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Configure custom resolver. Where Philosophical Intuitions Come From. Nudges in a Post-Truth World. Neil Levy - - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 8 The Fallacy of the Homuncular Fallacy. Carrie Figdor - - Belgrade Philosophical Annual The Factual Belief Fallacy. Neil Van Leeuwen - - Contemporary Pragmatism eds. Jong Helen De Cruz - - Topoi 33 2 Gregory R. Peterson - - Zygon 49 3 Andrew Ali Aghapour - - Zygon 49 3 James A.
Van Slyke - - Zygon 49 3 Explanatory Modesty. Peter Harrison thinks the doctrine of original sin played a crucial role in this, arguing there was a widespread belief in the early modern period that Adam, prior to the fall, had superior senses, intellect, and understanding. As a result of the fall, human senses became duller, our ability to make correct inferences was diminished, and nature itself became less intelligible. Postlapsarian humans i.
They must supplement their reasoning and senses with observation through specialized instruments, such as microscopes and telescopes. As Robert Hooke wrote in the introduction to his Micrographia :. As a result, the Condemnation opened up intellectual space to think beyond ancient Greek natural philosophy. For example, medieval philosophers such as John Buridan fl. As further evidence for a formative role of Christianity in the development of science, some authors point to the Christian beliefs of prominent natural philosophers of the seventeenth century. For example, Clark writes,.
Exclude God from the definition of science and, in one fell definitional swoop, you exclude the greatest natural philosophers of the so-called scientific revolution—Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, Boyle, and Newton to name just a few. Others authors even go as far as to claim that Christianity was unique and instrumental in catalyzing the scientific revolution—according to Rodney Stark , the scientific revolution was in fact a slow, gradual development from medieval Christian theology.
In spite of these positive readings of the relationship between science and religion in Christianity, there are sources of enduring tension. For example, there is still vocal opposition to the theory of evolution among Christian fundamentalists. Additionally, it refers to a culture which flourished within this political and religious context, with its own philosophical and scientific traditions Dhanani As the second largest religion in the world, Islam shows a wide variety of beliefs.
Beyond this, Muslims disagree on a number of doctrinal issues. The relationship between Islam and science is complex. Today, predominantly Muslim countries, such as the United Arabic Emirates, enjoy high urbanization and technological development, but they underperform in common metrics of scientific research, such as publications in leading journals and number of citations per scientist see Edis Moreover, Islamic countries are also hotbeds for pseudoscientific ideas, such as Old Earth creationism, the creation of human bodies on the day of resurrection from the tailbone, and the superiority of prayer in treating lower-back pain instead of conventional methods Guessoum 4—5.
The contemporary lack of scientific prominence is remarkable given that the Islamic world far exceeded European cultures in the range and quality of its scientific knowledge between approximately the ninth and the fifteenth century, excelling in domains such as mathematics algebra and geometry, trigonometry in particular , astronomy seriously considering, but not adopting, heliocentrism , optics, and medicine. A major impetus for Arabic science was the patronage of the Abbasid caliphate — , centered in Baghdad. The former founded the Bayt al-Hikma House of Wisdom , which commissioned translations of major works by Aristotle, Galen, and many Persian and Indian scholars into Arabic.
It was cosmopolitan in its outlook, employing astronomers, mathematicians, and physicians from abroad, including Indian mathematicians and Nestorian Christian astronomers. Throughout the Arabic world, public libraries attached to mosques provided access to a vast compendium of knowledge, which spread Islam, Greek philosophy, and Arabic science. The use of a common language Arabic , as well as common religious and political institutions and flourishing trade relations encouraged the spread of scientific ideas throughout the empire.
Some of this transmission was informal, e. The decline and fall of the Abbasid caliphate dealt a blow to Arabic science, but it remains unclear why it ultimately stagnated, and why it did not experience something analogous to the scientific revolution in Western Europe. Some liberal Muslim authors, such as Fatima Mernissi , argue that the rise of conservative forms of Islamic philosophical theology stifled more scientifically-minded natural philosophers. This book vindicated more orthodox Muslim religious views. As Muslim intellectual life became more orthodox, it became less open to non-Muslim philosophical ideas, which led to the decline of Arabic science.
