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Bristol researcher goes ‘In Search of Eden’

Paul Howard-Jones at a vegetable patch in Talheim (Germany), which marks the first recorded evidence of mass conflict.

2 September 2016

Paul Howard-Jones, Professor of Neuroscience and Education at the Graduate School of Education, will be exploring the downsides of knowledge while searching for the Garden of Eden in a new 5-part mini-series for BBC Radio Four.

Professor Howard-Jones has had a lifelong fascination with the story of Eden. He first heard it in a Herefordshire church where his father was the vicar. In this new series, he investigates what really may have happened when we ate from the tree of knowledge, on a journey that takes him from the Chauvet caves in the south of France to the ancient settlement of Catal Hoyuk in Turkey.

Professor Howard-Jones said: “When Adam and Eve acquired knowledge, it quickly led to some irreversible negative effects. This series asks whether such effects really exist and, much more speculatively, whether the story of Eden may be a throwback to experiencing them. No-one should doubt that knowledge is generally a good thing, but making this radio series gave me a unique chance to explore its darker side.”

In episode one, Paul talks to Professor Michael Anderson, who runs the memory control laboratory at Cambridge University, and discovers that we can, if we want to, make ourselves forget what we don't want to know. He also meets Brook Wilensky-Lanford, who has chronicled the stories of Eden seekers in her book Paradise Lust.

In Search of Eden” begins 1.45 pm this Monday (5 September) on Radio Four, and continues every day at that time until the end of the week. 

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