1A EMPLEON CONVERSAION
he John empleton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst or researchon what scientists and philosophers call the Big Questions. We support wor at the world’s top universities in such elds as theoretical physics, cosmology,evolutionary biology, cognitive science, and social science relating to love, orgiveness,creativity, purpose, and the nature and origin o religious belie. We encourage inormed,open-minded dialogue between scientists and theologians as they apply themselves tothe most proound issues in their particular disciplines. And, in a more practical vein, wesee to stimulate new thining about wealth creation in the developing world, charactereducation in schools and universities, and programs or cultivating the talents o the gited. Tis boolet neatly embodies our approach to the Big Questions: the contributors arescholars and thiners o the rst ran, they address a perennial and much-disputed subject,and they bring to bear—in civil, elegant prose—a range o dierent perspectives. By assembling this “conversation” and inviting the public to join in, we intend to promote adialogue that transcends amiliar rhetoric and stoc answers. We aim to turn discourseon the Big Questions in a more thoughtul, considered direction. It is our hope that thisboolet will be a lasting resource or students, teachers, parents, scientists, clergy, andanyone else engaged with the great issues o human nature and purpose. Te essays collected here were coordinated and edited by Michael Shermer, who alsocontributed a piece o his own. Te John empleton Foundation grateully acnowledgesDr. Shermer’s sillul assistance and wise counsel. wo previous “conversations” on Big Questions at the core o the Foundation’s mandatemay also be o interest to readers. Tey can be ound online at the ollowing addresses:
Does the universe have a purpose?
Will money solve Arica’s development problems?