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The monist: Vol. 96, No. 3, July 2013.

Should CSR Give Atheists Epistemic Assurance? On Beer-Goggles, BFFs, and Skepticism Regarding Religious Beliefs, JUSTIN L. BARRETT, IAN M. CHURCH

Recent work in cognitive science of religion (CSR) is beginning to converge on a very interesting thesis--that, given the ordinary features of human minds operating in typical human environments, we are naturally disposed to believe in the existence of gods, among other religious ideas. This paper explores whether such a discovery ultimately helps or hurts the atheist position--whether, for example, it lends credence to atheism by explaining away religious belief or whether it actually strengthens some already powerful arguments against atheism in the relevant philosophical literature. This essay argues that the recent discoveries of CSR hurt, rather than help, the atheist position--that CSR, if anything, should not give atheists epistemic assurance.

The Cognitive Bases of the Problem of Evil, JOHN TEEHAN

The problem of evil is a central issue in the philosophy of religion, for countless believers and skeptics alike. The attempt to resolve the dilemma of positing the existence of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator while recognizing the presence of evil in the world has engaged philosophers and theologians for millennia. This article does not seek to resolve the dilemma but rather to explore the question of why there is a problem of evil. In other words, why is it that gods are conceived in ways that give rise to this dilemma? The topic is approached using insights into the religious mind being developed by the disciplines contributing to the Cognitive Science of Religion. The thesis developed is that this problem is a product of natural cognitive processes that give rise to god-beliefs, beliefs that are shaped by evolved moral intuitions.

Darwin and the Problem of Natural Nonbelief, JASON MARSH

Why, if God designed the human mind, did it take so long for humans to develop theistic concepts and beliefs? Why would God use evolution to design the living world when the discovery of evolution would predictably contribute to so much nonbelief in God? Darwin was aware of such questions but failed to see their evidential significance for theism. This paper explores this significance. The first problem introduces something one can call natural nonbelief, which is significant because it parallels and corroborates well-known worries about natural evil. This article argures that both problems, especially when combined, support naturalism over theism, intensify the problem of divine hiddenness, challenge Alvin Plantinga's views about the naturalness of theism, and advance the discussion about whether the conflict between science and religion is genuine or superficial.

Notions of Intuition in the Cognitive Science of Religion, STEVEN HORST

This article examines the notions of "intuitive" and "counterintuitive" beliefs and concepts in cognitive science of religion. "Intuitive" states are contrasted with those that are products of explicit, conscious reasoning. In many cases the intuitions are grounded in the implicit rules of mental models, frames, or schemas. This essay argues that the pathway from intuitive to high theological concepts and beliefs may be distinct from that from intuitions to "folk religion," and discusses how Christian theology might best interpret the results of studies in cognitive psychology of religion.

Cognitive Science and the Natural Knowledge of God, ADAM GREEN

The cognitive science of religion is often used in attempts to debunk or explain away religion. This essay shows via a case study that this emerging scientific field can actually be used as a tool for doing theology. To this end, it takes up the topic of the natural knowledge of God, in particular as it is discussed in Aquinas and Calvin. It is argued that the cognitive science of religion offers a needed corrective to Aquinas's and Calvin's focus on reason as it is exemplified in philosophy in the development of their respective views. This essay shows how the cognitive science of religion can be used to give an account of the natural knowledge of God in light of different types of social cognition that come with different ways of relating to another person.

Diagnosing Bias in Philosophy of Religion, PAUL DRAPER, RYAN NICHOLS

Work in philosophy of religion exhibits at least four symptoms of poor health: it is too partisan, too polemical, too narrow in its focus, and too often evaluated using criteria that are theological or religious instead of philosophical. This paper's diagnosis is that, because of the emotional and psychosocial aspects of religion, many philosophers of religion suffer from cognitive biases and group influence. This diagnosis is supported in two ways. First, the article examines work in psychology on cognitive biases and their affective triggers. This work supports the view that, while cognitive biases are no doubt a problem in all inquiry and in all areas of philosophy, they are particularly damaging to inquiry in philosophy of religion. Second, the paper examines work in social and evolutionary psychology on religious sociality and its attendant emotions. This work establishes that the coalitional features of religion are correlated with group bias, and contends that this bias is also harmful to inquiry in philosophy of religion. The essay closes by offering both a prognosis and recommendations for treatment.

For God and Country, Not Necessarily for Truth: The Non-Alethic Function of Superempirical Beliefs, KONRAD TALMONTKAMINSKI

The Scientific Study of Religion and the Pillars of Human Dignity, ROBERT AUDI
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Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Date:Jun 1, 2013
Previous Article:Mind: Vol. 121, No. 484, October 2012.
Next Article:The Monist: Vol. 96, No. 4, October 2013.

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