Full Text

39. Explaining God Away?

KELLY JAMES CLARK


Subject Neuroscience
Philosophy » Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Science

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1500-1599

People Calvin, John

Key-Topics evolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189217.2010.00041.x


Extract

We will examine the claim that evolutionary explanations of religion undermine the rationality of belief in God. We will first discuss the findings of the cognitive psychology of religion which suggest that we have a natural, built-in god-faculty. Next we consider evolutionary explanations of the origin of the god-faculty and the alleged consequences that follow. We conclude with responses to arguments that claim to demonstrate that evolutionary psychology undermines rational belief in God. Science shows us, or so it is claimed, that God exists in the mind alone; God is a human creation, a collective illusion or a delusion fobbed off on us by our genes. So Boyer writes: In a cultural context where this hugely successful [scientific] way of understanding the world has debunked one supernatural claim after another, there is a strong impulse [in religious believers] to find at least one domain where it would be possible to trump the scientist. But evolution and microbiology crushed all this. ( Boyer 2001 , p. 76) Evolution and genetics, so it is claimed, explain God away; rational belief in God is crushed. In this chapter we will examine the claim that evolutionary explanations of religion undermine the rationality of belief in God. We will first discuss the findings of the cognitive psychology of religion which suggest that we have a natural, built-in god-faculty. Next we consider ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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