The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion

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Overview


Over the last two decades, scientific accounts of religion have received a great deal of scholarly and popular attention both because of their intrinsic interest and because they are widely as constituting a threat to the religion they analyse. The Believing Primate aims to describe and discuss these scientific accounts as well as to assess their implications. The volume begins with essays by leading scientists in the field, describing these accounts and discussing evidence in their favour. Philosophical and theological reflections on these accounts follow, offered by leading philosophers, theologians, and scientists. This diverse group of scholars address some fascinating underlying questions: Do scientific accounts of religion undermine the justification of religious belief? Do such accounts show religion to be an accidental by-product of our evolutionary development? And, whilst we seem naturally disposed toward religion, would we fare better or worse without it? Bringing together dissenting perspectives, this provocative collection will serve to freshly illuminate ongoing debate on these perennial questions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199557028
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Murray is the Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor in the Humanities and Philosophy at Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, PA). He received his B.A. at Franklin & Marshall College, and his M.A, and Ph.D at the University of Notre Dame. He has held fellowships from the Institute for Research in the Humanities (Madison, Wisconsin), the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Notre Dame Center for Philosophy of Religion.

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Table of Contents

Introduction, Jeffrey Schloss
1. Hand of God, Mind of Man: Punishment and Cognition in the Evolution of Cooperation, Jesse Bering and Dominic Johnson
2. Religiosity as mental time travel: cognitive adaptations for religious behavior, Joseph Bulbulia
3. Cognitive Science, Religion & Theology, Justin Barrett
4. Is Religion Adaptive? Yes, no, neutral, but mostly we don't know, Peter J. Richerson and Lesley Newson
5. Religious Belief as an Evolutionary Accident, Paul Bloom
6. Explaining Belief in the Supernatural: Some thoughts on Paul Bloom's 'Religious Belief as Evolutionary Accident', Peter van Inwagen
7. Games Scientists Play, Alvin Plantinga
8. Scientific Explanations of Religion and the Justification of Religious Belief, Michael J. Murray
9. Evolutionary Accounts of Religion: Explaining and Explaining Away, Michael J. Murray and Andrew Goldberg
10. Explaining Religious Experience, Charles Taliaferro
11. Humanness in their hearts: Where science and religion fuse, Del Ratzsch
12. Theology and Evolution: How Much Can Biology Explain, John Haught
13. Cognitive Science and the Evolutionof Religion: A Philosophical and Theological Appraisal, Nancey Murphy
14. Does Naturalism Warrant a Moral Belief in Universal Benevolence and Human Rights?, Christian Smith
15. Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion, Jonathan Haidt
16. Evolutionary Social Constructivism: Narrowing (but not yet bridging) the Gap, David Sloan Wilson

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