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Johns Hopkins University
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Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

September 17, 2007
CONTACT: Amy Lunday

Psychologist Paul Bloom to Give Lectures
at Johns Hopkins

Yale University psychologist Paul Bloom will discuss "Bodies and Souls" at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, in the first event in The Johns Hopkins Evolution, Cognition, and Culture Project, a series of lectures exploring the cognitive science of religion.

The event, free and open to the public, will take place in Remsen 1 lecture hall on The Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. It is the first of several lectures Bloom will be giving in the series.

Bloom is a professor of psychology and linguistics at Yale University. He is the author of Descartes' Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human (Basic Books, 2004) and How Children Learn the Meanings of Words (MIT, 2000), as well as scores of papers on such topics as the evolution of language, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the naming of artifacts and natural kinds, and the psychology of moral reasoning. Bloom is also co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

On the subject of his first lecture, Bloom writes on his Web page: "There is considerable evidence that adults are natural dualists — we see the world as Descartes did, as containing physical things (or bodies) and social entities (or souls). I am interested in how this common-sense dualism emerges in development, and the implications that it has for domains such as morality and religion." More information about Bloom and his work is online at www.yale.edu/psychology/FacInfo/Bloom.html, which includes additional links to his personal home page and his lab's Web site.

Bloom's talk kicks off a series of events planned for this academic year, all made possible by a 2007 Templeton Research Lectures grant. These three-to-four year project grants of up to $500,000 are awarded to promote important conversations at the forefront of the field of science and religion. Johns Hopkins was selected for the award through an international competition managed by the Philadelphia- based Metanexus Institute, which advances scientific research, education and outreach on the constructive engagement of science and religion, online at www.metanexus.net. A press release about the grant awarded to Johns Hopkins is online at www.jhu.edu/news/home07/apr07/temple.html.

Other events in the series presented by Bloom and others include:

Friday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. in 338 Krieger Hall. "Consciousness, Cognitive Accessibility and the Mesh between Psychology and Neuroscience," presented by Ned Block, Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology and Neural Science at New York University. Block's biography is online at www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/ .

Monday, Oct. 22, at 5 p.m., in the Great Hall (Room 219) in the university's Education Building, 2800 N. Charles St. Brian Alters will discuss the different ways biology is taught in various Muslim countries. Alters is the Tomlinson Chair in Science Education and is the Sir William Dawson Scholar at McGill University. He holds appointments internationally at McGill and Harvard. He is the director of the Tomlinson Project in University-Level Science Education and director of the Evolution Education Research Center. A full biography is online at www.mcgill.ca/edu- news/.

Thursday, Nov. 29, at 4 p.m. in Remsen 1. Bloom, "The Moral Circle."

Thursday, Feb. 7, at 4 p.m., location TBA. Bloom, "Religion is Natural."

Thursday, Feb. 28, at 3:45 p.m. in 134a Krieger Hall. Edouard Machery, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Machery's biography is online at www.pitt.edu/~machery/

Friday, March 7, 1 p.m., location TBA. Bloom, "The Pleasures of Transcendence."

Additional information about The Johns Hopkins Evolution, Cognition, and Culture Project is available online at web.jhu.edu/ecc.