The study of law fiqh was more stifling for Arabic science than developments in theology. The eleventh century saw changes in Islamic law that discouraged heterodox thought: lack of orthodoxy could now be regarded as apostasy from Islam zandaqa which is punishable by death, whereas before, a Muslim could only apostatize by an explicit declaration Griffel Given that heterodox thoughts could be interpreted as apostasy, this created a stifling climate for Arabic science. In the second half of the nineteenth century, as science and technology became firmly entrenched in Western society, Muslim empires were languishing or colonized.
Scientific ideas, such as evolutionary theory, were equated with European colonialism, and thus met with distrust. In spite of this negative association between science and Western modernity, there is an emerging literature on science and religion by Muslim scholars mostly scientists. The physicist Nidhal Guessoum holds that science and religion are not only compatible, but in harmony. Nevertheless, Muslim scientists such as Guessoum and Rana Dajani have advocated acceptance of evolution. In contrast to the major monotheistic religions, Hinduism does not draw a sharp distinction between God and creation while there are pantheistic and panentheistic views in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, these are minority positions.
Many Hindus believe in a personal God, and identify this God as immanent in creation. This view has ramifications for the science and religion debate, in that there is no sharp ontological distinction between creator and creature Subbarayappa Philosophical theology in Hinduism and other Indic religions is usually referred to as dharma , and religious traditions originating on the Indian subcontinent, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, are referred to as dharmic religions. One factor that unites dharmic religions is the importance of foundational texts, which were formulated during the Vedic period, between ca.
More gods were added in the following centuries e. Ancient Vedic rituals encouraged knowledge of diverse sciences, including astronomy, linguistics, and mathematics. Astronomical knowledge was required to determine the timing of rituals and the construction of sacrificial altars. Linguistics developed out of a need to formalize grammatical rules for classical Sanskrit, which was used in rituals. Large public offerings also required the construction of elaborate altars, which posed geometrical problems and thus led to advances in geometry.
Classic Vedic texts also frequently used very large numbers, for instance, to denote the age of humanity and the Earth, which required a system to represent numbers parsimoniously, giving rise to a base positional system and a symbolic representation for zero as a placeholder, which would later be imported in other mathematical traditions Joseph In this way, ancient Indian dharma encouraged the emergence of the sciences.
Around the sixth—fifth century BCE, the northern part of the Indian subcontinent experienced an extensive urbanization. The latter defended a form of metaphysical naturalism, denying the existence of gods or karma. The relationship between science and religion on the Indian subcontinent is complex, in part because the dharmic religions and philosophical schools are so diverse.
Such views were close to philosophical naturalism in modern science, but this school disappeared in the twelfth century. He formulated design and cosmological arguments, drawing on analogies between the world and artifacts: in ordinary life, we never see non-intelligent agents produce purposive design, yet the universe is suitable for human life, just like benches and pleasure gardens are designed for us.
Given that the universe is so complex that even an intelligent craftsman cannot comprehend it, how could it have been created by non-intelligent natural forces? Brown From to , India was under British colonial rule. This had a profound influence on its culture. Hindus came into contact with Western science and technology. For local intellectuals, the contact with Western science presented a challenge: how to assimilate these ideas with their Hindu beliefs?
Mahendrahal Sircar — was one of the first authors to examine evolutionary theory and its implications for Hindu religious beliefs. Sircar was an evolutionary theist, who believed that God used evolution to create the current life forms. Evolutionary theism was not a new hypothesis in Hinduism, but the many lines of empirical evidence Darwin provided for evolution gave it a fresh impetus. While Sircar accepted organic evolution through common descent, he questioned the mechanism of natural selection as it was not teleological, which went against his evolutionary theism—this was a widespread problem for the acceptance of evolutionary theory, one that Christian evolutionary theists also wrestled with Bowler Brown chapter 6.
The assimilation of Western culture prompted various revivalist movements that sought to reaffirm the cultural value of Hinduism. Responses to evolutionary theory were as diverse as Christian views on this subject, ranging from creationism denial of evolutionary theory based on a perceived incompatibility with Vedic texts to acceptance see C. Brown for a thorough overview. Authors such as Dayananda Saraswati — rejected evolutionary theory.
