Lightening and Reflection: Comparing the Cognitive Foundations of Science and Religion


ACLS Fellowship Program




I will write a book comparing the cognitive foundations of science and religion. Our minds evolved with domain specific dispositions that render them more susceptible to generate, remember and transmit the modestly counterintuitive representations in which religions traffic than the radically counterintuitive ones science involves. Cognitive research reveals how difficult it is to do science and how religiosity employs common twists on entrenched mental proclivities. This suggests that science poses no challenge to the persistence of religion, that those disabled in a pertinent domain will find religion baffling (regardless of experiences religious activities occasion), that religion needs less institutional support than science, and that it is science's on going existence that is fragile.