Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Evolutionary Psychology and Religion - from Sci Am

Here is a podcast of a lecture by Hofstra University religion professor, John Teehan, on evolutionary psychology and what it tells us about religion (I also hope to see him at the upcoming Darwin's Reach conference at Hofstra in mid-March). The first 2/3 is a nice summary of the field. The last 5-10minutes of the talk address the inroads of evolutionary ideas in explaining the origins of moral thinking among humans and whether Darwinian evolution necessitates atheism. I think he does a very nice job addressing these questions and he presents a potential way out for religions - i.e. different religions are striving "to give expression to a deeper and commonly shared moral sense and perhaps this deeper source of our religious traditions is what people refer to as God. In this case, religion becomes the effort to bring out this common thread of our humanity" - and he concludes with a nice defense of Humanism - along with a good dose of John Dewey. This is great - but may not sit well with most religion.

Evolutionary Psychology and Religion: Scientific American Podcast

Also see this Hampshire Science & Religion lecture by David Sloan Wilson on evolutionary origins of religion.