UGent

Lezing door Prof. John Teehan, Religion in the Age of Cognitive Science

Mei 2011

02/5/2011: Lezing door Prof. John Teehan, Religion in the Age of Cognitive Science

Prof. dr. John Teehan, professor in religie aan de Hofstra University te New York, zal op 2 mei een lezing geven getiteld Religion in the Age of Cognitive Science. Hij is de auteur van het vorig jaar verschenen boek In the name of God. The evolutionary origins of religious ethics and violence dat het onderwerp zal zijn van deze voordracht.
 
 
Plaats & tijd
De lezing gaat door op maandag 2 mei in het Auditorium A, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent om 20 uur. De toegang is gratis. Men hoeft niet op voorhand te reserveren.
 
Abstract
Using examples from his recent book, In the Name of God: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Morality and Violence (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Dr. Teehan will discuss how the cognitive sciences are opening up new avenues into the study of religion. The talk will begin with an introduction into the basic cognitive scientific explanations for the origin of religious beliefs as by-products of cognitive/emotional predispositions that evolved to serve human survival and reproductive needs. Dr. Teehan argues that as these religious beliefs tap into our evolved moral psychology they came to assume an adaptive role in human cultural evolution, allowing for the development of ever larger and more complex social groups. From this perspective a central function of religion is to promote in-group social cooperation. The several ways religions perform this role will be reviewed. A significant consequence of this in-group moral system established by religion is a moral discrimination against out-groups—this, he argues, is the ultimate source of religious violence. Having set out the theoretical work, we will then turn to a consideration of the Bible as an example of a religious text shaped by our evolved religious and moral psychology.
Dr. Teehan will conclude his talk with a consideration of the implications of this work for religious beliefs, and the role of religion in the modern world. He will also briefly discuss his current work on theological challenges raised by the cognitive science of religion (specifically the issues of justification of belief, and the problem of evil).

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