“The Evolution of Religion”

I highly recommend a review article by Scott Atran and Joseph Heinrich, "The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religions." It's a great summary of current thinking about scientific explanations of religion. (Thanks to Konrad Talmont-Kaminski)Sample quotation:In sum, religion, as an interwoven complex of rituals, beliefs, and norms, plausibly arises from a combination … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis Pontificates about Something or Other

Victor Reppert has recently posted this quote from C.S. Lewis on his Dangerous Idea blog:“The process whereby man has come to know the universe is from one point of view extremely complicated; from another it is alarmingly simple. We can observe a single one-way progression. At the outset the universe appears packed with will, intelligence, life, and positive qualities; every tree is a nymph and every planet a god. Man himself is akin to the gods. The advance gradually empties this rich and g … [Read more...]

Existentialist textbook sticker

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Voas paper

I just got back from Belgium, where I was on the PhD defense committee of Maarten Boudry, a philosopher interested in science and pseudoscience and science and religion issues. He's already done some really good work and he put together an excellent thesis. I hope those of us interested in such matters will be hearing a lot more from him in the future.Also on the committee was Konrad Talmont-Kaminski, an Australian-Polish philosopher with overlapping interests, and we had opportunities for long … [Read more...]

Guessoum interview

Stuart Elliot pointed me to an interesting interview with Nidhal Guessoum online, concerning Islam and science.I met Guessoum last month at the AAAS meeting. Interestingly, I was responding to a question after my talk, and I gave Guessoum as an example. He turned out to be in the audience. (I had not met him in person before.)Anyway, Guessoum adopts about as liberal an Islam as you can get while retaining some faith in God, the supernatural qualities of the Quran, and so forth. He just came out … [Read more...]

The “Inner Testimony” of the Holy Spirit

I forget whether I have posted this before. If so, pardon the redundancy.Having had on two occasions the privilege of debating Prof. William Lane Craig, I found the experiences both exhilarating and frustrating. One point of frustration was that Prof. Craig often appeals to the "inner testimony" of the Holy Spirit as trumping any evidence or argument that could be adduced. Naturally, this made me wonder about the point of our whole exercise. Why argue if "inner testimony" trumps everything? … [Read more...]

Victor Reppert on Christianity and Science

Victor Reppert posted the following remarks on his Dangerous Idea blog relating to the topic of Christianity and the development of science:“A couple of things off the top of my head. First, the major advances of modern science, when it became clear that science could really make a difference not only in the way we view the world, but also the way in which we live our lives, happened in Christian Europe, not Hindu India, or Buddhist Japan, or Islamic Arabia. To say that it would have arisen in A … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 9

Let's take a brief break from conditional probabilities and probability calculations involving Bayes' theorem. Much of Chapter 7 of The Existence of God (EOG) consists of general points, objections, and replies to objections, along the lines that one would expect in a more traditional philosophical discussion about cosmological arguments. I'm not clear on how some of these points connect with the conditional probabilities and probability equations for the cosmological argument. An important … [Read more...]