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The Believing PrimateScientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion$
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Jeffrey Schloss and Michael Murray

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557028

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557028.001.0001

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Evolutionary Accounts of Religion: Explaining and Explaining Away

Evolutionary Accounts of Religion: Explaining and Explaining Away

(p.179) 9 Evolutionary Accounts of Religion: Explaining and Explaining Away
The Believing Primate

Michael J. Murray

Andrew Goldberg

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes evolutionary accounts of religion, points out some of their weaknesses as scientific accounts, and considers just how much of religion such explanations can explain away. All evolutionary accounts of religion agree that the human mind has a suite of cognitive mechanisms that collaborate in specifiable and predictable ways to generate religion pan-culturally. The chapter assesses the views made by these accounts, and whether their cognitive and evolutionary explanations are plausible. It also searches for answers as to whether evolutionary explanations undermine the truth of, or justification for, religious beliefs.

Keywords:   evolutionary accounts, religion, religious beliefs

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