How “big gods” make us play nice

Believing in gods that care about human morality may encourage people to treat each other more impartially – thereby stabilizing social institutions that depend on anonymous cooperation. Read more

No space for God of the gaps

Scientists rudely keep uncovering more and more reasons for mysterious phenomena. That’s why the god of the gaps isn’t a good bet. Read more

Why symbols matter for homo sapiens

You want lots of collective investment in the tribe? Then you need a tight and cohesive tribe. You want a tight and cohesive tribe? You need serious, committed investment in the tribe’s symbols. Read more

Think the Muslim world needs to “reform?” Think again

If we want a future with less Islamist terrorism, we want the opposite of a Muslim reform movement. After all, ritualistic religions rarely produce terrorists. Read more

No to Reason,™ yes to clear thinking

Connor Wood A couple months ago, I wrote a post here arguing that pure rational thinking, freed from all tradition-bound constraints, is not going to save the world – or the climate. Specifically, I claimed that Reason™ – the rah-rah, yay-for-Science!, jingoistic rallying cry of the atheism-industrial complex – shouldn’t be the torch-bearer for our hopes about the future of humanity and the planet. I stand by everything I said in that post, but I got a lot of pushback… Read more

Hilbert problems in the study of religion

Journal editors at Religion, Brain & Behavior are calling for experts and researchers across religious studies and the cognitive, behavioral, and evolutionary sciences to offer their suggestions for what ought to be considered the biggest, baddest, most pressing empirical questions in the study of religion. Read more

Simulating Religion

How do we get a handle on this vast, complicated realm of religion? Well, maybe through computer simulations. Seriously – the Modeling Religion Project, a multi-team, international collaboration, is a three-year effort to model theories of religion. Read more

Reason™ is not going to save the world

Should we be all rational, all the time? Not if we want the planet to survive. The human animal needs sacred boundaries to tell us in advance that some things are off-limits. Otherwise, economic rationalism will steamroll the earth. Read more

Newsflash: Elite universities are supposed to produce elites. That’s their job.

What is elite education for? Academics’ self-image as noble rebels – more prominent in Ivy League that backwater state schools – is actually enabling the increasing self-focus and self-absorption of the American ruling classes. Read more

The culture wars come for public higher education

The evangelical Christian governor of Wisconsin is about to enact a set of laws that will effectively gut the University of Wisconsin – my alma mater. This makes it a lot harder to be objective about the culture wars. Read more

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