For centuries, we’ve been told the soul is what makes each of us unique. It’s why we have moral responsibility. And it’s the part of us that lives on after we die. But many scientists now say the soul is just an outdated myth, an idea that can be explained away by new insights from neuroscience and evolutionary biology. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, does the soul still matter? We’ll explore the question with scientists and philosophers.


Keith Ward is a prominent theologian and philosopher at Oxford University and the University of London. His books include “In Defense of the Soul” and “The Big Questions in Science and Religion.” Ward talks about the soul with Steve Paulson. Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano tells Steve Paulson that our ideas about spirits and the soul can be entirely explained by new insights from brain science. Graziano’s book is “God, Soul, Mind, Brain.” Anne Strainchamps asks Columbia College philosopher Stephen Asma what his colleagues make of the soul these days.


We hear a story from Elna Baker, author of “The New York Regional, Mormon Singles Halloween Dance.” And, Parker Palmer tells Jim Fleming why the soul still matters in an age of science. Palmer is an author, educator and founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal. His books include “Teaching with Heart and Soul.”


Some ordinary people give us their takes on the soul, then Nancey Murphy talks with Steve Paulson. Murphy is a professor of Christian philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary. She tells Steve Paulson Christians would be better off without the soul. Also, novelist Marilynne Robinson talks with Anne Strainchamps about the role of the soul in the age of modern science. Robinson’s novels include “Gilead” and “Home.”

Listen to the Podcast here.