More generally, he claimed that Hinduism and science are in harmony: Hinduism is scientific in spirit, as is evident from its long history of scientific discovery Vivekananda Sri Aurobindo Ghose, a yogi and Indian nationalist, who was educated in the West, formulated a synthesis of evolutionary thought and Hinduism. He interpreted the classic avatara doctrine, according to which God incarnates into the world repeatedly throughout time, in evolutionary terms.
He proposed a metaphysical picture where both spiritual evolution reincarnation and avatars and physical evolution are ultimately a manifestation of God Brahman. Brown for discussion. During the twentieth century, Indian scientists began to gain prominence, including C. Raman — , a Nobel Prize winner in physics, and Satyendra Nath Bose — , a theoretical physicist who described the behavior of photons statistically, and who gave his name to bosons. However, these authors were silent on the relationship between their scientific work and their religious beliefs.
By contrast, the mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan — was open about his religious beliefs and their influence on his mathematical work. He claimed that the goddess Namagiri helped him to intuit solutions to mathematical problems. Likewise, Jagadish Chandra Bose — , a theoretical physicist, biologist, biophysicist, botanist, and archaeologist, who worked on radio waves, saw the Hindu idea of unity reflected in the study of nature.
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He started the Bose institute in Kolkata in , the earliest interdisciplinary scientific institute in India Subbarayappa Current work in the field of science and religion encompasses a wealth of topics, including free will, ethics, human nature, and consciousness. Contemporary natural theologians discuss fine-tuning, in particular design arguments based on it e.
Collins , the interpretation of multiverse cosmology, and the significance of the Big Bang. For instance, authors such as Hud Hudson have explored the idea that God has actualized the best of all possible multiverses. Here follows an overview of two topics that generated substantial interest and debate over the past decades: divine action and the closely related topic of creation , and human origins.
Before scientists developed their views on cosmology and origins of the world, Western cultures already had an elaborate doctrine of creation, based on Biblical texts e. This doctrine of creation has the following interrelated features: first, God created the world ex nihilo, i. Differently put, God did not need any pre-existing materials to make the world, unlike, e.
Rather, God created the world freely. Third, the doctrine of creation holds that creation is essentially good this is repeatedly affirmed in Genesis 1. The world does contain evil, but God does not directly cause this evil to exist. Moreover, God does not merely passively sustain creation, but rather plays an active role in it, using special divine actions e. Fourth, God made provisions for the end of the world, and will create a new heaven and earth, in this way eradicating evil.
Related to the doctrine of creation are views on divine action. Theologians commonly draw a distinction between general and special divine action. Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted definition of these two concepts in the fields of theology or science and religion. One way to distinguish them Wildman is to regard general divine action as the creation and sustenance of reality, and special divine action as the collection of specific providential acts, often at particular times and places, such as miracles and revelations to prophets.
Drawing this distinction allows for creatures to be autonomous and indicates that God does not micromanage every detail of creation. Still, the distinction is not always clear-cut, as some phenomena are difficult to classify as either general or special divine action. Alston makes a related distinction between direct and indirect divine acts. God brings about direct acts without the use of natural causes, whereas indirect acts are achieved through natural causes. Using this distinction, there are four possible kinds of actions that God could do: God could not act in the world at all, God could act only directly, God could act only indirectly, or God could act both directly and indirectly.
In the science and religion literature, there are two central questions on creation and divine action. To what extent are the Christian doctrine of creation and traditional views of divine action compatible with science? How can these concepts be understood within a scientific context, e. Note that the doctrine of creation says nothing about the age of the Earth, nor that it specifies a mode of creation.
This allows for a wide range of possible views within science and religion, of which Young Earth Creationism is but one that is consistent with scripture. The theory seems to support creatio ex nihilo as it specifies that the universe originated from an extremely hot and dense state around The net result of scientific findings since the seventeenth century has been that God was increasingly pushed into the margins.
