Project News

Prof Harvey Whitehouse (PI) delivers public keynote address at ADAPT Centre workshop

Prof Harvey Whitehouse gave a public keynote address as part of a major two-day workshop, Computational History and Data-Driven Humanities, organised by the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology at Trinity College Dublin. His keynote address was titled ‘Ritual and Social Evolution: Understanding Social Complexity Through Data’.
You can find out more about the workshop here.

Prof Harvey Whitehouse (PI) to appear in The Story of God with Morgan Freeman

Prof Harvey Whitehouse (Director of ICEA) and Prof Amy Bogaard (Archaeology) will appear alongside Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman in episode 4 “Creation” of the new National Geographic and Revelation Entertainment series ‘The Story of God with Morgan Freeman’. This episode will air at 8pm on Sunday 24 April.

MORGAN FREEMAN, REVELATIONS ENTERTAINMENT AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL TAKE VIEWERS ON AN AMBITIOUS GLOBAL JOURNEY TO UNDERSTAND HOW FAITH HAS SHAPED OUR LIVES IN THE STORY OF GOD WITH MORGAN FREEMAN

Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman Hosts and Executive Produces This Six-Part Global Television Event Series:
The Story of God Sundays 8pm on National Geographic Channel

Who is God? Where did we come from? Why does evil happen? What happens when we die? Every human being on earth has asked themselves these questions at some point, and most likely each person has found a different answer. This spring, National Geographic Channel and Revelation Entertainment’s epic series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, produced by Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger, will take viewers on a trip around the world to explore different cultures and religions on the ultimate quest to uncover the meaning of life, God and all these big questions in between.

Premiering Sunday 3rd April at 8pm on National Geographic Channel, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman seeks to understand how religion has evolved throughout the course of civilisation, and in turn how religion has shaped the evolution of society. Although in our current geopolitical landscape, religion is often seen as something that divides, the series illuminates the remarkable similarities among different faiths, even those that seem to be in staunch contrast. This is a quest for God: to shed light on the questions that have puzzled, terrified and inspired mankind, not to mention Freeman himself.

“Over the past few months, I’ve travelled to nearly 20 cities in seven different countries on a personal journey to find answers to the big mysteries of faith,” said Freeman. “I’ve sung the call to prayer at a mosque in Cairo, taken meditation lessons from the Buddhist leader of the oldest line of reincarnating Lamas, discussed Galileo with the head of the Papal Academy of Sciences and explored the first instructions for the afterlife rendered in hieroglyphs inside the pyramids. In some places I found answers, and others led to more questions. The constant through it all is that we’re all looking to be part of something bigger than us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we certainly are.”

Each episode of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is centred on a different big question about the divine. To explore each of these topics, host and narrator Freeman went on the ground to some of humanity’s greatest religious sites, including Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, India’s Bodhi Tree, Mayan temples in Guatemala and the pyramids of Egypt. He travelled with archaeologists to uncover the long-lost religions of our ancestors, such as those at the 7500 B.C. Neolithic settlement Çatalhöyük in Turkey. He immersed himself in religious experiences and rituals all around the world, and became a test subject in scientific labs to examine how the frontiers of neuroscience are intersecting the traditional domain of religion.

“As we put this series together, we sought answers to some of mankind’s biggest questions, but in the end what surprised us most was to find how personal those answers were for each of us,” said executive producers Lori McCreary and James Younger. “There is no wrong answer when it comes to God or what you believe, and we hope The Story of God will help open an interfaith dialogue about ideas and values that we all share, not that we disagree on.”

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is produced by Revelations Entertainment for National Geographic Channel. For Revelations Entertainment, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger are executive producers. For National Geographic Channel, Michael J. Miller is executive producer; Kevin Mohs is vice president, production and development; Alan Eyres is senior vice president, programming and development; and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.

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About National Geographic Channels

The National Geographic Channels (The Channels) form the television and production arm of National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and the National Geographic Society. As a global leader in premium science, adventure and exploration programming, the Channels include: National Geographic Channel (NGC), Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo People and Nat Geo MUNDO. Additionally, the Channels also run the in-house television production unit, National Geographic Studios. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with entertaining, innovative programming from A-level talent around the world, and with profits that help support the society’s mission. Globally, NGC is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages, and Nat Geo WILD is available in 131 countries and 38 languages. National Geographic Partners is also a leader in social media, with a fan base of 250 million people across all of its social pages. NGC contributes over 55 million social media fans globally on Facebook alone. For more information, visit http://www.natgeotv.com and http://www.natgeowild.com.

