Recently, the Web’s very own PZ Myers gave an introductory talk on the human brain, the cells which make it up and the odd behaviors its owners demonstrate. The video comes in two parts, the first covering fairly well-established science and the second giving an overview of currently reasonable speculations.
If you expected the doyen of science blogging to breathe fire and advance the slides in his presentation by slamming his laptop keyboard with a tentacle, well, you’ll be disappointed. Otherwise, enjoy.
And part 2:
Apropos the final minutes of the second part, I’d like to toss out the suggestion that science is just as natural a consequence of our ancestors’ evolutionary adaptations as, in the Myersian view, religion is. Curiosity is certainly a helpful trait for social animals (and indeed, the anthropomorphization of the natural world could not run amok without some basic curiosity to drive it). We are not so good at rejecting false explanations, although we probably have a limited ability to do that also built-in. Understanding the historical and cultural factors which have given specific form to our general propensities, and learning how to sharpen whatever faculties of skepticism we might possess, are left as exercises to the interested reader.