This encroachment of science on the territory of religion happened in two ways: first, scientific findings—in particular from geology and evolutionary theory—challenged and replaced biblical accounts of creation. While the doctrine of creation does not contain details of the mode and timing of creation, the Bible was regarded as authoritative.
Second, the emerging concept of scientific laws in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century physics seemed to leave no room for special divine action. These two challenges will be discussed below, along with proposed solutions in the contemporary science and religion literature.
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Christian authors have traditionally used the Bible as a source of historical information. Biblical exegesis of the creation narratives, especially Genesis 1 and 2 and some other scattered passages, such as in the Book of Job , remains fraught with difficulties. Are these texts to be interpreted in a historical, metaphorical, or poetic fashion, and what are we to make of the fact that the order of creation differs between these accounts Harris ?
Although such literalist interpretations of the Biblical creation narratives were not uncommon, and are still used by Young Earth creationists today, theologians before Ussher already offered alternative, non-literalist readings of the biblical materials e. From the seventeenth century onward, the Christian doctrine of creation came under pressure from geology, with findings suggesting that the Earth was significantly older than BCE. From the eighteenth century on, natural philosophers, such as de Maillet, Lamarck, Chambers, and Darwin, proposed transmutationist what would now be called evolutionary theories, which seem incompatible with scriptural interpretations of the special creation of species.
Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett have outlined a divine action spectrum to clarify the distinct positions about creation and divine action in the contemporary science and religion literature. They discern two dimensions in this spectrum: the degree of divine action in the natural world, and the form of causal explanations that relate divine action to natural processes. At one extreme are creationists. Like other theists, they believe God has created the world and its fundamental laws, and that God occasionally performs special divine actions miracles that intervene in the fabric of laws.
Creationists deny any role of natural selection in the origin of species. Within creationism, there are Old and Young Earth creationism, with the former accepting geology and rejecting evolutionary biology, and the latter rejecting both. Next to creationism is Intelligent Design, which affirms divine intervention in natural processes. Intelligent Design creationists e. Like other creationists, they deny a significant role for natural selection in shaping organic complexity and they affirm an interventionist account of divine action. For political reasons they do not label their intelligent designer as God, as they hope to circumvent the constitutional separation of church and state in the US which prohibits teaching religious doctrines in public schools Forrest and Gross Theistic evolutionists hold a non-interventionist approach to divine action: God creates indirectly, through the laws of nature e.
For example, the theologian John Haught regards divine providence as self-giving love, and natural selection and other natural processes as manifestations of this love, as they foster autonomy and independence. While theistic evolutionists allow for special divine action, particularly the miracle of the Incarnation in Christ e.
Deism is still a long distance from ontological materialism, the idea that the material world is all there is. Views on divine action were influenced by developments in physics and their philosophical interpretation. In the seventeenth century, natural philosophers, such as Robert Boyle and John Wilkins, developed a mechanistic view of the world as governed by orderly and lawlike processes. Laws, understood as immutable and stable, created difficulties for the concept of special divine action Pannenberg How could God act in a world that was determined by laws?
One way to regard miracles and other forms of special divine action is to see them as actions that somehow suspend or ignore the laws of nature. This concept of divine action is commonly labeled interventionist. Interventionism regards the world as causally deterministic, so God has to create room for special divine actions. By contrast, non-interventionist forms of divine action e. In the seventeenth century, the explanation of the workings of nature in terms of elegant physical laws suggested the ingenuity of a divine designer.
Another conclusion that the new laws-based physics suggested was that the universe was able to run smoothly without requiring an intervening God. The increasingly deterministic understanding of the universe, ruled by deterministic causal laws as, for example, outlined by Pierre-Simon Laplace — , seemed to leave no room for special divine action, which is a key element of the traditional Christian doctrine of creation.
Alston argued, contra authors such as Polkinghorne , that mechanistic, pre-twentieth century physics is compatible with divine action and divine free will. In such a mechanistic world, every event is an indirect divine act. Advances in twentieth-century physics, including the theories of general and special relativity, chaos theory, and quantum theory, overturned the mechanical clockwork view of creation. In the latter half of the twentieth century, chaos theory and quantum physics have been explored as possible avenues to reinterpret divine action.
