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Less-educated white Americans leaving religion at a rapid clip

A new USA Today report suggests that lower-income white Americans are fleeing religion faster than their middle- or upper-income counterparts. From the 1970s to today, the lowest-income white Americans showed a 15 percent drop in church attendance, compared with a drop of only four percent among the most educated whites. This finding backs up other surveys that have shown relatively greater interest in religion among upper-income Americans.

Founding Directors of IBCSR profiled in Boston University magazine

It's not only dedicated researchers who get excited about science and religion – the general public is starting to take an interest, too. See here for an in-depth article in BU Today that profiles Doctors Wesley Wildman and Patrick McNamara, Founding Directors of IBCSR, for their work on the interdisciplinary study of religion.

Smithsonian founds committee on religious questions for evolution exhibit

The Washington, D.C.-based Smithsonian Institution has unveiled a new exhibit, "What Does It Mean to Be Human?", an interactive display of artifacts and knowledge about human evolution. To accompany the exhibit, Smithsonian leaders established a Broader Social Impacts Committee comprised of experts from different religious traditions, whose goal is to provide targeted, philosophically literate responses to visitors who have questions of a philosophical or religious nature. Read more here.

Dalai Lama donates to Wisconsin meditation research center

The Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibet's exiled government, has announced a donation of $50,000 to the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin. The center researches the effects of meditation on the well-being of adults and children. See the New York Times article here.

New office for Metanexus

Metanexus has moved to a new office at 1616 Walnut Street, Suite 1112, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

Concealed Neuroanatomy in the Sistine Chapel

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have reported an unusual discovery hidden away in Michelangelo Buonarroti's (1475–1564) "Separation of Light From Darkness" on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Apparently the artist included forms taken from his anatomical study of the brain in his depiction of God creating the universe. For the full article, see here.

Religion, Brain & Behavior

IBCSR is pleased to announce the launch of a new journal, Religion, Brain & Behavior (RBB) with the aim of providing a vehicle for the advancement of current biological approaches to understanding religion at every level from brain to behavior. RBB unites multiple disciplinary perspectives that share these interests. The journal seeks empirical and theoretical studies that reflect rigorous scientific standards and a sophisticated appreciation of the academic study of religion. RBB welcomes contributions from a wide array of biological and related disciplines. RBB considers high quality papers in any aspect of the brain-behavior nexus related to religion. For more details see here.

Professors less religious, but not much

A study published in Sociology of Religion, by Neil Gross and Solon Simmons, reports that despite the secular status of most institutions of higher education, nearly 75% of professors report some belief in God or a "higher power." Only 10% of professors are atheists, and another 13 percent are agnostic. These findings suggest that while college professors are more inclined to disbelief (as measured by "theism") they actually compare more closely to the general population than to the usual stereotype of the modern liberal elite in academia.

Francisco J. Ayala wins 2010 Templeton Prize

Francisco J. Ayala, an evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist who has vigorously opposed the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for mutual respect between the two, has won the 2010 Templeton Prize. For full details see here.

IBCSR Research Review

Announcing the publication of IBCSR Research Review (IRR). IRR briefly annotates and furnishes online information about scientific research articles related to brain, behavior, culture, and religion published in leading journals. It also lists relevant books and articles in press. IRR will be useful to researchers, teachers, students, and journalists whose work relates to the scientific study of religion. It is delivered via email to those who sign up to receive it on IBCSR's website (located on the left below “IBCSR Resources”). For more information, see here.