Category: Global

Matthew Moore on Buddhism, Meditating Machines, & the Robopocalypse

Can robots meditate? And with the “near-future technology” of artificial intelligence (AI) and whole brain emulation (WBE), how are humans to wrestle with the concept of suffering? Political theorist Matthew Moore (Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo) returns to our program to discuss these issues from the spiritual framework of Buddhism. He argues that the Buddhist conception of how to deal with suffering offers a number of important insights into policy-related questions regarding if we should proceed, or how we should manage, AI and WBE. Along the way, we talk about the possibility of a Robopocalypse! A futuristic discussion that may be of “near future” relevance.

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Jason Klocek on Religious Conflict and Repression

Why do governments repress religious organizations? Jason Klocek, a doctoral candidate at the University of California at Berkeley, explains how government experience with, and fear of, conflict that has a religious dimension will motivate rulers to crack down not only on religious that appear to be a direct threat, but most religions in general. He shares the research results of a study he conducted with Prof. Peter Henne of the University of Vermont and provides a number of interesting case studies to illustrate their explanation, including Russia and China.

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Davis Brown on Religion, Initiating War, and Data

Does the religious composition of a nation and its leaders have an impact on whether a country will initiate a war? Prof. Davis Brown, a research fellow at Baylor’s ISR, discusses his most recent article on this subject and details a new data set that he has constructed (and is expanding) to answer questions like this one and others. His analysis reveals that countries with a Christian war ethic have been much less likely to initiate wars than ones with an Islamic war ethic, dating back to 1946.

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Is Religious Freedom Good for Growth? A Panel Discussion

Can religious liberty promote economic growth and long-term development? An expert panel of scholars moderated by Brian Grim discusses various perspectives on this question with the conversation ranging everywhere from the Ottoman Empire to Guatemala, and from Chinese house churches to bourbon. The panel includes noted luminaries Ilan Alon, Timur Kuran, Rachel McCleary, and your fuzzy host Anthony Gill.

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Paul Froese on the Meaning of Life

What is our purpose in life? How do we find it? While the good folks at Research on Religion would like to provide you with a definitive answer to that question, we can only offer you up a sociological analysis of how people search for meaning to their lives. Prof. Paul Froese (Baylor University) helps us with this task as he talks about his newest book, “On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life.” Our journey includes everybody from Jesus to King Missile and from Tony Robbins to a pig who just doesn’t care.

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Daniel Philpott on Defending Religious Freedom

Prof. Daniel Philpott, professor of political science and peace studies at Notre Dame, makes the case for why it is important to defend and promote religious liberty around the world. He reviews some common critiques regarding the promotion of religious liberty and then discusses why religious freedom is a universal human right and how best to ensure it flourishes globally.

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Ron Hassner on Religion in the Military

How do armed forces around the world accommodate religious beliefs and practices into the rigorous structure that is often required for combat operations? Prof. Ron Hassner of UC-Berkeley surveys a number of the critical areas where the management of belief and practice can become difficult for military commanders. We discuss cases in the United States, India, Israel, Japan, Canada, and Iran.

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Davis Brown on Just War Theory

What is just war theory and how can it relate to tort law?  What is the doctrine of proportionality?  And how do all these concepts apply to various conflicts including the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, Russia’s involvement its surrounding nations, and the Pig War of 1859?  Dr. Davis Brown, an assistant professor of political science […]

Proselytism, Humanitarianism, and Development: A Panel Discussion

We return once again to the Religious Freedom Project for a panel discussion on the historical dimensions of proselytism, humanitarianism, and development that was conducted on March 4, 2015 at Georgetown University. The panel includes Thomas Farr (moderator), Michael Barnett (George Washington University), Rebecca Shah (Religious Freedom Project), and Robert Woodberry (scholar-at-large).

Denis Dragovic on Religion & State-Building

What role do religious organizations play in constructing and reconstructing states? Denis Dragovic joins us from Australia to discuss his new book “Religion and Post-Conflict State-Building” and how he not only studied this topic, but also was an active participant in helping people around the world, and primarily the Middle East. Prof. Dragovic explains how religious groups — both international and domestic — help to contribute to the three key areas of state-building: legitimacy, security, and basic needs. Along the way, he also recounts how he helped rescue one of his aid workers who was kidnapped by rebels!

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