One difficulty with this model is that it moves from our knowledge of the world to assumptions about how the world is: does chaos theory mean that outcomes are genuinely undetermined, or that we as limited humans cannot predict them? Robert Russell proposed that God acts in quantum events. This would allow God to directly act in nature without having to contravene the laws of nature, and is therefore a non-interventionist model. Since, under the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, there are no natural efficient causes at the quantum level, God is not reduced to a natural cause.
Murphy outlined a similar bottom-up model where God acts in the space provided by quantum indeterminacy. After all, it is not even clear whether quantum theory would allow for free human action, let alone divine action, which we do not know much about Jaeger a. Next to this, William Carroll , building on Thomistic philosophy, argues that authors such as Murphy and Polkinghorne are making a category mistake: God is not a cause in a way creatures are causes, competing with natural causes, and God does not need indeterminacy in order to act in the world.
Rather, as primary cause God supports and grounds secondary causes. While this solution is compatible with determinism indeed, on this view, the precise details of physics do not matter much , it blurs the distinction between general and special divine action. Moreover, the Incarnation suggests that the idea of God as a cause among natural causes is not an alien idea in theology, and that God at least sometimes acts as a natural cause Sollereder There has been a debate on the question to what extent randomness is a genuine feature of creation, and how divine action and chance interrelate.
Chance and stochasticity are important features of evolutionary theory the non-random retention of random variations. In a famous thought experiment, Gould imagined that we could rewind the tape of life back to the time of the Burgess Shale million years ago ; the chance we would end up with anything like the present-day life forms is vanishingly small.
However, Simon Conway Morris has argued species very similar to the ones we know now including human-like intelligent species would evolve under a broad range of conditions. Under a theist interpretation, randomness could either be a merely apparent aspect of creation, or a genuine feature. Plantinga suggests that randomness is a physicalist interpretation of the evidence. God may have guided every mutation along the evolutionary process. In this way, God could.
By contrast, some authors see stochasticity as a genuine design feature, and not just as a physicalist gloss. Their challenge is to explain how divine providence is compatible with genuine randomness. Under a deistic view, one could simply say that God started the universe off and did not interfere with how it went, but that option is not open to the theist, and most authors in the field of science and religion are theists, rather than deists.
Elizabeth Johnson , using a Thomistic view of divine action, argues that divine providence and true randomness are compatible: God gives creatures true causal powers, thus making creation more excellent than if they lacked such powers, and random occurrences are also secondary causes; chance is a form of divine creativity that creates novelty, variety, and freedom. One implication of this view is that God may be a risk taker—although, if God has a providential plan for possible outcomes, there is unpredictability but not risk. Johnson uses metaphors of risk taking that, on the whole, leave the creator in a position of control creation, then, is like jazz improvisation , but it is, to her, a risk nonetheless.
Why would God take risks? There are several solutions to this question. The free will theodicy says that a creation that exhibits stochasticity can be truly free and autonomous:. Authentic love requires freedom, not manipulation. Such freedom is best supplied by the open contingency of evolution, and not by strings of divine direction attached to every living creature. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have similar creation stories, which ultimately go back to the first book of the Hebrew Bible Genesis. According to Genesis, humans are the result of a special act of creation.
Genesis 1 offers an account of the creation of the world in six days, with the creation of human beings on the sixth day. Islam has a creation narrative similar to Genesis 2, with Adam being fashioned out of clay. These handcrafted humans are regarded as the ancestors of all living humans today.
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Humans occupy a privileged position in these creation accounts. In Christianity, Judaism, and some strands of Islam, humans are created in the image of God imago Dei. There are at least three different ways in which image-bearing is understood Cortez According to the functionalist account, humans are in the image of God by virtue of things they do, such as having dominion over nature. The structuralist account emphasizes characteristics that humans uniquely possess, such as reason.
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The relational interpretation sees the image as a special relationship between God and humanity. Humans also occupy a special place in creation as a result of the fall. By eating from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil they fell from this state, and death, manual labor, as well as pain in childbirth were introduced. The Augustinian interpretation of original sin also emphasizes the distorting effects of sin on our reasoning capacities the so-called noetic effects of sin.
