Helen de Cruz and Johan de Smedt
A Natural History of Natural Theology
The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion
MIT Press 2015
New Books in HistoryNew Books in PhilosophyNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in PsychologyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books Network June 15, 2015 Carrie Figdor
In A Natural History of Natural Theology: The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion (MIT Press, 2015), Helen de Cruz of the VU University Amsterdam and Johan de Smedt of Ghent University examine how the findings of cognitive science can and cannot be used to draw conclusions about the rationality of religious belief. They examine the types and role of the cognitive processes at work in these arguments, such as cause and effect and inference to the best explanation. They also consider whether theism provides a good reason for the pervasiveness of religious belief across human societies across time, and argue that the seemingly obvious conclusion that a naturalistic explanation of religious beliefs debunks these beliefs is not at all obvious.