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Quasi-periodic plasmoid formation at the tip of magnetic streamer structures is observed to occur in experiments on the Big Red Ball as well as in simulations of these experiments performed with the extended magnetohydrodynamics code, NIMROD. This plasmoid formation is found to occur on a characteristic time scale dependent on pressure gradients and magnetic curvature in both experiment and simulation. Single mode, or laminar, plasmoids exist when the pressure gradient is modest, but give way to turbulent plasmoid ejection when the system drive is higher, which produces plasmoids of many sizes. However, a critical pressure gradient is also observed, below which plasmoids are never formed. A simple heuristic model of this plasmoid formation process is presented and suggested to be a consequence of a dynamic loss of equilibrium in the high-$\beta$ region of the helmet streamer. This model is capable of explaining the periodicity of plasmoids observed in the experiment and simulations, and produces plasmoid periods of 90 minutes when applied to two-dimensional models of solar streamers with a height of $3R_\odot$. This is consistent with the location and frequency at which periodic plasma blobs have been observed to form by Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronograph and Sun Earth Connection Coronal and Heliospheric Investigation instruments.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) frequently co-occur, and large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified significant genetic correlations between these disorders.
We used the largest published GWAS for AUD (total cases = 77 822) and SCZ (total cases = 46 827) to identify genetic variants that influence both disorders (with either the same or opposite direction of effect) and those that are disorder specific.
We identified 55 independent genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms with the same direction of effect on AUD and SCZ, 8 with robust effects in opposite directions, and 98 with disorder-specific effects. We also found evidence for 12 genes whose pleiotropic associations with AUD and SCZ are consistent with mediation via gene expression in the prefrontal cortex. The genetic covariance between AUD and SCZ was concentrated in genomic regions functional in brain tissues (p = 0.001).
Our findings provide further evidence that SCZ shares meaningful genetic overlap with AUD.
Magnetic reconnection is explored on the Terrestrial Reconnection Experiment (TREX) for asymmetric inflow conditions and in a configuration where the absolute rate of reconnection is set by an external drive. Magnetic pileup enhances the upstream magnetic field of the high-density inflow, leading to an increased upstream Alfvén speed and helping to lower the normalized reconnection rate to values expected from theoretical consideration. In addition, a shock interface between the far upstream supersonic plasma inflow and the region of magnetic flux pileup is observed, important to the overall force balance of the system, thereby demonstrating the role of shock formation for configurations including a supersonically driven inflow. Despite the specialized geometry where a strong reconnection drive is applied from only one side of the reconnection layer, previous numerical and theoretical results remain robust and are shown to accurately predict the normalized rate of reconnection for the range of system sizes considered. This experimental rate of reconnection is dependent on system size, reaching values as high as 0.8 at the smallest normalized system size applied.
Over the past several decades, the connections between ecology and all major religious perspectives, including the Abrahamic traditions, have been extensively explored. Due to such explosive growth in theological scholarship, official institutional commitments, and public action by the religious community, the environment has become an important topic in science–religion scholarship.
Homo sapiens is the only species that asks questions about its own existence, which means that we are self-interpreting animals. We humans have always been on a quest to know our own nature and to ask whether being human makes us significantly unique, qualitatively different from all other things, living and nonliving. Traditional philosophical traditions maintain that humans are special, and indeed, the highpoint of the natural world, while major religious traditions generally affirm human specialness based on our relation to the divine. In early modernity, however, the Galileo affair was seen as consolidating the “Copernican humiliation” of humanity; it initiated a great change in the way science understands the status of human beings, a change that has profoundly impacted philosophical and religious understandings.
The application of evolutionary theory to morality has given rise in our day to a field known as “evolutionary ethics.” From the beginning, claims about how evolutionary ideas engage ethical thought have sparked controversy. Both Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer provided their own distinctive evolutionary reasoning about the foundation, content, and function of human morality, while several well-known traditional philosophers, such as Henry Sidgwick, denounced and severely critiqued their views. Given the long-standing connection between ethics and religion, the issues become more complex. In this chapter, we explore the basic issues arising at the intersection of evolutionary ethics and religion – from how areas of ethics are affected to how religion is challenged, with particular attention to theism and Christianity. We also discuss important philosophical work regarding whether evolution debunks realist interpretations of religious ethics and how evolutionary ethics is interpreted by both naturalistic and theistic worldviews.
