A couple of older posts about religion

Posted on February 6, 2010


I am getting ready to head off to Budapest, where I am going to give a talk to the Philosophy crowd at the Central European University this Tuesday. I have been trawling the net for some things and come across again a couple of posts about religion that I found most interesting when I’d originally read them a while ago but failed to blog about them (I hope, or I’m repeating myself).

The first is by John Wilkins, who did his PhD at the HPS department in Melbourne Uni, where I did my BA Hons. In it he makes an intersting argument for the proposition that there is no such thing as a monotheistic religion. Given the cogsci of religion definition of a god, this is absolutely correct but, perhaps not that surprisingly, not a point that had occured to me. This is just the first of a number of points that John makes and I suggest the post (indeed his blog) as very much worth reading.

The second post is from the International Cognition and Culture Institute blog and nicely showcases the depth of some of the posts there. Helen de Cruz discusses the varying view-points on the question of the theological significance of the existence of evolutionary explanations of religion, usefully bringing together a fair amount of recent work on the topic. Not surprisingly, Justin Barrett is holding the fort for the theist side, with Paul Griffiths pressing him from the atheist side. I have to say that my own response to these discussions is partly similar to Pascal Boyer’s, i.e. most naturalists aren’t particularly interested in arguing in their work against theists, supernatural claims are simply not an issue. But, then, you get a cognitive scientist like Barrett pretty much arguing for it in his work.