B. Alan Wallace Speaks on Faith, Dogma, and Why Science and Religion Should be Allies

January 28, 2011

TACOMA, Wash. – B. Alan Wallace argues that science has become a modern cult. It demands objective proof for every one of its ideas—to such an extreme that it has deafened us to the loud murmurings of our own senses and our common experience. Religion, Wallace says, has likewise veered toward a fundamentalist stance, relying largely on faith and doctrine, and ignoring the power of the individual mind.

Wallace, who is at once a scientist and a religious scholar, wants a dialogue between these two ways of knowing. Each can learn from the other, he argues, and the truth would not be lost in the gap.

B. Alan Wallace, president and co-founder of the Santa Barbara Institute of Consciousness Studies, will give a Swope lecture at University of Puget Sound from 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. His talk, Experience, Reason, and Faith in Science and Religion, will be held in Schneebeck Concert Hall. The lecture is free, but tickets are required, and it is advised to order them in advance. Ticket information is below.

Wallace is a dynamic lecturer who continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. As a young man in 1971, he discontinued his college studies in California and Germany to go to Dharamsala, India. There he studied Tibetan Buddhism and lived in the home of the personal physician of H.H. the Dalai Lama. The next 13 years were spent in monastic training, studying and teaching Buddhism, translation of Tibetan texts, interpreting for Tibetan lamas, including the Dalai Lama, and contemplative retreats. Wallace then returned to the United States to study physics and philosophy of science at Amherst College and to gain a doctorate degree in religious studies at Stanford University.

His recent books include The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness (Oxford University Press, 2000) and Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground (Columbia University Press, 2003). His latest popular book is Buddhism with an Attitude: The Tibetan Seven-Point Mind-Training (Snow Lion, 2001).

The lecture at Puget Sound is sponsored by the Swope Endowed Lectureship on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values. The Swope lectureship was established at Puget Sound through a gift from Major Ianthe Swope in honor of her mother, Jane Hammer Swope. It is intended to promote discussion, critical thinking, and ethical inquiry about matters of religion, including its role in public life and contemporary ethics.

Tickets for the free, public lecture will be available from January 18 at the information desk in Wheelock Information Center or by calling 253.879.3419. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. The doors open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. lecture. A reception will be held following the lecture in Wheelock Student Center, Rasmussen Rotunda.

For directions and a map of the campus: www.pugetsound.edu/directions

Print-quality photos of B. Alan Wallace are available at Press Photos - University of Puget Sound.

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