What to Make of our Natural Dispositions to Supernaturalism?

What to Make of our Natural Dispositions to Supernaturalism? September 30, 2014

Reasonable Doubts has a terrific new episode critically analyzes arguments against atheism by psychologist Justin L. Barrett and philosopher Kelly Clark that try to combine findings in cognitive science that indicate natural dispositions in most people towards supernaturalistic beliefs with an interpretation of warrant for beliefs that comes from Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga in order to argue that a case can be made against atheism. Barrett is the author of Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief and in this episode the Doubtcasters dig into a series of recent papers in which he and Clark are trying to extrapolate from the cognitive science of belief philosophical reasons to say theism is more warranted than atheism. Learn the ins and outs of their arguments and see how philosophy instructor Jeremy Beahan, psychologist of religion Luke Galen, and Dave Fletcher deal with them here.

The Doubtcasters previously explored Barrett’s Born Believers book and Jesse Bering’s The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life in the 2012 episode “Are We Born to Believe?”.

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