What happens when all children know to only accept plain facts, and to cannily dismiss all fictions? It would be the genocide of the imagination – no one would have enough imagination to ask the outlandish questions. And we’d never learn a thing about the world. Read more

A study shared widely in the TwitFaceBlogosphere says that religious children can’t tell fact from fiction. This is why it’s wrong. Read more

Nerd culture is a form of aristocracy. Try mentioning that you study religion in a room full of educated techies in Cambridge; the silence that falls over the room is thick enough to swim through. Read more

Ted Slingerland’s work at UBC-Vancouver shows that the scientific study of religion has undergone a quantum leap in maturation. We can now learn from Mother Nature which of our ideas are good, which are okay but need work, and which are simply better put out with next week’s garbage pickup. Read more

Across studies, there’s a regular but modest positive correlation between religiosity and prosocial behavior, and a negative correlation between religion and antisocial behaviors. But these effects are weak. What does this mean for religion’s place in the world? Read more

the most vital trait of evolution is also its most difficult: there’s no purpose in it, no trajectory whatsoever. In evolution, things survive because they are not killed, not because they’re more noble or closer to God’s vision for how the world should be. Read more

This week we’re looking at three early anthropologists who believed that cultures evolve from “primitive” to “civilized” stages, and that religion is a characteristic of the earlier stages. Excelsior! Read more

Impossible imagery in religious narratives and folktales might, in part, serve as a solution to a uniquely human problem: believing too sincerely in the cause-and-effect stories we tell ourselves, such that we become stuck in self-fulfilling rumination. Read more

This week, I’m focusing on four thinkers who have advanced our understanding of how ritual and beliefs intertwine, and how religion both creates and destroys metaphorical boundaries or “walls” in human societies. Read more

Here’s Part 1 of a list of very smart and interesting people with profound theories about religion. The point is to spread some actual knowledge and ideas about religion, as opposed to trendy nonsense from people who couldn’t tell religion from Ramen noodles. Read more

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