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THE BELIEVING BRAIN: Evolution, Neuroscience, and the Spiritual Instinct

Saturday, June 2, 2018
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm EST

God, they say, is in the details. But could God also be in our frontal lobes? Every culture from the dawn of humankind has imagined planes of existence beyond the reach of our senses, spiritual domains that shape our Earthly experiences. Why do beliefs of the fantastic hold such powerful sway over our species? Is there something in our evolutionary history that points to an answer? Does neuroscience hold the key? Straddling the gap between science and religion, Brian Greene is joined by renowned neuroscientists, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists, to explore one of the most profound mysteries of our existence.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.


Brian GreenePhysicist, Author

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

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Lisa BarrettNeuroscientist, Psychologist

Lisa Barrett is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, with positions in psychiatry and radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

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Zoran JosipovicNeuroscientist

Zoran Josipovic, PhD, is a research associate at NYU Langone Medical Center, and adjunct assistant professor for cognitive and affective neuroscience in the Department of Psychology, New York University. He is the founder and principal science investigator at Nonduality Institute.

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Barbara J. KingAnthropologist, Author

Barbara J. King is an anthropologist and author. For 28 years she taught biological anthropology, primate behavior, and human evolution at the College of William and Mary. She is the author of six books and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

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Steven PinkerExperimental Psychologist, Psycholinguist, Author

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has won numerous prizes for his research, teaching, and books.

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About Gerald W. Lynch Theater

The Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College of Criminal Justice is proud to have hosted the World Science Festival, the Lincoln Center Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, New York City Opera, Mummenschanz, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, Inside the Actor’s Studio, Comedy Central Presents, the American Justice Summit, and the 2013 NYC Mayoral Democratic Debates. We are home to premiere galas, conferences, international competitions, and graduations. The Theater is a member of CUNY Stages, a consortium of 16 performing arts centers located on CUNY campuses across New York City and the CUNY Dance Initiative. For more information, and a schedule of events, please visit www.GeraldWLynchTheater.com.