ⓘ Blog | The Science Network - science in society. The Science Network is a non-profit virtual forum dedicated to science and its impact on society. It was initially ..

The Science Network

The Science Network

The Science Network is a non-profit virtual forum dedicated to science and its impact on society. It was initially conceived in 2003 by Roger Bingham and Terry Sejnowski as a cable science TV network modeled on C-SPAN. TSN later became a global digital platform hosting videos of lectures from scientific meetings and long form one-on-one conversations with prominent scientists and communicators of science, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, V.S. Ramachandran, Helen S. Mayberg, and Barbara Landau. TSN has also sponsored and co-sponsored scientific forums, such as Stem cells: science, ethics and politics at the crossroads, held at the Salk Institute in 2004 and the Beyond Belief conference series.


1. Beyond Belief Conference Series

TSNs signature series Beyond Belief was conceived to bring together a community of scientists, philosophers, scholars from the humanities, and social commentators. Speakers at these meetings have included Steven Weinberg, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Harry Kroto, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Stuart Kauffman. So far, the following three Beyond Belief conferences were organized:


1.1. Beyond Belief Conference Series 2006: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival

Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival, the first of The Science Networks annual Beyond Belief symposia, held from November 5 to November 7, 2006, was described by The New York Times, as "a free-for-all on science and religion," which seemed at times like "the founding convention for a political party built on a single plank: in a world dangerously charged with ideology, science needs to take on an evangelical role, vying with religion as teller of the greatest story ever told." According to participant Melvin Konner, however, the event came to resemble a "den of vipers” debating the issue, "Should we bash religion with a crowbar or only with a baseball bat?”

New Scientist summed up the topics to be discussed as a list of three questions:

  • Can we treat religion as a natural phenomenon?
  • Can we be good without God? And if not God, then what?
  • Can science help us create a new rational narrative as poetic and powerful as those that have traditionally sustained societies?

Speakers included physicists Steven Weinberg, Lawrence Krauss, author Sam Harris, biologist Joan Roughgarden, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.


1.2. Beyond Belief Conference Series 2007: Enlightenment 2.0

Beyond Belief: Enlightenment 2.0 was the second annual symposium and was held from 31 October to 2 November 2007 at the Frederic de Hoffmann Auditorium of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.


1.3. Beyond Belief Conference Series 2008: Candles in the Dark

Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark was the third annual Beyond Belief symposium. This event was organized by The Science Network and held from 3 October to 6 October 2008 in La Jolla, CA.

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