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

ISBN : 9780199597086

Jeffrey P. Schloss;Michael Murray
384 ページ
156 x 234 mm

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 seen as potentially 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.


1. Hand of God, Mind of Man: Punishment and Cognition in the Evolution of Cooperation
2. Religiosity as mental time travel: cognitive adaptations for religious behavior
3. Cognitive Science, Religion & Theology
4. Is Religion Adaptive? Yes, no, neutral, but mostly we don't know
5. Religious Belief as an Evolutionary Accident
6. Explaining Belief in the Supernatural: Some thoughts on Paul Bloom's 'Religious Belief as Evolutionary Accident'
7. Games Scientists Play
8. Scientific Explanations of Religion and the Justification of Religious Belief
9. Evolutionary Accounts of Religion: Explaining and Explaining Away
10. Explaining Religious Experience
11. Humanness in their hearts: Where science and religion fuse
12. Theology and Evolution: How Much Can Biology Explain
13. Cognitive Science and the Evolutionof Religion: A Philosophical and Theological Appraisal
14. Does Naturalism Warrant a Moral Belief in Universal Benevolence and Human Rights?
15. Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion
16. Evolutionary Social Constructivism: Narrowing (but not yet bridging) the Gap


Jeffrey Schloss, Professor of Biology, Westmont College; Michael Murray, Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor in the Humanities and Philosophy, Franklin and Marshall College