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Evolutionary debunking arguments in three domains: Fact, value, and religion

In James Maclaurin Greg Dawes (ed.), A New Science of Religion. Routledge (2012)

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  1. Is Supernatural Belief Unreliably Formed.Hans Van Eyghen - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-24.
    I criticize 5 arguments for the conclusion that religious belief is unreliably formed and hence epistemically tainted. The arguments draw on scientific evidence from Cognitive Science of Religion. They differ considerably as to why the evidence points to unreliability. Two arguments conclude to unreliability because religious belief is shaped by evolutionary pressures; another argument states that the mechanism responsible for religious belief produces many false god-beliefs; a similar argument claims that the mechanism produces incompatible god-beliefs; and a final argument states (...)
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  • Religious Belief is Not Natural. Why Cognitive Science of Religion Does Not Show That Religious Belief is Rational.Hans Van Eyghen - 2016 - Studia Humana 5 (4):34-44.
    It is widely acknowledged that the new emerging discipline cognitive science of religion has a bearing on how to think about the epistemic status of religious beliefs. Both defenders and opponents of the rationality of religious belief have used cognitive theories of religion to argue for their point. This paper will look at the defender-side of the debate. I will discuss an often used argument in favor of the trustworthiness of religious beliefs, stating that cognitive science of religion shows that (...)
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  • Explaining Religion (Away?).Jonathan Jong - 2013 - Sophia 52 (3):521-533.
    In light of the advancements in cognitive science and the evolutionary psychology of religion in the past two decades, scientists and philosophers have begun to reflect on the theological and atheological implications of naturalistic—and in particular, evolutionary—explanations of religious belief and behaviour. However, philosophical naiveté is often evinced by scientists and scientific naiveté by philosophers. The aim of this article is to draw from these recent contributions, point out some common pitfalls and important insights, and suggest a way forward. This (...)
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  • The Relevance of Hume's Natural History of Religion for Cognitive Science of Religion.Helen De Cruz - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (3):653-674.
    Hume was a cognitive scientist of religion avant la lettre. His Natural History of Religion (1757 [2007]) locates the origins of religion in human nature. This paper explores similarities between some of his ideas and the cognitive science of religion, the multidisciplinary study of the psychological origins of religious beliefs. It also considers Hume’s distinction between two questions about religion: its foundation in reason (the domain of natural theology and philosophy of religion) and its origin in human nature (the domain (...)
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  • Two Types of “Explaining Away” Arguments in the Cognitive Science of Religion.Hans Van Eyghen - 2016 - Zygon 51 (4):966-982.
    This article discusses “explaining away” arguments in the cognitive science of religion. I distinguish two rather different ways of explaining away religion, one where religion is shown to be incompatible with scientific findings and one where supernatural entities are rendered superfluous by scientific explanations. After discussing possible objections to both varieties, I argue that the latter way offers better prospects for successfully explaining away religion but that some caveats must be made. In a second step, I spell out how CSR (...)
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