The history of the universe – from the Big Bang to Homo sapiens – is nothing short of breathtaking. The whole process started off with a violent explosion, went through various stages of cosmic structuring and cooling as galaxies and their solar systems developed, produced at least one planet – Earth – that contained life-supporting conditions and eventually produced life leading to humanity as we know it. In reflecting on the extended development of physical reality, important questions arise regarding whether the universe in general displays a discernible directionality and even whether biological reality is goal-oriented, perhaps with the aim of bringing forth Homo sapiens.
Perhaps no issue at the intersection of biology and religion has received more attention now or in the past than the issue of design. The general problem is whether to explain the manifest appearance of design in nature as apparent or real. In living systems, should function be attributed to an intelligent cause or to natural causation? The debate over this question is as ancient as it is contemporary. Of particular historical and intellectual importance is the tension between the design argument advanced by many thinkers, famously presented by William Paley in the early nineteenth century, and the natural biological explanation, offered by Charles Darwin in the mid-nineteenth century. As our discussion develops, we evaluate the Intelligent Design (ID) argument of the past few decades as well as various forms of theistic evolution as ways of combining ideas of intelligence or purpose with the facts of biology. Likewise, we discuss and evaluate both scientific and philosophical perspectives that reject the idea that intelligence or purpose can be applied to biology or any of the other sciences.
A discussion of the relationship between biology and religion is a subset of the larger conversation about the relationship between science and religion. At the turn of the seventeenth century, the new astronomy catalyzed the Scientific Revolution, which raised questions about whether the Roman Catholic Church or practicing scientists were properly entitled to make claims about the structure and operation of the heavens. As modernity unfolded, the Newtonian Revolution consolidated its position: the purview of the natural sciences – from astronomy to physics to chemistry – was to make claims about the structure and operation of the physical world that were grounded in empirical research and not religious dogma. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the science of biology, mostly in the form of natural history and practiced by Darwin and others, caused new tensions with religion. Biology has remained at the center of much controversy with religion – and now, given their influence in contemporary life, what we may call the emerging “biosciences” present new challenges to which religion must continually respond.
Life has long been thought to be a special quality that distinguishes entities that possess it from entities that are dead or inert. And life has always been fundamental to religious and spiritual traditions. Indeed, the very term “spiritual” is derived from Latin spiritus for breath – and other languages such as Greek (pneuma), Hebrew (ruach), and Sanskrit (atman) contain words variously translated as “spirit” or “breath” or “soul.” However, life is also fundamental to the science of biology. Indeed, bios in classical Greek means “life” – physical life – and is the root of the term “biology.” For centuries, it was commonly accepted, in religion and general society, that life was a special factor somehow distinct from but animating the physical organism. However, in the early years of modern biology, a purely physical basis for life was proposed – a position that was quite controversial, particularly because it had important, ostensibly adverse implications for religious and spiritual traditions.
Historically, many thinkers have assumed that religion has a natural origin, but today researchers in the biosciences typically assume that its natural origin falls within the scope of evolutionary theory. For all scientific theories of religion, the general aim has always been to identify empirically the causal processes that operate in all human behaviors that are manifested in the phenomenon of religion. In our day, sociobiologists, evolutionary psychologists, and neuroscientists have advanced theories about the evolutionary causes of religious cognition and behavior. Although the life and behavioral sciences are becoming increasingly unified under the overarching paradigm of evolutionary theory, a consensus on the evolutionary explanation of religion – its development and function – may not quite yet be on the horizon.
The problem of evil has perennially been the strongest objection to religious faith among nonbelievers as well as a major source of crises of faith among believers. The problem centers on the alleged incompatibility between God and evil of all kinds in the world that he supposedly created and governs. On the face of it, this incompatibility seems to support agnosticism or atheism and thus creates difficulties for religion, particularly theistic religion. Since the mid-twentieth century, formulations of the problem – as well as responses to it – have become increasingly technical due to the rise of the analytic philosophy of religion. Moral evil was a salient point of debate, and still is, but theistic replies revolving around the concept of free will have come to be considered quite effective.
The intersection of biology and religion has spawned an exciting academic area, attracting scholars, generating research projects, and gaining notice in general culture. Topics dealing with the relation of biology and religion are inherently interdisciplinary, making philosophy – which is also inherently interdisciplinary – essential for clarifying the issues, identifying key assumptions, and evaluating alternative positions. Therefore, in this book we develop a philosophical discussion of the major topics shaping this field of inquiry, acquainting the reader along the way with the major voices and viewpoints that have contributed to its advance.