my buggy and cast my eyes upon these enormous pieces of bone. I thought to myself ‘my gosh, what have I got!'”

(Story continues below photos.)

Hacon uncovering the mandible (jawbone) of the Kronosaurus.

kronosaurus found
Dr. Timothy Holland, curator at the Kronosaurus Korner museum, with the fossil fragments that make the complete lower jaw of a Kronosaurus.

When Hacon realized he had found something far rarer than old mussel shells, he notified the Queensland-based Kronosaurus Korner museum.

“The scary thing is that this creature wasn’t even an adult when it died,” Dr. Timothy Holland, the museum’s curator, said in the statement. “It still had a lot of growing to do. If that wasn’t frightening enough, there are large indentations on each side of the mandible to accommodate enormous overhanging teeth from the upper jaw. I doubt a lot of animals would have escaped the jaws of Kronosaurus once within biting distance.”

kronosaurus found
An illustration of Kronosaurus queenslandicus.

The Kronosaurus dominated Australia’s great inland sea during the Lower Cretaceous period. It belonged to a group of short-necked prehistoric marine reptiles called pliosaurs. These creatures were so huge that the crocodile-like skull of a Kronosaurus could span more than —> Read More

This Bizarre Trick Will Get A Catchy Song Out Of Your Head

Do you have an obnoxiously catchy song lyric stuck on repeat in your brain? New research suggests that the secret to getting rid of these “earworms” may be as simple as chewing a stick of gum.

According to a new study conducted by psychologists at the University of Reading in the U.K., chewing diverts attention away from the catchy melody or lyric.

Earworms happen to as many as 90 percent of people at least once a week, psychologist Vicky Williamson told NPR’s John Donvan in 2012. The University of Reading researchers said in a press release about their work that one study found 15 percent of people classify their earworms as “disturbing.”

The researchers, who published their work this month in the quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, said that learning how to reduce the occurrence of earworms may have implications for other types of intrusive thoughts, such as those that characterize psychological disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

For the experiment, researchers asked 98 study participants to listen to catchy songs like “Payphone” by Maroon 5 and “Play Hard” by David Guetta. For three minutes after listening to the song, the participants were asked to hit a button whenever the song popped back into their head. During the three-minute period, the participants chewed gum, tapped their finger on the table or did neither.

The researchers found that people who chewed gum after listening to the songs “heard” the song playing in their mind a third less often than those who were not chewing gum.

How does it work? Reading psychologist Dr. Phil Beaman explained that chewing gum co-opts some of the brain’s regions involved in earworms.

“Brain regions involved in hearing, remembering and imagining tunes include not only the auditory cortex but also regions —> Read More

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