About Revelations Entertainment

Revelations Entertainment reveals truth. Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman and Emmy-nominated producer Lori McCreary lead a group of inspired professionals who are the go-to producers of thought-provoking entertainment that has universal appeal and soul. They currently produce the hit CBS Sunday night series “Madam Secretary,” starring Tea Leoni. Recent accolades are three Emmy award nominations for “Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman,” a Peabody Award for the ESPN 30 for 30 episode “The 16th Man” and an Academy Award nomination for Morgan Freeman in the film “Invictus.”

Quantifying Emotion, Ritual, and Social Complexity in World History

Harvey Whitehouse will give the keynote lecture during the “Moving Minds: Converting cognition and emotion in history” conference.

Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. 2-4th March 2016.

Read more HERE.

The Role of Ritual in the Evolution of Social Complexity: Five predictions and a drum roll

In his “Reflections on the French Revolution,” the great Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke declared: “In history a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind.” But since the 18thcentury when Burke penned these lines, the “great volume” to which he referred has grown so vast through the accumulated discoveries and writings of historians, classicists, archaeologists and others that “unrolling” it has become practically unthinkable. Until now…

Prof. Harvey Whitehouse has a new blog post on the Social Evolution Forum. You can read the full article HERE.

 

Workshop: Ritual, Memory and Identity

Prof. Harvey Whitehouse led a one-day workshop on Ritual, Memory and Identity, involving research collaborators from the University of Oxford, Macquarie University, Sydney, the University of Alberta, Edmonton, the University of Hokkaido, Japan, and Queen’s University Belfast.

Participants were: Harvey Whitehouse, Jonathan Jong, Tara Tasuji, Valerie van Mulukom, Amanda Barnier, Ryan McKay, Tom Morris, Jon Lanman, Norman Brown, Michael Buhrmester, and Chris Kavanagh.

 

Research in conversation: an interview with Professor Harvey Whitehouse on ‘being human’

A conversation with Prof. Harvey Whitehouse on how ritual convinces us; from hazing initiations to religious war.

Read the full interview HERE.

Harvey Whitehouse will talk about extreme pro-group behaviour at the ICPS in March 2015

Harvey Whitehouse will be attending the International Convention of Psychological Science (March 2015) as a Panel Member in the session “Religion Past and Present: Evolutionary Origins and Contemporary Functions of Spirituality”.

13 March, 8:30 AM – 10:50 AM,  Amsterdam.

In the ancient past, much of humanity believed in supernatural agents with powers that exceeded those of mere mortals, and engaged in community-wide rituals in which those agents were honoured. Today, much of humanity believes in supernatural agents with powers that exceed those of mere mortals and engages in community-wide rituals in which those agents are honoured. What was, and is, the role of religious beliefs and practices in psychological experience and social life? In this symposium, a unique gathering of leading anthropologists and psychologists will explore religion past and present by addressing the origins of religious thought, the dissemination of religious beliefs, and the role of religion in individual development, identity, behaviour, and well-being.

Harvey Whitehouse delivers public lecture at Macquarie University

On 3 December Harvey Whitehouse gave a public lecture entitled “How do Rituals Motivate Prosociality?” at the Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney NSW.

Ritual, Community, and Conflict

Harvey Whitehouse presented the keynote lecture on “Ritual, Community, and Conflict” at the 10th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science at Monash University, Melbourne.

Read more HERE.

 

Article in Toronto Star: “Shared trauma leads to unbreakable bonds”

In war, shared experiences of terror and adrenalin can lead strangers to bond together like family and fight and die for each other. Working on the ground during some of the worst fighting in the 2011 Libyan civil war, Oxford University researchers have produced one of the first attempts to quantify the bonds forged in conflict. Their research affirms something soldiers and people who experience traumatic events together have long understood intuitively, said Brian McQuinn, one of the paper’s authors. ‘It’s actually the experience of going through something as a group. The more terrifying the experience — and war is a gruesome, terrible thing — the more intense that bond is and the more that fusion takes place,’ he said.

Brian McQuinn, a Canadian who worked for the United Nations Development Programme and recently completed doctoral studies at Oxford, spent seven months doing field research after travelling in June 2011 to Misrata, on the coast of Libya. There, he and Oxford University professor Harvey Whitehouse surveyed 179 civilians fighting against Moammar Gadhafi — some on the front lines, and others directly supporting those who were. They asked the rebels to pick one of a series of diagrams to explain how connected they felt to their family, their battalion of fellow fighters and other fighters opposing Gadhafi. Of the 179 people surveyed, 99 per cent said they were ‘fused’ with their family, 97 per cent with their own battalion and 96 per cent with other fighters. Just 1 per cent said they felt the same type of connection to ordinary Libyans who had not joined the fight.

Read the full article HERE.