Off to St. Andrews, with some trepidation

Posted on April 2, 2009


This Sunday I’m off to the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Conference in St. Andrews. It’ll be the first time that I go to a conference on human behaviour and I am sure that I will have a lot to learn. In true science conference fashion, I will not be giving a talk but putting up a poster (the first time I’ve done that). The poster is on the relationship between Boyer’s account of religion and that put forward by D.S. Wilson – a topic I have blogged about on numerous occassions. Being forced to put the ideas into a poster format has been a particularly valuable experience for me. As with any exercise which forces you to make ideas concrete, the result is that the ideas become clearer.  There is also the fact that this is a brand new experience for me, never having to present my ideas in this format. At the same time, I have become very much aware of the fact that I rely upon the empirical work done by Boyer and Wilson, merely reinterpreting what they have done. Given a philosophical, non-empirical background I do not know how uncomfortable I should be about that, and that makes me uncomfortable. I guess the meeting will be a learning experience. Hopefully, a positive one. It definitely takes me out of my comfort zone – it would have been much easier to simply ply philosophers with my ideas. Much easier but a lot less constructive.