"Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not provides a powerful new paradigm to explore the relationship between science and religion."Journal of Religion
"McCauley's book is a superb introduction to the problems of intuition, reflection, science, and religion, opening up an entirely new way of looking at the debates concerning science and religion from a cognitive perspective." Journal of the Cognitive Science of Religion
"McCauley's richly illustrated and wonderfully accessible book is an intellectual treat. He brings the emerging Cognitive Sciences to bear on the issue of the cognitive awkwardness humans typically feel when trying to grasp the concepts of Theoretical Science, as compared to the cognitive naturalness we typically feel when contemplating the doctrines of Religion. Unlike others, McCauley has no particular doctrinal axe to grind here: he is simply concerned to understand a gulf that is familiar to all of us. This is a book that will engage everyone." Paul M. Churchland, author of The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul
"Robert McCauley is a philosopher of science and was a pioneer in creating a cognitive science of religious thought and behaviour. No one could better explain what he calls the naturalness of religion and the unnaturalness of science. In the past, discussions of 'science' and 'religion' have been as sterile as they were poorly informed. McCauley re-examines this contrast in cognitive and evolutionary terms. He shows how our mental systems make religious belief so easy and scientific thinking so difficult, and explores the consequences of these divergent ways of thinking for the future of religious organizations and scientific knowledge." Pascal Boyer, author of Religion Explained
"In Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not, McCauley strikes a pleasing balance between erudition and precision, and between accessibility and sophistication. This is the best book I have read on the cognitive science of religion and on the cognitive science of science. McCauley makes an exciting contribution to each area and places the so-called science-religion debate on entirely new ground. " Justin L. Barrett, author of Why Would Anyone Believe in God?
The relationship between religion and science has historically been fraught with tension and miscommunication and has raised a host of questions: Is the relationship adversarial, each side entrenched in battle? Or is it complementary? McCauley (director, Ctr. for Mind, Brain, & Culture, Emory Univ.), one of the pioneers of the cognitive science of religion, adds insight to the interdisciplinary discussion in this provocatively titled work. Approaching the study of religion from his cognitive framework, he contends that religion is cognitively natural and intuitive, having existed for thousands of years. In contrast, scientific thinking is a relatively recent human phenomenon, requiring mental work and abstract thought. McCauley draws startling conclusions: the future of science is uncertain, and science poses no threat to the survival of religion. VERDICT McCauley's work is erudite, precise, well argued, and replete with diagrams, illustrations, and footnotes. This work will challenge readers in both camps. It is especially suited for academic libraries, but should also find a home in public libraries.—Brian Smith McCallum, Arlington Heights Memorial Lib., IL