god and the brain


The contributions of a historical tradition of religious writing are just as essential as the natural operations of the human brain. While Tremlin systematically overemphasizes the latter, van Huyssteen’s postfoundationalism avoids exclusive claims for either. What is interesting is that both authors resist the temptation to make hasty inferences from their observations about the naturalness of religious beliefs to a conclusion about either the truth or the falsity of those beliefs. The implication, but not the explicit conclusion, of Tremlin’s reductionist account is that religious beliefs can be not only explained, but effectively explained away by cognitive science. Van Huyssteen tends towards the opposite view – that the naturalness of religious beliefs argues, if anything, in favour of their plausibility and rationality. Of course most of us assume that all our beliefs – the true ones as well as the false ones – are, among other things, products of an evolved brain. The fact that many writers about science and religion no longer assume that such an observation is a knock-down argument either for or against religious faith is surely a sign of progress in the field of science and religion.

more from the TLS here.