Stephen T. Asma Quotes
“Nature does not work to minimize suffering and maximize happiness. Should we thank the E. coli bacteria in our guts that help us to digest certain foods? Should we, alternatively, blame the virus that is breaking down our immune systems and spreading through the host population? These organisms are not evil or noble creatures, intentionally wreaking havoc or health; they are simply doing what comes naturally, which is to say, reproducing. This is not meant to sound callous or insensitive, for it is obvious that our struggle with other organisms matters a great deal to us, causing real delight and real despair. But from the more general evolutionary perspective, this drama is value-neutral.”
Stephen T. Asma
- Description: Stephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar.
He is the author of "Why We Need Religion" (Oxford) and "Against Fairness" (University of Chicago Press), among others.
In 2003, he was Visiting Professor at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. There he taught "Buddhist Philosophy" as part of their pilot Graduate Program in Buddhist Studies. His book, entitled The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha (HarperOne, 2005) explores the Theravada Buddhism of the region. He has also traveled and studied in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Mainland China – eventually living in Shanghai China in 2005.
Asma is the author of several books: "Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums" (Oxford University Press, 2001), "Following Form and Function" (Northwestern Univ. Press, 1996), and "Buddha for Beginners" (Hampton Roads, 2008). He has written many articles on a broad range of topics that bridge the humanities and sciences, including “Against Transcendentalism” in the book _Monty Python and Philosophy_ (Opencourt Press, 2006) and “Dinosaurs on the Ark: Natural History and the New Creation Museum” in _The Chronicle of Higher Education_ (May, 2007). He has also written for the _Chicago Tribune_, _In These Times_ magazine, the _Skeptical Inquirer_, the _Chronicle Review_, _Skeptic magazine_, and Chicago Public Radio's news-magazine show _Eight-Forty-Eight_.
His wide-ranging natural history of monsters was published by Oxford University Press in 2009. In this book, titled "On Monsters," Asma tours Western culture's worst nightmares. And his book "Why I Am a Buddhist" was published by Hampton Roads Publishing in 2009.