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Anthony Campbell

Anthony Campbell

[ Author Bio (Off Site) ]

Review of The Ghost in the Universe by Taner Edis (2005)

Campbell reviews Taner Edis' The Ghost in the Universe, concluding that although the book is not likely to persuade readers to change their views on the implications of scientific findings for traditional religion, it nevertheless is "one of the best books on its subject to have appeared in recent years."

Review of Darwin and Design by Michael Ruse (2005)

Campbell reviews Michael Ruse's Darwin and Design, which considers whether biological evolution has any purpose or direction. Ruse concludes that despite the attempts of theistic evolutionists to reconcile evolution and traditional monotheism, "Darwinism is a major challenge to religious belief" because evolutionary processes seem to leave no room for divine purpose. Campbell describes the book as "a thoughtful and quite detailed discussion of the design question in evolution" which "is particularly good on the background of the people who figure in [Ruse's historical] narrative of events."

Anthony Campbell is a conventionally qualified physician who has over 40 years' experience in the study and practice of specific forms of complementary/alternative medicine, especially Western medical acupuncture. Until his retirement in 1998, he was a National Health Service consultant physician at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (formerly the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital).

He has strong leanings towards skepticism about many things, including—perhaps surprisingly—much of the current enthusiasm for alternative medicine, which seems to present many of the features of a belief system, something which he deplores.

Campbell has been touched by several religious or spiritual belief systems during his life, but now prefers to be free of all of them. He writes from the position of what could best be described as metaphysical naturalism; he does not look to find any transcendental realm beyond what we can perceive. He feels no need to postulate a Platonic or Absolute source for the world; as he puts it, "world is all we have, but that is more than enough."

For more, see Anthony Campbell's author page in the Secular Web Library. Please also visit his web site at: www.acampbell.uk

Published on the Secular Web

Kiosk Article

Religion as Parasite, Parasite as Religion

Skeptics sometimes describe religion as a parasite on the human mind. In this article, Anthony Campbell looks at some of the implications of this way of thinking for understanding religion. He then considers whether biological parasitism may literally play a part in the formation of religious belief before bringing out some of the implications of these ideas for our understanding of why religion exists.

Miraculous Cures?

Many claims for miraculous cures concern recovery from cancer. These are highly impressive and dramatic, and to many people they seem to provide incontrovertible evidence for a miracle. But how often does cancer remit spontaneously outside a religious context? And how do such spontaneous remissions come about? While medical events that could not be accommodated within the realm of the natural can easily be imagined, such as the regrowth of an amputated limb or the restoration of sight lost through glaucoma, in this article Anthony Campbell divulges that he is unaware of the documentation of any such case.

Meditation, Spirituality, Enlightenment?

Do you meditate? If so, why? Is it because you are spiritual? Do you hope that it may lead to enlightenment? What is enlightenment anyway? Does it even exist? In this article Anthony Campell considers these questions in the light of his experience of two methods of meditation, Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Buddhist insight meditation (mindfulness).

Narrative in the Rise of Religion

In recent years skeptics have often applied Richard Dawkins' "memes" idea to religion. This does go some of the way towards providing a naturalistic explanation for religion but I think it over-emphasizes the importance of belief at the expense of narrative. Religions, I suggest, mostly begin with narrative; belief arises later and is, in a sense, a secondary development. It is probably our Christian heritage that leads us to attach undue importance to the role of belief. Narrative depends largely on language, and there are important similarities between religions and language in the way in which they are acquired. This way of looking at religion suggests an explanation for its seeming ubiquity in human culture and also for its persistence in our modern society.