Sunday, June 03, 2007

How Doing Good is Good for Us

Here I am again at the University of Pennsylvania for the annual Metanexus Conference on science and religion. This morning I heard several presentations on the nature of altruism and volunteerism and why there are actually health benefits to do good for others. For example, among older adults in one study, mortality dropped by 44% with those who volunteered. In fact, Doug Oman, from U.C. Berkeley (Go Bears!) added this: statistical evidence indicates that, if we are connected to a religious institution, the benefits of volunteering on health are increased. Apparently, doing go for others (i.e., altruism) is actually good for us. It's even better if we do it for God.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

What is "Transdisciplinarity"?

I’m currently at the Metanexus Conference at the University of Pennsylvania on “Transdisciplinarity and the Unity of Knowledge” ( To be honest, it’s even exciting. Tonight, Eric Weislogel, Executive Director of Metanexus, began a role call of those present from the 43 countries present that are home to a “local society” (or a grant-funded science-religion dialogue group.) Large delegations stood from the United States (obviously), but also from Germany and (as I remember it) Romania. The most interesting to me was to hear that there are representatives from Tajikistan. By the way, I’m not entirely sure what “Transdisciplinarity” is, but I think it means that we’re looking for a third thing--a tertium quid, as it were--as scientists and theologians dialogue. More to come…