As a result of sin, our original perceptual and reasoning capacities have been marred. Whereas Augustine believed that the prelapsarian state was one of perfection, Irenaeus second century saw Adam and Eve prior to the fall as innocent, like children still in development. Scientific findings and theories relevant to human origins come from a range of disciplines, in particular geology, paleoanthropology the study of ancestral hominins, using fossils and other evidence , archaeology, and evolutionary biology.
These findings challenge traditional religious accounts of humanity, including the special creation of humanity, the imago Dei , the historical Adam and Eve, and original sin. In natural philosophy, the dethroning of humanity from its position as a specially created species predates Darwin and can already be found in early transmutationist publications. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed chimpanzees as the ancestors to humans in his Philosophie Zoologique He proposed that the first organisms arose through spontaneous generation, and that all subsequent organisms evolved from them.
Darwin was initially reluctant to publish on human origins. In the twentieth century, paleoanthropologists debated whether humans separated from the other great apes at the time wrongly classified into the paraphyletic group Pongidae long ago, about 15 million years ago, or relatively recently, about 5 million years ago. Molecular clocks—first immune responses e. The discovery of many hominin fossils, including Ardipithecus ramidus 4. These finds are now also supplemented by detailed analysis of ancient DNA extracted from fossil remains, bringing to light a previously unknown species of hominin the Denisovans who lived in Siberia up to about 40, years ago.
Taken together, this evidence indicates that humans did not evolve in a simple linear fashion, but that human evolution resembles an intricate branching tree with many dead ends, in line with the evolution of other species. In the light of these scientific findings, contemporary science and religion authors have reconsidered the questions of human uniqueness and imago Dei , the Incarnation, and the historicity of original sin. Some authors have attempted to reinterpret human uniqueness as a number of species-specific cognitive and behavioral adaptations.
For example, van Huyssteen considers the ability of humans to engage in cultural and symbolic behavior, which became prevalent in the Upper Paleolithic, as a key feature of uniquely human behavior. Other theologians have opted to broaden the notion of imago Dei. Given what we know about the capacities for morality and reason in non-human animals, Celia Deane-Drummond and Oliver Putz reject an ontological distinction between humans and non-human animals, and argue for a reconceptualization of the imago Dei to include at least some nonhuman animals.
Joshua Moritz raises the question of whether extinct hominin species, such as Homo neanderthalensis and Homo floresiensis , which co-existed with Homo sapiens for some part of prehistory, partook in the divine image. There is also discussion of how we can understand the Incarnation the belief that Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, became incarnate with the evidence we have of human evolution. For instance, Peacocke regarded Jesus as the point where humanity is perfect for the first time. Teilhard de Chardin had a teleological, progressivist interpretation of evolution, according to which Christ is the progression and culmination of what evolution has been working toward even though the historical Jesus lived years ago.
According to Teilhard, evil is still horrible but no longer incomprehensible; it becomes a natural feature of creation—since God chose evolution as his mode of creation, evil arises as an inevitable byproduct. Deane-Drummond , however, points out that this interpretation is problematic: Teilhard worked within a Spencerian progressivist model of evolution, and he was anthropocentric, seeing humanity as the culmination of evolution.
Current evolutionary theory has repudiated the Spencerian progressivist view, and adheres to a stricter Darwinian model.
Deane-Drummond, who regards human morality as lying on a continuum with the social behavior of other animals, conceptualizes the fall as a mythical, rather than a historical event. She regards Christ as incarnate wisdom, situated in a theodrama that plays against the backdrop of an evolving creation. As a human being, Christ is connected to the rest of creation, as we all are, through common descent.
By saving us, he saves the whole of creation. Debates on the fall and the historical Adam have centered on how these narratives can be understood in the light of contemporary science. On the face of it, limitations of our cognitive capacities can be naturalistically explained as a result of biological constraints, so there seems little explanatory gain to appeal to the narrative of the fall.
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Some have attempted to interpret the concepts of sin and fall in ways that are compatible with paleoanthropology. Peter van Inwagen , for example, holds that God could have providentially guided hominin evolution until there was a tightly-knit community of primates, endowed with reason, language, and free will, and this community was in close union with God.
At some point in history, these hominins somehow abused their free will to distance themselves from God. For van Inwagen, the fall was a fall from perfection, following the Augustinian tradition. John Schneider , on the other hand, argues that there is no genetic or paleoanthropological evidence for such a community of superhuman beings. Helen De Cruz and Johan De Smedt favor an Irenaean, rather than an Augustinian interpretation of the fall narrative, which does not involve a historical Adam, and emphasizes original innocence as the state that humans had prior to sinning.
This final section will look at two examples of work in science and religion that have received attention in the recent literature, and that probably will be important in the coming years: evolutionary ethics and implications of the cognitive science of religion. Other areas of increasing interest include the theistic multiverse, consciousness, artificial intelligence, and transhumanism. Even before Darwin formulated his theory of natural selection, Victorian authors fretted over the implications of evolutionary theory for morality and religion.
Evolutionary theorists from Darwin onward argued that human morality is continuous with social behaviors in nonhuman animals, and that we can explain moral sentiments as the result of natural selection. Michael Ruse e. This capacity has evolutionary precursors in the ability of nonhuman animals to empathize, cooperate, reconcile, and engage in fair play e. Some philosophers e. Since we can explain ethical beliefs and behaviors as a result of their long-term fitness consequences, we do not need to invoke ethical realism as an explanation.
Some ask whether evolutionary challenges to moral beliefs apply in an analogous way to religious beliefs see Bergmann and Kain , especially part III. Others have examined whether evolutionary ethics makes appeals to God in ethical matters redundant. John Hare , for example, has argued that this is not the case, because evolutionary ethics can only explain why we do things that ultimately benefit us, even if indirectly e. According to Hare , evolutionary ethics does not explain our sense of moral obligation that goes beyond biological self-interest, as evolutionary theory predicts that we would always rank biological self-interest over moral obligations.
Therefore, theism provides a more coherent explanation of why we feel we have to follow up on moral obligations. Intriguingly, theologians and scientists have begun to collaborate in the field of evolutionary ethics. For example, the theologian Sarah Coakley has cooperated with the mathematician and biologist Martin Nowak to understand altruism and game theory in a broader theological and scientific context Nowak and Coakley The cognitive science of religion examines the cognitive basis of religious beliefs. Recent work in the field of science and religion has examined the implications of this research for the justification of religious beliefs.
De Cruz and De Smedt propose that arguments in natural theology are also influenced by evolved cognitive dispositions. For example, the design argument may derive its intuitive appeal from an evolved, early-developed propensity in humans to ascribe purpose and design to objects in their environment. This complicates natural theological projects, which rely on a distinction between the origins of a religious belief and their justification through reasoned argument.
Kelly Clark and Justin L. Barrett argue that the cognitive science of religion offers the prospect of an empirically-informed Reidian defense of religious belief. Thomas Reid proposed that we are justified in holding beliefs that arise from cognitive faculties universally present in humans which give rise to spontaneous, non-inferential beliefs. If cognitive scientists are right in proposing that belief in God arises naturally from the workings of our minds, we are prima facie justified in believing in God Clark and Barrett Others e.
John Wilkins and Paul Griffiths argue that the evolved origins of religious beliefs can figure in an evolutionary debunking argument against religious belief, which they formulate along the lines of Guy Kahane :. Epistemic Premise : The evolutionary process X does not track the truth of propositions like p. Wilkins and Griffiths hold that the epistemic premise can sometimes be resisted: evolutionary processes do track truth, for instance, in the case of commonsense beliefs and, by extension, scientific beliefs. However, they hold that this move does not work for religious and moral beliefs, because such beliefs are assumed not to be the result of truth-tracking cognitive processes.
This research was supported by a small book and research grant of the Special Divine Action Project, specialdivineaction. Religion and Science First published Tue Jan 17, What are science and religion, and how do they interrelate? Science and religion in Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism 2. Contemporary connections between science and religion 3. Future directions in science and religion 4. Science and religion in Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism As noted, most studies on the relationship between science and religion have focused on science and Christianity, with only a small number of publications devoted to other religious traditions e.